CJ ENM said Wednesday it was seeking to develop the next generation of celebrities through its cartoon and anime channel Tooniverse, dubbed “Toonistar” proejct.
The cable channel announced the key projects for the second half of 2019, including the upcoming broadcast of its new children’s anime series, during a press conference in Seoul.
According to Tooniverse producer Park Yong-jin, Tooniverse has selected seven children through auditions on the basis of their acting, dancing and singing talents as well as other talents that can be used in YouTube content, such as “meokbang,” referring to web content centered on eating food.
Children selected for Tooniverse‘s “Toonistar” project post in this handout photo. (CJ ENM)
Park said the channel needed more child stars to whom children -- the channel’s main target audience -- could relate.
“Most of the celebrities appearing in our web dramas are adults, and there are limits to how much our child audience can relate to them. We needed stars who are around the same age as our child viewers,” he said.
Six girls and one boy have been picked out of some 500 applicants, and they will appear in web dramas, TV series and other shows featured on the channel.
“The project reflects the recent trend of young generation wanting to actively seek opportunities to participate, rather than to just admire the stars. We hope this will be a stepping stone for them to become big time celebrities in the future,” Park said.
The bite-sized celebrities will star in the upcoming web drama “Joahseo,” a story about a child web content creator that will air next month.
Tooniverse has signed a non-exclusive contract with the Toonistars that will expire at the end of the year, opening doors for them to appear in other media as well.
In addition to the new project, the cable channel is also launching a new anime series “Bugsbot Ignition” that will debut at 8 p.m. next Tuesday.
Children pose with toys modelled after characters from the upcoming Tooniverse anime series “Bugsbot Ignition” in this handout photo. (CJ ENM)
The upcoming series is about a joint effort between humans and insect robots in their quest to protect a forest. Officials said that the quality of the new show will live up to the expectations as it created by the same people who made Tooniverse’s recent hit series, “Shinbi Apartment.”
Producer Shin Dong-shik said that the show will discuss the differences in values, rather than telling a black-and-white story of good versus evil. Rather than focus primarily on boy protagonists, as many kids’ anime do, he added that the new show will also have female characters playing active roles.
Tooniverse, which specializes in kids’ shows, announced in March that it would produce more web dramas and shows that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. They include a live-action drama version of “Shinbi Apartment” that aired from February to April.
By Yoon Min-sik