Turner has claimed that it has upped its investment in European production by 30 per cent last year and has also taken its biggest international original The Amazing World of Gumball in a new direction, with a puppet-based episode of the show that it revealed at the just concluded Annecy Animation Film Festival.
The puppet-based installment of Gumball will go out during season five of the show and will also be the inspiration for a series of short form spin-offs.
Recently-minted U.K. producer Blink Industries is making The Puppets and the short form content which will be directed by BAFTA-nominated Simon Cartwright and Baker Terry.
Annecy attendees got to watch the exclusive first-look at The Puppets at Annecy during a session at the festival looking at Gumball.
The series is a mix of 2D and 3D animation with live-action elements, allowing the producers to work with a range of other creatives such as Japan’s 4 C studio with whom they teamed with on an anime episode entitled The Fury.
At the Annecy panel Becky & Joe, creators of hit YouTube series Don’t Hug Me, I’m Scared spoke about their work on The Puppets. Ben Bocquelet, creator of Gumball and series director, Mic Graves, will also be in attendance.
The focus on Gumball comes as Turner ramps up investment in international programming, with spend on Cartoon Network and Boomerang in Europe up 30% in 2016-17.
The U.S. company’s kids channels benefit from a strong pipeline of toons from Burbank-based Cartoon Network Studios and from Warner Bros., but it has been adding to its line-up of internationally sourced and produced programming, with “Gumball” the standout example. Season six of the show is in pre-production.