EXCLUSIVE: Ever since MIPTV organizers on Monday announced that Arnold Schwarzenegger will hold a press conference on the first day of this year’s market, April 4, to unveil his next project, “an international TV series,” speculation started about the nature of the mystery series and who the former California Governor will be doing it with. Details about the project are being heavily guarded, but I hear Schwarzenegger has teamed for what is believed to be an animated series with former DIC chairman and CEO Andy Heyward, who now heads children’s entertainment company A Squared. Heyward launched A2 in 2009, after selling his kids animation stalwart DIC to Cookie Jar Entertainment for $90 million.
A2’s mission statement is that it is dedicated to producing original “content with a purpose,” i.e., shows that enrich kids as they entertain them. A2 is producing three such animated Web series for AOL Kids built around accomplished professionals/celebrities: the Secret Millionaires Club, with Warren Buffett teaching children financial literacy, which was just picked up by The Hub as series of TV specials; Gisele & the Green Team, with supermodel Gisele Bündchen as an environmental superhero; and Martha & Friends, featuring a 10-year-old Martha Stewart running an event-planning business. Schwarzenneger could easily fit into that group with an aspirational animated show featuring his likeness.
However, there is another, even more intriguing possibility: a collaboration with Stan Lee Comics, A2’s partnership with Archie Comics and comic book icon Stan Lee. Its goal is getting new and original creations by Lee published as comic books and produced as animated and live-action properties, including series. Factor in this comment made by Schwarzenegger to fan site TheArnoldFans.com earlier this month: “I am packaging a Comic Book character right now. I’m going to announce that sometime at the end of March or the beginning of April.” Could The Terminator become a TV superhero? We’ll find out for sure April 4, when Schwarzenegger makes his official announcement.