|The Penguins of Madagascar|
by Tom McGrath
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||149 (list of episodes)|
|Original network||Nickelodeon (2008–12)|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i|
|Original release||November 28, 2008 –|
December 19, 2015
The Penguins of Madagascar is an American computer-animated television series co-produced by DreamWorks Animation and Nickelodeon. It stars nine characters from DreamWorks' animated film Madagascar: the penguins Skipper (Tom McGrath), Rico (John DiMaggio), Kowalski (Jeff Bennett), and Private (James Patrick Stuart); the lemurs King Julien (Danny Jacobs), Maurice (Kevin Michael Richardson), and Mort (Andy Richter); and Mason (Conrad Vernon) and Phil the chimpanzees. Characters new to the series include Marlene the otter (Nicole Sullivan) and a zookeeper named Alice (Mary Scheer). It is the first Nicktoon co-produced with DreamWorks Animation. The series was executive-produced by Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle, who were the creators of the animated series Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (a spin-off of Pixar's Toy Story franchise) and Disney Channel's Kim Possible.
The pilot episode, "Gone in a Flash", aired as part of "Superstuffed Nicktoons Weekend" on Friday, November 28, 2008, and The Penguins of Madagascar became a regular series on March 28, 2009. The series premiere drew 6.1 million viewers, setting a new record as the most-watched premiere.
Although the series occasionally alludes to the rest of the franchise, The Penguins of Madagascar does not take place at a precise time within it. McGrath, who is also the co-creator of the film characters, has said that the series takes place "not specifically before or after the movie, I just wanted them all back at the zoo. I think of it as taking place in a parallel universe".
At the end of 2010, the show was the number two animated program on television among kids age 2–11 and in basic cable total viewers. The show received praise for its animation quality, regarded as very good for the time.
In December 2014, DiMaggio stated that the show ended production. The show's executive producers, Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, later served as executive consultants for DreamWorks' next Madagascar spin-off series (All Hail King Julien).
The Penguins of Madagascar is a spin-off of the Madagascar films. The series follows the adventures of four penguins: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private, who perform various commando-like missions to protect their home in the Central Park Zoo. The penguins often have to deal with problems caused, or made worse, by their zoo neighbors, King Julien XIII (a ring-tailed lemur), Maurice (an aye-aye), and Mort (a mouse lemur).
Main article: List of The Penguins of Madagascar episodes
The Penguins of Madagascar features the four penguin characters from the Madagascar franchise, as well as the two chimpanzees and the three lemurs. Characters new to the franchise include Marlene the otter and Alice the zookeeper, among others. Tom McGrath, John DiMaggio, Andy Richter, and Conrad Vernon reprise their roles as Skipper, Rico, Mort, and Mason respectively.
All four of the penguin characters are designed differently in the cartoon than they are in the movie to make them more distinguishable and easier to tell apart. Skipper's head is flatter in the series; Kowalski is taller; Rico has an unexplained scar over his mouth, a double chin, and a feathery Mohawk; and Private is shorter, younger, and rounder. Their personalities and abilities were also exaggerated. The texture of the characters was also changed to be better suited for television work.
In mid-2006, Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation announced that they would collaborate to create a show based on the Madagascar films. The new series would star the penguins from the film series. Nothing was confirmed on what the series would be about until November 2007.
At first, in November 2007, Nickelodeon advertised a sneak peek of three new Nicktoons coming to Nickelodeon, The Mighty B!, Making Fiends, and The Penguins of Madagascar all on November 25, 2007, as part of Superstuffed Nicktoons Weekend. Then, in December 2007, Nickelodeon advertised many events that were going to premiere in 2008 (The Mighty B!, Fairly OddBaby, The Penguins of Madagascar, KCA 2008, Sidekicks (The Naked Brothers Band), and "Pest of the West"). Since then, The Penguins of Madagascar premiere was delayed at least twice in 2008. It was most likely delayed to make room for the release of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa on November 7, 2008. On November 28, 2008, Nickelodeon aired an episode from the series as a sneak peek. The series officially debuted 4 months later on March 28, 2009 at 9:30 pm ET/PT. The Double DVD Pack edition of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa released on February 6, 2009 included an unaired episode of the show called "Popcorn Panic". This episode officially aired on TV 3 months later on May 9, 2009. On December 24, 2013, new episodes of the series were moved to the Nicktoons channel.
The series was co-produced by DreamWorks Animation and the Nickelodeon Animation Studio's Burbank location. Animation services were outsourced to India, New Zealand and Taiwan. The producers were planning on a 26-episode first season, but the episode number was changed to 48.
Some of the voice actors who voiced the characters in the films were unable to reprise their roles for the series. Chris Miller, who had voiced Kowalski, was replaced by Jeff Bennett, while Christopher Knights was replaced by James Patrick Stuart for the voice of Private. Danny Jacobs took over from Sacha Baron Cohen as the voice of King Julien, and Cedric the Entertainer's character, Maurice, is now voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Tom McGrath, John DiMaggio, Andy Richter and Conrad Vernon reprised their roles of Skipper, Rico, Mort, and Mason for the TV series, respectively. Other characters are voiced by the same actors who had voiced them in the films, while some characters, like Marlene and Alice the zookeeper, are new characters created especially for the series.
The Penguins of Madagascar aired on Nickelodeon after the 2009 Kids' Choice Awards on March 28, 2009.
In Australia, The Penguins of Madagascar premiered on April 18, 2009 on Nickelodeon. In Canada, the series premiered on September 12, 2009 on Nickelodeon Canada and YTV. In Ireland, the series premiered on Nickelodeon Ireland and RTÉ Two on April 12, 2009. The series debuted in Australia and New Zealand on April 18, 2009 on Nickelodeon (Australia and New Zealand). In the United Kingdom, the series premiered on April 12, 2009 on Nickelodeon UK, CITV, and Viva. Nickelodeon aired a "sneak peek" preview of The Penguins of Madagascar in the United States November 28, 2008, and officially launched the series March 28, 2009.[better source needed] The series was added to Hulu in June 2018. The series premiered on Duronto TV in Bangladesh on March 1, 2021, alongside Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.
Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times gave The Penguins of Madagascar a favorable review. She said that the show had strong comedic timing and action scenes, saying that it recalled both Wile E. Coyote cartoons and 1940s gangster movies. Tim Goodman's review in the San Francisco Chronicle is also favorable. He said that he considered the penguins and Julien as having the most comedic potential from the movies, with his review focusing on the voice actors' comedic timing, and said that the show also contained several jokes that would make it appealing to adults.
Brian Lowry of Variety described the show as "loud, exuberant and colorful" and praised its animation quality, but he did not think that it was funny and said that the show seemed more like a "merchandising bonanza".
|2009||Artios Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Casting – Animation TV Programming||Sarah Noonan, Meredith Layne||Nominated|
|British Academy Children's Awards||International||Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle, Bret Haaland||Won|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing: Television Animation||Episode: "Gone in a Flash"||Nominated|
|2010||Annie Awards||Best Animated Television Production for Children||Won|
|Directing in a Television Production||Bret Haaland (for "Launchtime")||Won|
|British Academy Children's Awards||International||Won|
|Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle, Bret Haaland, Dina Buteyn, Dean Hoff
Tied with SpongeBob SquarePants
|Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition||Adam Berry||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in Animation||Brandon Sawyer, Bill Motz, Bob Roth, Eddie Guzelian, Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program||Nicholas Filippi, Bret Haaland and Lisa Schaffer||Nominated|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing: Television Animation||Episode: "What Goes Around"||Won|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Cartoon||Nominated|
|2011||Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR Animation in Television||Episode: "The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel"||Won|
|Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition||Adam Berry||Won|
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Live Action and Animation||James Lifton, Paulette Lifton, Dominick Certo, Ian Nyeste, Matt Hall, Lawrence Reyes||Won|
|Outstanding Casting for an Animated Series or Special||Meredith Layne||Won|
|Outstanding Children's Animated Program||Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle, Bret Haaland, Chris Neuhahn, Dean Hoff, Dina Buteyn||Won|
|Outstanding Direction in an Animated Program||Nick Filippi, Christo Stamboliev, Dave Knott, Lisa Schaffer||Nominated|
|Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Danny Jacobs (for "King Julien")||Won|
|Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Tom McGrath (for "Skipper")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in Animation||Brandon Sawyer, Bill Motz, Bob Roth||Won|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Cartoon||Nominated|
|BMI Film/TV Awards||Cable Music||Adam Berry||Won|
|2012||Annie Awards||Best Animated Television Production – Children||Nominated|
|Directing in a Television Production||Steve Loter, Christo Stamboliev, Shaun Cashman, David Knott||Nominated|
|Music in a Television Production||Adam Berry, Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle||Nominated|
|Voice Acting in a Television Production||Jeff Bennett (for "Kowalski")||Won|
|Editing in Television Production||Ted Machold, Jeff Adams, Doug Tiano, Bob Tomlin||Won|
|Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing: Sound Effects, Foley, Dialogue and ADR Animation in Television||Episode: "The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole"||Won|
|Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Children's Animated Program||Bret Haaland, Mark McCorkle, Bob Schooley, Nick Filippi, Chris Neuhahn, Ant Ward, Andrew Huebner||Won|
|Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program||Jeff Bennett (for "Kowalski")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program||David Knott, Shaun Cashman, Christo Stamboliev, Steve Loter, Lisa Schaffer||Won|
|Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition||Adam Berry||Nominated|
|Outstanding Original Song – Children's and Animation||Adam Berry, John Behnke (for "Off the Clock")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Original Song – Children's and Animation||Adam Berry, Brandon Sawyer (for "In the Happy Little Land of Hoboken Surprise")||Won|
|Outstanding Writing in Animation||Bill Motz, Bob Roth, Brandon Sawyer||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing – Animation||Paulette Lifton, James Lifton, Adam Berry, Dominick Certo, Michael Petak, D.J. Lynch, Matt Hall, Ian Nyeste, Aran Tanchum, Chris Gresham, Lawrence Reyes||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Animated Program||Episode: "The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole"||Won|
|2013||Annie Awards||Best Animated Television Production for Children||Episode: "Action Reaction"||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production||Adam Berry (episode: "Private and the Winky Factory")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production||James Patrick Stuart (for "Private"; episode: "High Moltage")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production||Tom McGrath (for "Skipper"; episode: "The Otter Woman")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production||Gabe Garza (episode: "Endangerous Species")||Nominated|
|Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Children's Animated Program||Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle, Bret Haaland, Nick Filipini, Ant Ward, Chris Neuhahn and Andrew Huebner||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program||David Knott, Christo Stamboliev, Matt Engstrom, Sunil Hall and Lisa Schaffer||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Direction and Composition||Adam Berry||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing in Animation||Bill Motz, Bob Roth and Brandon Sawyer||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing – Animation||Justin Brinsfield, D.J. Lynch and Ian Nyeste||Nominated|
DreamWorks licensed a number of manufacturers to create products for the show, including Hooga Loo Toys, which had a successful run creating a line of plush toys associated with the second Madagascar movie. Based on its success, Hooga Loo was granted a license to create an entirely new toy line for the new series. Hooga Loo recruited the creative development team, Pangea Corporation, the company who assisted Playmates Toys in the development of the very successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to work systemically with DreamWorks and develop toys inspired by the series. The toy line included a full range of plush characters, as well as collectible figures and wacky vehicles. Fast food restaurants courted DreamWorks to glean the rights for a QSR deal, which finally materialized in late 2009. McDonald's had produced a line of toys based on the second film. This relationship forged a new deal with McDonald's.
Licensed merchandise based on the show began debuting in January 2010. In February 2010, McDonald's began their "Mission: Play" Happy Meal toy campaign, which featured eight toys based on the penguins in the series.
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