The Crowville Chronicles (lost Nicktoon pilot; 1990)
The Crowville Chronicles is an unsold animated pilot that was pitched to Nickelodeon.
In 1989, the kid-oriented cable network Nickelodeon decided to launch their own original animated programming, which they dubbed "Nicktoons." They commissioned eight pilots, and planned to choose the four best pilots to make it to series (though in the end, only three were chosen), with a targeted premiere in August 1991.
The Crowville Chronicles was produced by British studio Cosgrove Hall Productions, who also produced one of the other proposed Nicktoon pilots, Trash.
The story focused on newspaper reporter Clarence T. Crow and his photographer, a koala named Ozzie. The newspaper editor, a curmudgeonly rabbit, sends them to find a front-page story and tells them they only have ten minutes to do it. Crow runs around the office, slapstick ensuing, looking for something to use when he finds a photograph of a rhinoceros. He makes Ozzie take a photo of him in front of the picture so he can forge a story about himself performing a jungle rescue. When he poses for the snapshot, they suddenly find themselves inside the photo and the rhinoceros start chasing them. They eventually jump out of the picture and present the story to the editor. He doesn't believe them, and after he walks away, the rhinoceros runs through the room.
The test audiences didn't like the show very much. They found it generic and uninteresting. The characters in the two Cosgrove Hall pilots were too formulaic, and the creators seemed to lack the necessary passion to make interesting characters, having been producing successful series for years already. These same criticisms were also directed at Trash.
The pilots eventually picked up were:
- Doug Can't Dance by Jim Jinkins for Jumbo Pictures; became the pilot for Doug.
- Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain for Klasky Csupo; became the pilot for Rugrats.
- Ren Hoek and Stimpy in "Big House Blues" by John Kricfalusi for Spümcø; became the pilot for The Ren & Stimpy Show.
The Crowville Chronicles pilot was never shown to anyone outside those involved in its production and the test audiences, nor has it been shared by its creators since, save for a presentation given by Linda Simensky in 1995 at the Society for Animation Studies Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she showed the five failed Nicktoon pilots, as well as four others, to an audience of animation professors and historians.
On September 13, 2015, former Cosgrove Hall animator Aly Fell mentioned on Twitter that he thought he had a copy of the pilot, or at least some scenes on a show-reel.
On October 5, 2018, animator Jez Hall uploaded some concept art for The Crowville Chronicles (which the tweet also claims that at one point during development was known as Crazy Crow) by various artists.
- Big Beast Quintet (unsold Nicktoon pilot; 1990)
- Trash (lost Nicktoon pilot; 1990)
- The Weasel Patrol (unsold Nicktoon pilot; 1990)
- Nickelodeon Nation: The History, Politics, and Economics of America's Only TV Channel for Kids by Heather Hendershot (passage by Linda Simensky). Retrieved 16 Jul '18
- Fᴇʟʟ ☿ on Twitter. Retrieved 23 Sep '20
- Jez Hall on Twitter. Retrieved 23 Sep '20