SOURCE: Nicktoons Network, and Animation Collective

June 12, 2006 08:00 ET

May the Best Thumb Win This Summer on Nicktoons Network!

Thumb Wrestling Federation (TWF) Kicks Off Summer Tournament Series From Monday, June 12 to Monday, September 4 at 7:00 PM (ET)

Live-Action Short-Format Series Parodies Professional Sports League, Delivers Fast-Paced, Non-Stop Action and Zany Comedy

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 12, 2006 -- Thumb Wrestling Federation (TWF), Nicktoons Network's short-format live-action comedy series about a fictional sports league, debuts its "Thumber Summer" -- Quarterfinal, Semifinal and Final Match Up Games -- this summer. This new action comedy series was created and executive produced by Larry Schwarz of Animation Collective and airs weekly as the theme of Nicktoons Network's Monday evening programming block from 7 p.m.-12 midnight (ET).

The 14-week thumb wrestling tournament, which kicked off on Monday, May 29, will premiere a two-part Quarterfinal Games episode on Monday, June 12 and Monday, June 19 followed by the Thumber Summer Semifinals on Monday, July 24 and Monday, July 31. The highly anticipated Thumber Summer Final Match will air exclusively online at www.nicktoons.com on Monday, August 28. Thumber Summer will conclude with two thumbs dueling for the TWF Heavy Weight Championship Belt on Monday, September 4 on Nicktoons Network.

The series follows the battle between the "Mighty Dexteras" and the "Sinistras," -- the two competing thumb wrestling teams in the TWF. Segments include one-minute bios of the individual wrestlers, 45-second gags and three-and-a-half minute thumb wrestling matches that kick off when the referee shouts "Lock 'em up!" followed by the countdown, "4-3-2-1... Who will be the strongest thumb?" before the opponents face off. These 'regular season' segments will repeat throughout Thumber Summer.

"Thumb Wrestling Federation: TWF is a groundbreaking and hilarious addition to Nicktoons Network," said Keith Dawkins, Vice President and General Manager, Nicktoons Network, "We're experimenting with story driven short form content as a way to create destination viewing for our audience. TWF is our wacky sports franchise. We think it offers something that all kids can enjoy and participate in."

"With no-holds-barred, dizzying action and goofy comedy, kids can really get into Thumb Wrestling Federation. While this is the first live action show we've created, like all of our other projects, we have infused this show with great characters in hilarious situations that are sure to entertain kids everywhere," said Larry Schwarz, Thumb Wrestling Federation: TWF's creator and C.E.O. of Animation Collective.

TWF Background, Plot and Characters

TWF features a matchup of good versus evil. A long time ago, when wrestlers wore Speedos and had back hair, the thumb wrestling ring was a place of heroic deeds, of fair competition and honor, until a young wrestler named Senator Skull led a revolt that split the Thumb Wrestling Federation in two. Those with honor joined the "Might Dexteras" and those with less than a thimble of decency joined the evil "Sinistras" and plotted to take over the Thumb Wrestling Federation... and perhaps the world!

The Dexteras, who defend TWF and all that is good, are led by Vini Vidi Victory, a former thug turned do-gooder. His primary teammates are Hometown Huck, a good ol' boy from the country; Wasabi, the top poet in the world of wrestling; and Evil Ira, a tricky magician from Transylvania.

The Sinistras' leader is Senator Skull who, once preyed upon by bullies at school, turned toward evil at an early age. The other primary Sinistra characters are The Big Time, an oversized bully; Itsy Bitsy, a female wrestler; and N Fuego, whose other main hobby is dancing. Each TWF wrestler has a distinct personality and a signature move.

Dick Thompson and Colonel Cossack (who was never actually a colonel, but was a former TWF wrestler) are the commentators for every match from beginning to end. Colonel Cossack doesn't have much for brains, but is dying to get in the ring to do some crushing and is always out of control. Dick Thompson is the straightlaced, smart alec who keeps both commentators from getting fired.

TWF Season

The regular TWF season, which began airing on April 3rd, is 16 weeks long with one match each week. Thumber Summer will run Monday nights from May 29th through September 15th. Eight featured wrestlers will compete for the TWF title; the tournament includes four quarter-final matches, two semi-final matches and one final 10-minute match.

Gags include an autograph session with the wrestlers, a rap battle between Senator Skull and poet Wasabi, and a behind the scenes tour of the Dexteras' workouts.

Rules of Play

A match is won by the wrestler who wins the best of three rounds, each capped at 20 seconds. A round is won when one thumb successfully pins down his/her component or when a judge rules in favor of one of the competitors if no pin is successfully made. There aren't any other rules, and anything goes in the ring, yet the commentators can never believe what they are seeing.

About Animation Collective

New York City-based Animation Collective (www.animationcollective.com) is a leader in creating animated children's programming for television, the Internet and home video. Larry Schwarz is the creator and executive producer of all of Animation Collective's original television series including Kappa Mikey -- Nickelodeon's first ever global acquisition, recently picked up for a second season -- Thumb Wrestling Federation: TWF, Leader Dog, and Tortellini Western for Nicktoons Network and Ellen's Acres and HTDT for Cartoon Network. In addition, Schwarz served as producer of Wulin Warriors for Cartoon Network and the first season of The Incredible Crash Dummies for 4KidsTV. Animation Collective is the largest provider of original content for KOL, America Online's kids channel and Red, its teen channel. Its first multi-platform success, Princess Natasha for America Online, was featured on Cartoon Network and has been released as a book series from Little, Brown, an upcoming comic book series from DC Comics and as licensed consumer products.

About Nicktoons Network

Nicktoons Network, the 24-hour animation network features a wide spectrum of programming that has defined kids television for more than 10 years. Targeting kids 6-14, Nicktoons Network airs 75% exclusive programming such as Kappa Mikey; My Dad the Rock Star; Corneil & Bernie; Martin Mystery; Kaput & Zosky; and Yakkity Yak, as well as classic Nicktoons hits such as Ren & Stimpy; Invader Zim; SpongeBob SquarePants; and The Fairly OddParents. Nicktoons Network is the official home to the Nicktoons Network Animation Festival. It is the world's first multiplatform animation festival providing kids and future animators an artistic hub where they can express their creativity and talent to a network that applauds budding doodlers across the country.

Nicktoons Network currently reaches 38 million homes via cable, digital cable and satellite, and can be seen on Cablevision; Charter Communications; Comcast Cable; Cox Communications; DirecTV; DISH Network; and Time Warner Cable. Nicktoons, and all related titles and logos are property of Viacom, Inc.

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