Roman Re-Establishes Ties to Animation Firm

By DARRELL SATZMAN
Staff Reporter

Three years after leaving Film Roman to open a smaller production business, animator Phil Roman, who founded the company two decades ago, is re-establishing ties.

"I'm enthused. There's a tremendous potential," said Roman, who left in 1999 after North Hollywood-based Film Roman went public. "This is a company that's known all over the world and that has very high visibility."

But it's been a rough few years. Despite animating primetime hits such as Fox's "The Simpsons" and "King of the Hill," the company reported a net loss of $2 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $400,000 in the like year-earlier quarter.

Film Roman reported losses of more than $16 million between 1998 and 2000. Its thinly traded stock was selling for 18 cents a share on Feb 27. A deal to sell a 60 percent stake to India animator Pentamedia Graphics Ltd. for $15 million in stock also collapsed last year.

Chief Executive John Hyde, who joined the company in 1999, blamed the woes on an ill-fated foray into features, adding that Film Roman has rededicated itself to focus squarely on animation.

Besides the popular Fox animated shows, Film Roman's current projects in production include "X-Men: Evolution" for the WB Network and an as-yet unnamed space spoof that will debut on the Sci Fi Channel later this year.

This week, Roman will move his small company, Phil Roman Entertainment, into the Film Roman offices. Roman, a multiple Emmy winner, rejoined the Film Roman board last year and has remained a major shareholder. He said he would continue to pursue his own projects and collaborate with Film Roman on others.

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