At the Cartoon Network Upfront presentation held today in New York, the network announced its programming line-up for 2008. On the heels of February's announcement that Star Wars: The Clone Wars will come to Cartoon Network as a series in the fall, George Lucas, the creator and steward of the Star Wars brand, attended the Upfront event to provide additional details on this highly anticipated offering.
Building on the unprecedented success of last fall's live-action movie Ben 10: Race Against Time-the highest-rated telecast in Cartoon Network history-and the standout new series Chowder, the network announced a two-pronged, 360 degree programming strategy that speaks to its success in developing and acquiring first-rate brands. This approach incorporates a
"Cartoon Network has proven with the success of great brands and series like Ben 10 and Chowder that we have what kids want," said Stuart Snyder, president and COO, Turner Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media. "Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a game changer for us and continues our commitment to staying in the forefront of offering kids something completely different than what they are seeing anywhere else."
"The time being spent by kids across all of our platforms lets us know that they are deeply engaged in what is being offered by Cartoon and are experiencing the network in a variety of ways," said Beth Goss, executive vice president of Cartoon Network Ad Sales, Marketing and Enterprises. "Our portfolio is appealing to our audience and with marketers as well, thanks
to strong branding, dynamic programming and innovative promotion."
Mirroring the network's effort to diversify its on-air offerings with live-action originals as well as more sophisticated dramatic and adventure programming, Cartoon Network will develop content in two primary tracks: fantasy/adventure and comedy.
— Star Wars: The Clone Wars will anchor this strategy with fantasy/adventure on Friday nights, the network announced, along with the new animated action series from Warner Bros. Animation, Batman: The Brave and the Bold; Ben 10: Alien Force; and the previously announced The Secret Saturdays, which will premiere with 26 episodes in the fall.
— Cartoon Network announced today that it is also developing a sequel to the record-breaking original live-action movie Ben 10: Race Against Time.
— Cartoon Network has designated Thursday nights as the new destination for comedy. Anchored by its new animated hit Chowder, which the network announced today has been picked up for a second season, Thursdays will also feature existing laughers Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Camp Lazlo and George of the Jungle and offer a platform for new series launches including this summer's The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.
"These are just the first steps in the evolution of a programming strategy that will lay the groundwork for highlighting all of our strengths moving forward," said chief content officer, Rob Sorcher. "We now have great tentpoles to launch these new nights and a platform to showcase established and up-and-coming talent."
Sunday nights will be the destination for Cartoon Network's new movie franchise (as yet unnamed). Launching in June, the network will showcase a must-see movie each week, including the world television premieres of much- loved films such as Ant Bully, Hoodwinked, Monster House and Open Season, as well as Cartoon Network firsts like Kicking and Screaming and Cheaper by the Dozen.
The Cartoonstitute will continue Cartoon Network's long standing tradition of developing innovative and original animated content. The initiative will endeavor to create up to 150 pieces of programming over a period of 20 months. A veritable think tank for animators, the program will be artist-led and spearheaded by executive producer Craig McCracken (The
Powerpuff Girls, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends) and supervising producer Rob Renzetti (My Life as a Teenage Robot, Dexter's Laboratory). Furthermore, The Cartoonstitute will create an in-house, all-star team of artists, directors, storyboarders and writers to generate content across a number of platforms. The program will broaden Cartoon Network's proud tradition of shepherding successful animated programs from pilot to series.