Cartoon Network Broadens its Audience with Programming 'Firsts' and Unique Primetime Strategy
Cartoon Network unveiled a substantial new line-up of content today at its annual Advertising Upfront presentation at New York's Time Warner Center. Delivering on its promise to launch a diverse slate of programming that young audiences cannot find anywhere else, new Cartoon Network shows will incorporate a number of genres and formats that include an unrivaled, one-hour scripted action-mystery series, matchless animated and live-action comedies and an entirely new way of programming primetime for a young audience.
The network also announced its first foray into the broadcast awards arena with Cartoon Network's Hall of Game. Premiering in early 2011, this high-energy, multi-platform experience will let viewers decide who's got game from the world of sports. Cartoon Network's Hall of Game will feature professional and amateur athletes as well as top-notch entertainment. This first-of-its-kind sports award event for kids is created and produced by global sports and entertainment company IMG Media. The Sports Illustrated Group will serve as the official promotional partner and also will introduce the SI KIDS' "Sports Kid of the Year Award."
Exclusive sneak peeks at two highly anticipated scripted, live-action one-hour series - Unnatural History (Warner Horizon Television), premiering Sunday, June 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT; and Tower Prep - were revealed; as well as the upcoming CGI movie event Firebreather. Positioned as part of a unique quarter-hour comedy programming block, new animated series will include MAD, Regular Show, Robotomy and Secret Mountain Fort Awesome. The network also announced that coming later in the year would be an all-new re-imagined version of the Warner Bros animated classic shorts, Looney Tunes.
Among Cartoon Network's Upfront celebrity guests - including a special appearance by Destroy Build Destroy host, musician Andrew W.K., and the "dudes" from Dude, What Would Happen - Atlanta Falcons tight-end Tony Gonzalez was on hand to announce the return of the successful short-form series My Dad's A Pro which will star his nine-year-old son Nikko.
"Last spring we talked about how -our voice was changing' and announced an ambitious slate of diverse and compelling content," said Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer of Turner Broadcasting's Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media division. "This year we're delivering and adding great brands and beloved franchises that represent the breadth and scope of Cartoon Network's ongoing evolution."
"Today we announced some bold new content as we continue to provide advertisers with an extensive array of high profile opportunities," said John O'Hara, executive vice president and general manager, Cartoon Network Ad Sales & Marketing. "We'll continue to develop innovative ideas for our partners that will extend the reach of their message across our linear and digital platforms and will deliver measurable returns for their investment."
"We're expanding beyond the boundaries of traditional kid's content," said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. "This new programming lineup brings event-quality entertainment to our prime time."
Highlights of Cartoon Network's new content strategy to launch across the 2010-2011 season include the following:
· MAD: Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and using the iconic MAD magazine, published by DC Comics, as inspiration, MAD is an animated sketch-comedy series utilizing a chaotic mix of animation styles and twisted humor to pull back the curtain and expose the truth behind movies, TV shows, games, pop culture and, of course, curtains! Classic MAD magazine characters and features such as Alfred E. Neuman and Spy vs. Spy pop up, and no subject matter or individual will be safe from MAD's barrage of parodies and sketches. In the end, viewers won't get even, they'll just get MAD! Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) is the executive producer. Kevin Shinick (Robot Chicken) and Mark Marek (KaBlam! The Andy Milonakis Show) are the producers.
· Robotomy: The animated Robotomy tells the story of Thrasher and Blastus, two outsider teenage droids who are only slightly less horrific than the ultra-powerful robots that populate their planet, Killglobe. Now they face their greatest challenge yet: high school. Armed with a desire to fit in (and little else), Thrasher and Blastus navigate their lives with varying degrees of success. Created by Michael Buckley (The Sisters Grimm) and Joe Deasy and co-executive produced by Christy Karacas (Superjail), Robotomy, a quarter-hour series, will be produced in New York.
· Secret Mountain Fort Awesome: When a portal to the world opened and unleashes underground monsters, so goes the premise for Secret Mountain Fort Awesome. The human world had everything these creatures could ever want. The only problem is, humans hate monsters, and they treat them like second class citizens. How unfair! This is their world too. Created by Chowder writer and artist Pete Browngardt, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome follows this clan in their dim-witted efforts to break free of human oppression. The animated series is being produced at Cartoon Network Studios.
· The Looney Tunes Show: A new half-hour animated comedy series starring Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. No longer confined to 7-minute shorts, Bugs and Daffy are out of the woods and living in the suburbs among such colorful neighbors as Yosemite Sam, Granny, Tweety and Sylvester. In addition to each episode's main story, The Looney Tunes Show also features "cartoons within a cartoon." The Tasmanian Devil, Speedy Gonzales, Marvin the Martian and other classic characters sing original songs in two-minute music videos called Merrie Melodies and the Road Runner and Coyote are featured in 2-1/2 minute CG shorts. This all new series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) is the executive producer. Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone (both Duck Dodgers, Back at the Barnyard, Space Jam) are the supervising producers.
· Young Justice: In Young Justice, being a teenager means proving yourself over and over - to peers, parents, teachers, mentors and, ultimately, to yourself. But what if you're not just a normal teenager? What if you're a teenage super hero? Are you ready to join the ranks of the great heroes and prove you're worthy of the Justice League? That's exactly what the members of Young Justice - Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis - will found out, whether they have what it takes to be a proven hero. This all-new series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and based upon characters from DC Comics. Sam Register (Teen Titans, Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold) is the executive producer. Brandon Vietti (Batman: Under the Red Hood, Superman Doomsday, The Batman) and Greg Weisman (Gargoyles, The Spectacular Spider-Man, W.I.T.C.H.) are the producers.
· Run It Back Sunday: Cartoon Network takes The NBA on TNT's game of the week and remixes it for basketball fans of all ages. Run It Back Sunday is a full NBA game in one power hour, complete with fun facts, amazing highlights and explosive special effects. From jams, passes and steals to fun facts and unique analysis, Run It Back Sunday presents an all new way to catch the game of the week.
New Special Events/Movies:
· Cartoon Network's Hall of Game: Cartoon Network's first foray into the broadcast awards arena, Cartoon Network's Hall of Game will premiere in early 2011. This high-energy, multi-platform experience will let viewers decide who's got game, by honoring their favorite sports stars and sports moments of the year. From the red carpet, to the never-before-seen stunts and surprises on stage, this unconventional celebration will be led by a celebrity host and feature icons from television, film, music and sports, as kids experience an evening of humor and fun at the most raucous and biggest sports awards show ever presented on television. This first-of-its-kind, sports award event for kids, is created and produced by IMG Media. Sports Illustrated will be serving as the official promotional partner and will also introduce the SportsKid of the Year Award.
· KROG (Working Title): KROG is a half-hour scripted live-action comedy pilot from Cartoon Network Studios. To their fans, KROG is an awesome monster costume band sent from Middle Earth to conquer and enslave the human "surface dwellers." Their fans love them! In reality, however, the members of KROG are indeed monsters sent to conquer mankind. For the life of them, KROG can't understand why people aren't more afraid of them. Luckily, they're a much better band than invasion force and their missions always manage to go afoul. KROG only succeeds in rocking out. KROG is created by Mark Rivers (Metalocolypse, TV Funhouse).
· Lords Of Bad Axe (Working Title): Created and written by Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman (both credited for Chasing Liberty, The Parent Trap 2), Lords Of Bad Axe, a 90-minute original movie, is a fantastical comedy for the videogame age. When a glitch in the system releases the baddies from an online game into the real world, three high school gamers must join forces and tap their skills to combat evil. Lords Of Bad Axe is directed by Peter Lauer (Sons Of Tuscon, Chuck).
· My Dad's A Pro: Cartoon Network and the NFL today announced that 10-time NFL Pro Bowler and Atlanta Falcons Tight-End Tony Gonzalez and his 8-year-old son Nikko will appear in the next installment of the short-form series, My Dad's A Pro. My Dad's A Pro had its successful first run in 2009 and featured NBA Champion Boston Celtics guard Eddie House and his son Jaelen. The live-action series follows a professional athlete's son and his father, offering a unique perspective on what day-to-day life is like with a father in professional sports. My Dad's A Pro, featuring Tony Gonzalez and his son Nikko, is part of Cartoon Network's ongoing relationship with the NFL. My Dad's A Pro is being produced for Cartoon Network by Left/Right.
Soon To Debut Series
· Unnatural History: Cartoon Network's first live-action mystery series delivers a new case of cinematic, action-packed comedic adventure each week. Unnatural History centers on Henry Griffin (Kevin G. Schmidt), a teenager with exceptional skills acquired through years of globetrotting with his anthropologist parents. When his parents think it's time for him to lead a normal high school life, they pack him off to live with his Uncle Bryan (Martin Donovan) and cousin Jasper (Jordan Gavaris) in Washington D.C. But this isn't just any high school; it's located on the grounds of The National Museum Complex. And as Henry, Jasper and their friend Maggie (Italia Ricci) soon learn, this museum is chock full of mysteries that will put Henry's worldly skills to the test. Created and written by Mike Werb (Face/Off, The Mask), the pilot episode is directed by Emmy(R) Award winner Mikael Salomon (Band of Brothers, The Andromeda Strain, The Company). Thania St. John (Eureka, Drop Dead Diva) serves as executive producer for the series produced by Warner Horizon Television. Unnatural History will air Sunday Nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Cartoon Network beginning June 13, 2010.