Cartoon Network announced a dramatic expansion to its 2009-2010 content development strategy today at its annual advertising Upfront presentation at Time Warner Center. On the heels of three consecutive quarters of double-digit prime time and total day growthâ€”the only major kids network to do soâ€”Cartoon Network unveiled 19 new programming ventures, including three new action-adventure and four new comedy animated series; six live-action â€œalternativeâ€ half-hour series; three original live-action and one all-new CG-animated movie specials; and two hour-long original, scripted live-action pilots. Coupled with 164 new half-hour episodes of returning comedy and action-adventure animated series, todayâ€™s announcements represent the largest commitment to new content development in Cartoon Network history.
Additionally, the network, along with National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern, announced that world champion Boston Celtics Guard Eddie House and his 7 year-old son, Jaelen, will be featured in My Dadâ€™s a Pro, a short-form lifestyle series that is the first of several programs in development under the most recently announced partnership between Cartoon Network and the NBA.
â€œThese exciting new projects represent the next phase in Cartoon Networkâ€™s ambitious, ongoing strategy to re-invent the network and re-energize our youth business overall,â€ said Stuart Snyder, president and chief operating officer of Turner Broadcastingâ€™s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media division. â€œWeâ€™ve built tremendous momentum over the last year, both on air and through our thriving digital businesses, so weâ€™re thrilled to introduce new content that our audience cannot find anywhere else. Today marks the next big step forward in an evolution that is helping us reach our goal of becoming a dominant youth culture brand.â€
â€œBased on Cartoon Networkâ€™s ratings and online growth, coupled with the increased commitment to original content, our goal is to maximize the strength of these linear and digital offerings by developing opportunities for advertisers that will activate their brands across our portfolio,â€ said John Oâ€™Hara, executive vice president and general manager, Cartoon Network Ad Sales & Marketing. â€œWe will continue to be flexible and innovative as we work with our advertising partners to develop high-profile, custom opportunities that will deliver measurable return on their investment.â€
â€œLast year, we outlined a strategy focused on genres of programming,â€ said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. â€œToday we revealed how that strategy continues to grow with additional nights of signature programming and expands to include both scripted live-action and alternative content, as well as animation. Weâ€™re committed to delivering a diverse range of engaging, aspirational content to our audience.â€
Highlights of Cartoon Networkâ€™s new content strategy to launch across the 2009-2010 season include the following:
COMEDY AND ACTION-ADVENTURE ANIMATED SERIES
- Adventure Time with Finn and Jake: Finn, the human boy with the awesome hat, and Jake, the wise dog, are close friends and partners in strange adventures in the land of Ooo. The 30-minute series is from Cartoon Network Studios, created by Pendleton Ward and executive produced by Fred Siebert and Derek Drymon.
- Stoked: Six teenaged groms (young surfers) come together for 12 weeks over summer to work and surf at the world renowned Surferâ€™s Paradise Resort on the legendary Sunset Island, home of the most epic surf break in the country. From Cake Distribution and Fresh Animation, Stoked is created by Jennifer Pertsch and Tom McGillis (Total Drama Island).
- Total Drama Action: Showcasing all the elements of favorite reality TV showsâ€”romances and friendships; scheming and sabotage; death-defying stunts and stomach curdling challenges within larger-than-life elimination competitionâ€”Total Drama Action succeeds Cartoon Networkâ€™s #1 show of 2008, Total Drama Island, from Cake Distribution and Fresh Animation. Fourteen contestants face thrilling challenges on an abandoned film studio back-lot, all inspired by the movies.
- Ben 10: Evolutions (working title): An all-new animated series follows 16-year-old Ben Tennyson as his secret identity has been revealed to the world and heâ€™s now an international mega-star super hero, loved by kids the world over but distrusted by many adults. Armed with a mysterious new Omnitrix, Ben will see action in places heâ€™s never been. From Cartoon Network Studios, Glen Murakami (Teen Titans) serves as supervising producer and Dwayne McDuffie serves as story editor.
- Sym-Bionic Titan: From creator Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexterâ€™s Laboratory, Samurai Jack) comes an exciting hybrid of high school drama and giant robot battles. Sym-Bionic Titan follows the adventures of three beings from the planet Galaluna who crash-land on Earth while attempting to escape their war-torn world.
- Generator Rex: Infected by microscopic molecular-altering nanites, 15-year-old Rex has the ability to grow incredible machines out of his body. Recruited by an organization called Providence, Rex travels the world investigating a host of biological mutations that were created by the same nanites that give Rex his powers. Generator Rex is from Man of Action, creators of Ben 10. John Fang of Cartoon Network Studios serves as supervising director.
- Scooby-Doo â€“ Mystery, Inc.: A sleepy little village, Crystal Cove, boasts a long history of ghost sightings, poltergeists, demon possession, phantoms and other paranormal occurrences. The renowned sleuthing team of Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo arrive to prove all of this simply isnâ€™t realâ€”but they donâ€™t realize the locals donâ€™t welcome their help. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation.
ALTERNATIVE LIVE-ACTION SERIES
- The Othersiders: This thrilling reality adventure series follows five friends on real missions to explore mysterious, potentially haunted locations in search of evidence that will confirm or deny the existence of paranormal activity.
- Survive This: An exciting reality series challenges teenagers ages 14 to 17 to push their limits, overcome fears and develop lifelong survival skills. Hosted by Les Stroud (Survivorman), each episode aims to test endurance, wit and self-determination.
- Destroy Build Destroy: In a huge construction zone, two teams become demolition experts with the guidance and assistance of experts in the field, using wrecking balls, human destroyers and real explosions. Each week brings a new challenge to build from the debris, with strategy, wits and teamwork deciding which teamâ€™s creation out-performs the otherâ€”and whose hard work goes up in smoke.
- Head Rush (working title): Kids participate as game show contestants playing for cash while riding thrill-inducing amusement park rides.
- Dude, What Would Happen: This series stars three adventurous teens who ask and answer imaginative questions such as, “Dude, what would happen if you attached 350 helium balloons to a sumo wrestler?” A series so over-the-top, you just might learn something.
- Bobbâ€™e Says: Starring Bobbâ€™e J. Thompson (30 Rock, Human Giant), Bobbâ€™e Says is a fast-paced, viral video clip show where other peopleâ€™s painful mistakes become tools for Bobbâ€™e as he dispenses sage wisdom to an unsuspecting public.
LIVE-ACTION AND ANIMATED ORIGINAL MOVIES
- Ben 10: Alien Swarm: Director Alex Winter and writer John Turman (Hulk â€™03, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer) team for an all-new, live-action movie based on the hit animated series Ben 10: Alien Force, set to premiere in fall 2009. Ben 10: Alien Swarm follows teenage hero Ben Tennyson (Ryan Kelley) as he breaks ranks from the Plumbers, a secret organization that battles alien forces, to help Elena (Alyssa Diaz), a mysterious young woman, uncover an alien threat to our world. Additional cast members include Barry Corbin (No Country for Old Men) as Grandpa Max, Galadriel Stineman as Gwen and Nathan Keyes as Kevin.
- Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins: Discover the never-before-told story of how a mismatched quartet of teenagers first came together before becoming known as the Mystery Inc. gang. Freddy (Robbie Amell), the school athlete; Velma (Hayley Kiyoko), the science fair-winning brainiac; Daphne (Kate Melton), the drama beauty; Shaggy (Nick Palatas), the misfit; and Shaggyâ€™s newly adopted dog, Scooby Doo, are forced to band together to clear their names. Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins, a Cartoon Network co-production with Warner Premiere and directed by Brian Levant (Snow Dogs, The Flintstones), is slated to premiere in fall 2009.
- Firebreather: Cartoon Networkâ€™s first original all-CG animation adventure presents Duncan Rosenblatt, a rather typical, awkward high school kid, except that his dad is a fire-breathing dragon and he is destined to protect the earth. Created and co-executive-produced by Phil Hester (The Wretch), Firebreather is executive-produced by Julia Pistor (Lemony Snicket) and co-executive-produced by Andy Kuhn (Freedom Ring)â€”Jim Kreig (Ben 10: Alien Force) joins as writer. Peter Chung (Aeon Flux) is attached to direct.
- Tigerâ€™s Apprentice: The best-selling young adult book by Lawrence Yep will be brought to life in a live-action movie. Tom Lee, a teenager suddenly orphaned, is put under the protection of Mr. Hu, a mystical tiger who can take human form. Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) is attached to serve as executive producer/director, OscarÂ®-nominated screenwriter David Magee (Finding Neverland) adapted the book and Jane Startz (Tuck Everlasting, Indian in the Cupboard) serves as executive producer.
SCRIPTED LIVE-ACTION PILOTS
- Unnatural History (working title): An action-packed blend of science, western culture, eastern philosophy and martial arts, Unnatural History is an urban adventure series centered around Henry Griffin, a teenager with exceptional skills acquired through years of globe-trotting with his anthropologist parents. But Henry faces his biggest challenge of all when he moves back to America to attend a high school stranger than any place he’s ever lived before. Created and written by Mike Werb (Face/Off, The Mask); the pilot will be produced in association with Warner Horizon Television Inc.
- Prepped (working title): A rebellious teen wakes up one morning to find himself trapped at a mysterious prep school that offers no escape. He forms a secret group to discover what theyâ€™re being trained for and how to escape. The pilot is executive-produced and written by Paul Dini (Lost, Batman Beyond).
RETURNING ANIMATED SERIES
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The #1 series with boys 6-11 returns to Cartoon Network in fall 2009 for a second season. The hit CG-animated series from creator George Lucas and Lucasfilm Animation takes viewers to the front lines of an intergalactic struggle between good and evil with favorite characters such as Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and PadmÃ© Amidala, along with brand new heroes like Anakinâ€™s padawan learner, Ahsoka.
- Chowder: In Marzipan City, the Mung Daal Catering Company cooks up the most oddly delicious food where aspiring young chef-in-training Chowder falls into all sorts of fantastic mis-adventures. The series is from creator C. H. Greenblatt at Cartoon Network Studios.
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Raised by Bubbie the talking whale in the bubbling splendor of the sea, young Flapjack rescues an old pirate, Captain Kâ€™nuckles, whose tall tales tangle up and consume Flapjack with an unquenchable desire for adventure. Creator Thurop Van Ormon produces the series at Cartoon Network Studios.
- The Secret Saturdays: In this comedy-action series created by Jay Stephens, Doc, Drew and Zak Saturday are a family of world-saving adventure scientists called The Secret Saturdays who are part of a network of scientists who protect the world against all the underlying evil. The Secret Saturdays is produced by Porchlight Entertainment.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: From Warner Bros. Animation comes the latest interpretation of the classic Batman franchise. Our Caped Crusader is teamed up with heroes from across the DC Universeâ€”Blue Beetle, Green Arrow, Aquaman and countless othersâ€”to deliver nonstop action and adventure with a touch of comic relief.
Cartoon Network (CartoonNetwork.com), currently seen in more than 97 million U.S. homes and 166 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.â€™s ad-supported cable service now available in HD offering the best in original, acquired and classic animated entertainment for kids and families. Nightly from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (ET, PT), Cartoon Network shares its channel space with Adult Swim, a late-night destination showcasing original and acquired animation for young adults 18-34.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.