Cartoon draws from new studio

Feb 26, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Cartoon Network’s animated factory is running at full steam.
The network is stepping up its original animated output this year, launching three new series, all produced at its newly opened Burbank Animation Studio.
Cartoon last week greenlighted 26 episodes of each series, which are part of its five-year, $500 million programming budget for 2001 to 2005.
The $500 million budget will be spread evenly over the next five years, Cartoon Network President Betty Cohen said at the network’s upfront presentation last week in New York.
“It will be a pretty steady state; we plan to introduce at least two to three shows a year,” Ms. Cohen said.
New series to launch later this year include “Samurai Jack,” a half-hour action/adventure series to launch in August, and “Time Squad,” a half-hour comedy to launch in June.
Other series include “Justice League,” a one-hour action-adventure based on the D.C. Comics series, slated to begin in November, and “Grim & Evil,” a half-hour animated comedy series featuring two separate cartoons: “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy” and “Evil Con Carne.”
The shows will build on Cartoon’s existing original prime-time blocks. Cartoon Network also greenlighted 110 new episodes of existing series, including “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Courage the Cowardly Dog” and “Sheep in the Big City.”
Cartoon has also ordered 11 new animated series pilots to premiere this summer as part of its second annual “The Big Pick.” Like last year, viewers will be able to vote online in August to choose the network’s next original series to launch next year.
On the acquired series side, Cartoon Network ordered 96 new episodes of Japanese anime series “Dragon Ball Z” and will acquire six yet-to-be-named anime series this fall.
Launched in 1992, Cartoon Network was cable’s No. 2-rated network in total day and third-highest-rated network in prime time last year. The kids network has added 8 million new homes in the last 12 months to reach the 70-million-subscriber mark this month.
And while kids TV splintered further last year, Cartoon Network managed to increase its prime-time and total-day viewership. Ratings for its core 6-to-11 viewership are up by 20 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Cartoon Network will stage a three-day “Bugs Bunny Marathon” this June that draws on its Warner Bros. “Looney Tunes” library to which it now owns complete license rights.
Cartoon Network’s companion Web site www.cartoonnetwork.com will run 70 animated shorts and stage 110 online events this year,
including four “Total Immersion” events, which run joint activities across the cable network and Web site.