The residents of “Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” needed a place to stay well before series creator Craig McCracken drew the blueprint for the new Cartoon Network hit.
Mr. McCracken had doodled the show’s oddball characters while brainstorming for a follow-up to his other successful Cartoon Network series, “The Powerpuff Girls.” “I kept telling myself it would be great to come up with a show justifying putting all these characters together and make it make sense,” he said.
He said he was inspired with the idea of a foster home for imaginary friends after adopting two dogs from a shelter.
“Foster’s” tells the story of a boy named Mac whose mother says he must part with his imaginary friend, Blooregard Q. Kazoo. As a result, Bloo goes to live in a mansion run by the appropriately named Madame Foster, who looks after a variety of orphaned imaginary friends. Mac visits the home daily so that no other child adopts Bloo.
Jim Samples, general manager and executive VP, Cartoon Network Worldwide, said he was “blown away” by the look and personality of the characters and how well the show strikes a balance between engaging small children, older kids and parents. “A lot of people try and usually err on one side or the other,” he said.
“Foster’s” caught on unusually quickly. “From a ratings standpoint, it’s the highest-performing new show we’ve had out of the box,” Mr. Samples said. “With animation, often when you bring a new show on it performs well, but it’s not until you put it in as a strip that you see huge numbers.”
But since “Foster’s” Aug. 13 debut, the series has become a force on Fridays. It consistently has improved on its 7 p.m. time slot by double-digit percentages compared with the year before among Cartoon’s core kids 6 to 11 target demo for the show, according to the network. The 10:30 p.m. encore run often scores almost the same ratings as the earlier showing, Mr. Samples said.
Cartoon Network this month renewed the series, bringing its total episode order count to 52, and plans to start stripping the series, likely by fall 2005, Mr. Samples said.