Warner Bros. TV sold three popular Steven Spielberg animated series to rival kids net Nickelodeon in a deal estimated to have cost the kids channel US$20 million. Meanwhile, Warner’s own Cartoon Network recently sealed a deal for 182 half hours of Batman and Superman cartoons from its parent company.
The Nickelodeon deal caused a buzz in industry circles, as many expected the Spielberg shows-one set on the WB lot-to remain on the company’s own toon channels. The deal includes 78 episodes of Steven Spielberg’s Pinky & The Brain that used to air on the Kids’ WB! network and have never appeared on cable television before in the U.S.
Ninety-nine episodes of Animaniacs-currently airing on Cartoon Network-will shift to Nick in the spring of 2001, and 102 episodes of Tiny Toon Adventures that have previously appeared on Nick and currently run on Cartoon Network will return to the Big Orange One in September 2002. The deal with Nick ends in 2005.
Cartoon Network has been acquiring product for its popular Toonami action block, making Superman and Batman a perfect fit. The Spielberg cartoons might have resulted in comic overkill since Cartoon is now the exclusive home of the classic Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, in addition to continued success with its originals-The Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s Laboratory. Cartoon Network still plays Spielberg’s satiric series Freakazoid.