Doubling up on original programming, launching an action block and unveiling a more sophisticated on-air look, Cartoon Network is all about freshening up its airwaves this season.
At its late-February upfront presentation, the net revealed a schedule peppered with more than 500 new half hours, including debut toons Megas XLR, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Justice League Unlimited, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.
Headlined by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teen Titans, weekday action block Miguzi will roll out in April with a mandate to hook kids six to 11 in the
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. space and keep them watching as the schedule moves into prime time. Also playing in Miguzi to serve the growing faction of girls tuning in for action fare, Cartoon will strip Marathon’s Totally Spies! and add anime series Code Lyoko, about a group of friends who discover a parallel universe threatening to destroy Earth. To make room for Miguzi, Toonami moves to Saturday nights.
In June, the net will unveil new on-air packaging that’s designed to let kids take a break from the manic cartoon chaos that rules the channel’s sked. It’s the first time Cartoon has had a facelift in eight years – literally a lifetime for many of its viewers. On-air creative director Pete Johnson has created a 3-D CGI town where the net’s 2-D characters live. Think Pleasantville, but with the Powerpuff Girls’ just down the street from Road Runner’s desert pad.
Five- and 10-second spots will give kid viewers a peek into this behind-the-scenes Cartoon town, leading in and out of commercial breaks and running between shows. A series of one-minute, story-driven interstitials will also start airing in August.