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Cartoon Network upfront unveils unprecedented new show count

Upfront season is upon us, and the latest kidnet to present its gameplan to the advertising client contingent was Cartoon Network, which wowed the crowd in New York this morning with its biggest-ever commitment to new content.
March 25, 2009

Upfront season is upon us, and the latest kidnet to present its gameplan to the advertising client contingent was Cartoon Network, which wowed the crowd in New York this morning with its biggest-ever commitment to new content.

Boasting double-digit prime-time and total-day growth amongst kids and tweens ages two to 14 for the last three quarters, Cartoon’s focus this season is all about keeping that momentum up with fresh grist for the viewing mill. A full 19 new programming features are joining its lineup this season, along with 164 new half hours of returning comedy and action-adventure toons.

One to watch from the Cartoon Network Studios slate of originals is Adventure Time With Finn and Jake, a 30-minute Pendleton Ward series about a human boy and his dog sidekick that’s being executive produced by Fred Seibert and Derek Drymon.

CN’s top boys franchise is working as hard as ever this year, with Ben 10: Evolutions (working title) aging the IP up via a story arc revolving around a 16-year-old Ben Tennyson who must come to terms with his secret identity being revealed.

And Sym-Bionic Titan, a new toon from Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky, mines the cosmos with stories about three beings from the war-torn planet Galaluna who land unexpectedly on Earth.

Its bread-and-butter genre aside, CN seems to be investing just as heavily in live action these days, particularly in the reality and game show sphere. A full six new offerings fall into this category of programming, including: The Othersiders, featuring five friends separating paranormal fact from fiction; Survive This, a challenge-based adventure series hosted by Survivorman‘s Les Stroud; demolition and construction game show Destroy Build Destroy; amusement ride one-upmanship vehicle Head Rush (working title); Dude, What Would Happen, which explores crazy kid-generated posits such as what would happen if you attached 350 helium balloons to a sumo wrestler; and blooper show Bobb’e Says, spotlighting other people’s painful mistakes as cautionary tales.

As far as longer-length fare is concerned, we like the sound of and pedigree behind Firebreather, the net’s first original all-CGI TV movie. It stars an awkward high-schooler whose dad is a fire-breathing dragon destined to protect the Earth, and former Nickelodeon Movie honcho Julia Pistor (whose credits include Lemony Snicket) is running the project as exec producer.

And live-actioner Tiger’s Apprentice, based on the same-name young adult book by Lawrence Yep, sounds equally intriguing. The project is about an orphaned teen who is put under the protection of a mystical tiger who can take human form.

The net is welcoming back five returning series, and they are Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Chowder, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, The Secret Saturdays and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

If you want to read more, here’s the full press release recapping this morning’s big event.

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