Cartoon Net gets 'Re-Animated' for upfronts

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NEW YORK -- With only an oblique reference to the fiasco in Boston that cost Turner Broadcasting System at least $2 million, Cartoon Network unveiled Wednesday at its upfront presentation five new series and 24 new movies and events for the coming year.

The upfront presentation, held at the Time Warner Center Manhattan, spent a good chunk of its time talking up the network's commitment to new media -- VOD, gaming and a new mobile phone application -- as well as its 662 planned new episodes.

The new series include an animated series on Santo, the Silver-Masked Man, a cultural hero in Mexico, which is being created and executive produced by Carlo Olivares Paganoni; "Chowder," a Carl Greenblatt series about a young chef; "The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack," about a young pirate; and "The Secret Saturdays," about a family of scientists who travel the world to protect undiscovered phenomena.

Also getting a series order is "Re-Animated," which last year had been Cartoon Network's first movie to mix live action and animation.

The Cartoon Network series "Ben 10" will have its own live-action movie directed by Alex Winter (co-star of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure") as well as another series where Ben recruits other children to help him.

Turner Entertainment president Mark Lazarus spent more time talking about the icy winter storm that made Wednesday morning's travel hazardous than the marketing fiasco that put Cartoon Network and Adult Swim in the news.

"We're blown away by your being here," Lazarus said.

One key player who wasn't at the upfront presentation was Jim Samples, the Cartoon Network/Adult Swim general manager who was a casualty of the Boston controversy.

"That's why unexpectedly I'm here in front of you," Lazarus said.

But Lazarus, to whom the key Cartoon Network execs report until a replacement is named, promised that the network had a solid strategy for the coming year.

"It's a plan we're sure kids will love," Lazarus said.

New specials include "Cartoon Network Invaded," with a new episode every Friday in May involving five of Cartoon Network's series, and "Props," a live-action reality series that will profile 16 youths who excel in sports, music or other endeavors. After an online vote, the winner will be profiled extensively.

Also announced Wednesday was CallToons, a mobile phone application that provides Cartoon Network and Adult Swim-specific characters to provide ringtones and specialized responses for incoming callers.
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