Cartoon Net ramping up live-action slate

More than a dozen projects in development

NEW YORK -- Cartoon Network is taking a big step into live-action, prepping a slew of programs that represent the channel's largest slate in a long time.

The channel has more than a dozen projects in development including projects from writers David Titcher ("The Librarian"), Paul Dini ("Lost") and Mike Werb ("Face/Off," "The Mask"), among others. Chief content officer Rob Sorcher said that the network could possibly go to pilot with three of the projects this year, then launch a night of live-action programming sometime in 2010.

"That would absolutely be a win for us," Sorcher said Thursday.

The channel opened a Burbank-based scripted development series about a year ago. Last year, the network said it would pursue two avenues with live-action scripted series -- one in fantasy, action and adventure and the other in comedy.

"This is part of the overall expansion of programming at Cartoon Network," Sorcher said.

In development are "Crypto Tapes," written by Dean Batali and produced by Mark Wolper; "Hoops," written by David Aaron Cohen and produced by Rick Karo; "Advanced Placement," written by Geoff Moore and David Posamentier and produced by the Yari Film Group; and "Privateer," written by Georg Geiger and produced by Joe Broido/Porchlight. Another project, "Necessary Evil," is based on the comic book series. The series' writers are Max Burnett, Chris Borelli and Jonathan Davis; the co-producers are H2F Entertainment and Objective Entertainment.

Other projects in development include "Prep," Dini's tale of teenagers at a mysterious school; an untitled project from Werb described as an urban adventure; the Eric Kaplan-penned "Rebels," about teenagers battling an alien invasion; "Jackers," written by Carleton Eastlake, about body-switching crime fighters; "Racer," from writer Sandy Isaac, about racing with a teen spin; "Wired," by Kira Snyder, about technology-enhanced teen agents; and Ethlie Ann Vare's "Redline," about a teenager with a high-tech vehicle. Also in the pipeline are "Marked Man" from Hans Beimler and "Countdown" from Edgar Lyall.

"They all fall under a sort of teenage-boy wish-fulfillment scenario," Sorcher said. "They're action dramas for the most part."

These series join other live-action movies in development, including "Scooby-Doo: The Beginning" due this fall, and "Ben 10: Alien Force," a sequel to the previous movie.

What all this live-action development doesn't mean is that Cartoon Network is pulling back on animation. "This does not replace that in any way," Sorcher said. "This is a complement, an expansion."