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The Cartoon Network is expanding its foothold in the funny business.
Network brass used Wednesday’s upfront presentation to advertisers at New York’s Lincoln Center to unveil a programming slate that includes 13 new animated series, 19 returning shows and the network’s newest live-action scripted comedy series, Level Up, which will kick off with a 90-minute original movie later this year.
The network and its parent company, Warner Bros., also announced a new multi-platform programming block with DC Entertainment, appropriately titled DC Nation, as THR reported.
What’s more, the Cartoon Network, which is coming off of a 6 percent bump in kids viewership in primetime in 2010, trotted out DreamWorks Animation boss Jeffrey Katzenberg to reveal development plans for a small-screen series adaptation of his 2010 Oscar-nominated flick, How to Train Your Dragon. The CG-animated series will occupy a half-hour block on the net’s growing schedule.
“Our commitment last year to build on the volume of broad content for our audience has paid off in solid ratings growth and renewed strength among our core 6-11 audience,” said Turner Broadcasting’s Animation president and chief operating officer Stuart Snyder. “We now have successful new shows that we can grow into the next big franchises. By partnering with premier entertainment companies like Warner Bros., DreamWorks Animation SKG and DC Entertainment, we are laying the groundwork for even further growth and expansion opportunities across the coming year.”
The Madison Avenue crowd was treated to exclusive first looks at a handful of new animated series, including The Problem Solverz and Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, which will join Adventure Time, Regular Show and MAD on Monday nights. Also on offer: sneak peaks of The Amazing World of Gumball, the stateside premiere of a new international series from the net’s U.K. production arm, and The Looney Tunes Show, an all-new series in the tradition of classic theatrical shorts from Warner Bros. Animation.
The kid-focused network also announced plans to roll out a series of animated action-adventure shows, including a new version of the popular global franchise Ben 10; an all-new remake of the action series ThunderCats, and a CG-animated follow-up to this summer’s blockbuster, Green Lantern: The Animated Series.
Lest it stop there, the Cartoon Network served up its latest venture into live-action scripted comedy with Level Up, which the net dubs “a fantastical comedy for the video game age.” The project is created and written by Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman (Chasing Liberty), with Peter Murrieta (Wizards of Waverly Place, Hope and Faith) on board to executive produce. The film will be directed and executive produced by Peter Lauer (Sons Of Tuscon, Chuck).
The network also used the opportunity to announce the renewal of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, from LucasFilm Animation Ltd., for a fourth season. It will share space on Cartoon Net’s schedule with a fourth season of animated comedy reality show Total Drama.
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