Get ready to see some awesome content this year on Cartoon Network as they unveiled their plans for building new global franchises today as it unveiled a broad slate of new content for 2011 at its annual Advertising Upfront presentation.
Expect to see thirteen new animated series, 19 returning shows, and the network’s newest live-action scripted comedy series, Level Up, which will launch with a 90-minute original movie, debut over the next year.
In addition a new partnership was spotlighted between Warner Bros., DC Entertainment and Cartoon Network in which the three entertainment brands would unite their powerful assets in publishing, theatrical and television to create a multi-platform block of exclusive branded original content on the network named, DC Nation.
Debuting in 2012 as a multi-platform franchise, DC Nation will be the exclusive home for original DC animation properties. Backed by the production, publishing and marketing resources of Warner Bros., DC Entertainment and Cartoon Network, DC Nation will be an on-air and online programming block populated with event programming, interstitials, exclusive behind-the-scenes of theatrical production and an insider look into the world of all things DC.
If that’s not exciting enough, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. CEO and Co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg also appeared to reveal development plans for the new half-hour CG-animated series based on the Oscar-nominated and hugely popular 2010 motion picture adventure, ‘How to Train Your Dragon.’ Coupled with new and returning acquisitions, these projects represent Cartoon Network’s largest episodic commitment to date for new content.
“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 Stuart Snyder , president and chief operating officer, Turner Broadcasting’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media (AYAKM). “We now have successful new shows that we can grow into the next big franchises. By partnering with premiere 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.”
“As Cartoon Network continues to strategically align great new content with exciting franchises, our ad sales team is committed to developing innovative ideas for our partners that will extend the reach of their message and brands across our linear and digital platforms,” said John O’Hara, executive vice president and general sales manager, Cartoon Network Ad Sales & Marketing. “The recent success with Hall of Game is a key example of how we collaborated with our advertising partners to develop high-profile, custom opportunities, which live across multiple viewer experience levels and delivered measurable return on their investment.”
Sneak peeks of new animated action-adventure series included a new version of the global hit franchise Ben 10 ; an all-new remake of the action series ‘ThunderCats’ from Warner Bros.; and a CG-animated follow-up to this summer’s highly-anticipated action movie starring Ryan Reynolds, ‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series.’
Cartoon Network also debuted what will be its newest venture into live-action scripted comedy with the series ‘Level Up,’ a fantastical comedy for the video game age. The show will launch as a 90-minute movie event in late fall and serve as a platform to promote the new half-hour series scheduled for spring 2012. ‘Level Up’ is created and written by Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman (both credited for ‘Chasing Liberty’). The series will be executive produced by Peter Murrieta (‘Wizards of Waverly Place,’ ‘Hope and Faith’). The movie is directed and executive produced by Peter Lauer (‘Sons Of Tuscon,’ ‘Chuck’).
“Over the last year, the most notable growth at Cartoon Network has been driven by prime-time comedy programs,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. “This season, we’ll build upon that momentum by amping up the funny across all formats and debuting an array of wonderfully unique animated and live-action series.”
“DC Nation on Cartoon Network will be the first-ever dedicated broadcast destination to showcase the depth and breadth of the DC Universe,” said Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment. “We and our partners at WBTV are thrilled that fans will be able to immerse themselves in DC’s phenomenal stories, experience a wide spectrum of amazing characters and stay up-to-date on the latest happenings of the world’s greatest superheroes and their creators, both on-air and online.”
Underscoring the point of great franchises was Jeffrey Katzenberg , CEO and Co-Founder of DreamWorks Animation SKG, who discussed how his team was planning to bring the global smash hit ‘How to Train Your Dragon,’ which grossed $500+ million at the worldwide box-office, to Cartoon Network via an all-new weekly CG-animated series.
“DreamWorks Animation recognizes the importance of building brands around great franchises, so you can imagine how thrilled we are to be joining forces with Cartoon Network to bring our newest franchise – ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ – to television audiences around the world,” said Katzenberg. “Today’s presentation marks an exciting new beginning for our company and reaffirms our goal to ensure that ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ has the ideal home, which we have found in Cartoon Network.”
Additional programming announcements from the network included a fourth season renewal for the LucasFilm Animation Ltd. CG-animated juggernaut, ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars,’ which continued to significantly grow key kids and boys demos throughout its third season. Also coming next year is a fourth season of the animated comedy reality show franchise, ‘Total Drama.’ In this new iteration, the competition returns to its roots with ‘Total Drama: Revenge of the Island.’
Further highlights of Cartoon Network’s newly announced content slated for launch across the 2011-2012 season include the following:
‘Level Up:’ The 90-minute movie pilot will introduce audiences to three high school gamers, Wyatt (Gaelan Connell), Lyle (Jessie T. Usher) and Dante (Connor del Rio) who unwittingly open a portal from an online game into the real world. The trio must put aside their social differences and join forces with classmate Angie (Aimee Carrero) in order to play the game for real and defeat evil. Created and written by Derek Guiley and David Schneiderman (both credited for Chasing Liberty), the Level Up movie is directed by Peter Lauer (‘Sons Of Tuscon,’ ‘Chuck’) and will premiere in fall 2011.
New Ben 10 Series [Title TBD]: Ben 10 has been one of Cartoon Network’s most successful original series since first premiering on the network in January 2006. The franchise has since spawned four animated series, one animated movie, two live-action movies, a widely-popular consumer products line and has captured the imaginations of viewers on a global scale.
‘ThunderCats:’ The re-imagined animated series based on the beloved 80s classic tells the tale of a hero’s epic journey to fulfill his ultimate destiny. On Third Earth, the kingdom of Thundera is being threatened by the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra and young heir to the throne Lion-O embarks on a great quest to take his rightful place as king. The unlikely champion, joined by his faithful comrades Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro, WilyKit, WilyKat and his loyal pet Snarf, must work together to save their world from darkness.
‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series:’ Based upon the DC Comics super hero, the series is an all-new CG animated action series from Warner Bros. As Earth’s Green Lantern, Hal Jordan is used to being in dangerous situations—but he’s never faced anything like this! Set at the farthest reaches of deep space, Hal must face down an invasion from the Red Lantern Corps. Hal is soon joined by an all-new group of heroes on a mission to protect Guardian Space —and the Green Lantern Corps itself!
‘DC Nation:’ A multi-platform, branded block of original programming and exclusive content based on the DC Comics library of legendary character properties, DC Nation is developed in partnership with Cartoon Network, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. The all-new venture will harness the publishing, theatrical and television assets together for one powerful on-air block on Cartoon Network with exclusive online content.
‘How to Train Your Dragon:’ Based on the book by Cressida Cowell, DreamWorks Animation’s new series rolls fire-breathing action, epic adventure and laughs into a captivating and original story. Hiccup is a young Viking who defies tradition when he befriends one of his deadliest foes—a ferocious dragon he calls Toothless. Together, the unlikely heroes must fight against all odds to save both of their worlds.
‘RedaKai: Conquer the Kairu:’ An animated kids adventure series stars Ky, a 15-year-old student of ancient martial arts who embarks on an incredible quest to find the Kairu, a primordial alien energy force. Helped by his friends Maya and Boomer, Ky travels the globe looking for the Kairu to protect it from his extraterrestrial teenage opponents, with the hope that one day he will become the greatest Kairu warrior of them all–a Redakai.
‘Lego Ninjago:’ After a time of peace in Ninjago, our four Ninja heroes are about to face a new dangerous enemy. Lloyd Garmadon, son of their archenemy Lord Garmadon, has unleashed a new evil with unique powers. Soon his ambition to follow in his father’s footsteps has put all of Ninjago in jeopardy.
Be sure to tune in to Cartoon Network to catch these series and more!