Already a force to be reckoned with in late-night, Turner’s Adult Swim is making a big play in primetime. Currently airing from 9 PM-6 AM, Adult Swim will add an extra hour to start at 8 PM effective March 31. In part to offset the loss of an hour to Adult Swim, Cartoon Network will be introducing a new portfolio of original content online at CartoonNetwork.com and other branded digital platforms. In another change for Turner’s Animation, Young Adults and Kids Media portfolio of networks, Boomerang, the 24-hour commercial-free channel airing classic cartoons, will be introducing ads.
Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the comedy duo known as Tim & Eric, have landed their fourth series on Adult Swim. The network has greenlighted Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories, a new quarter-hour live-action dark comedy anthology series written and directed by Heidecker and Wareheim, where episodes delve into fantasy and the unknown with the aid of celebrity guest stars. “It’s good to be home again,” Heidecker and Wareheim said. Adult Swim originally piloted the project in May with the pickup of half-hour Halloween special Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories: Haunted House, which airs tomorrow night at midnight. (trailer below) The special was written and directed by Heidecker, Eric Wareheim and Zach Galifianakis who star as guys whose grandfather dies, leaving $1,000 to each — but only if they live in his haunted mansion for the rest of their lives. Galifianakis was a fixture on Heidecker and Wareheim’s previous live-action series for Adult Swim, Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! — whose guest star list also included Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, Will Forte, Michael Cera and Flight Of The Conchords.
Last night Fox entered the late-night animated comedy space with the launch of Animation Domination High-Def, and incumbent Adult Swim had something to say about it. In a stealth move through local buys as it was done without Fox’s knowledge, the Turner network aired two ads: one at 11:30 PM after the two ADHD premieres of High School USA and Axe Cop, and one at midnight, following the encores of the two animated debuts. The stripped-down ads featured words on black screen, with elevator music in the background. “The preceding content has been a work of fiction,” the first ad, which followed the ADHD premieres. (Video below.) “Any resemblance to networks, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Pay close attention to the label. Many suitcases look alike. You may find yourself at a beautiful network with a beautiful suitcase. You may ask yourself: How did I get here? [adult swim]” The second: “Congratulations to the crew at ADHD on the launch of their new shows. We wish you all the best…. Nice place you got here… How are the kids?… Great, Great stuff. We’re going to go home now [adult swim].”
ADHD responded to the stunt via Twitter last night: “@adultswim THANK YOU FOR YOUR MONEY” Said ADHD head and Adult Swim alum Nick Weidenfeld today, “We love Adult Swim and we’re happy to receive both their attention and their ad dollars!”
The difference between making Adult Swim’s new animated half hour Rick And Morty, and making NBC’s live-action comedy Community at Sony, is that Adult Swim exec vp Mike Lazzo is “a bona fide genius, especially in the world of network executives,” Dan Harmon said this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013. Harmon came to the tour today to talk about Rick And Morty, the comedy about a genius inventor grandfather and his less-than-genius grandson that Harmon is doing with creator Justin Roiland. But Harmon is best known for creating and exec producing Community, for being sacked from the show last season because of his behavior, for being brought back to the show for its fifth when the fourth one tanked, for saying that watching the fourth season of Community was like “being held down and watching your family get raped on a beach,” and then issuing a mealy-mouthed apology.
“[Lazzo] has the autonomy and the humility and the mental power to actually take a script, recognize it as what it is, a document, read it and then tell you what his reactions are to it as an individual,” Harmon continued, answering the which-place-is-better question. “He never says ‘I don’t think people are going to like this’. He never branches out into the business of speculating into the biomass for which we are creating this opiate. He never says ‘people are going to react this way’ and he never confuses the script for the final product,” Harmon said. Then he added: “On the NBC side, it’s even better.”
UPDATED: Ahead of Adult Swim‘s upfront next Wednesday, which will feature a performance by Kanye West, the network has set a slate of new animated and live-action series, pilots and specials. It includes previously announced new half-hour animated comedy series Rick And Morty, from Community creator Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland, which is set to premiere in primetime later this year; a Mike Tyson quarter-hour animated series featuring the former boxer as a mystery solver; and off-network acquisition Bob’s Burgers, which launches this summer. 2013 marks Adult Swim’s most-watched year to date among adults and males 18-24, 18-34, and 18-49. Here are details about the network’s new original series, specials and pilots:
EXCLUSIVE: Adult Swim has closed a deal with Twentieth Television for exclusive off-network cable rights to 20th Century Fox TV’s animated comedy series Bob’s Burgers, now in its third season on Fox and renewed for a fourth. The deal includes Seasons 1-3 of Bob’s Burgers, which will begin airing on Adult Swim this summer. I hear the license fee is just shy of $500,000 an episode, in line with what TBS and Adult Swim paid for Twentieth TV’s animated comedy The Cleveland Show in 2010. In addition to Cleveland, Bob’s Burgers will join two other current/former Fox animated comedies on Adult Swim, Family Guy and King Of The Hill.
While not a breakout for Fox, Bob’s Burgers has been an OK ratings performer and quickly has achieved cult status. It also has been well received by critics and landed an Emmy nomination for best animated program last year. The timing of the show’s rollout on Adult Swim, ahead of the broadcast fall launch, could give it a boost on Fox as many series experience a ratings resurgence as a result of additional exposure on cable.
This is the second licensing deal the entertainment giant has cut with Netflix over the last week. In the latest one, beginning on March 30 the streaming service lands all past seasons of Cartoon Network‘s Adventure Time, Ben 10, Regular Show, and Johnny Bravo, as well as Warner Bros Animation’s Green Lantern. It also will have Adult Swim shows Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sony Pictures Television’s The Boondocks and Warner Bros Television’s Studio 2.0′s Childrens Hospital. Subscribers have to wait a year, to January 2014, before Netflix begins its exclusive streaming run of the first two seasons of TNT’s Dallas. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms.
The addition of children’s shows to Time Warner‘s deal with Netflix may revive the debate over whether the streaming service is cutting into ratings for ad-supported kids shows on TV. That was a big concern last year when ratings dropped at Nickelodeon after many of its shows appeared on Netflix.
Here’s today’s release:
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Adult Swim has picked up a 10-episode second season of animated series Black Dynamite for a debut in late 2013 or early 2014. Based on the 2009 feature, Black Dynamite further chronicles the exploits of the central character — 1970s ex-CIA agent and full-time ladies man Black Dynamite — and his crew. Spearheaded by Carl Jones (The Boondocks), the series features the voices of Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Kym Whitley and Byron Minns, all of whom starred in the feature. Black Dynamite is animated by Titmouse and produced by Ars Nova Entertainment. Jones, Jon Steingart and Jillian Apfelbaum executive produce.
EXCLUSIVE: Adult Swim has given straight-to-series order to Newsreaders, a spinoff of the network’s hit comedy series Childrens Hospital. Based on the “Newsreaders” episodes of Childrens Hospital that aired during seasons two and three, Newsreaders is a satire of …
Ahead of its upfront party tomorrow, Adult Swim has unveiled its development slate, which includes seven greenlighted animated and live-action pilots and an animated series based on the Harold & Kumar movies in development. The animated Harold & Kumar project was taken to the marketplace in November by Lionsgate, which produces the movie franchise. Original writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg are on board to write and produce and stars John Cho and Kal Penn will voice the lead characters and also produce. Adult Swim’s greenlighted pilots include an animated project from Community creator Dan Harmon. Here is the slate:
Untitled Animated Harold & Kumar Project (In Development) – An animated version of the eponymous blockbuster stoner comedy series. Produced by Lionsgate.
Rick & Morty – A genius inventor grandfather and his less than genius grandson, and the journeys in life they share. From Dan Harmon (Community) and Justin Roiland. (30-minute animated)