Cartoon Network has given series renewals to Adventure Time, Regular Show, Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe and Clarence. Emmy-winning Adventure Time and Regular Show have been re-upped for a seventh season, Uncle Grandpa and Steven Universe have been picked up for a second season, and freshman Clarence is getting an additional 13 half-hour episodes.
“We have created global momentum with this group of home-grown series,” said Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network. “Our commitment to keeping all of these comedies going strong is a reflection of our continued belief in the impressive creative talent powering them.”
Cartoon Network hit the motherlode this morning when American Family Association and its One Million Moms division finally weighed in on the net’s “blasphemous” new show, Black Jesus, just days before its debut. “The depiction of Jesus swearing and “using violent behavior is a new low,” the org said. The group notes it’s a late-night show that’s part of Adult Swim, but took issue that it portrays Jesus as a “black guy living in the ‘hood.”
“The blasphemous, irreverent and disrespectful show depicts him living in Compton Gardens and makes a mockery of the Lord,” the group said.
Adult Swim was looking to stir a debate back in March when it gave a series order to Black Jesus, a half-hour live-action scripted comedy from The Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder. Newcomer Gerald “Slink” Johnson (Grand Theft Auto V) stars as Jesus living in present-day Compton, CA, who’s on a daily mission to spread love and kindness throughout the neighborhood with the help of his small but loyal group of downtrodden followers. The series pickup for Black Jesus came on the heels of the Jesus race controversy triggered by Fox News star Megyn Kelley’s recent “Jesus is white” comments.
AFA noted helpfully today that Cartoon Network has posted a trailer on YouTube for the show, which debuts Aug. 7. Its “frequent foul language in the trailer alone is shocking and disgusting. In addition, violence, gunfire, drinking … Read More »
Clarence creator Skyler Page has exited Cartoon Network amid allegations that he groped a female artist. “Skyler Page is no longer an employee at Cartoon Network Studios,” confirmed a rep for the animation network Thursday.
The accusations gradually came to light over Twitter last week when friends of Emily Partridge, a storyboard artist on Cartoon Network show Adventure Time, called Page out for the alleged assault. Partridge began tweeting about the incident without naming Page, before finally identifying him as her alleged attacker on Wednesday. Read More »
Vishnu Athreya has been named VP Program scheduling for Cartoon Network and Boomerang. Athreya will oversee day-to-day scheduling and strategic positioning of programming for Cartoon Network, Boomerang and branded non-linear program platforms. He will serve as departmental lead for long-range calendar planning, and with developing creative strategies for on-air stunts and special events surrounding the networks’ growing library of original, acquired and classic animated programming. Athreya will be based in Atlanta, reporting directly to Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network, who is based at Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, CA. Read More »
Emmy-winning The Powerpuff Girls is coming back. Cartoon Network said today it is rebooting the uber-successful franchise with an all-new television series produced by Cartoon Network Studios and a full licensing program that will roll out across all regions. It’s slated for a 2016 launch. “The original Powerpuff Girls was a franchise phenomenon for Cartoon Network, paving the way for a new generation of innovative storytellers and enthusiastic fans worldwide,” said Rob Sorcher, Cartoon Network’s chief content officer. “We are calling these girls back into action based upon an overwhelming demand for sugar, spice and Chemical X.” Read More »
Cartoon Network has greenlit two additional seasons of animated series The Amazing World Of Gumball, bringing the total order to five seasons. Created by Ben Bocquelet and directed by Mic Graves, Gumball is the first full-length animated series out of Cartoon Network Studio Europe. The series about an amusing blue cat named Gumball and his best buddy Darwin, a pet goldfish, combines 2D and 3D animation in a live-action setting. Season 3 is slated to premiere Thursday on Cartoon Network in the U.S. The series, which has won BAFTA, Annie and International Emmy awards, ranked #1 in its time slot in the U.S. among kids 6-11 and boys 2-11 & 6-11 in Season 2. Internationally, Gumball reached a total of 36.5 million primetime viewers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa between January and March of this year.
Cartoon Network has unveiled its programming and digital slate for the 2014-15 upfront season. It includes an expanded portfolio of exclusive content for specific platforms that kids access, including television, smartphones, computers, tablets and other gaming devices.We reported on Friday that the network had greenlighted its first miniseries Over The Garden Wall. Additional new programming includes Clarence, an original animated series about an optimistic boy who wants to do everything, and new Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo and Looney Toons animated series. It’s set for an April 14 premiere. Returning series include Adventuretime and Legends Of Chima. Click over for the complete slate. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE:Cartoon Network is entering the longform business. The 20-year-old network has greenlighted its first miniseries, Over The Garden Wall. The 10-epsiode comedy-fantasy mini is based on the short Tome Of The Unknown, which hails from Cartoon Network Studios’ shorts program and won the best animation short film at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival last month. Elijah Wood — reprising his role from Tome — Melanie Lynskey and Collin Dean lead the voice cast of Over The Garden Wall. It revolves around two brothers, Wirt (Wood) and Greg (Dean), who find themselves lost in a mysterious land and try to find their way home, aided by a wise old woodsman and a bluebird named Beatrice (Lynskey). Over The Garden Wall was created by Pat McHale, who wrote and directed the original short and also worked on Cartoon Net’s Adventure Time. Produced by Cartoon Network Studios, the mini will premiere in the fall.
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.
EXCLUSIVE: The kid-targeted net has picked up 13 additional episodes each of its new animated series. That brings the orders for Cartoon Network‘s Uncle Grandpa and Steven Universe, which were greenlighted in September 2012, to 26 episodes. Creator Pete Browngardt’s Uncle Grandpa, about a magical elder who travels the world finding unusual solutions to everyday situations, has regularly led its time slot in targeted kids demos since its September 2 premiere. Steven Universe,from Rebecca Sugar, Cartoon Network’s first solo female show creator, drew the network’s best premiere of 2013 on November 4. It centers on the ultimate “little brother” to a team of magical guardians of humanity.
Girls Impact the World And Dubai Fests Team On Film Prize
The Girls Impact the World Film Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival have partnered to offer a new prize, the DIFF Prize for Advancing Women and Girls. The prize will be awarded to an aspiring student filmmaker from the Middle East and North Africa region for a short original film on an issue related to the advancement of women and girls globally. The winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award. The submission deadline is December 31. Entries will be judged by a panel that includes Jeff Skoll, Christy Turlington-Burns, actor Ian Somerhalder, and Paley Center CEO Pat Mitchell. The winning submissions will be screened — and the final winner selected — at an awards ceremony at Harvard College on February 22. Guidelines and entry requirements can be found here.
‘The Wolverine’ Claws Its Way To $14.4M Opening In China Fox’s The Wolverine opened in China this weekend, taking $14.4M from Friday through Sunday. After four days in release, it had earned $18.3M through last night, according to FilmBizAsia. The film was No. 1 at the box office and outperformed 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which earned a total of $13.2M. The Wolverine was ahead of Donnie Yen’s new Chinese entry Special ID, which opened on Friday to $10.9M. Last week, magic/heist thriller Now You See Mewas the top pic at the box office, but fell sharply in its second weekend, FBA said. Tsui Hark’s hot Young Detective Dee: Rise Of The Sea Dragon, is closing in on $98.5M and Huayi Brothers Media Corp said Monday that it was lowering its box office revenue share from 43% to 30% in an effort to get the film across the line. Read More »
Rob Sorcher is now EVP and Chief Content Officer for Cartoon Network and Mike Lazzo is EVP and Creative Director at Adult Swim. The promotions are part of a broader restructuring announced today by Turner Broadcasting. Sorcher — based at Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank — and Lazzo — at Williams Street Studios in Atlanta — will continue to report to Stuart Snyder, President and COO of Turner’s Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media Division. In their new roles, the pair will take on responsibilities for the digital and gaming businesses for each of their areas, along with continuing to spearhead development and production of original and acquired content and the supervision of Cartoon Network Studios and Williams Street Studios, respectively. Sorcher has been chief content officer at Cartoon Network since 2008, with the network now seeing some of its best ratings in history thanks to series like the Emmy-winner Regular Show and LEGO Ninjago; Lazzo is the creator of Adult Swim, which launched in 2001 as a two-hour block before becoming its own young-adult-focused channel, sharing space with Cartoon Network.
With three new Star Wars movies in the pipeline, Lucasfilm and Disney today turned its attention to the power of the Force on TV. “Lucasfilm has decided to pursue a new direction in animated programing,” the company announced online. Lucasfilm said that it’s “exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or TV programming.” What that new direction will actually be beyond “stay tuned” and will it see Star Wars on Disney XD is yet to be known — though that is where the boss is leaning. “We really like Star Wars‘ potential on TV, and Disney XD would be a great home for that,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said when the $4.06 billion deal to buy Lucasfilm was announced on October 30.
However, what is known is that the new direction for Star Wars on TV includes no longer producing more Star Wars: The Clone Wars for Cartoon Network, as it has since 2008. “We feel the time has come to wind down the series,” said Lucasfim today. Also the company is postponing the release of the Seth Green-Todd Grimes-Matthew Sereich-produced animated Star Wars comedy series Detours, which was first announced last year.
Cartoon Network brass have decided to scrap this year’s formal upfront presentation. Instead, they are going on the road for “in front” presentations for clients and promotional partners in more than 15 cities. The Cartoon Network Road Tour starts the week of January 21 and will continue into March. Along with its presentation, the network also plans to “take over” the building at each of its visits with Cartoon Network-branded imagery and giveaways. The strategy has been employed before, most notably by NBC under Ben Silverman.
At the meetings, Cartoon Network will tout its ratings growth in 2012, which became the network’s most-watched year in Prime in its 20-year history, and will present its upcoming slate, which marks a shift from live-action back to the network’s core animated fare. It includes three quarterly installment specials of The Yoda Chronicles, a new CG-animated foray into the “Original Saga” world of Star Wars. Cartoon Network also airs Clone Wars. Given Disney’s recent acquisition of LucasFilm, it is probably a matter of time before all Star Wars animated programming gets funneled to Disney Jr. and Disney XD. Read More »
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.
Cartoon Network has greenlit Clarence, a new animated series created by up-and-comer Skyler Page. The network has ordered twelve 15-minute episodes from the project about Clarence, an optimistic boy who wants to do everything because everything is amazing. This is the third short-form series to come out of the shorts development initiative at Cartoon Network Studios this year, joining recently announcedSteven Universe and Uncle Grandpa.
Page, who has been making cartoons since third grade, is a recent graduate from CalArts where his second-year animated short Crater Face was featured in the school’s year-end Producer’s Show in 2010 and became viral online, amassing more than a million viewers on YouTube alone. (watch it below) From that, Page was recruited by Cartoon, serving as a storyboard revisionist on the network’s Emmy-winning animated series Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and as storyboard artist on Adventure Time. Adventure Time’s short film, Thank You, is in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in the short film category, and Regular Show won the Emmy this year as Best Animated Short Form series. The two 15-min series are the top shows with kids/boys on Monday night. Marking its 20th year on the air, Cartoon Network is ending 2012 with its best ratings in history and the only Big 3 kids cable network to post year-to-year growth.
Cartoon Network has renewed Regular Show andThe Amazing World Of Gumball for new seasons and added new episodes of Annoying Orange. Produced by JG Quintel, Regular Show will be back for a fifth season. Following the travels of 12-year old Gumball and his family, the BAFTA-winning The Amazing World Of Gumball from the London-based Cartoon Network Studio Europe will be back for a third season. And the YouTube-to-TV Annoying Orange has had additional episodes added to its debut season by Cartoon Network. Developed and produced by The Collective, Dane Boedigheimer (the creator of the Annoying Orange Web series) co-created the TV series with Tom Sheppard. Conrad Vernon serves as executive producer along with Gary Binkow and Dan Weinstein of The Collective.
Adult Swim said today it has ordered another season of Robot Chicken, with Season 7 set to air on Cartoon Network next year. Season 6 of the Emmy-winning stop-motion series — which included its 100th episode — currently airs Sunday nights and is the programming block’s top-rated original series. Stoopid Monkey Productions’ Seth Green and Matthew Senreich are the creators and executive producers along with their Stoopid Buddy Stoodios partners, Buddy Systems’ John Harvatine IV and Eric Towner, who also executive produce. Janet Dimon is supervising producer. Green is making the renewal official as we speak at New York Comic-Con.
The two projects hail from Cartoon Network Studios’ homegrown shorts development initiative. Steven Universe, from Adventure Time writer-artist Rebecca Sugar, is a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Steven, the youngest member of a team of magical Guardians of the Universe. Uncle Grandpa, from Pete Browngardt, is based upon an Emmy-nominated short and follows the exploits of everyone in the world’s “magical” uncle and grandpa. Both shows are in preproduction and are slated for 2013 premieres.