'Rupert' to replace Nelvana's 'Franklin' on Eye

NEW YORK — Rupert the bear is replacing Franklin the turtle as CBS and Nickelodeon tinker with their kidvid skeds.

The Eye web and its Saturday ayem production partner, Nelvana, have decided to pull “Franklin” from its 7 a.m. timeslot to make room for another Nelvana skein: “Rupert,” the long-running toon about a lovable bear. “Rupert” has been airing on Nickelodeon, but will move over to CBS exclusively starting Jan. 9.

“Franklin” will live on, however. Sources say Nick has picked up the show and will begin stripping it weekdays starting Jan. 11.

Nelvana execs believe “Franklin,” which is based on a popular book series that’s sold 20 million copies worldwide, is on the verge of breaking out in a big way in the U.S. While CBS’ Saturday ayem sked has shown double- digit growth this season in the wake of a shift from live-action to Nelvana animation, Nick’s dominance among tykes makes it a better environment to sell kids on the Franklin character — and related merchandise.

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