With hopes of using the Internet as a way to test pilots, The Cartoon Network will debut two original cartoon series online today, with plans to debut five more by next year.
The two shows are Gary Panter’s “Pink Donkey and the Fly,” about a crazed fly in love with a pink donkey, and “B. Happy,” about an unusually happy bluebird who wants to rid the world of misery, by Mark Newgarden.
Both shows appear on the cable network’s Web site at http://www.cartoonnetwork.com.
Panter previously served as the designer behind “Pee Wee’s Playhouse.” Lynne Stewart, who played Miss Yvonne on “Pee Wee’s Playhouse,” voices the Pink Donkey.
Newgarden created the spoof trading cards Garbage Pail Kids and Toxic High.
“We’re excited to be launching with two high-profile artists, a leading multimedia developer and the latest technology, not to mention the expertise of Cartoon Network and the enthusiasm of our growing Internet audience,” said Rob Sorcher, exec veep of Cartoon Network U.S.
The introduction of the toons is the first original programming for Cartoon Network’s Web site since it launched in 1998 and is inspired by World Premiere Toons, the pilot program that has resulted in five original series and more than 50 cartoon shorts for the cabler.
As each Web Premiere Toon unfolds, users are invited to branch off the narrative at certain intervals.
For example, in “B. Happy,” the title character lays an egg, from which users can determine the way the story goes and whether or not its miserable subject is worth B.’s effort.
“Our dream scenario is that one or more of our Web Premiere Toons catches fire to the point where we must throw the challenge back upon Cartoon Network to figure out how it might work on television,” said Sam Register, veep and creative director of Cartoon Network Online.