Robots rewiring for U.S.

Cartoon net launching new 'Transformers'

“Transformers” is transforming — again.

Even before the bigscreen incarnation, shaped for broader appeal by Michael Bay and Steven Spielberg, hit theaters July 3, toymaker Hasbro was gearing up to reach another aud: young children.

The durable toon franchise will return with 26 half-hour episodes on the Cartoon Network, kicking off with a 90-minute special in January.

“It’s going to be different from what it has been,” says Hasbro’s global VP for “Transformers” Samantha Lomow. “The storytelling full of humor — we didn’t really have much of that in the past. We want to make the show a lot more fun for a younger audience.”

In its most recent incarnations, the “Transformers” cartoon has been produced in Japan and overdubbed for syndication in the U.S. This time, Matt Youngberg, Sam Register and Derrick Wyatt (all of whom worked on “Teen Titans”) will be reworking the characters for Cartoon Network; Marty Isenberg (“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” ) will be head writer. Designs are reminiscent of the “Teen Titans,” with stylized bodies and a fluidity lacking in the last Transformers cartoon, “Cybertron.”

Historically, Hasbro has been reticent to cede creative control to its partners. But that’s changing quickly.

“We said, ‘We’re interested, but we really want to have a creative say,’ ” says Bob Higgins, senior VP of programming and development at Cartoon. “And Michael Bay and Stephen Spielberg obviously made a lot of creative choices. After that, there wasn’t so much resistance.”

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