Execs mum on Samples' exit at upfront

Cartoon Network announced five new original series at Wednesday’s upfront held at Gotham’s Time Warner Center.

Many attendees, who schlepped through snow and sleet, wondered if there’d be mention of exec VP-general manager Jim Samples’ recent resignation.

After Cartoon’s disastrous Boston guerrilla marketing campaign, which caused police to shut down large parts of the city, Samples resigned, and the net agreed to pay $2 million to reimburse the city for the disruption (Daily Variety, Feb. 12).

Mark Lazarus, prexy of the Turner Entertainment Group, was the only exec to mention the incident in his opening remarks.

Afterward, Cartoon execs including John O’Hara and Michael Ouweleen announced the new series: “Santo” (original title), about a magical Mexican wrestler; “Chowder,” chronicling the misadventures of a young chef’s apprentice; “The Secret Saturdays,” a comedy-action series about a family of world-saving scientists; “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack,” about a kid raised by a whale; and “Re-Animated,” based on the net’s original 2006 movie about a seventh grader and his animated world.

Like most companies in the business of entertaining kids, Cartoon is attempting to keep up with the latest technology. Net plans to launch “CallToons,” a mobile application in which Cartoon character voices replace ordinary phone functions such as ringtones.

Numerous Internet ventures, including a massively multiplayer online game skedded for a 2008 release and a slew of videogames, were announced.

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