Director stops by Cartoon Network upfront

Flanked by clone troopers in full battle regalia, George Lucas stopped by the Cartoon Network upfront on Thursday morning to tout his latest brainchild series, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”

The 30-minute CGI show is set to preem in the fall after the Aug. 15 theatrical release of Warner’s animated “Star Wars” pic of the same name.

Cartoon has purchased a mammoth 30 episodes of the series, which will anchor its Friday night lineup of kid-friendly action/fantasy adventure shows, including the previously announced “The Secret Saturdays” and “Ben 10: Alien Force,” a new season of Cartoon’s standby “Ben 10″ in which the titular hero has grown into a teenager.

Also on the agenda for this year: a show aimed at younger viewers, “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack,” and a Batman cartoon, “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” which will feature Green Arrow and Blue Beetle as the Caped Crusader’s sidekicks.

Net prexy Stuart Snyder and chief content officer Rob Sorcher also promoted Cartoon’s new division, the Cartoonstitute. The initiative has set a goal of 150 pieces of programming in the next 20 months in the hopes that the artist-led content will prove popular on a number of different platforms.

Cartoon put most of its eggs in the “Star Wars” basket at the upfront and the potential for brand building comes not a moment too soon: Its audience has declined for five straight quarters, and the net ranks 19th among cable nets in the first quarter with 1.19 million viewers.

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