Redrawing the rules
Rob Sorcher sees no reason for Cartoon Network to take its name too literally. After all, by ignoring the “movie” in AMC’s moniker, the former programming head helped bring Emmy-winning series “Mad Men” to that network. So now that he’s back at Cartoon Network, why not mix things up by adding live-action movies, reality series, even sports to the lineup?
“We’ll have development across a broad spectrum — we will be in every format,” pledges Sorcher, who began his TV producing career at CN in 1995, returning as chief content officer last November.
And if audiences are confused? “It’s only strange the first time it happens. After a month, it’ll feel like, ‘Wow, these guys just created a whole new youth culture network,'” he predicts.
Sorcher’s plans mean plenty of live-action opportunities for young talent: The net just wrapped “Scooby-Doo: In the Beginning,” which imagines how the toon’s Mystery Inc. team originally got together (the actors playing Fred and Shaggy are both 20, while Daphne and Velma are in their late teens).
With another “Ben 10” feature in the works, CN also snapped up film rights to “The Vanishers,” an adventure comic about two time-traveling fifth-graders.
“If you look at our entire network, you see a real pattern of dominance among male audiences, from kids all the way through Adult Swim,” Sorcher explains. “We’re going to take advantage of that and build upon it.”
Young fans may even have a chance to host or participate in the programming (some shows, such as “Chowder,” already feature kid voices). “It’s an opportunity to put new faces on an existing brand,” Sorcher says.
Recent breakthrough: The former exec VP returned to Cartoon Network as chief content officer, putting live-action programs into the pipeline.
Role model: “The Flash. He got stuff done quickly.”
Up next: Hiring the right team. “We’re really populating the place from an executive point of view with TV people who think broadly and complement the animation studio we have in place here.”