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Cartoon Network bows the Cartoonstitute: A ‘think tank’ for animators

Rob_sorcher2An interesting development within Cartoon Network was overshadowed by the slew of other announcements unveiled at the cabler’s upfront presentation last week.

Rob Sorcher, Cartoon Net’s newly appointed chief content officer, is spearheading a development initiative they’ve dubbed the “Cartoonstitute.” Sorcher (pictured left) wants to get a bunch of original development in the works pronto (insert a Hanna-Barbera zoink and pat-a-pat-a-pat-a-pat sound of running bare feet here), and so he’s carving out a space with the Burbank-based Cartoon Studios facility for an artists colony that he hopes will harvest funny fruit in the near future.

Cartoonstitute will be run by two veteran Cartoon Net producers, Craig McCracken, of “Powerpuff Girls” and ‘Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends” fame, and Rob Renzetti (“My Life as a Teenage Robot”). Sorcher aims to put six artists to work full-time on pilots and short segments for the channel immediately, under the guidance of McCracken and Renzetti. As many as 30 more artists — some already in-house at Cartoon, some new to the toon net tent — will be brought in to pitch in and/or develop their own ideas at any given time, particularly when they’re on production hiatus from other Cartoon Net shows.

Sorcher was part of the early Cartoon Net exec team in the mid-1990s and rejoined the channel in January after six years at AMC. He wants to generate 150 bits of programming for Cartoon Net during the next 20 months. It’s an ambitious target, and a sign of how eager the new programming chief is to inject new Cnlogo characters and fresh yuks into Cartoon. The mission, as Sorcher sees it, is to create a “think tank” for animators. A productive think tank.

“I wanted to put a swift development track together,” he says, “but the other side of it is thinking about long-term development and what it takes to get a successful cartoon series. I know that a lot of it comes from setting out the conditions where artists and writers can really succeed at doing that. We started thinking about how to create an environment where this kind of creative thinking can happen.”

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