New ‘Speed Racer’ in firstrun

Following a resurgence in popularity on MTV, the “Speed Racer” series is about to whiz back into firstrun syndication this September with a younger-skewing animated weekly version.

More than a quarter-century after “Speed Racer’s” initial syndie bow, Group W Prods. has succeeded in clearing 13 half-hour episodes of “The New Adventures of Speed Racer” in more than 80% of the country.

KCOP, WWOR in New York and WPWR in Chicago are among the top-25 stations to clear the show.

Because the new episodes are geared toward viewers in the 2-11 age group, MTV will steer clear of the updated edition. The original 52 “Speed Racer” episodes carried by the basic cabler primarily appeal to its core 12-35 audience.

Academy Award winner Fred Wolf, producer of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” TV series, is producing the new program in association with Speed Racer Enterprises.

New strip?

The producers are in pre-production on an additional 13 episodes for fall ’94 . If the revival enjoys the same success as the originals, it appears likely “Speed Racer” will become a strip in its second season.

Westinghouse Broadcasting Intl. is licensing “The New Adventures of Speed Racer” along with the classic episodes worldwide.

“Speed Racer” was the brainchild of Japanese artist Tatsuo Yoshida, who produced the cartoon in 1965. Two years later, it was adapted into English.

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