MGM Animation has tapped sitcom scribe Ruth Bennett as exec producer and head writer of its upcoming syndie series “The Lionhearts.”

MGM aims to give the showbiz-centric cartoon series a bit of an edge, a la “The Simpsons,” with humor that works on different levels for kids and their parents. The series revolves around the home life of Leo the Lion, MGM’s long-roaring mascot, and his aptly named family: wife Lana (nee Turner), daughter Judy and twins Spencer and Kate.

Bennett’s TV credits include stints as a writer-producer for “Taxi,” “Family Ties” and “Laverne & Shirley,” and as a consulting producer for “Home Improvement.” She was also creator and exec producer of the early Fox sitcoms “Duet” and “Open House.”

“Her vast and distinguished experience in quality family television will bring us closer to our goal at MGM of expanding beyond the normal creative bounds of animation,” said Jay Fukuto, MGM’s senior veepee of animation, in announcing Bennett’s hire.

MGM is producing 13 half-hour episodes of “The Lionhearts” for a fall debut. The syndie skein, distributed by kidvid specialist Claster Television, has been cleared to date on stations covering about 85% of U.S. TV households.