Kids’ WB, Cartoon Net get closer

Duo cross promote to reach young auds

NEW YORK — AOL Time Warner sibling nets Kids’ WB and Cartoon Network hosted their first joint upfront Wednesday hyping theme “The Power of One.”

In January, nets’ combined forces reached more kids 6-11 than Viacom’s united fronts of CBS Saturday morning and Nickelodeon. Synergy was the unspoken keyword of the presentation, with the sales force accentuating AOL TW’s strength in the kids biz via numerous cross-promotional opportunities.

Already, series “Cardcaptors,” “Dragon Ball Z” and “Jackie Chan” air on both nets. In preparation for up-coming Warner Bros. releases “Scooby Doo” and “Powerpuff Girls,” both series — previously exclusive to Car-toon Net — will now also air on Kids’ WB. “Scooby Doo” is the first skein that both nets have jointly picked up; new “Scooby” eps — set in the present day — will air this fall.

Kids’ WB announced a commitment to year-round new programming, effective this summer. Among the new Saturday ayem series introduced by programming exec VP Donna Friedman were “Ozzy and Drix,” based on characters from Warner Bros. pic “Osmosis Jones”; and masked wrestler adventure-comedy “Mucha Lucha,” the first all flash-animated series. Established programs such as “Pokemon” and “Jackie Chan Adventures” will anchor each hour of the Kids’ WB Saturday block.

Cartoon Network exec VP and general manager Jim Samples said the net’s mission is to become “the world leader in animated entertainment,” with a $500 million budget for original programming, the majority spent inhouse at its Burbank studios. Net has seen double-digit growth across all demos.

Toon blocks

Cartoon Cartoon block includes new skeins “Whatever Happened to Robot Jones,” launching in July, and “Codename: Kids Next Door,” bowing in November. Fresh eps of returning hits “Justice League” and “Samurai Jack” were also promised. Afternoon toon adventure block Toonami, which dominates among kids 9-14 on cable, will revive cartoon classics “He-Man: Master of the Universe” and “Transformers” with new episodes. For the preschool set, Japanese import “Hamtaro” will make its U.S. debut in July. Toon hit already has sparked a hamster craze in its homeland.

Sunday night’s Adult Swim includes “The Oblongs” and “Mission Hill,” both acquired from the WB. Cartoon Net will add an action-themed Saturday night Adult Swim to complement a Sunday night focus on comedy.

Other highlights include kudocast parody “The 1st 13th Annual Fancy Anvil Award Show Program,” airing Oscar eve (March 23) and special “Sopranostones,” which blends the residents of Bedrock with a certain New Jersey Mafia family.

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