‘Ghost’ back to chat it up on Cartoon

Demand by the show's cult following jumpstarts revival

NEW YORK — “Space Ghost,” the only cartoon superhero ever to retire from saving the universe on broadcast TV in order to become a cable TV talkshow host, is coming back to the Cartoon Network for six more half-hours.

In his superhero guise, the Hanna-Barbera character, whose best weapon against his enemies was an enchanted belt that made him invisible, ran on CBS from 1966-68 and on NBC for the 1996-97 season.

When the talkshow wars between Jay Leno and David Letterman became one of the big media stories of 1993-94, Cartoon Network, which owned the Hanna-Barbera library, decided to create a series called “Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.”

Space Ghost continued as a cartoon figure, but his guests were live, in the flesh. Since the series made its debut in April 1994, “Coast to Coast” amassed a total of 89 half-hours over the next seven years.

Two years ago, Cartoon halted production on “Coast to Coast” to concentrate on its “Adult Swim” block of latenight programming, led by “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law,” “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and reruns of “Futurama.”

But demand by the show’s cult following spurred the revival. New episodes have begun production at Cartoon’s studio in Atlanta, shepherded by executive producers Mike Lazzoand Keith Crofford and Matt Harrigan.

The first guests to be signed for live-action stints are Dennis Miller, Jeff Probst and William Shatner.