‘Hot Wheels’ spins new series for ’09

Nelvana, Mattel team on cartoon show

Cartoon Network has picked up an animated series based on Mattel’s “Hot Wheels” property, slated to begin airing Sunday mornings next year.

Show will be titled “Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5.”

Chief content officer Rob Sorcher, who took the helm of Cartoon Network programming late last year, has been pushing cabler toward boys’ action and adventure shows, with an emphasis on bankable brands like Batman and Star Wars.

A “Hot Wheels” movie based on the enduring brand of toy cars had been kicking around at Sony Pictures and is now being eyed by producer Joel Silver for Warner Bros.

Cartoon Network series will by produced by Nelvana and Vancouver’s Nerd Corp Entertainment. Skein also will air in Canada on the Teletoon channel.

Sorcher’s franchise-driven strategy appears to be paying off for the cabler. A week after the Oct. 3 “Star Wars: Clone Wars” preem set network records, Cartoon has seen across-the-board jumps in primetime ratings.

Primetime delivery for kids 2-11 (869,000) jumped by 32% from the year-ago benchmark to a 2.1 ratings share (up 31%), and kids 6-11 (622,000) jumped 37%, up to a 2.5 ratings share (up 32%).

(Jennie Punter in Toronto contributed to this report.)