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Cartoon Network reveals slate at upfront

New 'Looney Tunes' series in the works


Above: Turner Animation COO Stuart Snyder, Cartoon Network Chief Rob Sorcher, exec VP John O’Hara, NFL tight-end Tony Gonzalez and Turner Sports prexy David Levy.

Cartoon Network unveiled its upcoming programming slate to ad buyers on Wednesday morning with the help of a man floating on balloons attached to a lawn chair and megaphone-wielding rocker Andrew W.K.

The lawn chair stunt was a visual from the net’s live-action series “Dude, What Would Happen,” while Andrew W.K. hosts “Destroy Build Destroy.” Those two shows are the survivors from Cartoon’s experiment last year with a slate of boy-friendly reality shows. This time around, Turner execs have plenty of cartoons on tap, including a plan to revive classic Looney Tunes characters.

And the cabler is getting into the kudocast biz with “Cartoon Network’s Hall of Game,” which will allow viewers to vote on “who’s got game” in the sports world. It’s a coproduction with sports agency giant IMG Media and will be heavily promoted through Sports Illustrated, Cartoon Net’s Time Warner sibling.

The plan for the Looney Tunes redo is to move Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the gang to the suburbs for a half-hour series. “The Looney Tunes Show” will also include a series of two and a half minute CGI shorts that done as “Merrie Melodies” musicvids and Road Runner and Coyote shorts. “Space Jam” animation director Tony Cervone is a supervising producer. “Looney Tunes” is set for a late 2011 preem.

Part of that block will include a toon spin on Mad Magazine. The “Mad” series of 15-minute shorts will feature pop culture parodies and animation resembling “Spy vs. Spy” cartoons and Don Martin drawings.

Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network, tubthumped no fewer than four high school-related superhero properties at the presentation, including “Young Justice,” revolving around a clutch of youthful DC Comics characters (Superboy, Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, etc.). Two scripted live-action series, “Tower Prep” and “Unnatural History” (set to premiere June 13) focus on mysterious extracurricular activities and at least one extraordinary teen.

Longtime Cartoon Network animator Genndy Tartakovsky (“Dexter’s Laboratory”) has a new series called “Sym-Bionic Titan” in which three aliens must hide from their enemies by disguising themselves as high school students. Telepic “Firebreather” (helmed by “Aeon Flux” creator Peter Chung and held over from last year) follows the CGI exploits of a young superhero trying to fit into, yes, his high school.

Snyder and Sorcher’s pitch depended more on assertion of value than stats, though the net did have its “Adventure Time” ratings to lean on from the April 5 premiere. The message switched from last year’s “changing voice” to this year’s “adding great brands and beloved franchises,” in Snyder’s words.

Reel for “Tower Prep” went over well with the aud, as did the promo for the ongoing season of “Adventure Time,” which developed out of a short produced and aired on competitor Nickelodeon. Indeed, the half-hour comedy show was the most omnipresent property at the presentation, with actors in “Adventure Time” costumes coming out to join Andrew W.K. and his band at the end of the session.

Ad buyers, prospective licensors like Penguin Books, and journos mingled beforehand in the atrium, where fancy breakfast chow was served alongside Tom Collins glasses of strawberry-banana juice and pretzel sticks wrapped in salmon.

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