Cartoon Blocks Out Slate

4/05/2008 2:00 AM Eastern

Animated comedy, fantasy and movie will be the genre staples for three prime-time programming blocks for Cartoon Network beginning later this month, according to executives.

In addition, the network will develop 150 new animated pilots as part of its newly created “The Cartoonstitute,” according to Cartoon’s chief content officer, Rob Sorcher.

The network’s Friday night primetime block will feature animated fantasy/adventure shows, anchored by the network’s fall premiere of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the new series from producer George Lucas, who made a surprise appearance at the network’s New York upfront presentation last week.

Rounding out the lineup will be a new animated series based on the Batman superhero character; an offshoot of the network’s popular Ben 10 franchise dubbed Ben 10: Alien Force; and the previously announced series The Secret Saturdays.

Thursday nights will be the new destination for comedy-oriented cartoons, according to Sorcher. The staple of the night will be the network’s freshman hit series Chowder, which Sorcher said has been renewed for a second season. Other series slated for Thursdays include Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Camp Lazlo, George of the Jungle and new summer series The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.

Sundays will feature the network’s first movie block, which will offer such animated theatrical films as Ant Bully, Hoodwinked, Monster House and Open Season, Sorcher said.

“These are just the first steps in the evolution of a programming strategy that will lay the groundwork for highlighting all of our strengths moving forward,” he added. “We now have great tentpoles to launch these new nights and a platform to showcase established and up-and-coming talent.”

In an effort to find its next big hit, Cartoon will create up to 150 short pilots over a period of 20 months as part of its new Cartoonstitute initiative. Spearheaded by producer Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends), Sorcher said the network hopes to create a number of shows that will successfully migrate from pilot to series.

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