Cartoon Network, which is crowing about the success of its new adult block, will add two new series to its roster of originals this year.
Cartoon has green-lit six half-hour episodes of Whatever Happened to Robot Jones?,
which will premiere in July. And Codename: Kids Next Door
joins the channel's lineup in November, officials said at an upfront presentation for reporters last week.
Network viewers chose Kids Next Door,
one of 10 pilots competing to get picked up as a series, last summer. Thirteen episodes were ordered.
Cartoon also has more than 100 new episodes of its original programs in production for 2002-2003, including 26 episodes each of Courage the Cowardly Dog
and Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy.
The animation network is coming off a blockbuster year: It finished in a tie for No. 2 in the primetime ratings and will hit the 80 million subscriber plateau this spring, according to general manager Jim Samples.
"When we started out [Cartoon], we always knew we had a lot of adult viewers," added senior vice president of programming Mike Lazzo.
The channel is trying to build that audience. Last September, it rolled out an adult block aimed at 18-to-34-year-olds. "Adult Swim" has recorded a 67 percent ratings gain for that demographic.
One of the cornerstones of the block, Harvey Birdman, Attorney-At-Law ,
will return in July with 20 new episodes. Cartoon Network has also acquired some off-network shows for "Adult Swim" —Home Movies,
with 13 new episodes,
and Mission Hill.
During a five-year period, Cartoon Network has committed $500 million to originals.
While Cartoon Network doesn't have a preschool block per se, it has acquired a show that will have appeal to that young group, according to Samples. The hit Japanese series Hamtaro,
about a 10-year-old girl and her gang of "precocious" hamsters, debuts in July. The show has sparked a craze, in that one out of four Japanese kids who've watched the show have bought the animal, according to the network.
Cartoon will also share new episodes of Scooby-Doo
with corporate sibling The WB, starting in March 2003.