New York— Poised to receive a separate rating from the mothership, “Adult Swim” — the young-adult-targeted block residing on Cartoon Network — has upped its production ante with a host of new series and pilots.
Taking a cue from Nick at Nite’s separation from Nickelodeon for ratings purposes in the second-quarter of 2004, Adult Swim will become its own network, from a Nielsen Media Research perspective, on March 28.
Airing from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily except Fridays, the block has evolved into a demographic powerhouse among viewers 12 to 34, 12 to 24 and 18 to 34, particularly among males.
The shift is designed to help the block wrest a bigger share of the $1 billion in ad dollars that are available in the late-night arena, where Cartoon executives proclaim that the block routinely tops The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and Late Show With David Letterman against these hard-to-reach viewers.
To help fuel the transfer, Cartoon plans to add a significant number of series to its schedule, the first of which is American Dad, about a Central Intelligence Agency operative whose battles against terrorism never end, even at home. The series bows in May.
September will be a big month for the block, which unveiled its programming plays at an upfront here Thursday evening, with the premieres of Stroker & Hoop, centering on a stumbling private eye and his partner, a master of disguise; Squidbillies, which tracks a family of cephalopods stranded in north Georgia, where they raise hell with local officials; fond of beer, 12oz Mouse loves odd jobs; and Perfect Hair Forever, chronicling the adventures of a young, bald boy in a mystical land where he seeks perfect locks. The following month, The Boondocks, based on the award-winning comic strip, is set to debut.
Adult Swim also okayed the production of fresh episodes of The Venture Bros. (13 installments) and a fifth season of the block’s first original-series hit, Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
Further down in the pipeline, Adult Swim is developing pilots for stop-motion series Moral Orel; Saul of the Mole People, about an explorer who plants his flag deep inside the earth’s core; Minori-Team, featuring superheroes of various ethnic descents battling discrimination; and Lucy: Daughter of the Devil, in which Satan’s kid lives in San Francisco, where she dates a guy named Jesus (Spanish pronunciation).
The pilots for these three will air sometime in October, according to network officials.
Additionally, the network talked up new seasons of Tom Goes to the Mayor, returning April 17; and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, back on July 24.
Fresh episodes of Family Guy will also surface in Adult Swim in June. Broadcast-network Fox will air new episodes of Seth McFarlane’s Emmy-winning series in primetime, before they’re made available to Adult Swim several days later. Exposure on Adult Swim and TBS, as well as strong DVD sales, has resuscitated Family Guy, which Fox cancelled in 1999, after a three-season run of 50 installments.