Taking a page from Cartoon Network's late-night Adult Swim franchise, MTV2 will launch three animated shows on Friday nights, beginning in June, in an effort to reach more young male viewers.
At that point, the 59 million-subscriber MTV: Music Television spinoff will debut a trio of 30-minute animated shows on Fridays — the one night Adult Swim, which this week began appearing on viewers' screens a half-hour earlier, at 10:30 p.m., doesn't air. Instead, Cartoon focuses on its own original series.
Adult Swim, which delivers “Friday Night Fix” content via its Web site (www.adultswim.com) on that night, became its own network from a Nielsen Media Research perspective, in March 2005.
As part of its animated lineup, MTV2 will resurrect the claymation-based wrestling-oriented show Celebrity Deathmatch, a former MTV staple pitting Hollywood and music stars in a no-holds-barred ring battle.
As for new animated series, the network will bow Where My Dogs At?, starring Saturday Night Live alums Tracy Morgan and comedian Jeffrey Ross as two stray dogs trying to survive on the mean streets of Hollywood, according to the network. A third, previously-announced series, Chico & Guapo, will fill the Friday animated block.
“Animation is the type of programming that's incredibly relevant to our audience,” said MTV2 general manager Dave Cohn. “Subversive, edgy humor is something that we've gotten good at and animation is a progression of what we've been doing over the past year.”
Cohn believes the animated block will only enhance MTV2's already popular “Sick-Em' Friday” lineup, which currently features original series Wildboyz, The Andy Milonakis Show and Wonder Showzen.
As for Cartoon, network general manager Jim Samples said he isn't concerned about competition in the adult-targeted animation space from MTV2 or any other network.
“One of the things you have to do when you're on top is stay on your toes, so it's not something that I'm afraid of,” he said “We do very well with kids on Friday nights, so [MTV2's] move is not surprising. Obviously they're recognizing the power of animation for adults.”
Last week, Adult Swim began airing at 10:30 p.m. on Mondays-Thursdays and Saturdays with episodes from off-network series Futurama. The Sunday start time for Adult Swim remains 10 p.m.
“We've had a demand from both advertisers and viewers to expand adult swim,” Samples said. “Futurama is such a strong show and performed well when it was on broadcast, that by putting in on 10:30 p.m. we felt it was a good transition show from our kids daypart to our adult daypart.”