Upfront: Cartoon Net Preps Bugs, Bats Refresh


What’s old is new again at Cartoon Network, as the kid-targeted Turner property in the coming months plans to reintroduce a host of familiar animated franchises.

As was originally announced during last year’s upfront presentation, Cartoon Net is updating the Bugs Bunny brand with an all-new Looney Tunes Show set to bow May 3. Joining the wiseacre rabbit are exasperated frenemy Daffy Duck, the perpetually underdressed Porky Pig, barnyard blowhard Foghorn Leghorn and (in CGI form) Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner.

The framing device for this latest Looney Tunes refresh is a Desperate Housewives/Odd Couple mashup. Per cartoon logic. Bugs and Daffy are roommates; the rest of the gang are scattered around the same suburban cul-de-sac.

Also in the works is a remake of the mid-‘80s Rankin-Bass strip ThunderCats, which looks to introduce a new generation of kids to the weird feline/humanoid alien warriors of Thundera. Cartoon Net did not offer a premiere date for the new show.

Thanks to a partnership with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, Cartoon Net will put a 21st century gloss on the caped and cowled superheroes of yesteryear. Set to launch in 2012, DC Nation is a multiplatform programming block featuring characters based on the classic DC Comics library, including Batman, Superman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman.

The first crime-fighter set to take a bow is Green Lantern, who will appear in an all-new animated series next year. Synergy and timing seem to have determined the DC Nation batting order; the live-action Ryan Reynolds-Blake Lively Green Lantern theatrical premieres June 17, 2011.

A franchise of far more recent vintage is getting the basic cable treatment, as DreamWorks Animation SKG CEO and co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg talked up a weekly animated show based on the 2010 3-D theatrical How to Train Your Dragon. Originally announced in October, the series follows TV spinoffs of DreamWorks titles Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda––both of which have found a home at Cartoon Net rival Nickelodeon.

Continue to next page →