"Animation on the Web is growing quickly," said Sam Register, vice president and creative director of CNO, "and seeing that we are a network devoted to cartoons, we wanted to take an ownership of that and really be there on the ground floor." CNO launched last July and is the No. 3 kids' site, according to Media Metrix.
The first two series, built with Macromedia's Flash 3.0 browser plug-in, have been created by underground artists Gary Panter, best known as the creator of cult comic Jimbo, and Mark Newgarden, who worked on spoof trading card series Garbage Pail Kids. Panter's Pink Donkey and the Fly follows the escapades of a crazed fly in love with an impetuous donkey, while Newgarden's "B. Happy" is a curmudgeonly bluebird. Each short will be updated weekly.
The creation of Web Premiere Toons was inspired by the network's popular pilot program World Premiere Toons, a joint venture between the network and Hanna Barbera that resulted in five original series, including current network hits Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory.
"We're going to throw lots of stuff against the wall and see what sticks," said Register. "If the toons turn out to be great and work without interactivity, they could become TV shows." And that's all, folks!