Cartoon Network gets aggressive; pits toons against saas bahus

India's leading animation channel has shifted into aggressive mode, with the introduction of several new cartoon series at prime time from November 17.

In a single TV market like India, the move spells direct competition with soaps, game shows and late night movies on other channels. The all new programming line up clubbed under the head Night Shift targets teens and adults, which the channel claims forms 35 to 40 per cent of its audience. The same segment that has so far been watching tear jerking soap operas, money minting game shows and cable movies with the rest of the family. The cartoon channel currently claims viewership in over 15 million cable homes in India and in 23 million homes in the Asia Pacific region.

Industry observers say the move to introduce prime time programming has probably also been spurred by the imminent advent of Disney's 24 hour pay channel in the country. Cartoon Network's new genre of animation serials will be showcased exclusively on Night Shift and will include Indian television premieres of new series, a mix of animation and a one-of-its-kind animated talk show. The programming contains series like Home Movies, Space ghost coast to coast, Harvey Birdman, The Brak Show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Sealab 2021. The channel has, however, carefully stepped around the crucial slots when the in-law brigade slugs it out over other satellite channels.

Since 1994, the Turner promoted channel has been offering animated entertainment from the world's largest cartoon library of Warner Bros, MGM and Hanna-Barbera titles including original series like Courage the Cowardly Dog, Dexter's Laboratory, Ed, Edd n Eddy, I Am Weasel, Johnny Bravo, Mike Lu & Og, Sheep In The Big City and The Powerpuff Girls.


Harvey Birdman

Among the new series coming up is Home Movies created by Loren Bouchard that will air at 10:00 p m Saturdays. It is about Brendon Small, the socially awkward and undersized third grader, who through his ever-present video camera lens, provides a refreshing insight into the dysfunction of the adults in his life. Space Ghost Coast To Coast animation series produced by Cartoon Network, will air at 10:30 pm on Saturdays and is the only late night talk show hosted by cartoon superhero Space Ghost fully costumed, with an array of superpowers, along with archenemies Moltar and Zorak, whom he has enslaved as unwilling members of his late night crew. The bossy inquisitor will grill a range of "Pop Culture" luminaries ranging from Jim Carrey to Cameron Diaz.

Harvey Birdman, to be aired on 11:00 pm Saturdays is the world's first animated courtroom drama, trying the crimes and misdemeanors of the cartoon world. This will be followed by The Brak Show, at 11:15 pm Saturdays which is about the high school travails of Brak and Zorak (unwilling co-hosts of Space Ghost Coast To Coast) as they spend their formative years in outer space suburbia. The show follows the beloved tenets of classic family sitcoms but also includes a wry sensibility and plenty of catchy songs.


Space Ghost Coast To Coast

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, will be aired at 11:30 pm Saturdays which is about the surreal adventures of the three Aqua Teens Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad , three human sized food products who consider themselves detectives, even though they bumble their way through each and every mystery.

This will be followed by Sealab 2021 at 11.45 pm on Saturdays which showcases a kitschy update of a Hanna-Barbera production about an undersea city, where the whole Sealab went insane and unfit to run anything. Sunday nights has the animation series Sheep in the Big City, a classic live-stock-out-of-water story about a sheep which has run away from the farm to hide out in the big city because a Top Secret Military Organisation is after him. This will be followed by I am weasel, a well-spoken Weasel along with the slack-jawed Baboon, which will feature adventures filled with comic twists, usually stemming from Baboon's constant struggle to measure up to Weasel's stature and notoriety. The Popeye Show will come on next featuring the spinach-powered sailor Popeye who's always ready to fight for Olive's favour and in constant battles with arch rival Bluto.

Weekdays has the biceps-bulging, karate-chopping free-spirit romeo Johnny Bravo. The Adventures of Tintin will come next, showcasing tales of a young hot-blooded newspaper reporter who will take viewers to the most intriguing and exotic places on the globe in search of hot stories. Speed Racer next takes a look at behind-the-wheel racetrack adventures of the incredible Mach 5 racing car.

Superfriends premiered on 19 November at 11:00 pm showcasing the team of superhero crimefighters Superman, Aquaman, Batman and Robin, and Wonder Woman, along with child superheroes-in-training Marvin, Wendy and Wonder Dog, each equipped with special powers and will be aired Mondays to Wednesday. Boomeraction will follow on Thursday nights, an one hour block devoted to the classic Hanna Barbera action-adventure cartoons. Each week the spotlight will shine on two action heroes which include Jonny Quest, Birdman, The Galaxy Trio, The Herculoids, Galtar, Moby Dick, Mightor, Shazzan and Space Ghost.

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