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Cartoon Network gears up for 2005 with new acquisitions

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MUMBAI: Cartoon Network seems to be on a high. The channel has unveiled some new shows, acquired original programming franchise and acquisitions at 2005 Kids Upfront Presentation.

The acquisitions include: Code LYOKO, Zatch Bell, Naruto, One Piece and Bobobo-bo Bo-Bobo.

This year, Cartoon Network will telecast brand new series and acquisitions, launch an original programming franchise for young viewers and their parents and support a healthy lifestyle initiative. This was announced a few days back at Cartoon Network's Upfront presentation to advertising executives and the media in New York.

Cartoon Network will air more than 400 new half-hours, including five new animated series, new episodes of returning original series and new acquisitions.

"We had success in 2004 with an emphasis on providing hundreds of hours of new programming and establishing new hit series, which, in conjunction with our dayparting strategy and a new on-air look, resulted in our best year ever with boys 6-11, kids and boys 2-11 and tweens. In 2005, we will increase the new programming on our air with five Cartoon Network series, new acquisitions, an original programming block for our youngest viewers and a pro-social campaign to increase kids' physical activity. I'm confident that, with our exciting new programming, we will continue to grow in 2005," said Cartoon Network executive vice-president and general manager Jim Samples.

On 21 February, Cartoon Network launched a national healthy lifestyles initiative targeted at kids 6-14 entitled Get Animated, a comprehensive on-air, online, print and off-channel campaign. The branded programme will tap the network's roster of original cartoon characters and distinctive 3D on-air environment to communicate positive lifestyle messages through multiple PSAs to air in Cartoon Network's morning, afternoon and prime time dayparts.

Cartoon Network also announced the development of the Untitled André 3000 Benjamin Primetime Series. Created by André 3000 and the master of cool kid TV, Tommy Lynch of Lil Romeo fame, this hotly-anticipated primetime half-hour comedy is the first animated series with a uniquely Southern sensibility.

The central character takes on near-mythical status as he returns to his hometown of Atlanta and gets caught up by a diverse collection of kid outcasts who swirl in and out of his life. The series is produced by the Tom Lynch Co, André Benjamin’s production company, Moxie Turtle, and Cartoon Network.

Highlights of Cartoon Network's announcements:

New Original Programming Franchise:

Tickle U: This new programming franchise, Tickle U, will focus on developing, nurturing and valuing a child's sense of humor, an essential aspect of a happy, well-adjusted child. The franchise's newly developed and acquired series also will be packaged within a distinctive, cohesive on-air environment with a live host and is aimed at kids aged 2-5. The show will be hosted by Marty -- an adult with a kid's unlimited imagination and big heart. Tickle U will be set in Marty's cool, bright and slightly askew workshop where he can build and fix anything. Throughout the block, Marty will engage kids with comedy skits and activities that will let kids be kids while developing a sense of humour and self-esteem.



New Shows:



Krypto the Superdog: This show, which made its debut on the channel this month, chronicles the comic canine adventures of Metropolis' day-saving superdog from the planet Krypton. Krypto jettisons to Earth after orbiting countless years in space as a test-pilot puppy aboard a malfunctioning rocket ship built by Superman’s father. Landing on unfamiliar terrain, the fully-grown Krypto swiftly seeks out companionship on Earth and flips over Kevin Whitney, a young boy who also longs for friendship. Krypto the Superdog will provide a lead-in to Tickle U when that franchise launches in August.



The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: From Judd Winick, comic book auteur and former The Real World: San Francisco cast member, this animated comedy-adventure packed with an array of characters from both the real and fantastic world, will premiere on the channel in June. The star of the series, Juniper Lee, has afterschool activities and hobbies like any other 11-year-old, but on top of yearbook staff and guitar lessons, Juniper is responsible for maintaining the equilibrium between the world of magic and humanity.

Camp Lazlo: This 30-minute animated comedy is scheduled to debut in July. Lazlo, star of the upcoming series, is a monkey who wreaks good-natured havoc on his highly-structured summer home, Camp Kidney. It has everything a camper could want: rustic cabins named after all the famous beans (like soy, garbanzo, jumping and cocoa); a beach for aquatic fun; a campfire pit; a loudspeaker for blasting music to all the campers; and a mess hall. On top of that, there's one uptight moose, Scoutmaster Lumpus, running the whole thing.

IGPX: IGPX (The Immortal Grand Prix) is set to debut in November and takes viewers inside the world of the “Immortal Grand Prix” with a team on their way to the championship race. For the new series, Cartoon Network partnered with Production IG, the famed Japanese animation studio responsible for Ghost in the Shell and animation sequences in Kill Bill. The year is 2048 and the IGPX has become the world’s most-popular sport. Two teams of three robots, each with a human pilot, race at speeds greater than 350 mph for the checkered flag.

My Gym Partner is a Monkey: In Cartoon Network's new animated series My Gym Partner is a Monkey, going to school almost literally becomes a trip to the jungle. Through an administrative mix-up (a typo changing “Lyon” to “Lion”), 12-year-old Adam Lyon becomes the only human student at Charles Darwin Middle School, where the animal inhabitants of the local zoo and aquarium send their kids. With signs that warn, “Do Not Eat the Other Students,” Lyon has his hands full just making it through middle school alive. Fortunately, he meets Jake Spider Monkey, and the two become fast friends. However, Lyon is quick to discover that having a monkey as a best buddy is as crazy as it is fun. The half-hour series, from creators Julie McNally Cahill and Tim Cahill, will debut in early 2006.

New Episodes of Returning Series:

Star Wars: Clone Wars: The Emmy Award-winning series will return with five new 12-minute episodes on Cartoon Network, setting the stage for the upcoming feature film Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith.

Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends: Cartoon Network's top series for 2004 will return with its second season in May, continuing the adventures of Mac, a normal 8-year-old, and Blooregard Q.

Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi: One of Japan’s biggest pop music acts will return to Cartoon Network for a second season in June. Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi follows the adventures of two very cool, but very different, pop stars as they travel from gig to gig or just hang out in their hometown of Tokyo.

Totally Spies: Cartoon Network will air 26 more episodes of Totally Spies during its block of Sunday night action-comedy series.

Atomic Betty: To her friends and family, Betty is the sweet and brainy girl next door. But when the galaxy beckons, she sheds her humdrum persona and becomes “Atomic Betty, Galactic Guardian and Defender of the Cosmos.”

Codename: Kids Next Door: The exploits of five pint-sized secret operatives will begin again with a new season on May 6. Additional episodes premiere in September.



The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: The macabre and humorous series about a boy, a girl and their best friend, the Grim Reaper, will return on April. Another season begins in October.

Ed, Edd n Eddy: Produced by creator and executive producer Danny Antonucci at aka Cartoons in Vancouver, the series, which made its debut in 1999, will air new episodes in October.

Teen Titans: Seventeen new episodes bring new and exciting changes for the Teen Titans in 2005. Cyborg has a final showdown with Brother Blood and the Teen Titans move to a new tower with five new members. This year, Aqualad, Bumblebee and Speedy pitch in to help the Teen Titans.

Justice League Unlimited: This season, Black Canary, Shayera, Vigilante, Vixen and The Question step up to face such villains as Lex Luthor, Felix Faust and Tobias Whale. And Superman takes on Cadmus in a battle that will determine the future of the league. Twenty-three new episodes will air this year.

D.I.C.E: D.I.C.E (DNA Integrated Cybernetic Enterprises) is a large organisation established to deal with emergencies occurring throughout the Sarbylion galaxy. D.I.C.E F-99 is the only unit comprised entirely of highly trained kids. When a problem arises in the Sarbylion galaxy, D.I.C.E is called to the rescue. And when their special training isn't enough, they rely on their Dinobreakers to help get the job done. Twenty-six episodes will air in 2005.



Dragonball GT: Goku, Trunks and Pan set out on their quest to recover the bizarre Black Star dragon balls, which were scattered across the entire galaxy after Goku was transformed into his boyhood state. The quest continues with 16 new episodes in 2005.

Duel Masters: The animé series about Shobu, a master of an engrossing playing card game who can bring the cards' creatures to life, will return in March with 26 new episodes.

Acquisitions:

Code LYOKO: Cartoon Network has acquired 26 additional episodes of the animated series that blends traditional 2D and 3D animation. Code LYOKO tells the story of a group of students who uncover a parallel digital world named LYOKO that is threatened by a deadly virus that could ultimately destroy Earth.

Zatch Bell: The new series takes viewers to the world of good and evil demons as Zatch Bell seeks to become the benevolent king over all of the demons that have come to Earth to conduct the ultimate battle. Cartoon Network has acquired 52 episodes of Zatch Bell.

One Piece: A boy, whose body has the properties of rubber, and his friends are on the search for the treasure left behind by a pirate king called One Piece. Whoever finds this treasure will become King of the Pirates. One Piece will begin in May.

Naruto: Twelve years ago, a nasty demon decimated a village but was contained in a baby who is now a student at a ninja academy. But this antisocial boy does not know that he is possessed. As he evolves as a ninja, his inner demon gives him more and more powers. The series is scheduled to air in third quarter.

Bobobo-bo Bo-Bobo: In this silly action series, BoBoBo can talk to and understand hair. With the help of his blond hair, he is out to save the land from the Hair Patrol posse and their leader, Baldy Bald, who is forcing everyone to be bald. The action series is scheduled to air in fourth quarter.

Apart from this, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has been given the greenlight for an additional season, its fifth, which will bring the series up to 65 total episodes. There will also be a 2005 Christmas special. Codename: Kids Next Door has been given the greenlight through its sixth season, which will bring the series up to 78 episodes.

On the other hand, Ed, Edd n Eddy will return with another holiday special for Halloween, Ed, Edd n Eddy’s Boo Haw Haw. The show has been given the greenlight to 78 episodes. Teen Titans has been given the greenlight for a fifth season. Justice League Unlimited has been given the greenlight for a third season of 13 episodes, for a total of 39 episodes.

Also, Duck Dodgers, starring Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian as interstellar adversaries in the distant future, has been given the greenlight for 13 additional episodes.

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