At the first part of their upfront presentation in New York this morning, Cartoon Network announced their slate of new projects and acquisitions for the coming year.
CN offically announced a new original series titled Squirrel Boy, created and produced by Everett Peck, creator of Duckman. In Squirrel Boy, Andy, voiced by Pamela S. Adlon, finds himself dragged into awkward situations by his pet squirrel Rodney, voiced by Richard Horvitz (The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy). Also, voicing Andy’s dad is Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show). Rodney’s more feral squirrel buddy Leon is played by Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants). Cartoon Network Studios is producing 13 initial episodes to premiere in July.
Andre Benjamin was on hand to answer questions about his new show, called Class of 3000, created with Tommy Lynch and scheduled for a fall debut. In it, Benjamin plays Sunny Bridges, a musician who gives up the glamour of superstardom to become a music teacher. Each episode will feature a new song by Benjamin, performed by the characters of the kids in Sunny’s class. A one-hour premiere and 12 half hours are currently in production, and the second is in planning stages. Though there may be guest stars in the second season, there will be none in the first to allow the characters to establish themselves.
Also voicing characters in the show are Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants), Phil LaMarr (Samurai Jack, Justice League), Crystal Scales (Static Shock), Jennifer Hale (Samurai Jack), Janice Kawaye (The HiHi Puffy AmiYumi Show) and Jeff Glen Bennett (Gargoyles). Patric Verrone, supervising producer on Futurama, will serve as head writer. The show’s supervising producer is Joe Horne.
Michael Ouweleen, creator of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law , said the popular Adult Swim show would run to 39 episodes total, leaving nine episodes yet to be shown. At the end of that run, the staff may continue to work with Birdman or move on to a new show, Ouweleen said.
In series renewals, Ben 10 will see a third season, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy soldiers on to a sixth season, Camp Lazlo swings to a fourth season, and Ed, Edd & Eddy and Code Name: Kids Next Door will both continue to 78 episodes total. Justice League Unlimited and The HiHi Puffy AmiYumi Show will see their already-produced episodes air this year.
A DVD release of the best of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends is coming this year. The show was also greenlit for a fifth season.
The second season of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee returns to the network on March 11 at 11 a.m., while 15 new episodes of Totally Spies begin April 3.
A new Legion of Superheroes series is in the works, and though they said the show was still unnamed, CN did say the new show would include Superboy. A new Fantastic Four series produced in France by Marvel is also on the way. Also, as previously reported, Ultimate Avengers will air on Toonami April 15, while Ultimate Avengers 2 and Iron Man will air this fall.
Transformers Cybertron will start airing new episodes on Toonami March 11 at 7 p.m. Twenty-six episodes of The Batman that have already aired on Kids’ WB will make their CN premieres this summer. Bobobo-bo-bobobo, Zatch Bell, One Piece and Naruto will all continue with new episodes. Xiaolin Showdown migrates from Kids’ WB on March 3 at 6 p.m.
Other new acquisitions include Team Galaxy, a sci-fi adventure show from the same studio as Totally Spies, with a three-member team of teen heroes named Josh, Brett and Yoko. A Land Before Time series will also start airing in the winter, with the original characters from the movies.
And coming this late fall is Ellen’s Acres, about five-year-old Ellen’s adventures with her feather duster and radial tire in the hotel her father owns.
CN also announced “CN Mobile,” a program to make brief clips available to cell phone users. Though they said 90 of the clips, running about two minutes, are coming, whether they would consist of new animation or recycled footage is still unknown.
Finally, as a part of its “Get Animated Health Lifestyle Initiative,” the network will also sponsor a public service announcement campaign to discourage schools from cutting recess from kids’ daily schedules. The campaign, called “Rescuing Recess,” will feature the tennis star Anna Kournikova and skating star Tony Hawk.
Toon Zone brings you full coverage of the CN upfront presentation throughout the day:
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Updated 3/3: Images added for the new series.
[On-site reporting by William C. Maune]