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TV ‘toons still going strong

Laura Sturza

Cable television’s growth means cartoon lovers have a few more

choices than when shows like “Top Cat” and “The Jetsons” were in

their heyday.

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Networks continue to expand their lineups to remain competitive

and satisfy viewers and advertisers looking for the next hit,

officials said. Cartoon Network recently announced the addition of

three shows and Nickelodeon has two new ones. Both studios are based

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in Burbank.

“We are looking to green-light more properties faster, and get

more new shows on in a quicker manner,” said Brian Miller, Cartoon

Network senior vice president and general manager.

The three new programs Miller’s network is producing this year are

on par with the number of new shows announced in recent years.

The studio has hired 20 employees to work on “LowBrow,” an

action-comedy series produced in Burbank. The other shows are

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produced in Sherman Oaks, Miller said.

Nickelodeon is also maintaining a steady output of new work, with

production underway on “My Life as a Teenage Robot” and “Danny

Phantom” at the Burbank studio. About 50 workers are being added to

the employee roster of 300, Nickelodeon spokeswoman Nicole Mazer

said.

“Danny Phantom” was created by Butch Hartman, who works at

Nickelodeon as creator of “The Fairly OddParents.” New shows pitched

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to the network do not come unsolicited, but as in-house referrals or

through agents, Mazer said.

Both networks said the timing of the announcement about the new

shows corresponds to the cycle of selling cable advertising. But

there is another reason for the timing.

“On broadcast, seasons tend to start in September,” Miller said.

“In cable, it’s really not that way. Releasing shows in the summer

works for us because we cater to a kids’ market.”

Because developing original shows has produced successful

franchises like “The Powerpuff Girls,” networks have become more

willing to take risks with untested properties, said Antran

Manoogian, president of Burbank-based ASIFA- Hollywood, the

International Animated Film Society.

"[In the past], most of what you saw in television was based on

pre-sold properties, like a comic book,” Manoogian said. “It seems

like you’re seeing more original properties being developed, [that]

are creator-driven or original ideas.”


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