Cartoon Network is putting the focus on building global franchises in 2011-12, the network said at its annual advertising upfront presentation in New York Wednesday morning, debuting 13 new animated series and a new live-action scripted comedy over the next year.
That effort includes a partnership with DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. to form DC Nation, a multi-platform block of branded original content produced by Warner Bros. Animation. DC Nation will launch in 2012 with Green Lantern: The Animated Series (following the theatrical release of the Green Lantern film this summer) and a revamped Young Justice.
The network is also developing a half-hour series with DreamWorks Animation SKG based on the popular film How to Train Your Dragon. "DreamWorks Animation recognizes the importance of building brands around great franchises, so you can imagine howthrilled we are to be joining forces with Cartoon Network to bring our newest franchise -How to Train Your Dragon - to television audiences around the world," said Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation CEO and co-founder.
Cartoon will also debut a new live-action scripted comedy called Level Up, about three high school gamers who mistakenly unleash the characters of an online video game into the real world. Level Up will launch with a 90-minute original movie in late fall, with the half-hour series slated for a spring 2012 premiere.
The presentation was held at the popular upfront spot Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, though John O'Hara, executive VP and general sales manager, noted that CN is the only network to do so with home court advantage (The hall is inside the Time Warner Center). Turner Chairman/CEO Phil Kent, as well as David Levy, Turner's president of sales, distribution and sports were both in the house for the presentation and breakfast beforehand.