Nice cool 100 degree day in Burbank, but the air-conditioning was working at Cartoon Network yesterday. I bopped through the main building in the afternoon and didn't pass out from heat stroke.
The Foster crew is hard at work on the second floor, one of the few animated teevee shows in production in L.A. Such is not the case for 13 half-hours of the Transformers. With its tight budget, the Monster Robot show is being boarded and produced overseas, with only scripts, design and postproduction happening in Burbank.
But happily for CN, previously lacklustre ratings seem to be looking up:
Recently re-launched as a bastion of comedy for the children's entertainment network, "Har Har Tharsdays" -- which airs on Thursday evenings from 7:30pm-10:00pm (ET) -- is earning a quality return in viewership for airing new episodes of original and acquired animated programming. In related news, Cartoon Network's Saturday morning programming block "Dynamite Action Squad" has also found success in the recent week of ratings.
Recently acquired animation for broadcast such as Total Drama Island and Johnny Test have performed well alongside network originals, like the eclectically designed Chowder and the adventure-packed comedy The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack. It's not always easy reinventing the program guidance of an entire cable network, but after some time, Cartoon Network is looking to produce a series of weeks that build on one another, edging closer to success on a larger, seasonal level.
While key demographics showed up for Thursday comedy animation, Cartoon Network also earned double-digit growth on Saturday mornings ...
Artistic staff is steadily being hired for the CN shorts project now underway, and half-hours for Flapjack, Chowder and the newer version of Ben 10 continue in work. A director told me:
"They've ordered a bunch more Chowders after the first order of seven, and Ben 10 and Flapjack are doing well. I'm pretty sure they're going to pick up more Bens, since it's a good performer..."
I spent a bunch of time in an animation veteran's office, somebody who's been in the 'toon business considerably longer than I have, but still has energy to burn. We reminisced about how we were once the young punks who got guff from old-timers: "Whatta you know? I've been in this damn business thirty damn years!" and how we hated it.
Both of us acknowledged how we are now the old farts saying Whatta you know?! I been in this business (etc.)... And then he said to me:
"Guess what I tell the kids now? 'Look at me close. I'm what you're going to become. You see me, you see your future.'"
Since this artist is one of the stronger players in the game, the whippersnappers will be lucky and blessed if he's the future they have before them.