HBO and Cartoon Network’s upcoming animation slate runs from preschoolers to families, offering more than 300 hours of original series, specials, and acquisitions that will debut on its global Cartoon Network channels and HBO Max beginning later this year. Fan-favorite hits like “Infinity Train,” “Ben 10,” and “Craig of the Creek” are returning alongside new series like “Gremlins,” “Jade Armor,” and “Gross Girls.”
“After 100 years of creating some of the world’s most beloved IP, today we’re at the beginning of our new story, with the history, corporate unity, and modern approach to be the industry leader our heritage deserves,” said Tom Ascheim, President of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults, and Classics.
Moving forward, Cartoon Network is the central Kids & Family brand for WarnerMedia. The network also announced a new tagline, Redraw Your World, which aims to “empower kids to feel comfortable with who they are, embrace their uniqueness and believe in their own ability to impact change,” according to the network.
Cartoon Network also inked its first-ever musician-in-residence deal with 10-year-old viral music sensation Nandi Bushell to create a spectrum of multiplatform content. Cartoon Network’s preschool programming block is called Cartoonito, launching this fall.
“The world can be a pretty challenging place at times, but rather than wallowing in the world we’re given, let’s draw the world we want. At Cartoon Network, we create wildly original and diverse worlds every day, and that just may be the inspiration kids need to redraw their own world,” said Tricia Melton, Chief Marketing Officer of Warner Bros. Kids, Young Adults, and Classics.
“The characters, artists, and storytellers that make up Cartoon Network Studios and Warner Bros. Animation are some of the strongest in the industry,” said Sam Register, President of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios. “While each studio continues in the footsteps of their own proud legacy, they unite with a shared passion to create programming that will draw in audiences of all ages and be the engine that drives WarnerMedia to the top of the kids and family space.”
Getting into the content, HBO started with a new line of “Ben 10” specials is on the way. The network confirmed three 44-minute specials based on the hit Cartoon Network series, slated to premiere in April 2021. The first, “Ben 10,010,” takes place in the future when a disillusioned Ben 10000 is called out of retirement to recruit his 10-year-old version from the past to work together to save a future under siege. The second special, “Ben Gen 10,” follows Ben as he meets a young Generator Rex on the run from a hostile Providence working through a series of misunderstandings to save the world from being infected with alien DNA. In the final installment, “Alien X-Tinction,” the Tennysons are attacked by a villainous, dimension-hopping Omni-alien, and soon meet a parallel universe version of Max, who opens the door to hosting multiple Bens and Gwens, forming an alien hero army to combat this threat.
Steven Universe writers Matt Burnett and Ben Levin’s “Craig of the Creek” is moving forward with another season of the Emmy, GLAAD, and NAACP Image Award-nominated series. Ahead of its premiere, the animated-series “Gremlins” is already greenlit for a second season. The animated prequel to the beloved film franchise is called “Gremlins: The Secrets of the Mogwai,” and is currently in production. HBO Max confirmed the voice cast this week, including Izaac Wang, Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, James Hong, A.J. LoCascio, Gabrielle Green, and Matthew Rhys.
One of the big announcements of the press event was “Infinity Train: Book Four.” The show is coming back with new episodes and is created by Owen Dennis and produced by Cartoon Network Studios. HBO Max also shared a teaser trailer to get fans excited for the new chapter.
The series “Jade Armor” is in production with TeamTO and features a talented all-female creative team. The series centers around the martial arts-loving Lan Jun, an unlikely teenage heroine who must learn the ancient secrets of her family and uncover the unexpected, all while navigating life as a teen.
The network also announced that “Total Drama Island” is back with two new seasons. With no parents, no phones, and no mercy, the new animated series will introduce an updated cast of quirky, iconic teen contestants as they face hardcore competition, brutal eliminations, and more drama than ever before.
“Victor and Valentino” will return for a third season, and something sinister is unfolding in Monte Macabre. The popular duo will return to the Underworld for Dia de Muertos, hang out with the Reynas of Los Angeles for a Mariachi musical, and mark Halloween with a two-part special this year. The series is created by Diego Molano and produced by Cartoon Network Studios.
New projects in development for kids and families include: “The Amazing World of Gumball Movie,” and a “Family Mash-Up” series. The “Family Mash-Up” series follows a single mom and three sons, and a single dad with three daughters, who fall in love and get married despite their kids being in two fiercely competing acapella groups. The music-filled live-action comedy is created by Michael Poryes.
The series “Gross Girls,” from Cartoon Network Studios, follows Chuck and Zoey, two best friends trying to survive middle school without losing any of their trademark stinky, hairy, mad science-y grossness. Fans of the Teen Titans can keep “Teen Titans Go! The Night Begins to Shine” on their radar. The spinoff series follows Robin, Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, and Starfire as they journey back to the world of Night Begins to Shine when the musical land falls victim to a sinister new threat.
Another working title is “Tweety Mysteries,” a hybrid live-action/animated adventure from Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Bros. Television that follows a curious tween investigative journalist and podcaster named Sydney and her sidekick Tweety bird. Working together, the pair must solve various local mysteries in their small, quirky Washington state town.
Today’s programming announcements join the previously announced two-season greenlight of “Tiny Toons Looniversity” from Warner Bros. Animation, Amblin Television, and returning executive producer Steven Spielberg, as well as the inclusive family co-viewing slate that includes Genndy Tartakovsky’s supernatural family series “Unicorn: Warriors Eternal.” Cartoon Network will also launch weekend family movie nights with blockbuster features including Gremlins, Happy Feet, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, Shazam!, Back to the Future and more.