Cartoon Network wants to help modern animation be at its best

Although 2021 has been a big year for western animation thanks to hits like Esoteric and The Mitchells against the Machines, 2022 had a bit of a shaky start for the medium. There have been some very good series and movies released so far, but the industry as a whole is going through some upheaval in an effort to ensure that its workers receive decent wages, as well as more respect from from the rest of the entertainment industry. Netflix also recently canceled a number of anime series that had yet to be released, including the anime adaptation of Jeff Smith’s acclaimed graphic novel. Bone, in turn raising questions about the state of Western animation.

In a recent interview with John Maher of Vulture, Cartoon Network President Sam Register talked about his plans to make the network behind hits such as Powerpuff Girls and Dexter’s lab a place where creators can flourish. Because he’s also the head of animation at Warner Bros. Animation studios have signed creators for “inter-studio global deals,” meaning that if you make your own original series on Cartoon Network, you might end up working on a WB Animated feature, or the other way around. “Do you like looney tunes? You can do it,” Register suggested. “Do you have your own original idea? We also have a studio for that. Having a suite of studios allows us to have a different strategy when talking to talent.

On one level, we are already seeing this plan come to fruition, as the current successes Craig of the Creek and We bare bears have or will soon receive their own animated features, and Amazing World of Gumball gets both a movie and a follow-up series for Cartoon Network and HBO Max. Although the network has had no problems with the old IP address for the past few years, as The Teen Titans Go! and Goo, it’s the original series that has helped it stand out over the past decade. Register openly admitted to having a “great reverence” for the former WB animated slate, but stressed its responsibility to “the creators of the future”. To that end, upcoming CN events include Driftwood, an adventure of a movie about a space-traveling mouse by Victor Courtwright (Aquaman: King of Atlantis); and Juston Godron-Montgomery (DC super hero girls) half-hour series Invincible battle girl, the story of a young girl who decides to become a wrestler on her native island where everyone is an accountant. And that doesn’t take into account other shows like Genndy Tartakovsky’s Unicorn: Eternal Warriors due later this year.

Both Driftwood and fight girl are just parts of a larger game that Register is playing, a game that includes the upcoming reboot of the Cartoons anthology series, which at the eventual birth of the 90s hit shows as power puff and Courage the cowardly dog. His hope of Cartoons is that it will “celebrate animation by opening up the openness as much as possible,” as well as the larger goal of partnerships and celebrating diverse talent such as Black Women Animate. Cartoon Network’s new tagline is “Everything Original,” and if Register is successful, everything it has planned will ensure the network’s success with audiences and creators for years to come.

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Editor’s note: The release dates in this article are based in the US, but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.

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