Toon Dips Toe In Grown-Up Water, Plans Separate Upfront For 'Adult Swim'

Wednesday night's bash was all about the kids. Next month, planners and buyers will play in the big kids' pool.

That's when Adult Swim--Cartoon Network's effort to skew older--will have its own upfront presentation. Jim Samples, general manager of Cartoon Network, announced Wednesday night at the KidsWB/Cartoon Network upfront that Adult Swim's pitch to advertisers and agencies would be held in late March in New York City.

"It will be the most bizarre upfront presentation you'll attend," he promised.

Kim McQuilken, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Cartoon Network, told the MediaDailyNews on Wednesday night that it made sense for the channel and the ad community to have a second upfront, since it's handled by different planners and buyers.

Adult Swim started in September 2001 with two nights on the Cartoon Network, a channel more noted for kids and teens programming that adult-oriented animation. It expanded to five nights a week--Sundays through Thursdays from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.--in January 2003.



Donna Speciale, president of U.S. broadcast at MediaVest Group in New York, said Adult Swim was "kicking butt" for the Cartoon Network.

"They're smart to have its own separate upfront," Speciale said.

Samples said that Cartoon Network had delivered on its promise for more Adult Swim programming, with original shows like "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law," and "Sealab 2021," and by acquiring "Futurama" and "Family Guy."

While most of the upfront was about programming geared toward kids and young teens, Cartoon Network released a first look at its plans for the next few months. There are new and returning shows scheduled to begin in April, June, and August.

April includes the premiere of a new series, "Wolf Rain," that features wolves that mystically disguise themselves in human form; the beginning of 52 more episodes of "InuYasha"; and another season of "Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law" with the Jetsons, Speed Buggy, and Inch High Private Eye seeking legal help. Another series, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," will appear as a strip Monday through Thursday.

A third season of "Sealab 2021" gets underway June 20. Another comedy, "The Venture Brothers," begins Aug. 1.

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