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Cartoon Network will continue to lean into some of its most popular franchises, including Ben 10, Teen Titans Go! and Infinity Train, while also expanding with new offerings to help bolster sister streaming service HBO Max. WarnerMedia, which owns both outlets, announced plans for family and kids programming on Wednesday, giving the green light to more than 300 hours of series, specials and acquisitions.
The upcoming slate features plenty of characters that have anchored Cartoon Network for the last decade, but there are also some new franchises on the horizon, including Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. WarnerMedia revealed its picking up a second season of the previously announced animated series before the first season premieres. A prequel to the 1984 film Gremlins, about the mischievous mogwai critters, the first season is currently in production with a voice cast that includes Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, James Hong and Matthew Rhys.
“The show takes place in 1920s China,” executive producer/showrunner Tze Chun teased in a video WarnerMedia presented to advertisers as part of their upfront presentation. “We really wanted to be authentic to that time period and we have an incredible team of artists and cultural advisors who really built this world and made that happen. It starts in Shanghai and it follows that old Mr. Wing [played as an elderly man by Keye Luke in the original Gremlins] when he was just a 10-year-old boy named Sam. He meets Gizmo and he also meets a French street thief named Elle, and the three of them go on a journey through China to return Gizmo to his ancestral home, the Valley of Jade.”
Another new series is Jade Armor, which, according to the studio, “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.”
Also in the works are Family Mash-Up (working title), a musical live-action comedy that is described as “a modern day The Brady Bunch meets Pitch Perfect,” and Gross Girls, featuring “two best friends trying to survive middle school without losing any of their trademark stinky, hairy, mad science-y grossness,” according to the company’s press release. Parks and Recreation star Adam Scott is one of the producers for the latter.
As for the returning franchises, Ben 10 — now in its 16th year following a half dozen series and several movies — will keep going with a trio of 44-minute specials, the first of which is set to debut in April. Titled Ben 10010, it “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,” according to the press release.
And after more than 300 episodes (and counting), the wildly popular superhero comedy Teen Titans Go! is getting a spinoff series. Teen Titans Go! The Night Begins to Shine continues the story of the trippy 1980s-themed dystopia that Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy have previously visited in a crusade to save music.
Among the renewals are the fantastical adventure series Infinity Train (which was close to derailment last year, but will indeed get new episodes for a Book Four storyline) as an HBO Max exclusive; the wholesome Craig of the Creek; and the supernatural Victor and Valentino. The quirky Amazing World of Gumball will be getting the TV movie treatment.
Craig of the Creek will also be getting a spinoff, Jessic’s Big Little World, featuring Craig's brainy sister on her own adventures. That show will air as part of a new preschool programming initiative this fall called Cartoonito. Additionally, the block will include new series featuring Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry and the previously announced Batwheels, starring the anthropomorphic vehicles of Batman and his crime-fighting partners.