"It took off 18 months earlier than expected-we were racing to keep up with demand for related products," says Gary Albright, Cartoon Net-
work's senior VP-creative services, who oversees a staff of 28 licensing and marketing personnel.
Sales of Powerpuff-theme T-shirts, toys and housewares amounted to more than $350 million last year, earning top honors in 2001 from the licensing industry. This year, Kellogg Co. brought out Powerpuff breakfast cereal, Pop-Tarts and Eggo waffles. Next summer Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup get their own movie. "Powerpuff Girls" was actually the idea of Craig McCracken, who still creates it with a team from AOL Time Warner's Cartoon Network and Warner Bros., which is the show's official licensing agent.
Besides the show's overt appeal to little girls, the key to its success is complex themes drawing in diverse viewers, including boys and adults, says Mr. Albright, 49, a former comic strip artist who has worked for Hanna-Barbera and Walt Disney Co.