WarnerMedia is doubling down on its kid-friendly programming, green-lighting hundreds of hours of original content that will see the company’s kids and family offerings unite under its designated TV hub Cartoon Network and streaming home HBO Max.
Aimed at a wide age spectrum of preschoolers to family co-viewing, the company’s Cartoon Network-based expansion will comprise more than 300 hours of acquired and original series as well as specials, on top of the 3,000 hours of existing library content WarnerMedia maintains across its platforms.
As WarnerMedia’s flagship family brand, Cartoon Network has a new tagline that reflects its newfound prominence and desired role in fostering diversity, respect and tolerance: “Redraw Your World.”
“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,” says Tricia Melton, chief marketing officer of Warner Bros. Kids, Young Adults and Classics.
In the spirit of its new slogan, Cartoon Network has signed its first musician-in-residence, 10-year-old rock prodigy Nandi Bushell, who will be tasked with creating a range of multiplatform content.
On the programming side of things, WarnerMedia’s newest shows for young viewers include a series of three original “Ben 10” specials and “Jade Armor,” which is being helmed by an all-female creative team. It has also given some of its hit shows like “Total Drama Island,” “Gremlins” and “Craig of the Creek” the all-clear for new seasons.
“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,” says Tom Ascheim, president of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics, of WarnerMedia's “HUM” acronym—short for history, unity and modernity.
Other revisions to the company's content structure include an emphasis on girls, who've historically been second to boys in garnering Cartoon Network's attention, as well as a weekend family movie block.
In addition to its renewed attention on family viewers and kids aged 6-11, WarnerMedia also announced plans today to launch Cartoonito, a new preschool-focused programming block that will encompass roughly 20 shows upon its debut.
“Cartoonito is our biggest commitment to preschool programming in 100 years. Our educational philosophy coupled with the incredible caliber of innovative, educational content that will comprise this offering is second to none,” says Ascheim.
The rollout of Cartoonito involves “reimagining” some of the company’s legacy franchises as age-appropriate spinoffs, including “Batwheels,” “Bugs Bunny Builders” and “Tom and Jerry Junior,” Ascheim adds. That’s on top of its other acquired series like Mattel Television’s “Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go” and original shows such as Sesame Workshop’s animated comedy “Bea’s Block,” which will debut on HBO Max.
At the core of Cartoonito’s mission is “Humancentric Learning”: a proprietary ideal of inclusivity that encourages children to treat others with respect and empathy, WarnerMedia says. The concept is based on four key pillars—curiosity, courage, creativity and humanity—and was developed in conjunction with educational psychologist and consultant Laura Brown.
“Cartoonito is designed to be a thoroughly modern preschool brand, both by leaning into our iconic content and by inviting fresh new voices in,” says Warner Bros.’ Head of Kids and Family Programming Amy Friedman. “Grounding everything we do in Humancentric Learning will ensure that kids embrace and celebrate their differences and everyone else’s.”
Cartoonito is set to launch this fall on Cartoon Network and HBO Max and is slated to see at least 150% content growth following its debut, with WarnerMedia saying the preschool block’s goal is to host a slate of more than 50 unique series within its first two years.
WarnerMedia released the new programming news ahead of its "Kids & Family Upfront" that is being held virtually today.