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Cartoon Net Gets Into Toddler Biz

Look out PBS, Nick Jr. and Playhouse Disney, Cartoon Network and the Warner Bros. Television Group are putting together a new weekday morning franchise of original and acquired television targeted for preschoolers to premiere on Cartoon Network in spring 2005. The unnamed joint venture between WB and CN will mark both companies' first major production foray into the preschool market.

Its primary emphasis is on developing, nurturing and valuing a child's sense of humor, to be packaged within a distinctive, cohesive on-air environment, according to Alice Cahn, Cartoon Network vp of development and programming. She will supervise the development and acquisition of programming, working closely with Warner Bros. Animation president, Sander Schwartz, who will also be a major supplier to the joint venture.

"On weekday mornings, we know that younger children comprise the majority of our viewers when older siblings head off to school," said Cahn. "The significant resources and ingenuity of Warner Bros. Animation provides us a powerful partner to help build this new franchise into a joyful, meaningful experience for these young viewers."

"We believe that preschoolers are underserved in the marketplace and we want to fill that void with high quality, fun-filled entertainment across all media and all platforms," said Schwartz. "Our long-term relationship and experience with creating productions for Cartoon Network is simply fantastic. Our plan is to tap into the wonderful beloved characters within our unparalleled library, as well as create vibrant, exciting new franchises for the younger set of our audience."

"Research showed us that the marketplace was filled with television services pushing traditional skill-based curriculum for youngsters, but nothing specifically addressed the importance of letting kids be kids and showcasing humor to facilitate friendship, learning and self-esteem what I'm terming 'smart fun'," added Cahn.

KRYPTO, showcased recently at the Comic-Con convention, is the first announced series for the new preschool service, coming from WBA and DC Comics' Superman. KRYPTO follows the adventures of Superman's faithful canine companion when he lands in Metropolis after being jettisoned as a test-pilot puppy aboard a rocket ship made by Superman's father, Jor-El. He befriends a lonely boy named Kevin Whitney. Armed with a wide array of superpowers, Krypto uses his doggy superpowers with Kevin to protect both the people and animals in Metropolis.

All of the series will be developed in collaboration with a child development advisory board and from a curriculum framework based on the importance of humor to children's healthy development.

Cartoon Network, currently seen in 86.4 million U.S. homes and 145 countries around the world, is Turner Broadcasting System Inc.'s 24-hour, ad-supported cable service offering animated entertainment.

Warner Bros. Television Group, a Warner Bros. Ent. Co., is comprised of industry-leading television production and distribution companies (which together produce more than 50 original network, cable and syndicated series to all platforms worldwide) and the WB television network.. Providing programming for network, syndication and cable television, online, home video and feature films, WBA has garnered five Academy Awards, 31 Emmys, the highly coveted George Foster Peabody Award and numerous other honors.

Both Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. are Time Warner companies.

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