Adult Swim Adds Saturday Block

Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” block is expanding to Saturday nights, adding several new shows and commissioning at least 22 new episodes of the once-cancelled series Family Guy.

Adult Swim, a late-night block that targets grown-ups, will run six nights a week when it expands to Saturdays, starting April 17, network officials said last week. The Adult Swim block has been running Sunday through Thursday.

The Saturday Adult Swim lineup, from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., will be dedicated to action-adventure and anime series, including InuYasha, Wolf’s Rain, Witch Hunter Robin, Case Closed and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

Apart from Saturdays, Adult Swim will launch a host of other shows, including The Venture Brothers, about two dimwitted siblings, on Aug. 8 at 11 p.m. Cartoon has also given the green light to seven episodes of the new series Squidbillies for Adult Swim, as well as 20 episodes of a still-untitled show from actor-producer Seth Green.

The Green project, which will use stop-action animation to take a satirical look at pop culture, is slated to premiere in October on Adult Swim.

Cartoon Network has also give the go-ahead on pilots for Tom Goes to the Mayor, about a civic do-gooder in a small town, and Stroker & Hoop, about two private eyes, for Adult Swim.

Also on the programming front, Cartoon Network ordered production of 22 new episodes of Family Guy from 20th Century Fox Television. The Emmy-winning series debuted on Fox after the Super Bowl on Jan. 31, 1999, and aired on the broadcast network until 2002.

Fox actually cancelled Family Guy twice, bringing it back after the first cancellation for a third season, and then dropping it again.

Cartoon Network added off-network episodes of Family Guy to Adult Swim’s lineup a year ago, and it became the block’s top-rated programming. Family Guy typically beats CBS’s Late Show With David Letterman and NBC’s The Tonight Show With Jay Leno in head-to-head competition for men in the 18 to 34 and 18 to 24 demographics, according to Cartoon officials.

Cartoon Network will air the new Family Guy shows in early 2005, but Fox broadcast does have an option to run them first.

Cartoon Network conducted its first-ever upfront event for Adult Swim, which launched in September 2001, last week in New York.