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Cartoon Plays to the Boys With New Shows, Games

Focusing mainly on boys, Cartoon Network unveiled several new programming events, five new series and a handful of new digital offerings at its upfront presentation to advertisers in New York Wednesday.

The show was held on a stage at Cartoon's parent company New York headquarters, the Time Warner Center, and used the slogan "we're on it," meant to connote both the network's relevance and presence on all media platforms.

Cartoon, which ranks third behind Nick and Disney in total day kids' viewing, will introduce one multiplatform programming event per month next year, said the network's senior VP, development/creative direction, Michael Ouweleen.

Those include Cartoon Network Invaded, a cross-pollination of characters from one show to several others, slated for May, and a live-action movie of the network's animated series Ben 10.

The network also plans five new shows, twice as many as it has ever announced at once, Ouweleen said. Those include Chowder, an animated comedy about a kid chef; The Misadventures of Flapjack, an animated pirate comedy set on an island of candy; and Re-Animated, a series based on the network's first live-action/animation movie, which premiered last year.

All of the programming is designed to play more to boys, following Cartoon's current audience skew.

"We're not trying to drive girls away," said Ouweleen. "We just know what we're good at, and we're going to stick with it."

Cartoon has seen bigger success in new digital ventures than in new linear TV shows in the past year or so. The network introduced two broadband networks in 2006 and said they yielded 2 billion game plays and more than 20 million video streams per month last year.

Following that, Cartoon is developing several new gaming projects, including a social-gaming world, a Massive Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) and a new mobile program.