Cartoon to ‘Swim’ Saturday, Add New Family Guy

Cartoon Network’s "Adult Swim" block is expanding to Saturday nights, adding several new shows, and the network has commissioned a minimum of 22 new episodes of once-canceled series Family Guy, officials said Thursday.

Adult Swim, a late-night block that targets adults, will start airing six nights per week when it expands to Saturdays starting April 17, according to network officials. The block has been running Sunday-Thursday.

The Saturday Adult Swim lineup, from 11 p.m.-2 a.m., will be dedicated to action-adventure and anime series, which will include 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 dim-wittedsiblings, Aug. 8 at 11 p.m.

Cartoon has also green-lit seven episodes of 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 on Adult Swim in October.

And Cartoon has given the go-ahead to 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, Cartoonordered production of 22 new episodes of Family Guy from 20th Century Fox Television.

The Emmy Award-winning series debuted on the Fox Television Network after the Super Bowl Jan. 31, 1999, and aired on Fox until 2002. Fox actually canceled Family Guy twice, bringing it back after the first cancellation for a third season, then dropping it again.

Cartoon 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’ The Late Show with David Letterman and NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in head-to-head competition for men in the 18-34 and 18-24 demographics, according to Cartoon officials.

The network will air the new Family Guy shows in early 2005, but Fox has an option to run them first.

Cartoon conducted its first-ever upfront for Adult Swim -- which debuted in September 2001 -- Thursday.