"If you're a DC Comics fan this is the best news of all time," says Geoff Johns, chief creative officer for DC Entertainment, with only a slight hint of hyperbole. Johns was on hand at Cartoon Network's upfront presentation in New York City on Wednesday morning to talk about "DC Nation," a programming initiative that will showcase DC's expansive library of characters. Set to debut in 2012, DC Nation will include shows like Green Lantern: The Animated Series, a CGI show coming this fall (springboarding off this summer's Ryan Reynolds film) and Young Justice: Invasion, a 10-episode miniseries spinning out of the original Young Justice. ("I can't tell you much about it," Johns says of Invasion, but it will feature a lot of new characters.")
The partnership, which also involves the companies' corporate sibling Warner Bros. Animation, will mine 75 years worth of history. "We'll be diving deeper into the DC Universe with characters you'd never expect us to animate," Johns says, hinting that Blue Beetle is under consideration. (The presentation to advertisers included a glimpse at some live-action test footage with the character that has been previously revealed last summer.) Programming will be both on TV and online in a variety of formats. "There could be any number of mediums, that's the other fun part about it," Diane Nelson, the president of DC Entertainment, told TV Guide Magazine. "It's not necessarily limited to traditional 2D or CG animation — there could be stop motion, there could be live action, whatever suits the character."
In other news from the upfront, early footage from the new ThunderCats series was shown briefly, and it appears to pay great homage to the style of the 1980s original. Other announcements include The Looney Tunes Show, a new comedy cartoon featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig (frequently chastised for not wearing pants) and other classic Warner Bros. Animation characters.
Clips were also shown for Level Up, a live-action comedy TV-movie (airing this fall) and spinoff series about a trio of teenagers who accidentally open up a portal to our world from their favorite video game, unleashing havoc.
A new incarnation of the network's venerable Ben 10 franchise will debut, and it will have a crossover with Generator Rex, which was renewed for another season. DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg was on hand to tease the CG-animated series How to Train Your Dragon (based on the Oscar-nominated film), premiering in 2012.
Returning shows with new episode orders include the popular — and offbeat — comedy series Adventure Time and Regular Show; Mad (based on the humor magazine); live action series Hole in the Wall, Destroy Build Destroy and Dude, What Would Happen; Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated; Star Wars: The Clone Wars; and a new iteration of the network's popular animated "reality" show Total Drama, called Total Drama: Revenge of the Island.
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