Recently, the news of a new Tom & Jerry series from Warner Bros. (who absorbed Hanna-Barbera in 1999) sparked a conversation about WB’s treatment of HB’s properties. Many people feel that while it’s good that WB continues to make new shows and movies starring Scooby-Doo and Tom & Jerry, they feel that WB should stop acting like Scooby and T&J are the only HB properties there are; that there are numerous other properties in the HB library that Warner could be relaunching.
Now, let me first state that I’m not the biggest Hanna-Barbera fan there is. Never have been. While I don’t hate HB, I feel that many of their shows, properties and characters are 1-note and interchangeable, even their greatest works like the aforementioned Scooby-Doo and Tom & Jerry, The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear I’ve found to be ‘meh’ at best, and I’ve never felt that HB deserved to be placed among the great cartoon studios like Warner Bros., Disney, MGM or even Jay Ward. That said, I do know that a lot of people love HB’s shows and stars and as such, it wouldn’t kill WB to show some of their other franchises besides Tom & Jerry and Scooby some love once in a while.
So last night Jason and I were kicking the ol’ idea nut around regarding this subject, and we came up with an idea for a programming block that could conceivably run on Cartoon Network, which would be the most logical place to run anything Hanna-Barbera, seeing as how CN is co-owned by Turner and Warner Bros.
The block would be called HBTV. Said block could either be 60 minutes or 2 hours long, consisting of 2 or 4 half-hour shows (again, depending on the length that CN chose to make the block); either 2 or 4 premiere cartoons (some examples: the 2nd season of Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Inc., the proposed relaunch of Wacky Races entitled Wacky Races Forever, the hypothetical Swat Kats reboot proposed by Christian and Yvon Tremblay, a new Blue Falcon and Dynomutt show, new action cartoons starring the likes of Space Ghost, Birdman, The Herculoids, The Galaxy Trio, etc.) intermixed with shorts and filler segments. Among the filler segments could be 1 minute shorts starring HB’s lesser and frankly, more interchangeable animal toon stars like Wally Gator, Squiddly Diddly, Magilla Gorilla, Atom Ant, et al as well as music videos featuring these characters akin the old ‘Shorties’ and ‘Groovies’ CN used to air, re-airings of the recently aired Banana Splits shorts which aired on Boomerang for a time, some of the old Super Secret Secret Squirrel shorts from 2 Stupid Dogs, the old 3 Robonic Stooges shorts from The Skatebirds, and others. It would be like a 2-hour love letter to HB fans, combining old established characters with new material.
The main thing preventing such a block from happening is that the Hanna-Barbera studio is no more; neither Bill (Hanna) nor Joe (Barbera) are with us anymore, and Warner Bros. holds the rights to all of HB’s properties. WB would be the ones required to make such an idea a reality, but in order to something like this to happen, WB would have to have an interest in such a project, and most suits won’t jump on an idea unless they think a profit can be made from it.
More’s the pity; this could be the perfect thing to run on CN once a week; I’m not even a big HB fan, but I’d much rather see CN run something like this instead of horrendous-looking crap like Team Toon.