As it stands, production has ended at the end of season six, as confirmed by several members of the Gumball production crew, including the show’s creator Ben Bocquelet who even retweeted the blog post in question which basically reaffirms what I’ve stated, even when I spoke to show director Mic Graves to ask him a few questions about Gumball at the end of the screening, he admitted that the show was ending, in the conversation I said “It’s sad that Gumball is ending”, he replied “At least, there’s always the movie”, then I talked about Adventure Time as an example of a show with an everlasting appeal, which could also apply to Gumball, even mentioning a new Cartoon Network themed attraction in the Middle East which was announced that week which has both Adventure Time and Gumball sections due to open in 2019, and then talked about the possibility of a Gumball movie and also about Elliott From Earth.
However, this morning (12th October) I received a phone call from Turner Northern Europe’s (Cartoon Network UK and Cartoon Network Nordic) Press Office in London about this particular statement on the blog post. Turner has said that the show hasn’t technically ended as they (as in management) can’t confirm that season 6 is the final season and there’s still the possibility of more seasons in the future, some members of the Gumball production team are now currently focusing on the new show – Elliott From Earth. So from a corporate standpoint, the door is still open and Gumball hasn’t ended, but from a creative and production standpoint it has for now at least. This is the case for any show though, any show can come back into production. Obviously, there’s no word of a season renewal for the show at the moment.
The aforementioned blog post has been amended to reflect this information, I apologise if I have misled anyone due to this and I feel really bad about it, I’m as confused as you. But still, it’s great to hear that Gumball hasn’t technically ended.
Special Report Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary Screening In London
Yesterday (29th September), Cartoon Network UK celebrated its 25th anniversary with a special screening at BAFTA’s (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) headquarters in Piccadilly, Central London. The special screening was presented by Nigel Clarke (also the presenter of the UK version of Ben 10: Challenge), the series director of The Amazing World of Gumball – Mic Graves was invited as a special guest for the questions and answers segment. Cartoon Network UK turned 25 years old on 17th September.
At the screening event, an episode each of three existing Cartoon Network shows were shown on the big screen – Adventure Time, We Bare Bears and The Amazing World of Gumball, followed by the Q&A session with Mic Graves and then the UK premiere of two brand new shows from Cartoon Network Studios which will air on Cartoon Network UK this Autumn – Summer Camp Island and Craig of the Creek. Craig of the Creek will have its UK television premiere on Cartoon Network tomorrow (Monday 1st October), with new episodes airing on weekdays at 5.30pm.
The Adventure Time episode that was shown was – “Shh!”, in the episode, Finn and Jake make a wager not to speak for the day and the only way they can communicate is by using signs, body language and hand gestures. As a result of not grasping the situation, BMO gets weirded out by Finn’s and Jake’s behaviour, BMO retreats to his hideout in one of the treehouse’s walls and listen to its favourite song, BMO is creeped out because it thinks Finn and Jake have been replaced. Finn and Jake chop down the wall with axes. Meanwhile, Waiting outside are a gang of “Bikini Babes” who want to dance with BMO, they fly to the treehouse’s roof. By chopping at the wall, Finn and Jake caused a rift in the wall, causing the ceiling to collapse which caused the gang of Bikini Babes to fall inside the treehouse, a fight then breaks out, BMO suddenly learn Finn and Jake were themselves all along, and invites Finn and Jake to party, the Party God then crashes the party and joins in.
Next up was We Bare Bears, the episode that was shown was called – “Chloe”, it’s also the episode where Chloe makes her debut in the We Bare Bears series. In the episode, a young child prodigy named Chloe sneaks in the Bears’ cave and documents their habitat with the use of a video camera, the Bears find out that she’s intruding in their house and starts interrogating her. Grizz, Panda and Ice Bear learn that she’s only researching about bears for a university project, the Bears then help out with her research. Chloe forgets her laptop and the bears read her presentation, the bears disapprove of what was written and decided to make a presentation that make themselves look awesome. Chloe didn’t know that the bears changed her presentation and was humiliated in front of her teacher and her fellow university students, the Bears feel sorry for what they did, they go up to the lecture theatre stage with Chloe and give an “A-grade” presentation.
The Amazing World of Gumball episode that was shown was the Childrens’ BAFTA award-winning episode – “The Shell”, In the episode, Gumball and Penny are acting the final scene a school play – Beauty and the Beast, during the very last moment, Penny (as Beauty) tells Gumball (the Beast), to kiss her, Gumball is surprised as it wasn’t in the script, he kisses Penny too quickly and accidentally headbutts her. Penny finds out that a crack has been formed in her peanut shell body by her left eye caused by the accident. Penny’s father – Mr. Fitzgerald is unhappy about what happened and forbids Gumball from seeing Penny again. Gumball also explains that whatever is in Penny’s shell is nothing to be ashamed of. Gumball is upset and can’t discuss about what happened with his family, he goes to his bedroom in sadness, suddenly Penny appears at her window and announces that her father has now put her in a different school, Gumball explains that Penny should be herself, she takes his advice and reveals her true fairy form. Gumball is too stunned and amazed to finish his sentence to tell her how she looks quickly enough, Penny sees this as a negative response. Penny thinks she ugly and shapeshifts into an ugly monster. Mr. Fitzgerald sees Penny’s new “ugly appearance” while driving in the street and is upset by it, he says some unintentionally hurtful comments about Penny and she flies away. Gumball finds Penny in the forest and tells her that feelings define her appearance, Gumball shares his true feelings and kisses her, Penny then shapeshifts back to her true fairy form, Gumball’s parents and Mr. Fitzgerald watch Gumball and Penny being happy together.
The episode of Summer Camp Island that was shown at the screening was “Time Traveling Quick Pants”. In the episode, the campers play a game of softball. During the game, Oscar’s pants come down revealing embarrassing underpants. He and Hedgehog find out about a quicksand portal that allows people to travel through time and use it to fix his mistake. However, every time they use it, something else goes wrong, such as going back to the time of the dinosaurs or accidentally setting fire to the hot dog tent on the softball field. However, Oscar and Hedgehog go back in time again and with success, the unfortunate incident didn’t happen, however it worked too well, as representatives from a softball camp invited Oscar as they were impressed by his skills. Oscar can’t move away from his best friend, so they go back in time one last time and admit that the embarrassing incident was meant to happen after all by recreating it.
The episode of Craig of the Creek was shown was the show’s first episode – “Itch to Explore”. In the episode, Craig draws a map of the creek but he and his friends JP and Kelsey find out about an empty undiscovered area, a circular area surrounded by a ring of Poison Ivy. The trio want to be remembered in creek history and what to claim the space as their own, aware of the risk, they prep up and wear protective suits, although JP gets exposed to the Poison Ivy, they discover that the centre of the poison ivy ring is a trampoline. They then meet a kid who’s immune to poison ivy, he spends time in the poison ivy patch to get away from his large family and to spend some time with himself. However, the kid doesn’t want other kids to know about his place of solitude so Craig decides to write “Keep Out” on the map, deterring kids from exploring that part of the creek.
Q&A with Mic Graves
In between the The Amazing World of Gumball episode and Summer Camp Island episode, there was a questions and answers session with Gumball’s series director – Mic Graves. This was an opportunity for kids and adults to ask questions about the show which also included a discussion about the history of Gumball. Mic met Ben Bocquelet – the creator of The Amazing World of Gumball at a creative studio in London called Studio AKA, which also produced adverts for companies, both Ben and Mic created characters for commercials, however, Mic was more successful than Ben. Ben decided to reuse the characters he created for a pitch for an animated show now referred to as “The Amazing World of Gumball”. As the show’s director, Mic oversees all aspects of production, from writing, storyboarding, background art, composition and 2D/3D animation and even gets involved in writing songs for the show. Mic also voices Banana Joe as well as his father – Banana Bob. Also present at the screening was the show’s voice director – Richard Overall who voices Billy Parham in Gumball. Mic was asked about how easy is it to draw the characters, he explains that drawing the characters can be hard, due to the shape of character’s heads and eye positions (especially Gumball) and mentioned that Darwin was meant to be a 3D character, which would of caused difficulty in the animation process as 2D and 3D characters would have to overlay each other. The character Mr. Small, is based on a person Mic used to work with named Steve Small, in fact Steve Small actually created the character and to an extent behaves like Mr. Small in real life.
During the Q&A session it was mentioned that work on The Amazing World of Gumball started in 2008, which means Gumball is now technically ten years old. Mic was asked why is the show and its characters were crazy, Mic jokingly said that its because of the people who work on it. Mic also explains that Gumball’s team produce the show from the perspective of their childhoods and what type of show they would of enjoyed as kids. The show has a lot of creative freedom, but sometimes Cartoon Network’s standards and practices team make sure that each episode is suitable for kids to watch. Some members of the audience were surprised to learn that The Amazing World of Gumball wasn’t made in the United States but in London with some work produced at Studio Soi in Germany (known for the animated specials The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child) the show makes use of British comedy writers’ talent and combines it with an American setting and American culture for the purpose of making it easier to market to audiences in the United States (Cartoon Network’s home market). The Amazing World of Gumball is currently halfway through its sixth season, season six will have a total of 44 episodes and a typical season of 40 episodes takes two years to produce. Mic’s favourite Cartoon Network show at the moment is Apple and Onion created by former Gumball storyboarder – George Gendi and his favourite episode of Gumball is “The Remote”.
Mic also revealed that there will be an episode of Gumball called “The Future” coming out soon, the episode will be about Barbara Banana’s (Banana Joe’s mother) prophetic paintings which depict scenes of what will happen in the future. After the screening, I had a chance to talk to Mic about the future plans of The Amazing World of Gumball, Mic said that a script for The Amazing World of Gumball movie is currently being worked on, however its still in its very early stages. Mic also said that he hopes that the movie will happen. I also asked Mic if he will be working on Cartoon Network Studios Europe new show – Elliott from Earth, he confirmed that he’s working on the new show with the show’s creator – Guillaume Cassuto (former compositing supervisor on Gumball), he also said the script for the pilot has been complete and there’s five drafts for other episodes have been written, he also confirmed that he started working on the new show this month. Animation is a lengthy process but its great to hear an update.
Also after the screening, I also talked to Nigel Clarke to see if there will be anymore episodes of Ben 10: Challenge, he said, Cartoon Network has given free-to-air children’s channel – CITV broadcasting rights to the show to help increase the show’s exposure, if it gets good viewing ratings, Cartoon Network could renew the show for another season. Also the fact that Ben 10: Challenge has spread to other parts of the world such as Asia is also a good sign about the show’s future.
Before leaving the 25th Anniversary event, I had my picture taken with Gumball and Darwin! :). I’d like to thanks Mic and Nigel for answering my questions and also to Cartoon Network UK for inviting me as well as BAFTA Kids for running the event. It was a fantastic day and I was so glad to be there to celebrate 25 years of Cartoon Network in the UK and mainland Europe.
Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel
Tomorrow (17th September), 25 years ago, Cartoon Network Europe commenced broadcasting, it became Europe’s first television channel dedicated to animation, the channel launched only 11 and a half months after its U.S. counterpart and just like the original U.S. version, it aired cartoons from Hanna-Barbera’s animation library, which includes all time classics such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo!, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and many more, plus the Tom and Jerry shorts from MGM.
Cartoon Network Europe’s oldest (publicly known) schedule that can be found on the internet (including TCM’s first night and CN’s first 24-hour schedule) can be found on the link below:
Also, a little bit of info about Cartoon Network before the channel’s UK/European launch on 17th September 1993.
— RegularCapital Cartoon Network News (@RegularTweetsUK) May 11, 2018
Cartoon Network Europe was the first version of the channel based outside the United States, a Latin American version did launch in April 1993, although that version was based at Turner’s HQ in Atlanta and to an extent, it’s still based there today. Cartoon Network USA had somewhat of a slow start, initially not every cable service carried the channel (it was available for those with a satellite dish), this wasn’t really Turner’s fault, it was just the reluctance of cable companies making long-term contracts. But when Cartoon Network launched in Europe, it took a different approach, the channel launched as a free-to-air channel available to all cable providers around the UK and Europe and anyone with a satellite dish pointing at Astra’s European satellite service. The first general manager of Cartoon Network Europe was Sue Kroll (now the Head of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution at Warner Bros.).
At launch, Cartoon Network Europe broadcasted between 5am and 7pm, it launched alongside and timeshared with another new channel from Turner – TNT Classic Movies, this was the precursor of TCM (Turner Classic Movies), which launched in the U.S. the following year. At launch, Cartoon Network already had rivals in the UK multichannel market, its biggest U.S. rival – Nickelodeon made it to UK shores 16 days earlier, Nickelodeon had the support of British satellite TV provider – Sky who still owns a stake in the channel today, Nickelodeon was already quite established in the U.S. and already had some original content, however, Nickelodeon had a slower but more localised approach to Cartoon Network and didn’t expand into other parts of Europe until later in the 1990’s, also Nickelodeon required a subscription to Sky’s newly launched Multichannels package.
CN’s other rival was UK-based TCC (The Children’s Channel) which was also available in the Benelux and Nordic parts of Europe and in France, it faced competition against children’s channel Canal J. It seems it was no co-incidence that Cartoon Network launched with a partial soundtrack service in French, Norwegian and Swedish, also a localised version of CN launched in the Netherlands four years later. Even though, CN was available in Europe, although it had quite a heavy UK focus as all shows were in English and mostly had UK focused advertising. In December 1996, Cartoon Network Europe became a 24-hour service, however most cable operators (as well as Sky’s analogue satellite service) continued carrying the Cartoon Network/TNT timeshare service.
Immediately after the channel’s initial launch, CN Europe was met with controversy on Continental Europe as the governments of France and Belgium prohibited cable companies from carrying Cartoon Network, as it was seen as an “invasion of American culture”, the ban was lifted. Turner’s news channel – CNN International has been broadcasting from London since 1985, so Turner already had an established base in the UK. On 26th November 1993, Cartoon Network Europe took part in “The Great International Toon-In”, where Cartoon Network USA and all six Turner-owned entertainment networks in the United States (that existed at the time), Cartoon Network Latin America and Cartoon Network Europe shared a marathon schedule presented by 3D-CGI character Moxy the Dog.
After a successful launch in Europe, Cartoon Network launched in the Asia-Pacific region the following year, which means, after two years, the channel already had near global coverage. The next stage in Cartoon Network’s journey will be one that will change the course of the channel forever. Over in the United States, the now Turner-owned Hanna-Barbera animation studio set up a new studio brand – Cartoon Network Studios and started to experiment with new ideas for the channel in a brand new animation shorts programme called “World Premiere Cartoons” (later became “What A Cartoon”), What A Cartoon spawned Cartoon Network’s original Cartoon Cartoons such as Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Cow and Chicken, Mike, Lu and Og, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Johnny Bravo. As years went by, Cartoon Network started to become less dependent on its classic animation archive and started to focus on more original programming, also the merger with Time Warner in the mid-1990’s further supplemented the channel with animated productions from Warner Bros. Animation, this included Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman: The Animated Series, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Taz-Mania, Animaniacs and the all-important post-1948 Looney Tunes shorts.
By the late 90’s, countries and regions started to have their own versions of Cartoon Network, where as the UK version (i.e. the original pan-European version) still functioned as the pan-European version of the channel up until 15th October 1999, a separate pan-European version was launched that summer which copied CN UK’s schedule (with some shows excluded and replaced), however after a couple of years, things started to differ. Also as a whole, Cartoon Network Europe started to diverge from its American counterpart in terms of presentation, by using an altered version of CN USA’s Powerhouse rebrand. All the movies from TNT were moved to a new channel – a UK version of TCM, TNT became a short-lived UK and analogue only entertainment channel.
In May 2000, Cartoon Network UK welcomed in the new millennium with a new channel that celebrates animation from the past – Boomerang (which originated from a programming block from the channel’s early days), this means Cartoon Network’s schedule was now freed up for more original shows, Cartoon Network Europe also started to make its own co-productions by partnering with European studios with new shows such as The Cramp Twins and Fat Dog Mendoza. In later years, came Robotboy, Spaced Out, Skatoony and Chop Socky Chooks. Cartoon Network UK started to air Japanese anime starting off with Dragon Ball Z, the popularity of Dragon Ball Z led to the establishment of the Toonami programming block, which led to a new channel called CNX in 2002 which targeted teenagers and young adults and featured productions from Adult Swim, action movies and Japanese anime. Less than a year later, the CNX channel was rebranded as Toonami and became more child friendly. Toonami started to move away from the action animation format and started airing live-action sitcoms, after this change, it closed a year later. In 2006, a companion channel – Cartoon Network Too launched, the channel acted as a overflow to the main CN channel and later focused on action animation, the channel also had a pre-school programming block called Cartoonito which later spawned the Cartoonito pre-school channel which launched in 2007. In 2014, Cartoon Network Too closed and Cartoon Network UK’s one-hour timeshift service – Cartoon Network +1 was reinstated.
The 2000’s decade saw an explosion of brand new animation from Cartoon Network Studios with Sheep in the Big City, Time Squad, Samurai Jack, Grim & Evil (later became The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy), Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? and Codename: Kids Next Door. In 2002, Cartoon Network introduced a brand new look called “Casillas” (Spanish for Boxes) as it was developed by design studio – Ink Apache, the rebrand was very creative and made use of existing archive footage of Cartoon Network’s animated shows.
In 2005, Cartoon Network UK (and the rest of Europe) introduced Cartoon Network USA’s “CN City” graphics package on its channel, CN City featured all of Cartoon Network’s cartoon characters living together in one city making it effectively one big crossover. The CN City era remains one of the most memorable eras on Cartoon Network and saw the launch of Foster’s Home of Imaginary Friends, Camp Lazlo, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and Cartoon Network’s most successful action-animation franchise – Ben 10. After CN City era, Cartoon Network UK introduced another rebrand featuring an arrow that heavily featured the logo, this era featured bumpers animated by British animation studio – Pesky. The second stage of the Arrow Era featured CGI bumpers developed by design studio – Stardust. During this time, Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack were airing on the channel.
In 2010, Cartoon Network UK introduced a fresh new graphics package known as “Check It” that helped reboot the channel for the new animation renaissance of the 2010’s, Check It is considered to be a modern adaptation of Cartoon Network’s original Checkerboard graphics package. This era saw the successful Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Cartoon Network Development Studios Europe first ever show – The Amazing World of Gumball, which had its world premiere on Cartoon Network UK in 2011. A high-definition version of Cartoon Network – Cartoon Network UK HD also launched in 2011. Uncle Grandpa, Clarence, Teen Titans Go! and Steven Universe later followed with another iteration of “Check It” – Check It 3.0. Before the end of Check It 3.0. The Powerpuff Girls reboot was introduced in 2016, followed by Ben 10 later that year. In 2016, there was a short-lived Check It 4.0. rebrand that only lasted a year. In 2017, the Dimensional graphics package was introduced, which is Cartoon Network UK’s current era, during this era, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Ben 10: Challenge, The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe, Unikitty! and Apple and Onion premiered, and next month, the channel will premiere Craig of the Creek. Coming soon in the near future another CN Studios Europe production will premiere – Elliott From Earth.
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