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Looney Tunes News

Here’s some GOOD Cartoon Network news for a change. The classic Looney Tunes will be returning to Cartoon Network next Sunday. They are already running promos for a six-hour marathon on Sunday, 11/15. Then starting the next day, CN is showing an hour of Looney Tunes each weekday from 11am-noon (Eastern). It’s been nearly seven years since they had a regular TV time slot – and all it took was a disastrous experiment with a live action block to get them back.

Meanwhile, a new Looney Tunes series in production at Warner Bros. has shut down, according to the Animation Guild blog. After four months in production – with a great crew at the helm (that’s a Jim Smith gag drawing, above) – the show, tentatively titled Looney Tunes Laff Riot, will undergo a redesign. Apparently, the first completed episode was screened for higher ups who didn’t like the UPA-esque revamp. The show is expected to resume production in a few months – with new model sheets.

Production continues, however, on a series of 3 minute CGI, 3-D theatrical Looney Tunes shorts – the first one featuring the Road Runner.

If any Warner Bros. artists or Cartoon Network insiders want to write in to clarify or correct any part of this post, we welcome your comments below.

(Thanks, Jon Cooke)

  • Kevin Wollenweber

    I usually choose to watch my LOONEY TUNES on the GOLDEN COLLECTION sets, fully restored, but I want to give the Cartoon Network a chance to redeem itself. So, are they actually going to use the restored versions of all the cartoons they choose to show? Here is an opportunity for those at the network to really do their homework, pull out even some black and white titles that have not officially been restored for home video as yet, and that, alone, will guarantee the network many, many viewers. LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES is, perhaps, the largest library of cartoons in the country, spanning nearly four decades and featuring an amazing array of talent both in sound and vision. This is good news, and I’ll be sure to tune in for the marathon – Surprise me!

  • Kyle Maloney

    UPA style Looney Tunes eh? I would have like to see those, even though more often than not I despise that style. I’m glad its still going forward though, my heart sank when I heard the first sentence, I thought it was being canned outright. Don’t like the sound of excec meddling though…

    And naturally I’m excited to finally have the classics back on CartoonNetwork again. 7 years is far too long.

  • Kyle

    Kevin, no way they air any black and white stuff outside colorized versions.

  • Ad

    So was some Looney Tunes Laff Riot cartoons actually made? Or was it only in the planning stage? I would like to see what they came up with if the crew got a chance to animate anything, sounds interesting.

  • Darn, if that Jim Smith is any indication of the route Looney Tunes: Laff Riot may be going when production continues, call me excited, unless the re-design involves removing stuff like that then boo WB!

  • Matthew

    Maybe the model sheets should have been approved before the animation began?

  • Marc Baker

    The news of ‘Looney Tunes’ returning to Cartoon Network sounds like they’re trying to redeem themselves after their dreaded ‘reality’ experiment, but we shall see. The network has a LOOOOOOOOOONG way to go before they can reclaim their former glory. Plus, the fact that Warner Bros. is actually working on a new ‘Looney Tunes’ series could also be a sign that they want to erase the stench of ‘Loonatics’, or the Larry Doyle shorts. I just learned that Tom Ruegger of ‘Tiny Toons’, and ‘Animaniacs’ fame posted on the Toonzone forums about his involvement in this new series. Besides, you can only milk Scooby-Doo so many times, right?

  • Will they be shown intact I wonder? I’ve been watching The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show on Teletoon Retro and notice they’ll sometimes (very awkawrdly) edit out clobberings. So annoying!

  • Christopher Cook

    If they run the old cartoons that were in the A.A.P. package (1934-43 Merrie Melodies and color Looney Tunes), will they have their original “That’s all Folks” endings or will they still have those “redubbed versions”? (Those had 1937 “TAF” endings on virtually all Leon Schlesinger cartoons and a standard late 40s ending on the others.)

    Still, with the way things have gone, we can take our classic Warners any way we can get them.

  • stavner

    Congratulations, you did it! It’s good to see that Bugs and Daffy will be back on somewhere!

  • Jason

    UPA-style???? AAARRRGHHH!!! NOOOO!!!! I don’t wanna see Bugs turned into Gerald McBoing-Boing!!!!

  • uncle wayne

    Damn! That IZZ great nooz! Thank YOO!! But…out of the 900 some films….WHICH passle are they going to run? The “star” ones!? The one-shots, the pre-’48s, the entire 900,? I can’t wait!!!

  • This is some of the best news I have heard in a long time. I have two nephews who have no idea who Bugs Bunny is (longs story why I haven’t solved that problem myself) but the fact that they will be on tv will help. It has been criminal that the Warner shorts have not been on television for so long.

    I am also looking forward to new cartoons. I hope they meet the standards set by the originals, and for that matter newer Warner toons like Animaniacs and Freakazoid!.

  • Kevin Martinez

    I remember hearing that the situation was so bad that Warner contemplated shipping the Looney Tunes package to Disney and Nickelodeon (this was after Toon Disney started airing Batman and Superman).

    Good thing CN came to their senses. The folly of CN Real would have stung even more with a chaser of a rival network getting good ratings off a franchise they passed on.

  • just good news, great, thanks Jerry for sharing the information with us, I feel happier.

  • Tom Ruegger

    Marc Baker wrote: I just learned that Tom Ruegger of ‘Tiny Toons’, and ‘Animaniacs’ fame posted on the Toonzone forums about his involvement in this new series.

    Marc, I’m not involved in the “Laff Riot” series at WB Animation and never have been. On the Toonzone forum, I was simply reporting the same news being reported here.

  • squirrel

    That’s GREAT NEWS!! And bad news. …but GOOD NEWS! …but more bad news…

    They were gonna revamp a Looney Tunes show with a UPA style!??! REALLY??!! ….actually I wouldn’t doubt they’d go there.

  • brad renner

    I would love to see the model sheets from the episode that got canned!!!

  • Robert Barker

    As wonderful as the DVD collections are, there is something about watching a half hour block of Looney Tunes on TV. Maybe it’s not knowing what cartoon is coming up and then being surprised. Meep Meep.

  • Brad Constantine

    I’ll take it…Thanks Cartoon Network!! Better get some cereal…

  • I was worried at first about WB rejecting the new Looney Tunes series, and hiring a new crew, but if their idea was to give it a UPA feel, then I’m glad WB is switching artists. I never liked the UPA style.

    And we’re getting 3 minute CGI theatrical LT shorts now? Hm. Kinda like when Disney made those 2-minute “Mouse Works” shorts for theaters. I hope these will be good.

  • Mesterius

    This is fantastic news! As for the new TV series, I sure hope that one, completed episode of the UPA-esque revamp makes it online. I think I’ll just have to see it for myself before giving any judgment, but the style does sound a bit interesting. After all, many of the later Looney Tunes shorts from the late 50s-early 60s were getting gradually closer to a UPA-ish look – not least thanks to the great art direction in many films by Maurice Noble. To see something of that artistic level (unrealistic as it might sound) would really be something! So, in conclusion… whatever direction this new redesign takes, it better be as good as – or better than – the original approach.

    By the way, am I the only one feeling worried about those 3D, CGI theatrical Looney Tunes shorts?…

  • Ricardo

    “the first completed episode was screened for higher ups who didn’t like the UPA-esque revamp”

    Yeah personally, I don’t like the sound of that either. However, I hope they don’t back to the bland character designs that have been used since the 90’s.

    Also CGI Looney Tunes isn’t reall shocker, it was bound to happen. But what I really don’t like is the running time, three minutes ? That is ridiculously short.

  • Jeffrey McAndrew

    With the bar set so high after the overwhelming success of Baby Looney Tunes and then Loonactics Unleashed and Duck Dodgers do you really think CN will be able to pull off the magic again?

  • Keith

    I wonder what “higher-ups” didn’t like the UPA-ish style? Higher-up artists, or higher-up suits who don’t like anything if it doesn’t look like the corporate style-guide for the characters? I’d like to see it. It’d be something different, and it might actually work.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Somehow I’m intrigued by the UPA revamp, I wouldn’t mind if it was just more the look of the backgrounds if the characters were left alone, though either way it makes for an interesting approach despite the opinions raised.

  • Matt

    It doesn’t matter. I can’t see Looney Tunes ever being as good as the originals, especially if they were gonna be done in a UPA style of limited animation. That’s practically sacrilege. So, I’m kinda glad this isn’t moving forward, although I still have no hope of any “revamping” being anywhere near as genuine and fun as the originals either. If an executive these days has any say whatsoever in the making of a Looney Tunes cartoon, you can pretty much be guaranteed that it’s going to be horrible.

  • I’ve seen the designs…

    I wouldn’t call the show style “UPA-esque”… Nothing flat or overly 2D about them. … and they looked amazing.

  • Mesterius

    “… and they looked amazing.”

    Damn, that’s what I was afraid of! May this be yet another story of a promising, great-looking show getting halted by executives? I’d really like to see those designs now… you think there’s any chance they’ll get posted online?

  • I’ve seen very few contemporary LT cartoons that I could stomach but I’m intrigued by the thought of a few 3D toons. I always thought it would be interesting to see someone take an original classic LT soundtrack and recreate the toon in CGI (paying extreme attention mind you to the original character models, camera angles and expressions). Anyone know if something like this has been done…successfully?

  • Thomas

    Gee… this sounds… greaat.

    The real story here is that a few people made decisions that stunk, a LOT of people lost their jobs for the holidays, and those same few management people are still there, ‘retooling”.

    I’ll bet this is no good all around. There will be too many hands in it, too many cooks. Too much noodling, massaging, focus grouping.

  • CartoonCrazy

    I REALLY like the first news!

    The second… eh… not so much.

  • Marc Baker

    Oh, my bad. Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Ruegger. I’ve had a busy week. anyway, about this info about ‘3D’ shorts, i just hope they’re aren’t all CGI shorts. I just can’t imagine looney tunes working in 3D beyond your average videogame.

  • EricW

    This stuff about Laff Riot is fascinating, but I’m too busy picturing some kid born after 2001 flipping through the channels and accidentally stumbling across the vintage WB stuff for the first time. One small step towards restoring the natural balance…

  • King Nope

    “UPA-esque revamp.”

  • Meh – I’ll just rip the DVDs I’ve got to .avi and shuffle ’em on my iPod. Same diff.

    Note to WB – take that amazing team you’ve gathered and let them make something new.

  • Deaniac

    Classic Looney Tunes on CN is always a plus.

    As for Laff Riot, that’s just dissapointing. I was really looking foward to this new series; it was shaping up to look like the old shorts. Hopefully, this “redesign” doesn’t effect the show too much.

    Oh, and I’ll pass on CGI Looney Tunes, no thanks.

  • Jules

    Jim Smith’s stuff was pulled way back by others at WB who were apparently threatened by his talent. Jim Smith is now working on another project at another studio, one that appreciates his genius.

  • PEZ

    Kevin Wollenweber, those restored Looney Tunes on the DVD’s we all bought are not how those cartoons are supposed to look. Believe it or not the studio did not use the same can of green paint from 1937 to 1963. I hope they do a BluRay restoration to the shorts and this time make sure not to erase the lines of the fast moving drawings.


  • Adam

    Ive Seen The Designs, imagine if the model sheets were accidentally leaked onto the internet -hint-hint- ;)

  • I have seen the designs and some animation

    The Looney Tunes show’s humor and designs are great. I didn’t think the designs looked flat at all. Partially due to the perfect cartooney animation. The characters just look streamlined. The characters were shorter like in the 40’s. Lots of awesome expressions.

    It doesn’t pay to have negative opinions about things that you haven’t even seen yet. This blog should be a place where people show Warner’s that we love the idea of a new Looney Tunes show.

    Please give us more old and new Looney Tunes.

  • Jim Smith is no longer working on the show? That’s bad news. The drawing in this post is somewhat crude, but it’s funny and I can picture a clean up version of it. In fact I actually thought it was a Chuck Jones’ sketch that I haven’t seen before. That’s a good sign.

    Yeah, it really is extremely difficult to do a new good Looney Tunes show but I would really like to see someone trying. They hire extremely talented people and then, they don’t let them do their jobs. That’s crazy. It’s like Bob Camp’s designs for Space Jam 2. When I saw them in his blog I thought “Wow, THOSE are totally Looney Tunes designs”. Of course if the movie had been made they would have changed everything.

    Still, here is hoping for a future of good old and new Looney Tunes like the guy who saw the designs says!

  • Ricardo

    Questtion to those who have seen the designs:

    Do they reflect the ones used in Chuck Jones’ early 40’s work like WACKIKI RABBIT or MY FAVORITE DUCK ? If that’s the case, then I can see “UPA” discription being somewhat with merit.

  • This “UPA-esque revamp” business is curious — about ten years ago, when I was working for DC Comics in their Retail Products division (such as it was), we somehow ended up with the task of having to oversee a series of maquettes based on highly-stylized redesigns of the Warner Bros. characters. (I wouldn’t have called it “UPA-esque,” but it was certainly far from convention.)

    I think this was an effort to energize the licensing prospects of the property, though, rather than anything tied to an actual TV or theatrical project, and I think it was all cancelled before it went too far.

  • I’ve also seen the designs

    I also saw the designs and can add to those saying they looked awesome. I wouldn’t have described them as “UPA styled” either. I was really looking forward to this show and am very disappointed to hear the news of its revamp.

  • Mesterius

    This is getting too interesting to not see! Someone please get that first, finished episode (or some artwork/screen shots/whatever) online! — so that we can all tell WB how much we like it — and send them thousand of protests against firing the artists behind it — so that they’ll rehire them all and get the show back on track!

    …that is, of course, if we DO like the style and look of this episode:)

  • some guy

    I also had a chance to see some of the designs on a walk through at WB and it really DID look great. It wasn’t UPA style, perhaps more a streamlined version of the classic characters. Simpler shapes yet they were rounded. More like vinyl toys. However they looked pretty tasteful and the Layouts were absolutely gorgeous. Anyhow, sorry to hear it didn’t go over with the suits, then again, it seems anything with potential is just itching to get shot down these days.

  • I have seen them too!

    I think people throw around the term UPA when they want to say stylized/simplified. They look closer to Tiny Toons than Chuck Jones

  • Does anyone care to share those designs?

  • Ricardo

    “They look closer to Tiny Toons than Chuck Jones”

    Ugh god, now I am definetly not regreting the change.

  • I have seen the designs and some animation

    I didn’t think they looked like tiny toons. I thought they look like streamlined short versions of the characters. maybe a little of the old Ren and Stimpy look too.

  • How do we know

    how do we know what the reason was for layoffs? Was it really a redesign / overhaul or was that just a rumor that got started? Was it something else? Anyone know the truth?

  • Asymetrical

    Artists threatened by someone elses talent? Hahah! The entire industry is filled with insecure nerdy clods who got beat up in high school and now extract their revenge on others for it.

    As for Jim Smith, he is working for a small studio called Murari doing boards for an Adult Swim wrestling show. I hear they love his boards.

    “Jim Smith’s stuff was pulled way back by others at WB who were apparently threatened by his talent. Jim Smith is now working on another project at another studio, one that appreciates his genius.”

  • Adam

    To the people who have seen Laff Riot,Which Daffy did they use crazy Daffy or mean Daffy?

  • Kyle Maloney

    “Jim Smith’s stuff was pulled way back by others at WB who were apparently threatened by his talent.”

    Aww that sucks if true. he’s awesome.

    I’m dying to see these designs (and first episode). Im kinda hoping I’ll hate them, just so I can have faith in the changes made.

    I wonder why they would scrap a completed short though, I mean its not like they all need to be consistent, there’s nothing wrong with changing the style from short to short, as long as their consistency in the short on its own.

  • captainmurphy

    Eh, when I hear suits saying UPA, it is probably more like Maurice Noble backgrounds, with the suits actually wanting something more Roger Rabbitty Michael Jordany, over modeled and shaded. The suits want merchandizing image they have built in the past 30 years, and that means different things to different suits.

    As far as the old shorts appearing on CN again, they have probably forgot that it is important to keep them in the public eye at least every decade. Also, the Golden Collection Series is going to become a harder and harder sell as the remainder of the sets scrape the relative bottom of the barrell that the masses will be less interested in.

  • Anonym

    I have a feeling they are going to take the next few months to “fix” it the wrong way. They were slowly changing it from a show that harked back to a Looney Tunes style line up of shorts, but somewhere along the line decided to turn it into a live action sitcom. A sign of things to come happened when Jim was let go, because they no longer needed him as a gagman, because they no longer needed gags to be added, only subtracted.

  • Ricardo

    “maybe a little of the old Ren and Stimpy look too.”

    That dosen’t exactly fill me with confidence either. XC

  • Anthony C.

    Damn….CGI Looney Tunes? Now that’s depressing-for the longest I felt like WB had been one of the few companies left remaining true to the chars..

    You can’t convince me 3-D work can ever be as funny or appealing as drawn work…:-(

    Hope they don’t edit the classic ones being back on though-bout time they show kids some GOOD cartoons on there again!

  • Mick Collins

    While I admit I’m not sure how I feel about yet another “reimagining” of the LT franchise, the simple truth is I’ll take ’em any way I can get ’em as far as tv broadcast goes. It’ll be nice to have another reason to turn on CN…

  • Adam

    I don’t why there’s such an anti-2d thing going on in the animation industry,anything drawn by hand on wacom or paper is seen as second rate.

  • Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood

    So if I understand this right…the Cartoon Network has finally decided to take a break from showing pointless movies, disposable original cartoons and lame reality shows and can suddenly and graciously squeeze in one hour per day of the greatest cartoons ever…and this is supposed to satisfy us?!!? Screw that, it’s still not even close to being enough!

  • Paul

    For everyone whining about not airing the entire collection of shorts, awkward edits, or the fact that Cartoon Network isn’t dedicating “enough” time to this…

    Just remember where we’re coming from. It’s been YEARS since the Looney Tunes cartoons have been on TV. Even if things are edited out, even if some shorts never air, even if they’re not on that often, this is better than nothing. The alternative is a generation of kids who have NO idea who the characters are because they’re just not out there anymore. I’m fine with compromise to avoid that, and to get these shorts back on the air.

  • I got to agree with “Paul” on this one. Anything is better than nothing. I mean, I actually CRINGE when I find out that the kids don’t know who Daffy Duck or Wile E Coyote is. Heck, they should at least know the phrase “What’s up, Doc?”. But no, they don’t. Instead they are forced to watch bland shows with no “umph” to them. Just stale bread, if one where to make a comparrison. Although I hate how they edited one of my favorite shorts, “Show Biz Bugs”, I’d still rather have them show that version than none at all. Something is better than noithing”.

    Personally, I want to see this new design they had. (Like model sheets or t6he actual animation.) If the above picture is anything to go by, that looks like it would have a ton of life. Nothing even close to bland. (I can also see them maybe having so crude humor. Heh. Which is all fine by me.) But again, as I said before, ANYTHING is better than nothing. Even the CGI works. I mean, I may not be the biggest fan of that medium…But I can honestly say I’d watch it. Heck, I’d actually go to the movie theatures to see a short. So whatever they do, I just hope they do it!

    My only thing that they SHOULD keep in…Bring back the crossdressing, the awkward kissing, and anything else that used to have me “rolling on the floor laughing”. Heh.

  • Chris Hatfield

    Isn’t that something you would approve with the old model sheets, prior to finishing a full episode?