TCA Notes: Spending a day with Turner

Turner’s networks took center stage on Friday at the TCA Tour with a added bonus – a preview of Cartoon Network’s Clone Wars:

CNN: The all-news network unveiled its latest gizmo: A high tech touch screen used during this election system to break down election returns from counties. Yours truly saw this first-hand when it was used during the Indiana primary, when it broke down the statistics for Lake County (which contains the municilpalities of Hammond, Gary, Merrillville, Crown Point, and Dyer among others.) It does everything except discover dead voting patterns in Cook County.

CNN plans extensive coverage of this year’s political conventions, in addition to documentaries such as Black In America.

TBS: The biggest waste of time during TCA was the TBS presentation featuring the unfunny and overrated Frank Caliendo and his Frank TV abonimation, this decade’s answer to Louie Anderson. He did his impressions during the show. No one laughed. Really, Caliendo should stick to annoying his Fox NFL Sunday co-hosts.

TNT: The home to must-see dramas The Closer and Saving Grace unveils two new projects: Leverage, which is a new Robin Hood-type drama starring Timothy Hutton, and Raising The Bar, a new legal drama from Steven Bochco. Bar features former sitcom stars Mark Paul-Gosselar as a public defender and Jane Kaczmarek as a tough judge (she voiced the Judge Harm character on The Simpsons). Also featured is former ER star Gloria Reuben, who runs the public defender’s office. Bar premieres Sept. 1.

Cartoon Network/Adult Swim: All right, finally the main course… Cartoon Network’s new Star Wars: Clone Wars was shown to the critics. Not just a clip… a whole episode! (lucky them.) The setting of the series takes place in between Episode 2 and Episode 3 of the movie franchise. The program used CGI animation, shot in HD and was available in Dolby Surround Sound 5.1.

In an unusual move, Clone Wars will premiere on August 10 on Cartoon Network and later on TNT- with a theatrical slated for release on August 15. The cable net ordered 22 episodes – the same number of episodes the major networks usually order for their prime-time scripted series.

Thought: If this pre-screened episode of Clone Wars is as strong as everyone say it is, then the Cartoon Network is on its way to shredding its reputation as “The Scooby-Doo Network”, which it has been known as for way too long. Outside of Adult Swim, there hasn’t been anything “must-see” about the so-called “must-see home for animation” for quite some time – until now.

(Editor’s Note – There seems to be some confusion regarding the premiere date of the series on Cartoon Network. One publication says it’s August 10 before the movie; others have stated a premiere date has not been set; a few others have said “Clone Wars” premieres in the fall. In other words, take the August premiere date with a grain of salt. I’ll find out more info as it becomes available. – T.H.)

Updated 1:35 a.m. on 2008-07-16