WarnerMedia, a subsidiary of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), is bringing back one of the most iconic brands in animation by renaming its’ European television animation studio after Hanna-Barbera.
What Happened: The Cartoon Network Studios Europe is now the Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe. Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, and Vanessa Brookman, head of Kids EMEA, will serve as co-leaders of the London-based studio. It is currently working on the series “Elliott From Earth” and “The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe” and on a feature-length television film “The Amazing World of Gumball Movie.”
“There are few names in the animation industry that elicit such reverence and joy as Hanna-Barbera,” said Register. “Saturday mornings and series animation would not be the same without the work that came out of that studio and, as television is once again evolving, it’s only fitting that Hanna-Barbera returns to be an impactful part of it.
“I cannot wait to get started and I’m humbled at the opportunity to be creating cartoons under this banner again.”
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Why It Matters: Few studios have made a more profound impact on children’s television than Hanna-Barbera. Founded in 1957 by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who had previously collaborated on the Academy Award-winning “Tom and Jerry” animated shorts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Hanna-Barbera turned out a stream of cartoon series that dominated Saturday morning and syndicated programming, with beloved characters including Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Magilla Gorilla and Scooby-Doo.
Hanna-Barbera pioneered prime-time animated series with the debut of “The Flintstones” in 1960, which ran for six seasons and spawned a diverse stream of merchandising.
The studio followed up on this success with other prime-time animated shows including “Top Cat” and “The Jetsons.” The studio dabbled in live-action series with “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour” and produced a few theatrical feature-length films, most notably the 1973 “Charlotte’s Web.”
Hanna-Barbera’s output continued into the 1980s, most notably with “The Smurfs,” but its later shows failed to have the same resonance with viewers as its output from the 1960s and early 1970s. The studio’s final release was “What a Cartoon!”, which ran from 1995 to 1997.
Ownership of the Hanna-Barbera studio changed hands over the years before being absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation in 2001 when the brand was retired.
(Photo: The Hanna-Barbera classic “The Flintstones.” Photo courtesy Warner Home Video.)
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