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Transformers Show Superhero Flair in New Cartoon

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Hasbro is teaming with Cartoon Network on a new Transformers animated series. Set for a January premiere, it’s said to differ significantly from its predecessors. Both companies hope the new production will ride the coattails of a successful Transformers live-action release this July.

Cartoon Network’s Senior VP of Programming and Development Bob Higgins told The Hollywood Reporter, "We've used the basic Transformers and characters as a springboard, but then we're pretty much reimagining the whole thing. What we're doing with it is basically turning it into a superheroes story. We're really excited that we're able to take this decades-old property and hopefully turn it into something that kids haven't seen or expected from a Transformers series before."

Samantha Lomow, Transformers Global VP Marketing, added "We've had (Transformers) entertainment in the marketplace for the last 23 years, and animation has been the foothold of the franchise," she said. "Now with the live-action film, we want to continue the momentum ... and go right into animation so younger audiences will be able to continue to enjoy the brand. We really believe that the movie is going to be a phenomenon and kids of all ages are going to want to continue to experience the magic of our brand. This show ... really delivers that."

The series will show robots with a lot more human qualities—so kids can identify with them more easily—and Autobots who fight human adversaries ‘in Superhero fashion’ more than they tackle Decepticons. The first season counts 26 half-hour episodes, preceded by a 90-minute premiere special. The episodes are brought to life by Japanese animation studio Mook, with Marty Isenberg (Danny Phantom, X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) on board as head writer and Matt Youngberg (Teen Titans, The Batman) acting as supervising director.

The new series, the third on Cartoon Network and eight since 1984, marks the first time Hasbro is co-producing a Transformers cartoon with CN. A toy line based on the show will appear on store shelves in March, 2008.

In other Transformers news, Variety has posted an early review of the film here.

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