(April 30, 2003 – Burbank, CA) - Kids’ WB!, the #1 broadcast network for kids, joins forces with Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan, Sony Pictures Television and Tezuka Productions to introduce the classic icon of Japanese animation “ASTRO BOY” to a new generation of kids in the United States. The animé-adventure is set to debut with 26 episodes on Kids’ WB!’s Saturday morning schedule in the 2003-2004 season. The announcement was made today by John Hardman, Senior Vice President, Kids’ WB! Programming, and Tara Sorensen, Vice President of Creative Affairs, Sony Pictures Television. “ASTRO BOY” was created 50 years ago by the legendary Osamu Tezuka, the pioneer of Japanese animation and known as the ‘father of manga’ (Japanese comic books). This beloved classic character has a rich and widespread following, bordering on cult hit status. “One of the most recognizable icons in animation history, “ASTRO BOY” has become a beloved hero for all ages,” said Mr. Hardman. “We are thrilled to be working with the studio that brought us Jackie Chan Adventures on the latest portrayal of this timeless hero. ‘ASTRO BOY’ is sure to continue his ‘astro-nomical’ ride to the top of the ratings charts when he joins our powerhouse hit schedule. His strong moral center and selfless bravery are the perfect compliment to the other heroes and champions on Kids’ WB!” “'ASTRO BOY’s’ universal appeal has made him a timeless character representing justice and reason in the world,” commented Sorensen. “It’s a thrill to introduce ‘ASTRO BOY’ to a new generation of kids, and to be working with Kids’ WB!, who has been a great partner to us on Jackie Chan Adventures. This project also represents a unique joining of forces with our sister company in Japan.” “ASTRO BOY” is produced by Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan and Tezuka Productions, and distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Television. Based on the original manga character from the most popular comic book series in the early 1950s, “ASTRO BOY” is a futuristic story of an atomic-powered robot who must fight for justice and peace in a society that scorns his kind. Created in METRO CITY, he lives among a 'retro-futuristic' society populated by humans and robots. Some robots live in harmony with mankind, some rebel against it and others are manipulated by evil forces to become machines of destruction. Ironically, mankind's only hope of surviving the onslaught of wicked robots is a robot himself...the fearless, selfless, incorruptible champion known as “ASTRO BOY.” “ASTRO BOY” possesses superb strength including jet rocket feet and arms that allow him to fly at extreme speeds; however, the secret to his victories is not his super-powers. “ASTRO BOY” is the first robot with an advanced intelligence and human-like emotions. He's clever, resourceful and has a strong sense of justice, always attempting to reason with his adversaries. Defending humanity, with the help of his friends and "family," Metro City...the world...and now Kids’ WB! have a new hero -- “ASTRO BOY.” “ASTRO BOY” has a rich history on television. In 1963, this robotic boy with the strength of 100,000 horses became the star of one of Japanese TV’s first anime shows. The show was a smash hit and “ASTRO BOY” became the first Japanese show imported to the U.S. The series debuted in September of 1963 on WNEW, NY and was shown in over 40 cities. “ASTRO BOY” became one of the country’s top rated syndicated shows. In 1965, “ASTRO BOY” spread out to other countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia. A second “ASTRO BOY” series (color) ran on NTV from 1980 to 1981. The new “ASTRO BOY” debuted in Japan on FUJI TV on April 6, 2003 to encouraging ratings. This year marks the 50th Anniversary of “ASTRO BOY,” and ironically, as the original series was set in the future, “ASTRO BOY’S" fictional date of origin was the year 2003. Kids’ WB!, a leader in kids’ television, is the children’s programming service of The WB Network. The #1 broadcast and cable network for the core demographic of Boys 6-11, Kids’ WB! has maintained its position as the #1 broadcast network since Spring of 1999. Continuing to set precedent with its powerhouse 2002-2003 programming slate, Kids’ WB! introduced this season’s all-new “What’s New Scooby-Doo?,” the groundbreaking “!Mucha Lucha!” and the innovative buddy-cop comedy “Ozzy & Drix.” The network also brings viewers the returning top-rated hits “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” “Jackie Chan Adventures,” “Pokémon: Master Quest,” “Static Shock,” “The Mummy: Secrets of the Medjai,” “Cubix,” “X-Men: Evolution” and other Kids’ WB! favorites. Kids can find more on Kids’ WB!’s web site at www.KidsWB.com. Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry’s leading content providers. It produces and distributes programming in every genre, including series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment for network and cable television, as well as first-run and off-network series for syndication. With more than 30 programs on the air, SPT boasts a program slate that includes the top-rated daytime dramas and game shows, landmark off-network series, original animated series and critically acclaimed primetime dramas, comedies and telefilms. Sony Pictures Television, Advertiser Sales, is one of the premiere national advertising sales companies, handling the commercial inventory in SPT syndicated series and DIRECTV. SPT (www.sonypicturestelevision.com) is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.
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