Just as the jaunty new preschool programming block launches on HBO Max and Cartoon Network today, Cartoonito made a flurry of announcements for even more animated fun that will be joining its lineup of fresh originals and favorite characters. The announcements were made during WarnerMedia Kids & Family’s live virtual “birthday party” celebrating the launch.
Warner Bros.’ famous cat and mouse rivals are at it again in their first-ever preschool animated series, Tom and Jerry Time. Presented as a series of animated musical shorts, the newly greenlit series turns the world created by the biggest rivalry in all of animation into a fun and cheerful cartoon classroom. Both characters, known for their over-the-top personalities, are natural-born teachers, with Tom showcasing confidence and resilience while Jerry highlights ingenuity and courage. Preschoolers will be introduced to their comical mischiefs – chasing, pranking, and outsmarting each other – while also learning key social and emotional skillsets, lessons in independence, early math and literacy skills, and other key preschool educational concepts.
Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Sam Register (Looney Tunes Cartoons) is executive producer. Will Finn (Tom and Jerry in New York) serves as showrunner and co-executive producer with Denise Downer (Stillwater) on board as story editor.
“Based on the beloved classic that so many parents grew up with, Tom and Jerry Time introduces a whole new generation to these iconic characters with a fresh and original take,” said Amy Friedman, Head of Kids and Family Programming, Warner Bros. “For our youngest audience, Sam Register and his team at Warner Bros. Animation managed to keep all the playful hijinks, drop all the cartoon violence, and add the most delightful early childhood learning through song and story. It’s playful – with a purpose – and we think parents and their little ones will love watching and learning together.”
The voice cast for upcoming Warner Bros. Animation series Batwheels was announced by Jacob Bertrand (Cobra Kai), who leads the talented roster as Bam the Batmobile. He was joined by castmate AJ Hudson (The Good Place), who voices Duke Thomas, the first Black character to don the “R” for Robin in the DC comics — Batwheels marks the character’s first on-screen portrayal.
The Batwheels are an awesome group of sentient, super-powered, crime-fighting vehicles defending Gotham City alongside human heroes. Having just been created by the Batcomputer, our heroes are essentially kids with little to no life experience – they must navigate the growing pains of being a newly-formed super team as well as the growing pains that come with just being a kid. This relatable and aspirational series will follow the journey of this dynamic team as they thrill and entertain with their heroic adventures as well as demonstrate to kids the value of self-confidence, friendship and teamwork.
- Jacob Bertrand (Cobra Kai) as Bam — The Batmobile and leader of the Batwheels team. Like his hero Batman, Bam has a strong sense of justice and tries his best to lead the team, even though he’s not always sure he’s up for the task. Ultimately, the other Batwheels know they can count on him, both as a super teammate, and as a friend. Bertrand is represented by Jack Kingsrud/Zero Gravity Management, Kevin Hussey/ICM and Chad Christopher at Goodman, Genow, Schenkman, Smelkinson & Christopher.
- Jordan Reed (Chuggington) as Redbird — Robin’s zippy sports car. “Red” is the kid brother of the team, always eager to prove himself a worthy sidekick to Bam but he can definitely hold his own on a mission. He’s enthusiastic and extremely inquisitive, asking tons of questions, like a kid detective.
- Madigan Kacmar (Chuggington) as Bibi — Batgirl’s brave and bold motorcycle. She is the fastest of the Batwheels, but also the smallest, so she sometimes has a habit of being impulsive and jumping right into the action without a plan. Kacmar is represented by Bonnie Shumofsky Bloom at Stewart Talent Agency.
- Noah Bentley (Elliott from Earth) as Buff — This Bat-styled monster truck is the team’s muscle and can ram through or run over any obstacle in his path, but he’s also the heart of the team – a gentle giant who doesn’t really know his own strength. Bentley is represented by CESD.
- Lilimar (Cleopatra in Space) as Batwing — Batman’s supersonic jet plane, “Wing” is easily the most sophisticated, and confident member of the team. Lilimar is represented by CESD and LINK.
- Kimberly D. Brooks (DC Super Hero Girls) as The Batcomputer — She is the supervisor, dispatcher and trainer of the team – but most importantly she is also their mother figure. In addition to training and advising them, she must be there to comfort them and even hold their mechanical hands when needed. Brooks is represented by Cynthia McLean at SBV Talent.
- Mick Wingert (What If?) as Moe — Batman’s robot repairman who facilitates repairs and upkeep on his fleet of vehicles. He is a well-equipped, highly efficient mechanic who can fix almost any vehicular glitch, but not without a healthy dose of sarcasm. Wingert is represented by Heather Dame at Atlas Talent Agency.
- Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird) as Batman — Gotham City’s greatest protector who keeps the streets safe from any and all threats. Even though Batman doesn’t communicate directly with the Batwheels, he acts as a father figure. They absolutely seek his approval and trust while they fight alongside him. Hawke is represented by CAA, MGMT Entertainment and ID.
- AJ Hudson (The Good Place) as Duke Thomas/Robin — The Boy Wonder who loves sinking his teeth into a great detective mystery while he strives to prove himself alongside Batman. Hudson is represented by Abbie Waters from Osbrink Agency and Tanesia Tramell from Eleven 7 Artist Management.
- Leah Lewis (Nancy Drew) as Cassandra Cain/Batgirl — The first Asian-American Batgirl as first introduced in the comics. In Batwheels, Cassandra is the “big sister”, tech-savvy daredevil of the Bat-Family. She loves ripping around the streets of Gotham City on her motorcycle and always wants to be in the center of the action. Lewis is represented by Commercial Talent Agency, Paradigm, Strong Management, Morris, Yorn, Barnes, Levine, Krintzman, Rubenstein, Kohner & Gellman.
Batwheels is exec produced by Sam Register (Looney Tunes Cartoons). Michael G. Stern (Doc McStuffins) serves as co-executive producer, Simon J. Smith (Baymax Dreams) is supervising producer and Steven Fink of Bang Zoom Ltd. is producer. Additional cast and characters will be announced at a later time.
Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience
Big casting news was also announced for the star-studded Mo Willems special Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed: The Underground Rock Experience. Based on the New York Times best-selling book and the sold-out theatrical rock experience, this one-hour CGI animated rock music special wears its heart on its sleeve: Wilbur Mole Rat and all his Fellow Mole Rats in the Tunnel have always been, well … naked. But when Wilbur discovers clothing and a love for style, the Tunnel turns upside down!
- Jordan Fisher (Work It) as Wilbur — a sensitive, curious and brave mole rat. He sees the best (dressed) in everyone and is a dreamer always looking at the clouds when everyone else has tunnel vision. Wilbur thinks there has to be more to life than just being 100% naked 500% of the time. And when random articles of clothing start falling from the sky, he sees his chance to be different by (gasp) wearing them! Even if that means not fitting in with Mole Rat society, or more importantly, his friends.
- Yvette Nicole Brown (Community) as Grande — the popular kid and, consequently, the one with the most to lose if the rules of nakedness in Mole Rat society change. She’s bold, brash and ever so confident (even if some of that confidence comes from a place of naked insecurity). As the front mole of the Tunnel’s Rock Band, she’s never seen without her bandmates Tall, Venti and Wilbur. But her friendship is put to the test when Wilbur starts wearing clothes, something she’s not ready to accept.
- Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates) as Tall — a rule-follower with a heart of gold. Tall in name yet short in stature, she’s a voice of reason who thinks she can see where Wilbur is coming from with his non-nakedness but is not brave enough to stand up to the rest of Mole Rat society.
- Kevin Michael Richardson (Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs) as Venti — a big lug that needs just two things in life: Rocking out with his bandmates and being stark, raving naked! While not the deepest cave in the tunnel, he’s got the biggest heart of any mole and will do anything for his friends.
- Carol Kane (The Princess Bride) as Grand-Mah — the larger-than-life matriarch of Mole Rat society. She dug The Tunnel with her own teeth and thus attained legendary status. And while the posters and propaganda depicting her reflect youth, vigor and dominance, in reality she’s grown both longer in tooth and shorter in stature. Regardless of age, she’s lost none of her intimidating veneer, sagely wisdom and dislike of oxymorons.
Willems and Tom Warburton co-wrote the script with original tunes by Willems and composer Deborah Wicks La Puma. Willems and Warburton will executive produce alongside Stampede Ventures’ Greg Silverman and Jay Judah, with OddBot Animation Studios serving as animation house. Megan Alrutz will also serve as producer on behalf of the Mo Willems Workshop. Songs are produced by Dan Petty, Doug Petty and Michelle Lewis.