Why ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group Is Doubling Down On Adult Animation

Laura Lavigne
August 5, 2020
1997 Beavis (Right) And Butt-Head From The Movie Beavis And Butt-Head Do America

By Dani Di Placido August 5, 2020

Today, ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group announced a “reimagination” of cult cartoon, The Ren & Stimpy Show, under Comedy Central. 

This follows the announcement of a new Daria spin-off, Jodie, Chris Miller and Bill Lawrence’s reboot of Clone High, as well as Mike Judge’s return to Beavis and Butt-Head

ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group also announced Marvel Studios and former Fox Animation executive, Grant Gish, will lead its new Adult Animation Unit as Senior Vice President, Adult Animation, Entertainment & Youth Brands. During his tenure at Fox Animation, Gish helped develop Bob’s Burgers, and oversaw American Dad, both incredibly popular animated series. 

ViacomCBS is doubling down on adult animation, utilizing their vast treasure trove of animated hits under MTV, many of which are still considered iconic.  

“That landscape we’re in today, it’s crowded, but we feel incredibly privileged to have this large library of IP,” says Chris McCarthy, President of ViacomCBS Entertainment & Youth Group. “That’s what we’ve been spending the last few years on, digging through that IP, putting together creatives to reimagine that for a whole new generation. Once you have an IP that’s working, audiences really build those deep connections. You really can’t buy that love for a brand. And sometimes new content doesn’t always have that opportunity, because there’s so much out there. It can get lost.” 

Adult animation has been enjoying a resurgence in recent years, as shows like Bojack HorsemanRick and Morty, and Tuca & Bertie prove how the flexible the medium is, telling poignant, surreal stories that often rival the depth of HBO dramas, while comedies like Bob’s BurgersAmerican Dad and South Park provide comfort food; endlessly binge-watchable on streaming services. 

Of course, the recent restrictions facing film and television production due to the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t hurt the rise of animation; the fact that animators don’t need to share the same working space has proved to be an unexpected advantage during difficult times. 

Embracing adult animation, however, could be considered as a revival of the original rebellious spirit of MTV. McCarthy went on to state:

“Adult animation is, in many ways, a return to our origins. In the eighties, MTV was credited with giving a rebirth to the genre of adult animation, before The Simpsons, before Beavis and Butthead. The channel itself was designed as full animation - the founder said that animation was the closest thing to rock and roll.” 

There are interesting times for the medium ahead, as the stories that once defined Generation X make their debut in the modern world, hopefully to multigenerational appeal.

SOURCE: Dani Di Placido
VIA: forbes.com
MAIN IMAGE SOURCE: 1997 Beavis (Right) And Butt-Head From The Movie Beavis And Butt-Head Do America. (Photo By Getty Images)

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