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Family TV Roundup: Remembering Dwayne McDuffie, Disney Junior Ratings and More

by Rich Keller, posted Feb 25th 2011 4:30PM
'Static Shock,' based on the late Dwayne McDuffie's comic book 'Static,' aired in Kids' WB! for 4 seasons.Welcome to the Family TV Roundup, a recap of all kid-friendly programming across the television universe. We'll sum up all the news related to children's programming, as well as profile the people and shows that your kids, tweens and teens are talking about.

Not many folks are very familiar with the name Dwayne McDuffie, but you might know his television work. Especially if you were a regular viewer of shows like 'Justice League Unlimited' and 'Ben 10: Alien Force.' On Tuesday, one day after his birthday, McDuffie died at the age of 49 due to complications from emergency heart surgery.

In this week's column, we take a brief look at McDuffie's impact on animated television.

Dwayne began his connection with superheroes in 1989 with the Marvel Comics series 'Damage Control. He would continue to write for companies like Marvel, DC Comics and Archie Comics as a freelancer into the early 1990s.

In 1993, he decided to pair with DC Comics and launch a new line of comics under the banner Milestone. With Milestone, McDuffie wanted to promote multi-cultural sensibilities in comics that he felt weren't being addressed at that time. Some of the titles introduced during the imprints run were 'Hardware,' 'Icon,' 'Blood Syndicate' and, one of the most popular titles, 'Static.'

In fact, 'Static' became popular enough that, in 2000, it became part of the Kids' WB! block of Saturday morning programming as the series 'Static Shock.' During its four seasons, the show and McDuffie were nominated for two Daytime Emmy awards. In 2003, Dwayne and co-writer Alan Burnett would win a Humanities Award for an episode dealing with gun violence in school.

Dwayne McDuffie became story editor for 'Justice League Unlimited.'While writing 'Static Shock,' McDuffie also penned a number of episodes of 'What's New, Scooby Doo?' and 'Teen Titans.' In 2002, Dwayne was hired as a staff writer for 'Justice League' and eventually became story editor when the show morphed into 'Justice League Unlimited.'

He also took on the 'Ben 10' franchise with new series 'Ben 10: Alien Force' and continued writing for the show when it became 'Ben 10: Ultimate Alien.' McDuffie's last project was the direct-to-DVD release of the animated feature 'All-Star Superman.'

Prolific writer and producer, Dwayne McDuffie will be missed in the world of penciled and animated super-beings.

Schedule Reminders:

Cartoon Network's 'Hall of Game Awards' premieres tonight. The network's first-ever awards show will debut at 7PM. That will be followed by a after-awards highlight special at 8:30PM.

Get ready for a whole week of new 'Bubble Guppies' episodes. Five new installments of the preschool series will air next Monday thru Friday at 11AM on Nickelodeon.

The animated 'Storm Hawks' returns to American television next week. The show will premiere Monday, February 28, at 4:30PM on Disney XD.

Season 3 of 'Phineas and Ferb' begins on Friday, March 4, at 9PM. In the premiere episode, Jane Lynch will provide the voice of Jeremy's mom.

Other News:

PBS will be celebrating the 107th birthday of Dr. Seuss with a marathon of 'The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That' episodes. The two hour block of programs will feature two new episodes and air on Wednesday, March 2. Check local listings for times.

The premiere week for Disney Junior gave Disney Channel its best ratings ever during the day (4AM to 2PM). Nearly 500,000 viewers, ages 2-5, tuned into the replacement for Playhouse Disney. That's a 34 percent increase from over a year ago.

Filming for the second season of 'Pair of Kings' has begun. Produced by It's a Laugh Productions, the Mitchel Musso / Doc Shaw action comedy currently airs on Disney XD. The new season will premiere later this year.

Production has also begun on new episodes 'Fireman Sam.' Twenty-six new episodes of the CGI-animated series are being worked on for the new season. In the U.S., 'Fireman Sam' airs on PBS Kids Sprout.

To close, here's a clip from and episode of 'Static Shock' featuring the Justice League.

Follow @richysk on Twitter.

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Robert Peterson

I didn't know Dwayne passed away. I'm usually up-to-date with news about comics, cartoons, etc. not that this is something I'm glad to hear about. My condolences to his family. Is it strange that I now want to watch a bunch of Static Shock and Jl/JLU epiosdes?

On a lighter note I'm glad to see Storm Hawks returning to the states and not on Craptoon Network but Disney XD!

February 27 2011 at 2:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Robert Peterson's comment
Robert Peterson

Sorry I should've said Cartoon Network instead. It feels like I've insulted Dwayne someway when I said the name wrong :(

February 27 2011 at 3:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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