NEW YORK – Get out of the pool, Dave and Jay.
More young guys are watching the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim (search) late-night programming block than either one of the hosts of The Late Show and the Tonight show.
Cartoons for grown-ups may be the fastest growing type of programming right now. And, at least in part due to the sudden success of Adult Swim, both broadcast and cable networks are actively looking for new shows like them.
"At first we were surprised by the hunger there is for animation for older viewers," says Cartoon Network (search) programming chief Mike Lazzo.
The block's biggest success so far has been a nightly hour of Fox throwaways, Futurama and The Family Guy, that start at 11 p.m.
Both were added to the Cartoon Network schedule within the last six months, and that's when the network's late night ratings took off.
"I believe they were somewhat mishandled when they originally ran [on network TV]," Lazzo says.
"I never knew when it was on. Until we got the show, I didn't realize how good it was."
Japan's anime Cowboy Bebop and Kikaider round-out the nightly programming block.
On Sundays it features Home Movies, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law and Sealab 2021. The latter two are send-ups of obscure cartoons from the '60s and '70s redone with cheap animation and funny, adult-themed story-lines.
Other weekend Adult Swim regulars include Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show and network toss-offs Mission Hill and The Oblongs.
"We kind of treat Sunday night as experiment," says Lazzo. "The point is to try and produce these shows inexpensively enough to try and get something to pop like Beavis & Butt-head and South Park did when they were first done as short pieces."
Meanwhile, the cable channel is also adding a new Japanese toon to Adult Swim in August called The Big O.