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The Kids' Plate : NETWORK, CABLE AND INDEPENDENTS OFFER A FULL COURSE OF LIVE-ACTION AND ANIMATION

August 29, 1993|N.F. MENDOZA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Saturday mornings once meant watching "Scooby Doo" (before he knew he had a nephew named Scrappy Doo) or "The Pink Panther" while picking out only the marshmallow treats from a giant box of Lucky Charms. Back then, there weren't many alternatives.

Today, kids can eat their bowl of Rainforest Crunch while watching a host of edifying (and some not so uplifting) television. And Saturday mornings don't necessarily mean cartoons only, either. NBC enters its second season without animation, offering only live-action shows, including the revamped "Saved by the Bell: The New Class" and the new "Running the Halls."

Kid audiences will get a revamped "Sesame Street" and a double dose of some of their favorite television characters, including Dennis the Menace, Carmen Sandiego and Sonic the Hedgehog, who will be appearing on more than one network.

And to top it off, the Pink Panther comes back to TV--with a voice.

Here's a selective look at what's new for kids on the major networks:

SATURDAY MORNING

The All New Dennis the Menace: The comic-strip character comes to animated life '90s style. 9 a.m. CBS. Premieres Sept. 18.

Beakman's World: The innovative program, originally seen on KTLA and The Learning Channel, comes to CBS. The show features an energetic scientist dedicated to answering viewer questions about the kind of science that fascinates kids. 11 a.m. CBS. Premieres Sept. 18.

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: This animated half-hour based on Mark Schultz's award-winning comic books looks at the future with ecologist-adventurer Jack Tenerec and scientist Hannah Dundee cruising the savage Xenozoic landscape in their classic Caddy. They encounter dinosaurs as well as dangers from the future. 10:30 a.m. CBS. Premieres Sept. 18.

CityKids: This live-action series focuses on the concerns and challenges of urban teen life in the story of seven ethnically diverse main characters. The show combines comedy, dance and animation. 10:30 a.m. KGTV, KEYT; 11:30 a.m. KABC. Premieres Sept. 18.

Cro: This animated series looks at science and technology through the eyes of an orphaned Cro-Magnon boy, adopted by a Neanderthal family. Featuring voices of Ruth Buzzi and Max Cassella ("Doogie Howser, M.D."). 7 a.m. KGTV, KEYT; 8 a.m. KABC. Premieres Sept. 18.

EEK! And the Terrible Thunderlizards: The show of the unlucky cat Eek is divided into two segments. The Terrible Thunderlizards present dinosaur life 135 million years ago as the sophisticated, highly technical human life of today. 8:30 a.m. KTTV, XETV. Premieres in early 1994.

Marsupilami: The European comic storybook character, along with his best friend, Maurice, see mayhem and mischief in their native jungle habitat in three cartoons each week. Featured in one of them will be Sebastian the Crab from "The Little Mermaid." 7 a.m. CBS. Premieres Sept. 18.

Running the Halls: The new live-action comedy series focuses on a group of teens attending an East Coast boarding school and the fun and games that occur away from home. Times vary due to sports events. NBC. Premieres Sept. 11 .

Saved by the Bell: The New Class: While the show is returning for a fifth season, an all-new cast populates the fictional Bayside High School. (Several original cast members star in "Saved by the Bell: The College Years," which airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday.) Times vary due to sports events. NBC. Premieres Sept. 11 .

Sonic the Hedgehog: Meet the rip-roaring hedgehog hero of video game fame as an animated character. 8 a.m. KGTV, KEYT; 9 a.m. KABC. Premieres Sept. 18.

Tales From the Cryptkeeper: This animated anthology series teaches a morality lesson through "chilling humor." 9 a.m. KGTV, KEYT; 10 a.m. KABC. Premieres Sept. 18.

Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?: Based on the same computer game as the PBS series, this new Fox show combines animated adventures with a viewer-interactive game. 10:30 a.m. Fox. Premieres Febrary, 1994. (PBS' Emmy Award-winning game show "Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?"--not in any way associated with this Fox show--continues to air weekdays at 5 p.m. on KCET.)

The Jetsons: KTTV adds it to its lineup at 6 a.m.

A selective look at other networks:

WEEKDAYS

Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Yet another animated series based on the popular video character. Airs 8 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 6.

The Bots Master: The animated futuristic show is about a robot maker determined to place robots in every home, office and factory. Airs 6 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 27.

Bonkers!: Detective Lucky Piquel and his sidekick and rookie partner, Bonkers D. Bobcat, are a new addition to the cartoons of Disney Afternoon. Airs 4:30 p.m. KCAL. Premieres Sept. 6.

Dennis the Menace: The troublesome cartoon character, coming to life on CBS, also airs in syndication. Airs 6:30 a.m. KCOP. Premieres Sept. 6.

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