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September 06, 1998|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

After performing dismally in the ratings last season with its live-action children's programming--including a new version of "Wheel of Fortune"--CBS has entirely revamped its Saturday morning lineup for the fall. This year, CBS is offering six new animated series, five of them based on popular children's books.

That's the most radical change taking place in children's television this fall. Elsewhere, kids can enjoy a new "Godzilla" cartoon, a "Batman" set in the 21st century and two different "Hercules" series: Disney's animated comedy based on the 1997 film and Fox's live-action adventure.

Here's a look at some of the new fall series for the small fry:

CBS

"Franklin": Adapted from the best-selling books by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, this animated series deals with a young turtle who learns how to fit into the world--and how the world fits him. \o7 Saturdays. Oct. 3.\f7

"Anatole": Based on the award-winning books by Eve Titus, this animated series focuses on a dignified mouse who is a loving husband and father. \o7 Saturdays. Oct. 3.\f7

"Dumb Bunnies": Adapted from Dav Pilkey's book series, this animated comedy deals with a family of lovable, fun but naive bunnies. \o7 Saturdays. Oct. 3.\f7

"Flying Rhino Junior High": Based on the books by Ray Nelson and Douglas Kelly, this animated series revolves around a former A-student who secretly uses a computer in the school basement. \o7 Saturdays. Oct. 3.\f7

"Birdz": Comic animated series about a family of birds, centering on 10-year-old Eddie Storkowitz, an aspiring filmmaker. \o7 Saturdays. Oct. 3.\f7

"Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend": Derived from the paperback series, "Myth Men," this action series is about a modernized Mt. Olympus where Perseus is a kickboxer and Iole has a punk haircut. \o7 Saturdays. Nov. 7.\f7

ABC

"Disney's Hercules": Cartoon based on the 1997 film focuses on Herc's high school years. \o7 Saturdays at 7 a.m., starting this week; also airs weekdays on KCAL-TV Channel 9.\f7

Fox

"The Mr. Potato Head Show": Combines computer-generated imagery, puppetry and live action to follow the life of its spud-headed central character, the star of a network TV show. \o7 Saturdays at 7 a.m., beginning this week.\f7

"Godzilla: The Series": Picking up where the movie left off, the series follows the adventures of Dr. Tatopoulus and his team of scientists on their quest to save the world from monsters. \o7 Saturdays at 8 a.m., beginning this week.\f7

"Young Hercules": Live-action series that follows the young hero's adventures as he studies to become a warrior with his friends Ioalaus and Jason. \o7 Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., beginning this week; also will air Tuesdays through Fridays at 4:30 p.m., beginning Sept. 15.\f7

"Mystic Knights of the Tir Na Nog": Filmed entirely in Ireland, this mystical adventure is filled with knights, fairies and fire-breathing dragons. \o7 Saturdays at 9 a.m., starting this week; also will air Tuesdays through Fridays at 4 p.m., beginning Sept. 15.\f7

"The Secret Files of the Spy Dogs": Animated series reveals secrets behind unexplainable dog behavior and follows the adventures of some hero hounds. \o7 Saturdays at 9:30 a.m., beginning this week.\f7

"Mad Jack": Animated series about a wild and crazy bandit on the high seas. \o7 Saturdays at 10 a.m., starting this week.\f7

"Oggy & the Cockroaches": Animated series featuring a comical cat and his cockroach subtenants. \o7 Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., beginning this week.\f7

NBC

"One World": A comedy about six teens of various ethnic and racial backgrounds who are adopted by an ex-baseball player and his wife. \o7 Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., starting this week.\f7

PBS

"Noddy": The BBC created this series based on the children's books by Enid Blyton. It's set in a shop where the toys talk when humans aren't around to hear them. \o7 Sundays. Sept. 20.\f7

The Cartoon Network

"The Powerpuff Girls": Animated series about three super-powered girls who have to ask to leave school in order to save the world. \o7 November.\f7

"Ed, Edd n Eddy": Cartoon about three best friends who are tackling puberty. \o7 November.\f7

The Disney Channel

"Rolie Polie Olie": Computer-generated series about a robotic "everyboy" who lives in a magical, all-robot world. \o7 Sundays. Oct. 4.\f7

"Out of the Box": Live-action series about a group of little children and their caregivers. \o7 Weekdays. Oct. 5.\f7

The Learning Channel

"Jay Jay the Jet Plane": Animated series about an inquisitive airplane. \o7 Weekdays. Nov. 2.\f7

Nickelodeon

"CatDog": Animated comedy about a unique creature with two heads, one body and no tail. \o7 Weekdays. Oct. 5.\f7

WB

"Beyond Batman": Futuristic chapter in the legend of the Dark Knight. Set in the 21st century, the Tomorrow Knight strives to protect Gotham City from villains of the new millennium. \o7 Saturdays. Sept. 19.\f7

"'BRATS of The Lost Nebula": The Jim Henson Co. is the creator of this sci-fi adventure, featuring puppetry and computer-generated imagery. \o7 Saturdays. Sept. 19.\f7

"Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain": Pinky and the Brain move from ACME Labs to America's suburbs, where they are adopted by pet lover Elmyra. \o7 Saturdays. Sept. 19.\f7

"Warner Bros.' Histeria": Animated comedy series presents historical subject matter in funny ways. \o7 Saturdays. Sept. 19. Also weekdays at 3:30 p.m.\f7

Syndicated

"The Lionhearts": Animated adventures of the domestic life of Leo the Lion and his family. \o7 Sept. 19. KTLA.\f7

"Secrets of the Animal Kingdom": Wildlife series reveals mysteries of the animal world through the eyes of kids. \o7 Sept. 19. KTTV.\f7

"Monkey Magic": Animated series tells the story of Kongo, a magical monkey released after 500 years of imprisonment. \o7 Sept. 19. KCOP.\f7

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