Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and The Brak Show all premiered unannounced; While entertaining pitches for a variety of adult cartoons, Lazzo realized the potential for packaging them as a complete adult-focused block.
In June 2001, TV Guide had recorded an interview with Cartoon Network's former president, Betty Cohen.
She stated there was a new programming block coming out in September that was aimed for an adult audience.
Adult Swim has contracted with various studios known for their productions in absurd and shock comedy. The block grew out of Cartoon Network's previous attempts at airing content appropriate for teenagers and young adults who might be watching the channel after 11 pm (ET/PT).
The network began experimenting with its late night programming by airing anthology shows like Toon Heads, The Bob Clampett Show, The Tex Avery Show, Late Night Black and White, and O, Canada, which all presented uncensored classic cartoon shorts, as well as blocks such as Toonami Midnight Run.
During this month at the Cartoon Network Confidential, "Cartoon Network's best originals and outrageous animated shorts for discriminating adults" in New York City, an upcoming episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast titled "Kentucky Nightmare", the stealth pilots from December, Captain Linger, and an episode of Home Movies were screened for free.
The screening was part of the Toyota Comedy Festival.
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Debuting in 2001, Adult Swim serves as the nighttime identity of Cartoon Network, and was established as alternative programming during the late night hours when Cartoon Network's primary target audience, children between the ages of 7–16, (now the target is a smaller range about 7-13) would normally be sleeping.
Much of Adult Swim's general content is known for their experimental, risqué, unorthodox, crude, dry, and improvisational humor, along with purposefully cheap-looking animation, and often bizarre presentation.
Adult Swim (stylized as [adult swim]) is the adult-oriented nighttime programming block of the American children's cable network Cartoon Network, operating daily 8 p.m.–6 a.m. It is programmed by Williams Street Productions, a subsidiary of Turner, which also developed two other programming blocks for Cartoon Network: Toonami (which later became a block on Adult Swim in 2012) and Miguzi.