Bunsen is a Beast is a new cartoon on Nickelodeon that will air a half-hour special called Astro-Nots on Friday, April, 14, 2017. The episode will center on the main characters of Mikey and Bunsen, who run into Commander Cone while on a field trip to MASA. Commander Cone is subsequently mistaken for a Mastronaut, which results in his accidentally launching Mikey and Bunsen into space.
Butch Hartman is the executive producer and creator of the show. An industry veteran, he is also the creator of the Emmy-nominated animated series The Fairly OddParents on Nickelodeon as well as Danny Phantom, and he also wrote and directed episodes of Dexter’s Laboratory, Cow & Chicken, and Johnny Bravo for Cartoon Network. He is now working on a much bigger project called The Noog Network, which is an interactive app featuring cartoons, live-action shows, and games for kids.
Butch has dreamed of being an animator since he was a small child growing up in Michigan. He pursued drawing throughout high school and went on to study Animation at Cal Arts. After graduation, he started working for production houses — including Marvel and Hanna-Barbera — and eventually made his way to Nickelodeon and is now one of the most respected names in the industry.
In 2005, Butch and his wife, Julieann, founded a non-profit organization called Hartman House that aims to help underprivileged children all around the world. Since its formation, Hartman House has helped to support several charities worldwide including a shelter for adolescent girls in Africa called the Angola Girls Project. Hartman House has also spearheaded aid projects in orphanages in Uganda and Haiti, and they have funded school scholarships for inner city children living in Los Angeles.
Butch currently lives in California with his wife, two daughters, four dogs, and one cat. He was happy to discuss his career, his most recent show, and his hopes for the future:
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you enter into animation?
Butch Hartman (BH): I’ve loved cartoons ever since I was a kid and was fortunate enough to be able to pursue animation and grow in it all my life.
MM: How did you come to work with Nickelodeon?
BH: I came in when I first sold the pilot for The Fairly Oddparents to Fred Seibert for the Oh Yeah! Cartoons show. This was back in 1997.
MM: What was the process of creating Bunsen is a Beast? Can you tell us a little bit about the show?
BH: It was super fun. I originally created the idea as a possible children’s book. I had drawn one drawing of a boy and beast staring at each other with the title above them. That was the start. It all has to start from somewhere!
MM: What’s your favorite episode and character, and why?
BH: My favorite episode so far is Astro-Nots. It’s an episode where Bunsen and Mikey are accidentally blasted into space with their hero, Commander Cone, an ice cream man who has some emotional problems. Commander Cone is played by Jerry Trainor from Tuff Puppy!
MM: What do you think gives this show its appeal?
BH: The great characters and the strong writing. That’s what will give any show an appeal to an audience.
MM: What are you ultimate goals for the show?
BH: To have it be the #1 cartoon in the world, of course!
MM: What other projects have you been a part of?
BH: I created the The Fairly Oddparents, Danny Phantom, Tuff Puppy and an app called The Noog Network. I also just had my first comic book released. It’s called The 3 O’Clock Club from Lion Forge Comics.
MM: What has been the most rewarding part of working in animation?
BH: The fact that I get a chance to make kids laugh all the time!
MM: What are your career aspirations over the next ten years?
BH: To expand The Noog Network into its own network and to make Bunsen is a Beast the #1 cartoon in the world!
MM: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to enter the animation industry?
BH: Keep practicing! Everything! All the time!
MM: Are you currently working on any projects that you would like to mention?
BH: As mentioned before, there’s The Noog Network, which contains all original shows, cartoons, and games. It’s always expanding. Also, there’s my charitable foundation: Hartman House. It’s a non-profit that helps people all over the world. Plus I always have new ideas cooking! You never know what will show up next!
To learn more about Bunsen is a Beast, visit the official website of Nickelodeon as well as its official Facebook and Instagram. To learn more about the Hartman House Foundation, see here. To watch an exclusive clip of the Bunsen is a Beast special, see here.
[Featured Image by Katelyn Balach/Nickelodeon]