Sunday Potpourri: 'Prison Break,' Paul Dini, New 'Scooby-Doo'

Tonight's cuppa: Decaf French roast coffee

Feeling a little sleepy after whipping up an Easter dinner with friends that featured grilled lamb chops (marinated in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and cranberry juice, with rosemary, mint and thyme from my balcony garden), spring-greens salad, mushroom risotto and fresh-baked bread.

Sorry, no leftovers. We ate it all.

PB-FINAL1version1 But before I pack it in for the evening, here's a link to my syndicated feature story on the finale of Fox's "Prison Break," which airs Friday (thanks, Boston Herald!). I also did a story on Tuesday's season premiere of "Deadliest Catch," but I haven't found a link for it yet.

But fear not, I'll figure something out.

BTW, last Tuesday, I attended the Los Angeles edition of the Cartoon Network upfront presentation, where I was shocked to discover that the animation channel is planning live-action shows, including reality shows. Click here for a detailed report from the Animation Insider, drawing from the earlier presentation in New York City.

No word, though, that the network is changing its name to ToonLyve or anything like that.

Press and advertising execs in attendance were reminded that Cartoon was the only kid-oriented network doing an upfront presentation in L.A. CN seems upbeat and determined, aiming squarely at strengthening its already strong brand with boys 6-11 and working to expand its audience base (which also includes a lot of boys a whole lot older than 11).

Cartoon execs emphasized that boys like to take risks and wear their bumps and bruises with pride, so the channel will reflect that boisterous spirit. Oh, and girls who do the same are also welcome to come along for the ride. Girls who'd rather not skin their knees should probably stick with "Hannah Montana" on Disney Channel.

Sitting right behind me at the presentation was multiple Emmy winner Paul Dini, whose broad showbiz experience includes writing and directing many hit animated series, writing comics and graphic novels, and a stint on the writing staff of ABC's "Lost."

He's writing and executive-producing a live-action, scripted pilot for Cartoon called "Prepped," about a rebellious teen who sets out to discover just what his mysterious prep school is prepping him for (hint: it's not Harvard).

After the presentation, I introduced myself to Dini and told him I was the envy of several of my fanboyBatmanAnimated pals for having an autographed copy of the oversized hardcover picture book "Batman Animated." He couldn't have been more charming, perhaps because I already had the autograph.

Before I headed off to the office, I stopped to meet the cast -- one advantage of live-action shows over animation is you actually have actors to bring out on stage -- of the upcoming TV movie "Scooby-Doo 3: The Mystery Begins," produced by Cartoon Network and Warner Premiere, and directed by Briant Levant ("Snow Dogs," "The Flintstones in Viva Las Vegas," "Jingle All the Way," "The Flintstones," "Beethoven").

Shot in in and around Vancouver, Canada, and set to air this year on Cartoon, it's a contemporary take on the classic cartoon mystery-adventure series from Hanna-Barbera, which launched in 1969. It's a prequel to the two "Scooby-Doo" theatrical films and chronicles how four mismatched teens become the ghost-hunting Mystery, Inc.

Scooby Doo Group Poster Starring are Robbie Arnell as a very not-blond Fred Jones (according to Arnell, seeing natural brunet Freddie Prinze go towheaded in the movies put him off the idea), Kate Melton as Daphne Blake, Hayley Kiyoko (Alcroft) as Velma Dinkley and Nick Palatas as Norville "Shaggy" Rogers. Frank Welker returns as the voice of the still animated Scooby-Doo.

Asked what the favorite Scooby Snack was on set, the quartet answered unanimously, "Chocolate macroons!"

Works for me.

Whether the movie works for me remains to be seen. I'm a "Scooby' purist, and didn't much care for many of the later incarnations of the franchise, including the ill-conceived "Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo" and the feature films. But hope springs eternal, and I'm keeping an open mind.

I'll let you know when I get to see the film.