Cartoon Network has acquired the television rights to one of the biggest YouTube stars ever, Dane Boedigheimer’s The Annoying Orange. It will air newly created half-hour episodes – or should that be segments? – as part of the network’s original programming block starting next year.

The Annoying Orange already has one of the top ten YouTube channels, with more than 2 million subscribers and 850 million total views, and enough viral appeal to get James Caan, John Leguizamo (see video below) and the band Weezer to guest star.

The unsettlingly animated show also has over 10 million fans on Facebook along with brand extensions that include: the mobile app The Annoying Orange: Kitchen Carnage; a line of apparel and accessories from Hybrid Apparel and Accessory Innovations already at JC Penney locations nationwide; talking plush, clip-ons and collectible figures from The Bridge Direct Inc. which will be available in Toys “R” Us, RadioShack and elsewhere in time for the holiday gift giving season; and full-size Orange basketballs and other toys from NANCO.

Produced by entertainment management and production company The Collective, which also developed the TV series, The Annoying Orange lives up to its name with fantastically awful puns and jokes, often at the expense of Pear, Passion Fruit, Apple, Marshmallow and the despicable Grapefruit. And beware, Knife!

It was almost inevitable that Rob Sorcher, chief content officer for Cartoon Network, would say, “The Annoying Orange and Cartoon Network were just meant to be squeezed together.” Aren’t you glad he didn’t say banana?

The television series follows Orange and his produce pals as they travel through time in a magical fruit cart, getting into jams requiring them to concentrate on squeezing out. (See? It’s contagious.) He’s not leaving the Internet, however – Cartoon Network will work with The Collective to optimize the value and reach of the short-form original content that will continue to be produced separate from the television program.

“Two years ago when I launched The Annoying Orange, I never imagined that my unhealthy obsession with talking fruit would become such a phenomenon,” Boedigheimer said. “I’m really excited to bring a new version to Cartoon Network.”

Boedigheimer co-created the television series with Tom Sheppard (Emmy Award-winning writer, Pinky and the Brain). Conrad Vernon (director, Madagascar 3 and Monsters vs. Aliens) will serve as executive producer for the series along with Gary Binkow and Dan Weinstein of The Collective.

Related links:

Tubefilter –

KidScreen –