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Viacom uses Cartoon Stars to ask for a raise

Viacom is asking Time Warner Cable for a raise – and if they don’t get it they will pull their channels off the cable service AT MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!

Oh, by the way, Happy New Year.

If Time Warner Cable and Viacom can’t reach a deal, the channel blackout would occur after midnight in each time zone. The affected channels would be: Comedy Central, Logo, Palladia, MTV, MTV 2, MTV Hits, MTV Jams, MTV Tr3s, Nickelodeon, Noggin, Nick 2, Nicktoons, Spike, The N, TV Land, VH1, VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul and CMT: Pure Country.

At of the time of this posting, no deal has been reached between Viacom and TWC. I find it interesting that in their hour of need, Viacom reaches for it’s biggest cartoon stars – Spongebob, Dora and Cartman – to appeal to cable customers for help, in newspaper ads (above) and TV spots (below). Cartoons (and their animators) don’t usually rate the respect of live action fare in Hollywood – but when it comes to the financial bottom line, stunts like this really illustrate how powerful animation is to the major corporations.

Actually, there could be a silver lining in all this for classic cartoon fans. It could be a godsend to Cartoon Network who are running a marathon of Looney Tunes all New Year’s Day. The spill-over of kids looking for Nicktoons could end up on CN, potentially giving a huge rating for the Warner Bros. cartoons, which could encourage CN (or another network) to license the Looney Tunes full time. If I were Time Warner, I’d call Viacom’s bluff.

UPDATE: At the last minute, a deal between TWC and Viacom was reached. Nick, MTV and Comedy Central are all there where they should be.

  • Everybody should call.

    • tre

      i agree

  • Otherwise this very well could be the beginning of the end of cartoons on TV.

  • Jake

    Sumner Redstone needs all that money for a gold hook.

  • EricW

    Fascinating that Youtube is being used to get the word out, considering there’s no end in sight to that DMCA court case. I wonder if they’ll tell Nikki Finke to cut it out…signs point to “no”.

    Having said that, they chose the right cartoons for the print ad. Nobody does “tearfully pathetic” like Spongebob.

  • *snorts*

    Viacom is only using their cartoon characters because they think cartoons are more “profitable”. And yet they can’t give shows like My Family’s Got GUTS (which was the better revival of their kids game shows, blowing Double Dare 2000 out of the water by far) a fair shot?

    Stupid, money-greedy idiots. Maybe if Double Dare were to get revived with the ORIGINAL host (Marc Summers), the ORIGINAL announcer (Harvey) and one of the ORIGINAL stage hands (Robin), where the chemistry between the three of them were what REALLY made Double Dare what it was (who could forget the “I Will Not Watch Fun House” moment?? :D), or even with the new GUTS show, if they’d brought back Mike & Mo, then they wouldn’t resort to using overrated cartoon characters to get their point across and I’d be far more merciful to them.

    Of course, it’s all about that stupid ad revenue to them. And if TWC isn’t going to budge, then let ’em! Show ’em who’s boss! And when Viacom comes crying back to you to beg for mercy, don’t let them back on! Make TWC customers either pay for satellite or find a suitable way to watch that new crap that Viacom puts out (cartoon or otherwise).

    Until Viacom gets a brain about the CLASSIC cartoons lying in their vaults, I will have NO mercy for such money-hungry idiots who only want ad revenue, and think that new animation is the answer.


  • James


    That’s what you get for taking all your GOOD shows off the air Nickelodeon. You get what you deserve.

    And as for Comedy Central, what do I care? I barely watch it. As long as we’ve still got FOX, I’m happy.

  • Nic Kramer

    Guys, will you calm down? Jerry helped with a cartoon for Nickelodeon. Of course, they delayed the rhino for about a year and aired it on one of their spin-off channels instead, but I digress.

  • I resent a multi-million-dollar corporation trying to get its way in a business deal by upsetting children.

  • A


    Well, as a twc customer I’m going to be pissed if I’m paying money and aren’t getting what I paid for. On the other hand, the whole structure of cable service needs to be redone. At least for DailyShow and such I can move on over to comedycentral.com and hulu.com.

    One way or another, TWC will screw themselves with this kind of shenanigans.

    (btw, my new years resolution last year was to use the word shenanigan more…)

  • Oh waaaah waaaaah waaaah. Will someone call the Waaahmbulance for the Viacom octopus? This is the company that has, with few exceptions, asked creators to give up rights to their creations to get them on the air. And they are the only ones I can think of which made new episodes of a series after first booting its creators from the series. And they have done this more than once.

    Big media having a catfight. How freaking charming. Damn glad I don’t get cable anymore. And President Obama, please do SOMETHING about the consolidation of media in the hands of a few megacorps, ‘k? Thankyoudrivethrough. (tm Viacom)

  • compn

    maybe this will bring in ala carte channel shopping.

    no more paying for the blocks of programming, now pay for the only 3 channels you actually watch.

    good bye mtv, good riddance!

  • Wow, this is kind of…big. This is the second time I’ve seen Time Warner lose a channel (or in this case several) this year. It was on a local scale, but TWC and NBC got into a fight and we didn’t get NBC for over a month here in Austin, TX. Let’s hope they mend fences with Viacom, because otherwise I want about 20 bucks shaved off of my bill.

  • BobT

    A world with no more MTV? Sounds quite good actually…
    I guess that also answers why they’re not using one of their MTV “stars” in this ad campaign.

  • Take it all off the air, start fresh!

  • OM

    “maybe this will bring in ala carte channel shopping.”

    …Hear! Hear! I’d love to not have to pay for the hundreds of worthless sports channels, and the dozens of foreign language channels that I’ll never watch in either this life or the next. Same goes for the food channels and the Bibble Thumper networks. Give me A La Carte programming, and let the networks I care AbZero about go hang.

  • reco

    Thank you greedy networks!
    There is nothing good on TV anymore.

  • J.Ramos

    First, to TWC: Time to call Viacom’s bluff and tell them they can either divvy up their offerings, reneg a better deal, or *expletive* off.

    To Viacom: You do realize that many of the networks you so-called “serve” have online presences that serve up the relevant content for I and at least several enough others on the internet so that we don’t even *need* to watch you on cable TV or satellite? How quaint.

    This whole thing sounds like just a big cash grab on the part of Viacom wanting more money for the same lousy content. Nick has pretty much killed off all the shows I’d ever wanted to watch, and do we really need that many MTV channels? I’d also never heard of Logo or Palladia, so why should consumers be forced to accept them either? From that list, the only ones I’d watch with any regularity would be Spike and Comedy Central – the former primarily for mXc and the latter because they still manage to have enough common sense to keep their good AND FUNNY stuff on the air.

    Seriously, where in these corporate suits’ heads did they get the bright idea that it was somehow more profitable to run sucessful operations into the ground in order to make new operations to go on? It’s thinking like that that got us where we are with the Wall St. bailout and now the automotive bailout in the balance. I personally see a lot of the same thinking being applied here.

    What’s next? Viacom asking Dubya for their own bailout? Be real. Personally, in TWC’s shoes, I would call their bluff and simply count my losses for those who want to quit. Then, when Viacom is ready to deal, I’d slap them with a penalty for “lost business” on their part. Win, win, win.

  • Makes me glad MY cable company is independently owned and operated.

  • Kyle Maloney

    So have they reached a deal? its past midnight here on the east coast and I still have Viacom’s networks.

  • Steve Gattuso

    Why the hell are we paying for TV with commercials on it, anyway? I can still get what I want thanks to the glories of internet piracy, so BIT TORRENT AWAYYYYYYYYY!!!!

  • Barry
  • Those ads seem kinda deceitful – when the news says Viacom is pulling their channels and then these ads say TimeWarner is taking them off the air. Kinda ridiculous.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Cable a la carte. I like that!

  • Keith Paynter
  • Why is Dora crying black tears?

  • Annie-Mae

    Ya know the world would certainly be a better place without so many MTV channels. I would weap not to see my Daily Show and Spongebob but give me a reason to get the DVD box sets of Spongebob.
    Viacom is such a drama llama. We need more money or we’re leaving for ever. >P

    I’m so excited to sit in front of the tube all day to watch Looney Tunes, even if they might be slightly edited, it was a great effort on Time Warner to even promote something that’s really cheep to air.

  • Marc Baker

    You know, i should make my own banners like this with characters who use to be staples in broadcast TV crying because of how local stations have become cesspools of infomercials, trashy talk shows, and insipid court room shows. As well as banners with classic cartoon icons crying because they no longer have time slots on certain cable networks. (I’m looking at you, Disney, and Cartoon Network!)

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Kitchensyngk: Makes ME glad we cut off cable a year ago to reduce expenses. Now we get to gear up for the digital switcheroo next month. Yippee.

  • Such is the world. Both Time Warner and Viacom have been stubborn on cabling issues in recent memory, whether that be on determining what shows go on what standard/digital tiers or something else… neither wants to admit that in a period of economic crisis, they each need more money than they are letting on.

    In any case: the Dora ad, and the SpongeBob ad, in full color. I went out and sifted through some newspapers yesterday after work and got the Dora full-page ad from the New York Times. Ah, yes, now this is the animation memorabilia that will last a lifetime…

  • Bill Freiberger

    I wish Viacom the same success that the Writers Guild of America had in their dealings with a big corporation who doesn’t want to fairly share profits with those who provide the actual entertainment.

  • Marc Baker

    ‘A world with no more MTV? Sounds quite good actually…’

    Ain’t that the truth! Seriously, i could care less if MTV got removed from my lineup. They’ve become nothing more than the ‘Ken & Barbie Reality Show’ network, and having it dropped would be no big loss for me. I could also do without my local stations since they’ve become cesspools of infomercials, propaganda news, trashy talk shows, and court room garbage!

  • Jake

    The post midnight deal came too late to halt the full page cartoon shill ads Viacom ran this very morning in the major daily newspapers. That was big money shot to hell, right there. Give those Viacom suits more stock options as a reward. They can really manage!

  • Onkel: Evidently because they couldn’t find Mexican tears on such short notice.

  • Garrett Aja

    It’s the classic (and classless) tactic: upset the kids so their parents will blame your opponent.

    Stay klassy, Viacom.

  • I knew this would never fly.

  • A

    well, isn’t someone here in Cali pushing a bill for “a la carte” cable? Anyone have some info on this?

  • Chris Sobieniak

    > ‘A world with no more MTV? Sounds quite good actually…’

    Rather think more of the MTV I used to knew 25 years ago, and wish for that again (if only music was that good again). I could spend many an endless hour watching that on the weekends. Sometime in the 90’s it just went downhill and never returned. Cabke TV was so much an untamed beast until everyone jumped onto it and the conglomerates followed suit.

    I also second BJ’s comment on the matter too. I’m only glad neither company managed to get their mitts on the greater Toledo area in the past 40 years that the local Buckeye Cablevision has served our great land. We don’t have to put up with these stupid tactics.

  • Marc Baker

    I think Viacom has a great future mud slinging for someone political campaign if that’s how they do business in media.

  • Dan

    It’s interesting that Time Warner Cable isn’t getting the brunt of the attacks. Either way, it’s too close to home for me. I would hope that this animation blog community would be supportive of the industry on some level. But, these comments are more along the lines of “burn baby, burn!”. A la carte cable is the solution.

  • Marbles

    Context and issue aside, I find it impossible to look at that drawing of Spongebob without cracking up.

  • Peter

    Everytime I look at roundups of basic cable ratings, it seems like reruns of Spongebob at any hour of the day or night run away with pretty much every time slot. Viacom knew it had Time Warner where it wanted the cable network.

  • Melody

    The re runs, repackaged re runs, amount of shows and series episodes dwindling each season. There used to be a new show every week in a series for the season, now two or three new shows then re runs then two or three new shows in a series. During a season they are even re running the previous seasons shows. Networks showing the same show, old movie, etc…at the same time? On the menu I see it every day that a movie title will pop up on several channels either during the same time period or at other times that same day. By old I mean 1970’s through 1990’s shows and movies over and over on multiple channels. It wouldn’t be so bad with the movies if they would not show the same ones over and over during a time period before changing to a new group of old shows and movies. It used to be certain channels had old movies and tv shows now it seems like most are running them. Paid programing starts slowly taking over at 11 pm now. The product gets worse by the day and they want more money?! In todays economy I’m waiting for people to drop cable ( no fault of the cable company ) and find other entertainment.

  • tre

    tv land nooo!!!! wth greedy mofoz!!