Cartoon Network Planning To Lure Young Boys

Young Boys

Parents of children beware: it seems that Cartoon Network, in its middle age, has developed a fascination with young boys. A recent article in Variety, describing the new direction of network, sounds off the alarms with the headline “Cartoon Network Eyes Young Males.” In it, various Cartoon Net execs try to justify their new perversion by explaining that the network “has a strength with boys” and that they want to rebuild themselves as “the home for boys.”

Most disturbingly, the writer of the article warns that Cartoon Network has “set their sights on male teens and tweens” and plans to have boys’ action shows “up the wazoo.” After years of masquerading around as a network that offered cartoons to viewers of all ages and genders, they’ve finally succumbed to their true feelings and revealed plans to seduce young boys exclusively into watching their channel with enticing boy candy like Ben 10, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Remember, the next time you see Cartoon Network lurking around a school playground, it may not be as innocent as it looks. They like young boys now.

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  • http://www.octop.com Aleksandar Vujovic

    Sorry Amid, but what was the point of your article? I mean yeah, Cartoon Network wants to target younger male audiences. The word to describe a young male is a boy. I read cartoon brew everyday and hope for objective news, rather than derogatorily driven posts. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy humor in posts, but of all the jokes on Cartoon Brew, this one stoops to an all-time low. Really unnecessary.

  • Serge

    Hide the kids.
    LOL!

  • Tom Pope

    This is a little off topic, but a couple of years ago I and a partner wrote a live action feature script with a female hero, which we thought was reasonably progressive and probably noble. Subsequently, a sucessful writer/director friend told me a certain mouse ear-wearing studio (a seemingly perfect fit) was only interested in scripts with boy heroes. I said “Huh?” All they seemed to put out were girl properties. Then we got lucky and found a manager who sent our script to the above alluded-to studio, and guess what?!! “We’re looking for boy heroes.” So there you go.

  • Ron

    Cartoon Network obviously didn’t pay the dues to be in Amid’s Kool Klub. Perhaps if they hired him to write a book about thier shorts program…

  • http://www.animationinsider.net/ Aaron H. Bynum

    I think the point he was trying to make was that after several, several months of floundering around with programming schedules, adding and replacing and removing network executives and much more… Cartoon Network has finally found its goal. And that goal is to appeal to a splintered demographic that only exists because they want it to exist, not because there’s an establishd audience already available. I think.

  • jon

    Oh man! someone get Chris Hansen!

  • Artisticulated

    That was a one-sentence joke Amid.

  • Dave (Odd)

    They’re just begging for it! Heehee!

  • http://pumml.blogspot.com pumml

    They’re gonna have to do it right to compete against the CW (formerly WB) who is already targeting that audience. Along with those other cartoons, they should rerun Samurai Jack!

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    Stay classy, Cartoon Brew.

  • Siggy Romburg

    Next CN will open a seminary, and the priests will wear flat looking robes with thick black outlines.

  • Jesse

    I guess the alternative didn’t work out for ‘em…

    http://img148.imageshack.us/img148/7550/mojojojoduk0.jpg

  • Dave Levy

    It’s easy to take shots at the big boys like Cartoon Network. One thing that goes under-reported is that their new development initiative is in the artist’s hands with Craig McCracken and Rob Renzetti in key roles.

    Isn’t this what everybody has always asked for? Artists are running the show. The cartoons are bound to benefit from this. Amid, don’t get too hung up on their current audience agenda. Every network sets one and then they revise it ten months later.

  • red pill junkie

    Funny, although slightly disturbing ;-)

  • http://johnbludwick.com J Ludwick

    When I was doing jobs for Cartoon Network, they had a solid sense of direction under the leadership of Linda Simensky. Now that she’s gone to PBS Kids, the current management has been struggling ever since, trying to imitate what they think “cool” is rather than actually creating it.

    Cartoon Network employs artists. That’s their only current merit.

  • Dave (Odd)

    (I meant Cartoon Network, not the boys. Oh lordy, no.)

  • http://www.pentagen.org/ Adam

    So, in short, Cartoon Network is targeting the demographic that it appealed to before the ratings collapsed?

    Just whom was it targeting for the last few years?

  • Paul N

    Because there’s nothing funnier on an animation website than obvious pedophilia jokes…

  • not impressed

    I agree with Aleksandar & Artisticulated. There’s zero quality of journalism, nor stand-up comedy in this article, Amid.

    I’m sure your unspoken reaction is going to be “Come on! Lighten up, I’m just being a little bit wacky here! This’s *satire*! Grow a funny bone or go someplace else.”…

    But dontchathink the lame distortion of meaning in your article nearly borders on libel?! You *know* their demographic choices have nothing to do with perversion — other than perhaps a profound fetish for making money. So where’s the joke? Where’s the wit? Why go down this road?

    I’m not defending CN’s crappy programming, but the only *perversion* in this story content is your own interpretation of it, Amid. Frankly I’d expect even higher integrity from “Beavis & Butthead”. (At least they’re funny.)

    “Uhhh.. heh heh… It says ‘Young boys’ and ‘Up the Wazoo’… heh heh…”

    T’would be nice if you kept your snarky ‘too cool for school’ snideness off Cartoon Brew unless you have some good content to back it up! You’re way more interesting when you have a worthwhile point to make.

  • Hulk

    As a former boy myself (and by that I don’t mean I had a sex change, just that I grew up and became a man) I want to know what they think appeals to “boys”. Sure I liked action adventure as much as the next kid but I also loved Bugs Bunny, Tom and Jerry, and Popeye to name a few. I hope they will take that in to account when hearing pitches from animators. I’m really glad to hear Rob and Craig are running this. I hope the execs get out of their way and let them do this the way they want to.

  • http://doubleben.blogspot.com/ Emmett Goodman

    This is just part of the dark spot that Cartoon Network is pulling itself into. They seem to be the ones determining the demographic. Besides, I thought this demographic appealed to Adult Swim. While mainly for adult, I am sure young kids have broken the rules to watch the Adult Shows. Dave Levy just made a good point that the artists still have their hands in these shows. But still, A network like Cartoon Network being interested in only young boys raises a few questions.

  • Christopher Cook

    Seeing as how Disney Channel and Nickelodeon skew mainly to teenybopper girls (when they’re not skewing to toddlers), why not aim for the guys?

  • http://gogopedro.blogspot.com BWARG!

    GOD DAMMIT…..
    Is the Youth ever gonna be safe from poor network choices.
    I like cartoons, plus I’m a guy that grew up loving cartoons (I watch them even now).
    If the CN wants to do this, fine. I am not wild about some of what I have seen lately.
    But, I think in doing this they open a hole in the pantheon of cable toon networks that would cater to a more universal audience…like cartoon network used to.
    The really rough part is that If I had kids I don’t think I could wholly endorse any network or channel on cable right now. I could say some shows stand out…but other then that I’d stick with the classics.

    Beyond this I wanna see more show driven more by creative artists and less by merchandise.

  • robiscus

    “One thing that goes under-reported is that their new development initiative is in the artist’s hands with Craig McCracken and Rob Renzetti in key roles.”

    Thats hardly a departure from the standard Cartoon-Network-style art that has been playing on the channel for the last 10 years. How about they go out and have some independent animators with a different aesthetic helm a shorts program. McCracken and Rezetti are incredibly talented, this much is certain, but you’ve gott abe kidding me if you think they are going to bring anything new to Cartoon Network! The talent crew over there is downright incestuous. The same sensibility, the same colors, the same style…
    I hope I’m wrong.

  • http://gogopedro.blogspot.com BWARG!

    oh…and Variety writing the article in such a tongue and cheek manner doesn’t make the news come across any better. For me.

  • Jonah Jones

    Hope that Craig and Rob are given their heads and are not being put in place to make CN’s wall o’ corporate schmucks appear ‘artist friendly’, because that obvious tactic recently bit the dust over at Mousechwitz.

  • http://reddiabla.blogspot.com/ Red Diabla

    Welp, I thought Amid’s joke was funny. Sick, but funny. As for CN…would something like Powerpuff Girls be able to be shown on a network for BOYS?

    I hope that CN’s target audience would watch FUNNY CARTOONS because that’s sure lacking on just about every other network…Spongebob excluded.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Good lord ! Teachers, Catholic Priests, and now Cartoon Network ? What is happening to this world ?

  • http://www.heal-emru.com Tamu

    Hey, Amid. A show I used to like, Firefly, made Fox executives nervous because the show ended up attracting a lot of women, and they were going to for the treasured Male 18-35 slice. Instead of – oh I don’t know – courting new advertisers, or being happy people were watching at all, it was one of the nails in the show’s coffin.

    Despite the Nielsen boxes and advertisers, people of all stripes will continue to watch, especially if they decide to do something good. If it’s bad they can keep it. I’ve been watching cartoons all this time, more “boy” shows than “girl shows, and I am tired of being treated like I don’t exist.

    It’s ok to do somethin primarily for one market to a certain extent, but hopefully they will not miss opportunities as a result.

    I have a friend who works for a company that designs products for a segment of the entertainment industry. She was told she could do anything she wanted with a story’s main character – except make the person black – supposedly because their demographic wouldn’t like that. When these decisions begin to creep in, that’s when we have a problem. Similar stories about female protagonists with moxy.

    If they want to play with little boys ;-) that’s their issue, if they don’t produce anything I can relate to on some level, I’ll just walk away.

  • http://www.carbonalley.com Jeff

    Why so serious? I laughed, Amid.

  • http://alssecrethideout.blogspot.com/ Sharkcellar

    Did I just read an article from the Onion?

  • Keith Bryant

    I just knew that someone would offer a cheap shot at Catholic priests. Please keep bigoted comments to yourself. This is supposed to be a forum for animation, not anti-Catholic rhetoric.

  • Fidel

    THANK GOD FOR KIM POSSIBLE…that’s all I have to say.

  • Draz

    If John Lasseter took over CN, would everything turn into badly animated CGI fairies that actually talk?

  • Andrew

    If only the actual news itself were as entertaining as the playful nature of this blog entry. The Jonestown undertones are spine-tingling. :)

  • Kieran

    when I was a young boy I hardly liked any of the action shows, I found them boring and too serious, I’d usually watch something like Tom and Jerry instead.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    Keith: Sorry I offended you. I’ll just say teachers if it makes you feel better.

  • Shmek

    Jesus, for animators/animation lovers, you guys sure are boring and easily offended. By everything… go cry somewhere.

  • Mitch better have my Bunny

    I heard a really nasty joke once that I can’t repeat. But the punchline was, “blood on the clownsuit”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/brandontoons Brandon

    Hey, come now. If the TV show “Friends” can make pedo jokes, then why can’t Amid? Even though we all know how wrong it is.

  • http://www.pentagen.org/ Adam

    Red Diabla: yes, something like The Powerpuff Girls can be shown on a channel for boys. More boys than girls watched The Powerpuff Girls.

  • http://sterfish.blogspot.com Sterfish

    So essentially, CN wants to become Jetix?

  • http://www.fatkat.ca Gene Fowler

    Seems to be the trend everywhere. Same here in Canada where Teletoon is following the same trend.

    Hannah Montanna and live action shows like that are dominating young girlies eyeballs. Boys still like cartoons, but action cartoons. This is what I’ve been experiencing listening about.

    go with the flow.

  • Matt Sullivan

    Young boys, as a rule, are generally embarassed to admit they watch cartoons. Especially in the 7-18 year old range. it’s just not a cool thing…at least it wasn’t back in the day. Now cartoons are substantially more “adult”

    I dunno. I predict failure.

  • http://www.abelboddy.com C. Edwards

    Are they trying to boost their ratings now that they’ve stopped trying to be Disney Channel and Nickelodeon by turning their attention to the easiest demographic possible? It seems to me that they were successful making all these girl friendly shows for years in the early 2000s.

    Also, when did the readership here become so stodgy and overcritical?

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    haha, amid i think you’re getting better at your sarcasm! haw! this was a funny read this morning =)

  • Brad

    I don’t care what they do. I can’t watch CN anymore, but I don’t suppose they care about my old-head eyeballs anyway. There is a common trend/phenomenon in cable where there will be a new channel that you enjoy immensely and inevitably, at some point, it will devolve into lowest-common-denominator dumbed-down crap targeted at some new market (which is not you). This has happened notably with AMC (WTF — who even needs this channel now? Take the “C” out), Disney channel (nothing with Disney’s hand in it will ever be shown), Nickelodeon (not as much, but yeah), TVLand is getting there (cruddy movies? reality shows?), TLC (probably nobody even remembers when it wasn’t just another stupid estrogen channel), TNN/Spike (this one is a little different, but I never see anything to watch on there — wrestling is too stupid), and of course CN. I want CN to be what Boomerang more or less is, or has been. Boomerang is COMPLETELY WORTHLESS because almost nobody gets it, and by the time they do, it will also be a ruined channel probably running bad anime and live-action 24/7. I’ve enjoyed the History channel for a long time, and that can’t last forever, so I suspect some day they’ll be running Rachel Ray and Flip-this-House type programming as part of a brilliant new direction. They’ve already got their version of reality programming going on.

  • Kyle C.

    Remember when Cartoon Network attracted tween boys by showing programs that even adults could watch instead of dumbing it down for them? Coming home from school and watching good anime on Toonami every afternoon was a blast. The flaw in CN’s programming is that shows like Ben 10 exist merely to sell toys while the shows used to be about entertaining all ages and genders through quality.

  • Archie Leach

    Yeah, History Channel sure likes its “Ice Truckers” non-fiction spin on reality programming.

  • P.C. Unfunny

    “This has happened notably with AMC (WTF — who even needs this channel now? Take the “C” out)”

    Yes apparently Terminator 3 is now a classic. The only channel that has not sold out and stands by it’s original conception is TCM. I also think that would be the ideal network to show classic cartoons in a prime time slot.

  • http://www.goldenagecartoons.com Matthew Hunter

    Whatever happened to their philosphy of variety? They had a “like this? Try this!” kind of schedule about 5 years ago. Their range of cartoons spanned 70 years and at least 3 countries. Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Dragon Ball Z, Hanna-Barbera stuff, Canadian shorts, their own modern things. Now it’s all spastic, talky gibberish. And they want to target “young boys”? Why target such a narrow demographic? Whatever happened to showing stuff that appealed to everybody? MORONS!

  • http://dmgermain.blogspot.com David Germain

    Ha ha! The new CN, sponsered by NAMBLA. I can’t wait to see the ads during the commercial breaks. ;P

    “NAMBLA. The only group that treats kids like adults.”

  • WByers

    I know how you feel. At least we have the internet.

  • WByers

    That was really delayed.
    That Nambla thing, Not really funny.

  • http://eh? Jenny

    Oh come on: First there’s people whining about the lack of Toonami and the “stupidity” of adult swim shows and now your hacky pedophile joke? What the hell?

  • http://weneverclose.blogspot.com/ bardhol

    “Yes apparently Terminator 3 is now a classic. The only channel that has not sold out and stands by it’s original conception is TCM. I also think that would be the ideal network to show classic cartoons in a prime time slot.”

    TCM used to show classic cartoons on “Cartoon Alley”, Saturday mornings. i used to wake up for them.

  • A Longtime Observer

    What really offended me was this quote in the article:

    “…also trying to rebuild [CN] as “the home for boys,” in Snyder’s words (though he quickly adds that he hopes the female aud sticks around for shows like Cartoon’s new comedy “Chowder”).”

    [B]What kind of idiotic afterthought is that?? [/B] You’re telling me that these people want Cartoon Network to be THE boys channel, but ‘oh!, the girls can stick around too and watch the funny stuff’ in that blantant manner?! Considering I’m a female who has loved action, adventure, and a good ‘ol fashioned butt-kicking in a cartoon since the age of five, this really grinds me.

    Thanks for the flippancy–save that talk for the elementary school playground Stu Synder.

  • Fernando C.

    It seemed like an interesting choice for CN to devote most if not all of their programming to a young male demographic, but not to make light of the matter that young girls need shows of their own too to enjoy but most young girls that I have spoken to( because i teach) actually don’t really enjoy watching cartoons, now I don’t think that these young women should speak for viewers like “a longtime observer” but most teens and tweens that I have been in contact with turn their attention to live-action shows like Hanna Montana, and Icarly, music videos, and even Gossip Girl.
    If what Amid is saying is really true, then I guess the networks have spoken and look grab more viewers that they “think” will be the predominant viewers of their shows but in the end the results will speak for themselves whether their choice in direction was correct or not.

  • PCUnfunny

    bardhol: Yes that’s why I think TCM is an ideal place to show cartoons. My dream would be show uncensored cartoons on a weekly primetime basis on that network. Classic cartoons fans tend to be adults who watch classic films as well so it’s the perfecr place.

    “also trying to rebuild [CN] as “the home for boys,”

    Well this answers some questions. Still, I wonder why the word “Cartoon” is in there.

  • 2D is Good for Me

    Good animation is like crack nowadays. You gotta look high and low for the good stuff.

  • 2D is Good for Me

    … and the good animation is not gonna be on cartoon network more than likely.

  • a complete stranger

    I think this is a step backward. Most of what I see on Cartoon Network is ugly, intelligence-insulting crap. There is not enough variety in the styles of animation they present. Pretty much the only show I watched during the daytime was Airbender, because it was richly designed, competently animated, and had interesting characters. Dumbing shit down is just a bad decision.

    Of course, I’ve also had my gripes with Adult Swim. Not enough good anime, too many incompetently animated fart jokes.

  • BlackMasamune

    Just opens the door for another company to do Animation properly.