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Fox dumps Cartoons for Infomercials

Another one bites the dust.

Variety reported yesterday that the Fox broadcast network will abandon running cartoons on Saturday morning – and will replace the programming block with infomercials.

Saturday Morning broadcast television lost its allure as a kids destination since the advent of multiple 24 hour-a-day kids cable networks (Nick, Disney, CN), home video (DVD) and the internet, so this is no surprise. And besides, was anyone watching the crap 4KidsTV programmed on that channel? 4Kids was paying Fox $20 million dollars a year to foist things like Kirby: Right Back At Ya! on unsuspecting toddlers.

Fox is actually only replacing two hours (of the four hour block) with infomercials. The other two hours are being returned to local stations. Some of those may run news or sitcom reruns in that slot. If we’re lucky, perhaps some clever independent Fox affiliates will pick up some syndicated animation programming – or better yet, something like the Warner Bros. cartoons. Currently the classic Looney Tunes shorts are homeless (they were dropped by Cartoon Network two years ago) and Warners is actively seeking a new place for them on the tube.

Will Warners syndication execs and local Fox TV programmers see a golden opportunity here? Not likely, but we can always hope.

  • I hope your right Jerry. It’s interesting how Europe still has a fair amount of animation on brodacast television compared to the US. I know for sure that in Ireland, The Flinstones are still rather frequently. I’m guessing that tighter advertising and content regulations are the reasons and personally, I think the stations are better off for it as they are forced to offer a broad range of content that people will actually watch.

  • The affiliates are likely to run _more_ infomercials in their two hour blocks. Does Fox Kids still run weekday afternoon material?

    And wow – I had no idea someone made a Kirby cartoon – and completely trashed a worthwhile property.

  • Sam Filstrup

    I still remember when Fox Kids was worth watching, I’ve never understood why Cartoon Network only shows Tom and Jerry along with Scooby Doo. When they had Looney Tunes, Tex Avery toons, and so much more. Well at least in the US that’s all they show around noon.

  • I gave up on the Fox lineup after the cancellation of ULTRAMAN TIGA (and the dubious dubbing job of said program). That was it for me (as TIGA was my favorite program at the time, despite that).

  • Autumn

    Are Warners seriously looking for a new home for my beloved Looney Tunes?? IT’S ABOUT TIME! It’s a crime they’re not on TV somewhere.

    The most logical place for them to be, is back on Cartoon Network, and I don’t understand why they were dropped to begin with. But if they go to Fox, maybe Fox could also put Tiny Toons and Animaniacs back up? Please please please?

  • To me the oddest irony is that the big siphon for Saturday Morning Cartoon programming is PBS. Many (tho not all) PBS stations run several solid hours of animation on Saturday morning. Back in the stone age, it was the other way around. You’d click through three network channels of cartoons on Saturday, only interrupted by the PBS channel, running “educational TV” shows like Julia Child or some such. (quotation marks indicate obsolete vernacular, not ironic disparaging of the late Ms. Child).

  • Meh, I didn’t even know this was even on at ALL.

    It would be nice if they pick up cartoon available in syndication, although its unlikely.

    I remember KBSI Fox 23 (Cape Girardeau) re-running “The Bullwinkle Show” and “Garfield” in 1999 (they even had Underdog on Sat. AM).

  • Marc Baker

    Fox hasn’t had a ‘weekday’ block since 2001, and this is another nail in the coffin for animation on broadcast tv. Stations say that news, and infomercials bring in more money, and that cartoons don’t. honestly, i never understood how stations can make money on infomercials. do people actually watch that crap? (Then again, i don’t understand how a company like 4Kids can survive on badly done anime!) I seriously doubt it, but stations see it as an easy cash grab since they companies that ‘hawk’ these ‘products’ pay them upfront. (money for nothing is what it is.) When the only decent things running on broadcast tv are ‘Spectacular Spider-Man’, and ‘Ninja Turtles’, (before they were flung into the future) it’s pretty obvious that the networks have lost touch with viewers. Plus, all those corporate mergers from the 90’s have made network execs really lazy when it comes to creating good cartoons. If this keeps up, we may see local stations devolve into nothing more than little CNN, or Fox News clones on a local level while animation will have to get by on cable, home video, the internet, or on demand. but seriously, when the big three kid networks are constantly airing their big ‘cash cows’, (i’m looking at you, Spongebob, and Miley!) wouldn’t it make more sense to add some variety to their schedules? I hate the current state of television right now, and it’s only gonna get worse if nothing is done about it!

  • Brother Theodore

    Fox missed the chance to star Sean Hannity in a live weekly two hour sex show, direct from Tijuana? Programming creativity has gone threadbare.

  • top cat james

    Too bad. I, too, remember when Fox Kids was worth watching. They used to run some good cartoons back in the day (“Eek! the Cat”, “Tazmania”, “Life With Louie”, “The Tick”, “Sam & Max:Freelance Police”, “Mad Jack the Pirate”, the Woody Woodpecker revival, French oddity “Oggy and the Cockroaches”, and best of all, “The Ripping Friends”). The faux anime they were running pales in comparison.

    And yes, The Looney Tunes should be returned to the airwaves ASAP. But not in a heavily edited, butchered form, a la ABC, Nick, and Cartoon Network.

  • alberto

    good, it was only a matter of time till Bill O’Reiley got his own animated series.

    as for looney toons i don’t understand why they’re not being played on Cartoon Network anymore, i remember way back in the day when i was in 5th grade they had a whole bunch of shows like “Tex Avery show” “Chuck Jones Show” and a Tom and Jerry show. All with tidbits regarding the shorts, I loved it as a kid and i don’t know why not still on, it was way better than some of the stuff they got now.

  • Ted

    Maybe with luck the John K George Liquor cartoons, with built in ads, could show up there…

  • William Massie

    Bleh. I am surprised why anyone really cares here. As far as I am concerned Saturday Mornings have been dead totally scince the late 90s.

    Really though I am wondering why doesn’t FOX try something different with that block instead of informercials. 99% says they will extend news coverage by local affiliates seeing as how first run scripted syndicated series are no longer profitable.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Why does none of this surprise me now? Kinda expected the Big Three to give in to infomercials first, but I wouldn’t be anymore surprised if they follow too. Interesting to hear how things have fared better in Europe. I hope it can stay that way or else they’ll end up the same as here.

    Be nice if WB can find a home for the LT gang too anywhere on the dial. You would think it would not be that hard a thing. Even on Saturday mornings is fine enough.

  • uncle wayne

    THe Warner toons, as 98% of “us” know, were on (network) television for decades!! We grew up with them….looked (always) forward to seeing them again….and again. (Even when they were aired on SUNDAY morns…remember that?) What a giant shame that these classic pieces of film are NOT viewed any more….that is a downright SIN!

  • Domagoj

    I loved Saturday morning cartoons, but since Fox became the Japanese Card Game channel with horrible shows, it doesn’t feel like much a lost.

    I remember when they had X-Men, Big Guy and Rusty, Bobby’s World … ah I miss american toons.

  • AdrianC

    Well, I suppose there’s no need for 4Kids to manage the programming on the CW and Fox.

    Wait, you mean Boomerang doesn’t air any Looney Tunes shorts? Well, I guess that makes sense. I imagine Warner Bros. does want people to buy their DVDs (and people should buy them).

  • Kyle Maloney

    huh? Fox kids bit the dust Ages ago.

  • ’twas inevitable.

    But for what it’s worth… The CW4kids is planning to add some decent programming to their currently not-so-great line-up, in Q1 2009.

  • Good riddance. The 4Kids Saturday morning line-up was a plate of awful doled out with a side of horrendous.

    Still, it’s a pity that broadcast animation can’t even call Saturday Morning its own anymore. As more and more cartoons migrate to basic cable and the internet (and the smaller budgets those entail) I have to wonder if television animation ultimately ends up a fringe market. (Which, creatively, might not be so bad) Anyway, thank goodness we still have feature animation.

    At least until they start mo-capping everything…

  • Marc Baker

    Coming next fall, ‘Anchor Friends’, ‘Lesko’s Playhouse’, ‘Rondo Room’, ‘Fat Jerry & The Springer Kids’.

  • EricW

    The Fox O&O in our market stopped carrying the Saturday morning lineup a decade ago, so we completely missed the 4Kids lineup. They split Saturday morning between infomercials and burning off their E/I requirement with Jack Hannah-style animal shows, if that gives you a hint of the future.

    And yes, AdrianC, it’s sad but true…now it’s easier to see Baby Looney Tunes on American television than REAL Looney Tunes.

  • doug holverson

    See! Them mean grownups do, so, hate us kids!

    BTW, how can they call themselves the Cartoon Network with a straight face and not show Loony Tunes?

  • From X-Men to Batman: The Animated Series to Eek!, Spiderman and all those wonderful shows, to this. Fox Kids, then 4Kids, have squandered their unique opportunity to give voice to an unheard-from source of creativity: the independents. They failed to mine the online webcomic world for some potentially lucrative properties, opting instead to snag cheap imports, cheaply localize them and wring every single last cent from them. Not knowing that giving these unknown and, for now, unsung talents their deserved time on a larger platform could potentially have been cheaper. Sad stuff.

  • The less animation on the television the better.
    Then we will all be forced to create our own content and put it online.

  • bob

    ha ha a show that canadiens can watch that americans cant, i would trade looney tunes for the dozens of shows we canadiens have to watch off the internet, ive never not had looney tunes on tv. and i think most of the shows on fox kids are still going to play on other channels anyway. plus saturday mornings havent been fun for many of years, its history. we also get teletoon retro that plays alot of old crap like flinstones the jetsons and pink panther.

  • Christopher Cook

    The only things even remotely related to Looney Tunes on Boomerang are “Baby Looney Tunes” (urgh) and “Duck Dodgers.”

    With Fox dumping cartoons, it’s not like CBS, ABC and NBC have anything kicked up a notch quality-wise. ABC has two cartoons with the rest live-action teenybopper drivel, CBS has five E/I cartoons (read: preachy and no laughs) plus a teenybopper show, and NBC has six E/I shows from Qubo. CW airs here (Atlanta) Sundays. I’m at work at the time but from what I see I’m not setting a recorder for it.

  • OM

    ….Kids, lets face it: KidVid has been in the toilet since Peggy Charren and her ilk at ACT started ruining it in the late 1960’s. Just because they couldn’t be bothered to tell their kids *NO* they couldn’t have a particular toy, they decided instead to destroy the medium that delivered the message instead of just turning the TV off. It took almost four decades, but the old bitch finally got what she wanted – no more Saturday Morning funtime for the kids, where they could relax and escape from all the educational bullshit and just be *kids* for a few hours.

    If there is a hell, it waits for her and everyone else responsible for the destruction of Saturday Morning TV.

  • Mike Russo

    Eh. Good riddance I say. There was nothing good on that channel on Saturday mornings anymore anyway.

  • Jacob

    Saturday mornings are completely different now than when we were kids. Since animated shows are available all the time, they no longer hold that draw. I typically see my friend’s kids watching Disney live-action junk like Hannah Montana on Saturday mornings (the same episode for the 4th time that week.)

    There’s abundance, and then there’s overabundance, which is what we have. (Variety does not factor into this, because variety is expensive.)

    I miss the pre-youth channel days of excitedly waking up to new shows…

  • Charlie

    I remember when Fox Kids showed new cartoons of Woody Woodpecker along with other Walter Lantz characters. I don’t remember seeing any old cartoons, but it was better than nothing!

  • Oh no! This means that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon won’t get the opportunity to reboot again! I was betting on something in a prehistoric setting with the characters as cavemen.

    On an odd side note, I thought it weird that the final season of that Chaotic show actually abandoned its clunky-looking Flash format and went with traditional, hand drawn 2-D animation. What’s up with that?

  • Pedro Nakama

    I stopped watching Fox Cartoons years ago. Now on Saturday morning I watch The Spanish Channel with all of those “chicas” posing in front of those used cars they’re trying to sell. Man that’s muy caliente!

  • Jorge Garrido

    What the hell, Jerry? You used Kirby: Right back atcha, a show from 2001, from when I was 11 years old, that hasn’t aired in over 6 years, as your big example of 4kid’s lack of good animation programming?

    Why not make a post about this crazy new “you-pee-ay” fad, too?!?!

    Yeah, The Fox Box sucked. This was news… 7 YEARS AGO.

  • John Tebbel

    What we need is an omnibus Hollywood Cartoon channel like TCM. Just cartoons, just respect. Silents on weekend overnights and everything.

  • Jorge – Err… I’m afraid you are mistaken. KIRBY airs each Saturday morning at 11am on Fox.

    Their current broadcast schedule is listed here:

  • Jeff

    “Oh no! This means that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon won’t get the opportunity to reboot again!”

    Actually, the Turtles are on the CW now (as well as on the internet: They’re back from the future, but occasionally have to go into “cyberspace”, which looks a lot like the movie TRON. (Fortunately, they don’t do the TRON thing every episode though.)

  • Chris

    I buy the LT DVDs but I seriously wonder why, with the GIANT catalog of cartoons not coming to DVD, why WB doesn’t launch a 24-hr LTTV channel. It would cost nothing and generate tons of ad revenue for all us boomers and post-boomers who grew up on it all. Damn, why don’t I have money?

  • Ray Jay Johnson Jr.

    Us boomers are not the demographic the networks seek. And if any network executive were to open his/her eyes, all they’d see is their large intestine.

  • precode

    Doesn’t Warners own Cartoon Network and Boomerang? They could certainly make room for ’em on either channel if they so desired.

    Better yet, with the CW’s Sunday night line-up tanking, why not throw in an hour of classic cartoons in the 7-8 slot, right before Fox starts airing their own animated shows? The ratings couldn’t get worse, and they’re already paid for!

  • Murphy’s Oil Soap

    Network execs would never put old cartoons on their schedule without taking a crack at improving their content. These are people who call “Citizen Kane” ‘self indulgent’ and don’t quite get the satire in ‘My Mother the Car’…

  • “I gave up on the Fox lineup after the cancellation of ULTRAMAN TIGA (and the dubious dubbing job of said program). That was it for me (as TIGA was my favorite program at the time, despite that).”

    So, Cassidy, you never watch the Ninja Turtles cartoon that was actually faithful to the orginal comics.

    And Jerry, I think you just might like the modern Turtles cartoon-it stays pretty true to original Turtles comics, which were a parody of the Frank Miller style of comics as well as a tribute to Jack Kirby.

  • AnicentCartoonAge

    I knew that this was going to HAPPEN With Cartoon Blocks and now even stations. the way I see it Cable is returning to their Roots and Abanding the Stay on your own Side 24/7 Cartoon Stations and Classic Movie Staton.

    Has anyone seen WGN AMERICA Latelly? their Airing Animated Movies now (something that hasn’t been done on this channel in over 17 years) like Aladdin and Treasure Planet now and then Yogi this friday.

    This right here proves my Point Cable is Coming back to the age that all Stations Aired A Thing Called Varitey from Cartoons to Old Movies to Some Newer and so on. I for 1 cant wait for ALL 24/7 Cartoon stations to Get the AXE then they can all return to showing them on Cable and Sydication with A Block to tie them down or A 24/7 Cartoon station to keep them in only one place.

    People have tried the 24/7 cartoon stations and see Now it Never worked and they our going back to Airing Cartoons as A Program not A Kids show labled for Kids Networks and Cartoon Stations.

    But they will now Air Cartoons for the Whole Audiance and treat Looney Tunes and all Classic/some New Cartoons with Repect and Honour you’ll see it is already coming to this. I can feel it in My Heart and Spirit.

  • Gretchen Edwards

    Well, my kids do not have access to all the cable stations and do miss having the Fox kids cartoons shows on. Every generation has their shows they like; my kids had watched Wynx, Chaotic, as well as others. We miss the cartoons here.

  • RegalSin

    The west is a self hating, pile of excess. Nobody reads, and does not take care of the property they own. America has it worst. Hate from parent to child, Relgious morals taking over reality. Profanity every two seconds. The last animation that was good was probably Batman Ch5. It is going to take years for the Western animation business ( not including Canada ) to recover.

    By recover, I mean making stuff that is phun for all kinds of people.

  • Maggie Simpson

    Why don’t they move their stock into infomercials? I would love to buy a Snuggie courtesy Dr. Scratchensniff! Not really…

  • Maggie Simpson

    Looney Tunes…speak to me dear Looney Tunes…a lonely 12-year-old is here listening to Die Fledermaus Overture by Strauss, friendless, hoping to make friends with your shining beauty…oh, and what! They don’t air on TV anymore?!

    Look, folks, that was a joke towards all the idiots that don’t air the Looney Tunes, (well, uncensored at least)but wise up! Your’e about as smart as Red Hot Ryder! (Surprising a 12-year-old would know that?) But anyway, I have fond memories of watching Animaniacs as my mother was out in the garden… and then you go fill it with crap? (Spider-Man, TMNT) AND YOU CANCEL IT?! Huh, rather buy a Snuggie!

  • Maggie Simpson

    In the words of Homer Simpson:
    “You people [FOX] like to take chances on crap like this”