Fox’s experiment with late-night animation didn’t go as well as they had anticipated. The network will end its underperforming late-night Saturday animation block Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) in June, less than a year after it began. It was originally created as a replacement for the cancelled sketch comedy show MADtv.
ADHD was the invention of former Cartoon Network exec Nick Weidenfeld, who aimed to develop an Adult Swim-esque block that “takes advantage of the best parts of animation.” The studio that Weidenfeld started to create ADHD, Friends Night, will continue to produce content for Fox. The network has already ordered two half-hour series from Friends Night, which it will air in primetime. The names and premiere dates for those projects have not been announced yet. Weidenfeld will also continue to produce ADHD content for digital platforms like Hulu and Xbox.
Here is Weidenfeld’s official spin on getting cancelled, which he provided to A.V. Club:
“We are really excited. We were created to get shows on Sunday night. And in under a year we did! And getting off Saturday nights will allow us to develop a bigger range of shows with a more diverse group of talent for different outlets. We have the best of both worlds. We have the big league field of Sunday night and ability to operate like an unfettered studio. That’s awesome.”
So, what is Fox’s interest in keeping alive this low-rent division that produces inferior work to anything the network currently airs in primetime? One of the primary incentives is that Friends Night is able to create content at a much lower cost than Fox’s other primetime series like The Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, and various Seth MacFarlane-produced shows. The Los Angeles cartoonists’ union, the Animation Guild, poses some interesting questions about the situation and what it means going forward for artists who work at the studio.