What Happened to Weekday Cartoons???
The History Of Weekday Cartoons...
1960s and 1970s:
Weekday cartoons began as far back as the early 1960s on non network independent commercial stations in large television markets. On such stations cartoon blocks would occupy the 7-9 a.m. and the 3-5 p.m. blocks. In smaller markets network affiliates sometimes filled the 3 or 4 p.m. hour with such programming. Cartoons ran in the 1970s included Bugs Bunny, Mighty Mouse, Casper, Popeye, Yogi Bear, Flintstones and other theatrical and made for TV cartoons. In the 1970s more independent stations signed on running such programming.
Examples included WNEW-TV (now WNYW) and WPIX in New York City, KTTV and KCOP in Los Angeles, WUAB and WOIO Cleveland, WGN-TV and WFLD Chicago, WSBK WLVI WXNE (now WFXT Boston, and many others. But the programming blocks didn't have an official name such as "Fox Kids" or "Kids' WB".
In the 1980s, independent stations signed on in medium and many small markets. The market for made for TV cartoons grew as a result. Many of these stations were beginning cartoons on weekdays as early as 6 a.m. and as early as 2 p.m. in the afternoon. Some stations ended weekday cartoons as late as 6 p.m. The older Bugs Bunny and Popeye cartoons made way for new made for TV cartoons like He-Man, Rambo, ThunderCats, Scooby Doo, Dennis the Menace animated series, Garfield & Friends, Pink Panther, My Little Pony, G.I. JOE, Transformers, Voltron and many others. Most large and medium markets had at least two local stations running such programming in the 6-9 a.m. and the 2:30 to 5 p.m. slots. Some markets had as many as three.
The Beginning Of The "Official" Weekday Cartoon Block...
The official weekday cartoon block started in 1990 with Disney syndicating DuckTales and Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers, known as The Disney Afternoon. In 1991, Disney added another hour and continued this block throughout the decade. In 1990, Fox Kids began running a weekday afternoon show called Peter Pan and the Pirates. In 1991, they added another hour. In some markets one show was run in mornings and the other two in afternoons while in others the entire block was on in afternoons.
In 1992, Fox Kids added Warner Brothers shows like Batman: The Animated Series, Merrie Melodies, Tiny Toons, Tom & Jerry Kids, and others. Some of these were previously syndicated. Disney continued its official Disney afternoon block along with an additional hour of syndicated shows. Fox affiliates primarily aired Fox Kids and other syndicated cartoons while independents aired Disney cartoons along with other syndicated shows. By now many markets had three stations running such programming. In 1993, Fox Kids added Power Rangers. At that point they had a three hour block. Some stations ran one hour in mornings and two hours in the afternoons while some of the news intensive Fox affiliates ran all three hours in afternoons. Some affiliates ran the block an hour early. Beginning at the end of 1994 some Fox affiliates did not run Fox Kids and took on a format with talk/reality shows as well as a lot of news. These included stations that formerly had ABC, CBS, or NBC affiliations. In such markets Fox Kids would run on an independent non Fox station. Many of these stations would affiliate with WB or UPN.
The popularity of the weekday cartoon lineup climbed from the mid 1980s to mid 1990s. As a result WB began an afternoon cartoon block called Kids WB in the Fall of 1995 . At that point Looney Toons characters would move off Fox Kids and onto Kids WB. This block was initially an hour and at the end of 1996 expanded to two hours in the afternoon and another hour in the morning totaling three hours. Disney Afternoon was airing mostly on UPN affiliates but in some markets aired on WB and even a couple Fox stations. In 1996 Children's weekday cartoons would reach their peak with no decline seemingly in sight.
FOX Kids On Radio:
It should be noted that FOX Kids also had a Sunday Morning radio block in 1996, they had contests, and even cartoon guests.
In 1996, a Telcom act was passed that expanded radio and television ownership limits. But it would regulate children's television substantially. Stations all would be obligated to run three hours of educational children's programs but these weekday cartoons would not count in most cases. Also it regulated content in advertising making selling such programming difficult on over the air stations. Cable channels would not be as regulated. In 1997, weekday morning cartoons started to slowly decline. FCC regulations in children's programming resulted in complaints from local affiliates in terms of ability to make money airing cartoons.
UPN regardless, attempted to run a teen sitcom block in 1997 but this ended in 1998. Warner Brothers would stop syndicating their vintage theatrical and made for TV cartoons to local stations in 1997 relegating those to cable. They still continued their Kids WB block for their affiliates.
In 1998, some UPN and WB affiliates would trim morning syndicated cartoons in favor of family sitcoms. Fox affiliates would begin morning newscasts in many places. In 1999, Disney stopped syndicating Disney Afternoon and would form an alliance with UPN converting this block to UPN Kids called Disney One Too. Still a decent amount of cartoons were still available in syndication. That year Fox Kids trimmed the block to 2 hours while syndicating the Magic School Bus which occupied an hour.
In 2000, syndicated cartoons continued to decline and stations dropping weekday cartoons in either morning or afternoon continued to grow. By now UPN stations ran Disney cartoons either in morning or afternoon, dropping syndicated cartoons. Some WB and UPN stations continued running an hour or so of syndicated cartoons. Fox affiliates for the most part had morning newscasts and only had an afternoon block. Some affiliates no longer ran the afternoon block but in most cases UPN or WB or independent stations ran that in mornings or afternoons.
In 2001, Kids WB was trimmed to two hours. Syndicated cartoons lacked clearances. Fox also ended its weekday kids block at the end of that year. Just about every Fox affiliate would replace the cartoons with talk and reality shows. By 2002 most UPN stations ran Disney's One Too in the 9am to 10:30 a.m. slot while WB stations ran Kids WB in the 3 to 5 p.m. slot. In most markets these were the only cartoons available on local stations. Some ran a syndicated educational cartoon or program here and there in such blocks. Still stations lost money on this programming.
In the Fall of 2003, UPN ended the Disney One Too block as well. Fox owned UPN affiliates continued running cartoons from DIC Entertainment for two hours in the 7 to 9 a.m. slot. But most UPN affiliates still ran only one kid's show per day if that. Some WB stations also aired a show or two from DIC. By 2003 The Daily Buzz, a three hour national news program, would replace weekday morning cartoons on many UPN affiliates in some markets and on WB affiliates in others.
In 2004, Kids WB still continued its weekday block. In most markets this was the only weekday cartoon block left on broadcast TV. In 2005 even the Fox owned UPN stations decreased weekday cartoons to one hour. In January of 2006, Kids WB ended and was replaced with off network sitcoms and reality shows from WB Daytime. That Fall, Fox Owned UPN affiliates, which became My Network TV affiliates, dropped weekday cartoons. Still they run an educational kid's show per day on some stations.
On cable, non children's channels also began dropping cartoons. In the late 1990s the USA Network ended the USA Cartoon Express lineup. In the fall of 1998, WTBS replaced its cartoons with sitcoms. In September 2006, ABC Family dropped its Jetix lineup, making it exclusive to Toon Disney.
Today Weekday cartoons are relegated to basic cable networks like Nickelodeon all day until 9 p.m., Disney Channel much of the day along with educational and family programs, and Cartoon Network until 10 p.m. when adult cartoons air on overnights. Local PBS stations run plenty of educational children's programs on weekdays. In addition, there are digital cable channels that only offer children's programs. These are all available on DirectTV and Dish Network, as well as most digital cable packages. Cartoon Network has Boomerang which runs primarily classic cartoons. Disney has Toon Disney which only runs cartoons. Nickelodeon has Nick Toons as well. There are also educational channels like PBS Kids, Noggin, and others.
Weekday children's blocks (as of October 2006) are now run only on PBS stations by PBS Kids. WB dropped its weekday block in January 2006 and other cable networks featuring family and children programming have cut back. In addition, it is unlikely that The CW will air any children's programming on weekdays in the future. Its unclear if My Network TV will eventually add cartoons on weekdays. Some say its unlikely. On the same month, ION Media Networks will air qubo. In some markets, TV stations are still airing cartoons, but these cartoons are educational and they're on for only a half-hour (usually at 7am or 7:30am in the morning). The commercials that air during these educational kids shows are mostly PSAs and local community ads, so obviously, no one is really sponsoring them.
List of networks airing weekday cartoons
This is a list of television networks airing weekday cartoons as of January 2006...
ION (Fridays only, through the shared-with-NBC qubo block)
Cable and Satellite:
No longer airing weekday cartoons:
FOX (Some areas still show morning programs)
The WB (network no longer exists)
UPN (network no longer exists)
TBS (WTBS-TV in Atlanta)
Never aired weekday Cartoons regularly:
Defunct weekday cartoons...
This is a list of Weekday Cartoon line ups that are no longer on Television:
Kids' WB! Weekday Line Up (known as the AfterToons Show) (Afternoon 1995-2006, Morning 1998-2001)
Fox Kids Weekdays (Afternoons 1990-2001, Mornings 1993-2001)
Disney's One Too (1999-2003)
USA Cartoon Express (late 1980s-late 1990s)
TNT Weekday Cartoon line up (1981-1998)
WGN-TV Cartoon line up
The Disney Afternoon
UPN Weekday Morning Line Up (1995-2005)
NBC Weekday Line Up (1950s)
CBS Weekday Line Up
ABC Weekday Line Up
Cartoon Network's Toonami (1997-2004)
Cartoon Network`s Miguzi (2004-2007)
List of Notable Weekday Cartoons...
This is a list of weekday cartoon shows on broadcast and cable networks (both morning and afternoon).
101 Dalmatians: The Series (Syndication 1999-2001?)
AAAHH!!! Real Monsters (ABC and FOX 1993-2001), (Nickelodeon 1994-1998)
Action Man (FOX 2000-2001)
Aladdin (UPN 1995-1996)
Archie's Weird Mysteries (Syndication 2004-2005)
Batman (FOX 1993-1996), (WB 1996-2002?)
Bonkers (UPN 1995-1997)
Darkwing Duck (UPN 1995-?)
Dragonball Z (Cartoon Network (1996-2003)
Dennis the Menice (UPN 1995-1999)
Digimon (FOX 1999-2001, UPN 2002-2003)
Double Dragon (unknown 1993-1995)
Ed, Edd n Eddy (Cartoon Network, 1999-present)
Goof Troop (UPN 1995-?)
Highlander (UPN 1995-1996)
Lamb Chop's Play-Along (PBS 1992-1997)
Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation (FOX 1998-1999)
Pepper Ann (UPN 2000-2001)
Pokémon (Syndication 1998-1999, WB 1999-2006, Cartoon Network 2006-)
Puzzle Place (PBS 1995-1998)
Redwall (PBS Dec 2001 and Summer 2002) *
Recess (UPN 2000-2003)
Sailor Moon (UPN 1999?-2001)
The Legend of Tarzan (UPN 2002-2003)
The Littles (Syndication 2004-2005)
The Magic School Bus (PBS 1994-1998, FOX 2000-2001)
The Smurfs (USA late 1980s-mid 1990s)
Trollz (Syndication 2005-present, CBS 2006)
Sabrina: The Animated Series (UPN 1999-2003)
Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (Syndication 2004-2005)
Wishbone (PBS 1996-2001, 2006-present)
Posted by Lionel
at 6:31 PM EDT