Exclusive: Traditional Saturday Morning Programming Ends This Fall as Saban Brands Pulls the Plug on the Vortexx
Traditional Saturday morning programming on U.S. broadcast television will come to an end this September when the Vortexx programming block on the CW Network will be replaced with One Magnificent Morning, a five-hour E/I programming block geared toward teens and their parents. The block will contain inspirational and entertaining live-action programming that focuses on family-friendly topics; based on the shows scheduled to air, the block is probably being produced by Litton Entertainment. Throughout its two-year run, Nielsen ratings indicate that Vortexx has had trouble establishing an audience against heavy competition from cable.
Children’s programming on Saturday mornings rose to prominence on the broadcast networks in the early 1960’s with the likes of Captain Kangaroo, Mighty Mouse Playhouse, Top Cat, and The Bugs Bunny Show. Saturday mornings became the only time for children to catch their favorite programs, creating aggressive ratings battles between ABC, CBS, and NBC right up through the end of the 1980’s. However, with the rise of syndication, cable, and now streaming content, the broadcast networks began phasing out traditional Saturday morning programming in the early 1990’s when NBC introduced the T-NBC lineup in 1992. The Vortexx on the CW was the last remaining traditional Saturday morning programming block containing a mix of live-action and animated, non-E/I children’s programming on any U.S. broadcast television network.
One Magnificent Morning will be Litton Entertainment’s third E/I programming block on broadcast television: Litton’s Weekend Adventure on ABC replaced ABC Kids in September 2011 and CBS Dream Team replaced DHX Media’s Cookie Jar TV on CBS last season.
According to syndicated sales information, the following programs will air on One Magnificent Morning:
- EXPEDITION WILD: Follow wildlife expert Casey Anderson on a series of breathtakingly wild American adventures.
- DOG WHISPERER – FAMILY EDITION: Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan helps dogs—and their families—overcome behavioral problems.
- ROCK IN THE PARK: Jack Steward explores every National Park in America.
- THE BRADY BARR SHOW: Join the adventures of Brady Barr as he gets up close to some of the world’s wildest and most dangerous creatures.
- DR. POL: Join Dr. Pol as he gives viewers a unique look into the care and treatment of farm animals.
- AMERICA’S FLAVORS: Expert Chefs travel the country, pitting variations of the American dishes against each other.
- TASTE OF HOME: An upbeat cooking experience where audience members give dishes a special homemade twist.
- RELUCTANTLY HEALTHY: Comedy actress Judy Greer shares special tips and advice on how to stay healthy while on-the go.
- SWAG: Release your inner fashionista with the help of celebrity super stylist Mandi Lane.
- SOCIAL MEDIA MANIA: A new series that focuses on the biggest social media moments of each week.
The fate of many of the shows currently on the Vortexx lineup is unknown at this time. Digimon Fusion and Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal also air on the Nicktoons cable channel and will most likely continue to premiere new episodes there. Toonami recently announced the acquisition of Dragon Ball Z Kai for its late-night, Saturday morning block on Adult Swim.
Last year, Saban Brands announced the acquisition of the Spanish animated series Sendokai Champions for broadcast on its Vortexx lineup. However, the show has yet to premiere on the block, and its ultimate broadcast fate is unknown.
No official announcement has been made by either Saban Brands or Litton Entertainment on Vortexx or One Magnificent Morning.