Was E/I meant to kill network cartoons?

Discussion in 'Saturday Morning Forever!' started by TMC1982, Aug 13, 2017.

  1. TMC1982

    TMC1982 Active Member

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    Maybe that's a bit of an extreme accusation to make but either way, lets first take things back to see how we ultimately got here. Back in 1969 we got Hot Wheels on ABC, which was the first 30 minute animated TV series based on a toy-line. To make a long story short, this inevitably didn't go over so well with both parents and the FCC, who naturally viewed the show as little more than a half-hour toy commercial.

    Regulations were soon put into place to ensure that nothing like this would ever happen again. And by 1974, rules were made so that no television show could be based strictly on merchandise (especially toys aimed at children). This however didn't stop popular shows from spawning toys afterwards.

    By the early '80s under the Ronald Reagan administration, the government passed legislation relaxing this regulation and every cartoon (He-Man, G.I. Joe, and Transformers were pretty much the big three) was suddenly just as they feared in 1969: A half-hour commercial for toys. To put things into proper perspective, even the Rubik Cube by 1983, had its own weekly animated series.

    Some of them tried to appease wary parents and such by adding 30 second "morals" to the ends of episodes (e.g. G.I. Joe's "Knowing is half the battle!" segments), but by 1990, the FCC realized what a horrible mistake that whole experiment had been and started trying to get back to how things had been prior. It should be noted that major related factor involved regulations on advertising in and of itself, and the programs were seen as a loophole to get around those rules as well as make money off elementary kids.
     
  2. Dudley

    Dudley Moderator
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    It's always good to hear a rundown on how things happen.
    However I don't believe E/I intentionally killed network cartoons. It was intended to make cartoons educational, or it seems in most cases teach good morals.
    If anything went out of its way to kill it, it was networks selling their timeslots for infomercials, syndicated news shows, and such, and it was done for money.
    Nothing personal against cartoons. It's just business.


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  3. TMC1982

    TMC1982 Active Member

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    That's thing though! While it's actually absolutely understandable to not want glorified 30 minute toy commercials (let's put it this way, imagine your kids always nagging you to buy them toys that they saw every week on their favorite cartoon), it's another to try to force shows to be educational. Let's think about it for a moment, kids already spend several hours each weekday at school. Do you seriously believe that the first thing that they would want and hope once they get home or when Saturday arrives to be taught even further? I don't know, maybe it just comes across as a bit naive on the part of those who pushed such a thing.

    And to make matters worse, stations wanted to skirt around this anyway, considering the requirements (for those who don't know, broadcast stations are supposed to show E/I programming on Saturday or Sunday from 7a-10a.) involved airing a minimum of three hours of content. As a result, we may have gotten PBS shows syndicated (which in itself, kind of problematic since they weren't designed to feature commercial breaks) or older programming like The Jetsons being passed off as "educational".

    To go even further with how problematic the requirements are, ever since Antenna TV launched in the year 2011, they would around Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, show a 48 hour marathon (with the exception for three hours on Christmas morning when they would simulcast New York's WPIX showing the Yule Log) old Christmas themed episodes of TV shows. So where does the E/I problem fit in, well if Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day falls on a weekend day, that means that three hours of their marathon can not be shown.
     
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  4. Zorak Masaki

    Zorak Masaki Well-Known Member

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    Loopholes were still being used. Magi-Nation had the E/I tag on their show and it clearly wasnt educational at all.
     
  5. jaylop97

    jaylop97 Well-Known Member

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    Its generally cheaper to make real life educational shows than animated shows for most E/I networks, as a result these overlapped most interest in cartoons, which is one reason we rarely see any cartoon blocks.
     
  6. Mikurotoro92

    Mikurotoro92 Banned

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    How did banning toyetic cartoons not stop 30-minute card battle/monster battle anime from coming over here?

    Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Beyblade, etc are all based on video games or toy-lines

    Why didn't this effect them?
     
    #6 Mikurotoro92, Aug 16, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2017
  7. Golden Geek

    Golden Geek Gera Gera Po

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    They don't violate the regulations as long as they don't feature any direct advertising in the program. I believe both Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon have caused network fines before due to stations accidentally broadcasting associated advertising with their games in their timeslots.
     
  8. Dudley

    Dudley Moderator
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    Yeah, as I said earlier. Teaching kids social moral lessons like teamwork and such was probably good enough.

    As been proven before in many discussions: not one single factor is responsible for the demise of Saturday morning cartoons on network TV.


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  9. Light Lucario

    Light Lucario Moderator
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    Yeah, I remember Winx Club being labeled as E/I when it aired on 4Kids' blocks, but the show wasn't really educational. They probably saw it as teamwork as a good enough reason to label it as educational.

    That was the main deal with toyetic shows. As long as they didn't air commercials for their products during the actual episode, then people were fine with it. Networks being fined due to some stations accidentally airing promos for their games during those shows' timeslots sounds familiar to me too.
     
  10. TnAdct1

    TnAdct1 Ravioli, Ravioli

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    Definitely agree with this. Even with the E/I Law, ABC and Disney was able to produce programs that would be be appealing (i.e. Recess and Pepper Ann). Heck, even My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is E/I rated for its first season (and I'm sure episodes in latter season could easily get that same rating as well).

    The problem here was that the E/I Law happened around the same time two major networks (CBS and NBC) opted to air news programs during the 8-10 AM, with that, combined with more and more local stations opting for programming other than cartoons, resulted in Saturday Morning cartoons quickly fading away.
     
  11. DonkeyKongSong

    DonkeyKongSong Active Member

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    At certain points in each episode, the characters would explain a real world fact. I recall one time Tony explained who Abraham Lincoln was to Edyn and Strag when they saw a statue of what looked like him, as well as the Elders discussing with the Final Dreamers about the lack of oxygen at the top of a mountain, and something about bats creating sound waves.
     

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