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Discussion in 'Saturday Morning Forever!' started by VG_Addict, Aug 8, 2015.
What time would you say that Saturday morning cartoons started to lose their hold?
Sometime around puberty.
No, I mean, what decade?
When 24 hour kids cable channels like Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel became mainstream. There was no longer a need for kids to clamor around the TV to watch a 2-4 hour program block of kids' shows one day a week when there were now cable channels that literally ran kids' shows all day every day.
And also DVR.
Why wake up early one morning to wait for a cartoon you want to watch, when you can just DVR it and watch it later, right?
NBC and CBS didn't care about care about childrens entertainment in the early 90s, so they stopped making them. FOX changed some local stations in the mid 90s, and those stations didn't want to show FOX Kids, making them lose ratings, and forcing them to sell it to Disney in 2001. Disney wanted to make cartoons exclusively for Disney Channel in 2002, so they stopped their One Saturday Morning block. And The WB was shut down in 2006 and became The CW. The CW was in less homes than The WB meaning Kids WB had lower ratings, so Warner Bros. decided to end the block and make shows for Cartoon Network.
when reality tv started & got popular!
I think it was around the early 2000's or whenever basic cable became more widely available. When more households could get channels like Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel that played children programming throughout every day, a weekly block on a broadcast TV network wouldn't be able to stand that kind of competition. I think that Saturday Morning blocks still were popular enough in the 90's. FOX Kids had shows like Digimon and Power Rangers to give them attention and Kids' WB had a few DC shows and eventually Pokemon. Yu-Gi-Oh! also helped the block in the early 2000's when it was really popular.
Once they started to lose their afternoon blocks, it was a red flag. It was cheaper for the channels to air reruns instead during those timeslots, but it also a sign of how much damage they received from basic cable, especially Kids' WB losing its afternoon lineup.
Definitely the 1990's.
Some people tend to blame channels like Nickelodeon, Disney, and Cartoon Network for the decline, and while it may be a factor in the 2000's, the truth is that the cable channels had an idea that Saturday Morning was the time for the networks to shine, and either aired their "major" shows at a different time slot (either later in the day on Saturday or Sunday) or, if the show did air on Saturday morning, held off the premiere until Spring (when most cartoons have already been in reruns at least once, and kids would likely check other channels for fresh content).
To me, the two biggest factors of the decline of Saturday morning have been the following:
1. The mess that was NBC's 1991-1992 line-up and the subsequent plan to replace cartoons with Today and live-action programming targeted towards teens.
2. The EI law, which, at a time when NBC and CBS were opting to air news shows on Saturday, had a negative impact on the "Big Three" networks (with the WB and Fox being able to avoid that problem thanks to them airing cartoons on weekdays as well).
I think it started in the early '90's when NBC dropped their Saturday morning block. By the early 2000's things were going south with One Saturday Morning being replaced with ABC Kids.
Ah, no. SatAM on the broadcast networks were in decline long before reality TV stepped into the picture. Reality TV is more of a staple of prime time than kid-vid.
From what I've heard, networks make more money from infomercials and local news than Saturday Morning Cartoons.
...and that goes back to the factors that I believe contributed to the decline of Saturday morning.
When NBC opted to drop cartoons in favor of Today and teen-oriented programming, it served as a catalyst for what was to come once the EI Law went into full effect. With CBS, it followed in NBC's format and decided to air its own Saturday morning news show during the 8-10 AM hours while the rest of Saturday morning schedule had to consist of programming that met the EI mandate. Meanwhile, while ABC still had a full Saturday morning line-up (and was able to fulfill the EI mandate via One Saturday Morning), some markets opted to air their own local news shows instead.
Quite honestly, the fact that broadcast networks would rather save money by showing infomercials and talk shows/court shows than provide programming that is actually considered entertaining to the younger crowd (i.e. imaginative game shows, children's programming) is one of the biggest problems I have with television these days. Yes, there's still cable to provide that outlet. However, there's still going to be those poor families that may not afford it, and unless they can get the digital channels, they are pretty much stuck watching the crap during most of the daytime hours.
Yeah, that was definitely a huge factor. Both Fox Kids and Kids' WB lost their weekday afternoon blocks because it was easier for them to air reruns during those slots. Once 4Kids moved their block from Fox to the CW, I believe that Fox just put infomercials in its place because it was cheaper to do than get another Saturday morning block.
And the fact, that many FOX affiliates didn't want to air Fox Kids and 4KidsTV in the late 90s and 00s.
The network execs' justification of this is: the number of homes without cable or satellite TV are rapidly becoming the minority, even most low-income households have at least basic cable; nowadays most of the households that don't have cable or satellite are either cord-cutters who simply choose not to have it or they live in rural areas where it's not available. For the homes which don't have wired TV, the general consensus is that the internet now exists to fill that void.
There's also video games, DVD/Blu-Ray and online services such as Netflix or Hulu. Or kids can simply play on their phones or tablets when they get up.
There are so many other outlets available to kids these days that most networks would just rather not dirty their hands making SatAM blocks, preferring to simply greenlight E/I blocks to fulfill their educational mandate or letting their affiliates run their own local and/or syndicated programming, and the sagging profit margins of said blocks in their last few years haven't been giving the networks any real incentive to try such a thing again.
I've heard about how many FOX affiliates didn't want to air 4KidsTV, but I don't think that I've heard about them not wanting to air Fox Kids. That is a bit surprising since I thought that Fox Kids was one of the last few popular Saturday Morning blocks.
Am I the only that believes 4Kids from the mid-to-late 2000s played a factor to Saturday morning cartoons declining to the point of no-return? And I'm not at all saying that to bash the company, whether or not they deserved all the criticism. No, rather it's a matter of what I observed over that period of time I mentioned earlier. There was a point where 4Kids attempted to host their own programming blocks and they were one of the only sources for a while. And they had a lot of shows that eventually came and went on their blocks for whatever reasons. Pokemon, Winx Club, TMNT, Chaotic, Viva Pinata, Funky Cops, Dinosaur King, Shaman King, Magical Doremi, Mew Mew Power, Taichi Chasers, Kirby: Right Back at Ya, F-Zero GP Legends, Fighting Food-Ons, Stargate Infinity, the list goes on.
Between the company's financial troubles and the soured reputation they got, they just kept struggling to be one of the main sources for Saturday morning cartoons. I mean, you could certainly argue that cable networks came off as a more appealing alternative in the long-run. But I would add that 4Kids almost single-handedly having to the hold the Saturday morning fort during the mid-to-late 2000s with all the financial and licensing problems they had certainly didn't help preserve whatever relevance and appeal saturday morning cartoons could've had left.
I don't think that Pokemon aired on 4KidsTV. It was still airing on Kids' WB when they got the Fox Box and I believe that they lost the license by the time 4KidsTV started up. As for being responsible for the decline of Saturday Morning blocks, I'm not really sure about that. They didn't have some of the best shows on their lineups, but I don't think I'd blame the quality of those shows/dubs for driving people away from Saturday Morning blocks. The format was already on life support by the time 4Kids got into the game and they held onto it because they needed someplace to air their shows and get some money out of them. I don't think 4Kids having the hold of Saturday Morning blocks helped or hurt the format in the long run.