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CW Turns Over Saturday Morning Kids Block to 4Kids

The CW is getting out of the Saturday morning kids business and is making a deal that would have 4Kids Entertainment program the time periods.

4Kids will sell the advertising during the WB Saturday morning time periods and the CW will "participate" in those sales, said John Maatta, the CW's chief operating officer.

4Kids has been providing four hours of Saturday morning children's programming on Fox affiliates through a leasing arrangement since 2002. "Fox recently exercised its option to extend its deal through the end of the 2008-2009 season," 4Kids said in a statement.

When the WB folded and CBS and Warner Bros. formed The CW last year, the new network continued to run kids programming under the Kids WB banner, which for a while was the top-rated kids block on Saturdays. In its heyday, 4Kids’ “Pokemon” and “Yu-Gi-Oh” were among the network’s top-rated kids shows. A few years ago, Kids WB cut back on its after-school block, returning that weekday time to affiliates.

Shows on Kids WB now include “Tom and Jerry Tales,” “Shaggy & Scooby Doo Get a Clue,” “Legion of Super Heroes” and “The Batman.”

Some of those shows might continue to air on the WB after 4Kids takes over, Mr. Maatta said.

The once-lucrative kids market has become a difficult one for the broadcasters. Viewing has shifted to cable, where the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network provide a 24-hour destination for young viewers.

At the same time, ad dollars for kids programming have stagnated; the market is expected to turn even more difficult as governmental pressure on food marketers forces them to curtail advertising from products that can’t be described as healthful.

“The kids business in broadcast is a business where we’ve got to be very smart,” Mr. Maatta said. Teaming up with 4Kids allows the WB to offer kids programming and provides an ad sales force that’s dedicated to that market.

The WB has about 10 people dedicated to the kids business, he said. The department will be disbanded and the company will try to absorb its staffers.

The move would take Warner Bros. out of the broadcast arena for kids. The company has a formidable history of kids programming and a strong lineup of characters, including Bugs Bunny, Batman and Superman. But despite potential synergies with Cartoon Network, apparently the economics didn’t work out.

4Kids’ portfolio includes high-profile children’s brands Yu-Gi-Oh!, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Cabbage Patch Kids.

The 4Kids lineup on Fox includes “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward,” “Viva Piñata,” “Sonic X,” “Winx Club” and the new shows “Dinosaur King,” “Yu-Gi-Oh! GX” and “Adrenaline Project.”

4Kids Entertainment manages ad sales for the kids programming block on Fox and retains all advertising revenues.

(Editor: Horowitz)

Corrected spelling of Mr. Maatta's name at 5:45 p.m.
Corrected Mr. Maatta's title at 6:35 p.m.

Comments (24)

The WB did not return that time to affiliates - they replaced the afternoon kids' block with sitcom reruns, which continues to this day under the CW.

Let me get this straight.

4Kids Entertainment is programming not one but TWO Saturday morning blocks in the US? In essence, they're competing with themselves. And since they're programming both blocks, they could easily cancel the non-4Kids shows on the CW block in favor of more shows from 4Kids.

What are these "synergies" with Cartoon Network you speak of? I know that when they were connected, Kids' WB benefited more than Cartoon Network. You saw promotions for Kids' WB on Cartoon Network, but you never saw promotions for Cartoon Network on Kids' WB. They could have had a strong relationship, but Time Warner doesn't like the Turner networks at all.

And it shows.

Now here's a question. Why did The CW go with a competing company instead of the company they're aligned with this season, Cookie Jar Entertainment? Over half of the lineup is currently composed of shows from Cookie Jar, including Johnny Test, Will and Dewitt, Imagi-Nation, and soon World of Quest. They could have easily partnered with either Cookie Jar or Nelvana, two Canadian companies with no exposure in the US outside of the rare video releases.

The CW just gave up the highest-rated Saturday morning broadcast block to the company who's number 3.

The word "sucker" comes to mind.

Daniel:

Actually T Dog, the sitcoms were picked up only by the blocks that use CW Plus. Any CW affiliates that create their own programming did have that time turned over to them fully.

4Kids has had a history of aquiring other programs for their block. One of the most recent examples of that is Di-Gata Defenders. If Magi-Nation succeeds, I expect it to be aquired to air on the new block. I know Spider-Man will air on it, and can you imagine what it would be like if Spider-Man and Ninja Turtles air next to each other? While I can't say this move makes me happy, and it almost destroys all regular USA North America animation, it makes it where there is a lot of potential for this to be the best block ever.

Steve:

In several places, this article refers to "the WB" when it should be "The CW." Mr. Maatta certainly knows which network he now works for.

Andy:

Looks like I'm not getting up early on Saturday mornings anymore.

Is CW Plus the old WB +100 group? I totally forgot about that.

Anyone knows what's going to happen with the Tom & Jerry and Scooby Doo shows currently on Kids WB? On paper, the two don't seem to fit the 4Kids lineup. Hopefully, they will worm their way into the schedule somehow.

Growing up a kid watching Saturday Morning TV in the '70's and '80's, this new way of business saddens me. It's just not the same. It's basically the sign of the times.

Bill:

As far as the Afternoon block, the CW still programs it at the network level, not just for CW Plus affils. Currently it is All of Us, What I like about You and b2b Reba.

I always wondered by the CW kept the Kids WB brand. I think the products were the strong element rather than the name. They could have gone like CBS and had some closer tied to Cartoon Network, like CN on the CW.

KyL416:

Nearly every CW affiliate airs the afternoon block. The former UPN stations picked it up too. It's not something just for the CW Plus group.

Toon Overlord:

I'm agreeing with Jeff.. for the most part

but why did they disband it? Kids WB is the No.1 SatAM morning broadcast, which isn't a great thing to say, but still good when it averages over 500K more viewers than The Game Station, which is run by 4K!DS, the company replacing Kids WB

This ain't a prank is it?

Joseph:

4kids taking over kidswb anyawys in my country kids wb is on weekdays for 1 day each for 1 hour each day and winx club will still be on 4kidstv that show is over saturday mornings have gotton worse each year.

FLAduranie:

CABBAGE PATCH KIDS rule!!!!!!

jaybee:

Japanamation was the downfall of the WB. It began to go downhill when great shows like batman(tas), superman, jackie chan, zeta project, the mummy/ batman beyond, Men in Black, Static shock,teen titans, x-men evolution, etc... were cancelled.

It does make you think about rules and regulation over the ownership of programming. Radio and television airwaves are regulated, maybe Saturday morning programming should be as well. Kids WB has always had the most interesting shows, in my view, from back in the days of Animaniacs and Freakazoid to, now with, The Batman and Legion of Superheroes. It would be a shame if 4Kids revamps the whole lineup. They should focus on the advertising and try and keep the programming to a different look than their FOX counterpart.

PokemonMegamanFan:

In my opinion, Kids WB was screwed ever since they sacked Pokemon, which was probably their last high-rating show. 4kids doesn't need to take over KidsWb, for KidsWB screwed themselves up a storm of pain, ever since they sacked Pokemon.

Copper20:

Stop hacking every channel, 4Kids!

chas:

More than 10 jobs will be lost because of this decision ... True, 10 people will lose their jobs at Kids WB but approximately 100 production people will also be losing their jobs as well.

The WB animation executives held a big pep rally when they moved over to Burbank ... telling us we were strong, ready to get more programming, rah, rah , ... what a crock ... they had to know something about this then .... just tell us the truth and stop lying to us please .... shame on you WB

Renzo Vinci T. Cajefe:


winx club, where are you ? Cartoon network 1:00pm saturdays and sundays buut you disappear and squirrel boy replace plssssssssssssssssssss.return

deandre:

I HAVE BEEN A FOXKIDS PERSON BUT WHEN 4KIDS CAME WITH FOXBOX I DID NOT LIKE IT AT ALL EVEN WHEN THEY HAD ONEPIEES IT WAS OK AND 4KIDS ON THECW AND FOX AT SAME TIME ONE COULD COME ON AT NIGHT AND FIGHT CN FOR KIDS BUT IT IS ALL READ DESIDE SO NOW IAM GOING TO STAY WITH FOX. BUT I HOPE THAT WHEN 2009 COMES FOX END 4KIDS ON THERE NETORK

That's right new 4Kids Programing on The CW for kids 2-11.

there is nothing to watch on saturday mornings any more.

not on NBC, CBS, FOX and CW.

only ABC have great shows to watch.

Jeff Meyers:

What we are missing here is that Saban Entertainment, who was bought out by the Disney corporation around October of 2001. The company they became runs 4Kids TV. In other words Disney now not only controls ABC's Saturday morning programming, but Jetix, the Disney Channel, ABC Family, and now the children's programming on the Local Fox channel and or CBS operated MyNetwork or CW channel.
How is this good for anyone other than Disney?
Jeff Meyers

Jeff Meyers:

Yes ScaryKatt, and those "great ABC shows" are just Disney and Jetix cable channel programs rerun on ABC. Can anyone say shameless and vacuous self promotion?
Jeff Meyers

James Flyebn:

What happen to Pokemon on kids wb? I hope 4Kids on CW will air Pokemon Battle Dimension and forever to air Pokemon on the Cw 4kids block. This is terrible because Cartoon Network had stoled Pokemon from Kids WB. Cartoon Network had nothing to air, so they stoled it.

I'm surprised this story is still getting comments... Anyway, here's an update: Kids' WB is changing its name to CW4Kids on May 24, with the programming changes to take place in September. They have already changed the Kids' WB website, which now focuses on classic Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera programming and characters. The CW launched a new website for its' Saturday morning lineup: CW4kids.com, though right now it features the old Kids' WB site.

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