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Fox Kids

Fox Kids Logo

Network

Fox

Launched

September 8, 1990

Cancelled

September 7, 2002
Fox Kids was an American children's programming block that aired on Fox from September 8, 1990 to September 7, 2002, as well as the former branding for a slate of international children's television channels. The programming block aired on Saturday mornings throughout its existence; an additional block on Monday through Friday afternoons aired until January 2002 (as such, Fox Kids is the only daytime television block ever aired by the Fox network to date).[1]

Depending on the show, the programming block was aimed at young children aged 6–11, and pre-teens ages 12–14. It continued to run in repeats until September 7, 2002. At that time, Fox put the remaining Saturday morning timeslot up for bidding, with 4Kids Entertainment winning and securing the rights to program that block.[2] Fox Kids had managed to achieve high ratings for most of its 12-year run.

History

Early History

According to James B. Stewart's book DisneyWar, Fox Kids' history is intertwined with that of the syndicated children's program block The Disney Afternoon. DuckTales, the series which served as the launching pad for The Disney Afternoon, premiered in syndication in September 1987, airing on Fox's owned-and-operated stations as well as various Fox affiliates in many markets. This may have been due in no small part to the fact that The Walt Disney Company's chief operating officer at the time, Michael Eisner and his then-Fox counterpart, Barry Diller, had worked together at ABC and at Paramount Pictures.

In 1988, Disney purchased Los Angeles independent television station KHJ-TV, later changing its call letters to KCAL-TV. The station's new owners wanted DuckTales to be shown on KCAL, thus taking the local television rights to the animated series away from Fox-owned KTTV. Furious at the breach of contract, Diller pulled DuckTales from all of Fox's other owned-and-operated stations in the fall of 1989. Diller also encouraged the network's affiliates to do the same,[3] though most did not initially. As Disney went forward in developing The Disney Afternoon, Fox began the process of launching its own children's programming lineup.

Fox Kids was launched on September 8, 1990 as the Fox Children's Network, a joint venture between the Fox Broadcasting Company and its affiliates. Originally headed up by division president Margaret Loesch, its programming originally aired for 30 minutes per day on Monday through Fridays, and for three hours on Saturday mornings. In 1991, the block was rebranded as the Fox Kids Network, with its programming expanding to 90 minutes on weekdays and four hours on Saturday mornings; it grew to 2½ hours on weekdays the following year. Every November, from 1992 to 1998, Fox Kids aired "The Fox Kids T.V. Takeover," a special programming block on Thanksgiving Day that led into the network's NFL coverage during the final four years of its run.

By 1993, Fox Kids increased its schedule to a total of three hours each Monday through Friday, usually from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. local time (making Fox the first network to air in programming in the 4:00 p.m. hour since 1986 with that expansion), and four hours on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon Eastern and Pacific Time (7:00 to 11:00 a.m. Central and Mountain Time). Many stations split the weekday lineup's programming into a one-hour block in the morning and a two-hour block in the afternoon (though this varied slightly in some markets), when network programs intertwined with syndicated children's lineups. Other stations aired all three hours combined in the afternoon due to their carriage of local morning newscasts; stations that aired such programming in this case had dropped syndicated children programs, moving them to other "independent" stations. Very few Fox stations aired all three hours of the weekday block in the morning.

Later History

Much of the Fox Kids lineup's early programming was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. After The WB launched in January 1995, two of Fox Kids' most popular programs, Animaniacs (following a heated dispute with Fox after it ceded the program's timeslot to carry Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) and Batman: The Animated Series, moved to that network with both serving as the linchpin of The WB's new children's block, Kids' WB, when it launched in September of that year (Tiny Toon Adventures, another early Fox Kids program that Warner Bros. produced and also aired on Kids' WB, had already ended its run).

In 1996, Fox Kids merged with Saban Entertainment to form Fox Kids Worldwide Inc.[4] Some of Fox Kids' programming also aired on Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family), after News Corporation acquired the network from International Family Entertainment in 1998.

In 1998, Fox bought out its affiliates' interest in Fox Kids as part of a deal to help pay for the network's expensive NFL football package. The Fox Kids weekday block was trimmed to two hours, and in an effort to help its affiliates comply with the recently implemented educational programming mandates, reruns of the former PBS series The Magic School Bus were added to the lineup.[5] In 2000, affiliates were given the option of pushing the block up one hour to 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. instead of running it from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. In the six or so markets where a Fox affiliate carried Fox Kids and carried an early evening newscast at 5:00 p.m. (such as St. Louis and New Orleans), the station was already running the block an hour early by 1996. Some affiliates (such as WLUK-TV) would even tape delay the block to air between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., one of the lowest-rated time periods on U.S. television (and when virtually all children 5 years of age and older are at school). A few only aired The Magic School Bus in this sort of graveyard slot specifically as an act of malicious compliance with the educational mandates (the Federal Communications Commission requires E/I programming to air between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., although few carry such programming in evening or weekday late morning/afternoon timeslots).

End of Fox Kids

By 2001, Fox stations felt they were on much more even footing with the "Big Three" networks and wanted to take back the Fox Kids programming blocks to air their own programming. Saturday mornings, long only the province of children's programming, had become a liability as the other networks started to extend their weekday morning news programs to weekends, and some of the local Fox stations wanted to start Saturday morning newscasts.

Fox Kids, long the #1 children's program block among the major networks since at least 1992, had been overtaken by Kids' WB two years prior with the stronger animation block backed by Warner Bros. that included shows like Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!. ABC and UPN aired mostly comedy-based cartoons at this time, with the exception of live-action teen-oriented sitcoms Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens, while CBS aired preschool programming from Nick Jr., and NBC was airing teen-oriented sitcoms (later to be replaced the following year by E/I programming from Discovery Kids), splintering the audience. The added factor of Nickelodeon's aggressive schedule that outrated all of the broadcast networks among children on Saturday mornings left Fox Kids behind, and the programmers could find no way to catch up and stand out in this crowded field.

After Fox Family Worldwide was sold to The Walt Disney Company in July 2001, Fox Kids was placed under the oversight of Fox Television Entertainment and moved its programming operations to Fox's headquarters on the 20th Century Fox studio lot, at which time Fox discontinued the daytime children's programming, giving the time back to their affiliates[6] rather than retaining the slot to run daytime programs aimed at adult viewers as NBC, ABC and CBS had long done. Fox put its children's programming block up for bidding, and 4Kids Entertainment, the producers of the English dub of Pokémon, purchased the remaining four-hour Saturday time period. Fox Kids maintained a Saturday morning-only schedule until September 14, 2002, when it gave the time to 4Kids Entertainment.[2]

The block was renamed FoxBox before being renamed again to 4Kids TV three years later in January 2005. 4Kids TV lasted until December 27, 2008, due to intervening conflicts between Fox and 4Kids that led to the two parties terminating the contract to produce the block, as 4Kids had not paid the network for the time lease for some time, while the network was unable to maintain a set 90% clearance rate among Fox's stations due to affiliate refusals and an inability to secure secondary affiliates to carry the programming. Fox gave two hours of programming on Saturday mornings back to its affiliates, while the other two hours were used to launch an informercial block titled Weekend Marketplace, that debuted on January 3, 2009.[7][8] Saban would not program another children's block until it acquired 4Kids' assets in 2012, and began producing the Vortexx Saturday morning block for The CW through the acquisition (that block – which eventually became the last remaining traditional children's program block among the major networks due to ABC and CBS later joining NBC in opting to carry E/I-compliant blocks through time lease agreements – will be discontinued in September 2014 in favor of One Magnificent Morning, an all-E/I lineup produced by Litton Entertainment).

Programming

1990

  • Attack of the Killer Tomatoes (1990–1991)
  • Bobby's World (1990–1998)
  • Fun House (1990–1991)
  • Peter Pan and the Pirates (1990–1992)
  • Piggsburg Pigs! (1990–1991)
  • Swamp Thing (1990-1991)
  • Tom & Jerry Kids (1990–1994)
  • Zazoo U (1990–1991)

1991

  • Beetlejuice (1991-1992) (season 4 only)
  • Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures (1991)
  • Little Dracula (1991)
  • Little Shop (1991)
  • Taz-Mania (1991–1995)
  • The Pirates of Dark Water (1991)
  • Merrie Melodies Starring Bugs Bunny & Friends (1991-1994)

1992

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks (1992–1993) (reruns of 1983–1990 show)
  • Batman: The Animated Series (1992–1995)
  • Defenders of Dynatron City (1992, special)
  • Dog City (1992–1994)
  • Eek! The Cat (1992–1997, later retitled Eek! Stravaganza in 1994)
  • George of the Jungle (1992) (reruns of 1967 show)
  • Ghostwriter (1992, pilot only)[9]
  • Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures (1992) (reruns of 1987–1988 show)
  • Solarman (1992, special)
  • Super Dave: Daredevil for Hire (1992–1993)
  • Tiny Toon Adventures (1992–1995)
    • The Plucky Duck Show (1992)
  • X-Men (1992–1997)

1993

  • Animaniacs (1993-1995)
  • Count DeClue's Mystery Castle (1993, special)
  • Droopy, Master Detective (1993–1994, part of Tom & Jerry Kids)
  • The Incredible Crash Dummies (1993, special)
  • Lost in Dinosaur World (1993, special)
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (1993–1995)
  • The Terrible Thunderlizards (1993–1997, part of Eek! Stravaganza)
  • Trollies Christmas Sing-Along (1993, special)

1994

  • A.J.'s Time Travelers (1994)
  • Christopher the Christmas Tree (1994, special)
  • The Fox Cubhouse (1994–1997)
    • Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky & Jake (1994–1997 as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
    • Johnson and Friends (1994–1997 as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
    • Rimba's Island (1994–1997 as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
    • Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie (1995–1997 as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
    • Budgie the Little Helicopter (1995–1997 as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
    • Bananas In Pajamas (1995-1997 as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
  • Grunt & Punt (1994-1995, four specials)
  • Life with Louie (1994–1998)
  • The Magic School Bus (The pilot aired in 1994 as a special; reruns were aired between 1998–2002)
  • Spider-Man (1994–1998)
  • The Tick (1994–1996)
  • Thunderbirds (1994, edited reruns of 1960's show)
  • Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? (1994–1998)
  • Red Planet (3 part mini-series, aired in May 1994. It was repeated in January 1995 and May 1996.)

1995

  • Goosebumps (1995–1998, renamed Ultimate Goosebumps in 1997)
  • Klutter (1995–1996, part of Eek! Stravaganza)
  • Masked Rider (1995–1996)
  • Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1995, special)

1996

  • The Balloonatiks: Christmas Without a Claus (1996, special)
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs (1996–1997)
  • The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper (1996–1998)
  • C Bear and Jamal (1996–1997)
  • Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers (mini-series) (1996)
  • Power Rangers Zeo (1996)
  • Transformers: Beast Wars (1996-1999)
  • Little Mouse on the Prairie (1996)

1997

  • The Adventures of Sam and Max: Freelance Police (1997–1998)
  • Beetleborgs Metallix (1997–1998)
  • Chimp Lips Theater (1997, two specials)
  • Eerie, Indiana (1997) (reruns of 1991-1992 show)
  • Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation (1997–1998)
  • Power Rangers Turbo (1997)
  • Round the Twist (1997)
  • Space Goofs (1997–1999)
  • Stickin' Around (1997)

1998

  • Cartoon Cabana (Summer 1998)
  • Donkey Kong Country (1998, only aired the first episode)
  • Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension (1998)
  • Godzilla: The Series (1998–2000)
  • Mad Jack the Pirate (1998-1999)
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show (1998–1999)
  • Mowgli: The New Adventures of the Jungle Book (1998)
  • The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog (1998–1999)
  • Ned's Newt
  • Power Rangers in Space (1998)
  • The Secret Files of the Spy Dogs (1998–1999)
  • The Silver Surfer (1998)
  • Toonsylvania (1998–2000)
  • Young Hercules (1998–1999)

1999

  • The Avengers: United They Stand (1999–2000)
  • Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot (1999, 2000–2001)
  • Digimon: Digital Monsters (1999–2000)
  • The Magician
  • NASCAR Racers (1999–2001)
  • The New Woody Woodpecker Show (1999–2002)
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (1999)
  • Oggy and the Cockroaches
  • Spider-Man Unlimited (1999, 2000–2001)
  • Transformers: Beast Machines
  • Xyber 9 (1999)
  • Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century (1999–2000)
  • Cybersix (1999)

2000

  • Action Man (2000–2001)
  • Angela Anaconda (2000)
  • Cybersix
  • Digimon: Digital Monsters (2000–2001)
  • Dinozaurs
  • Dungeons & Dragons (2000) (reruns of 1983–1985 show)
  • Escaflowne
  • Flint the Time Detective (2000–2001)
  • Monster Rancher
  • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (2000)
  • Real Scary Stories (also known as Scary... But True) (2000)

2001

  • Alienators: Evolution Continues (2001–2002)
  • Digimon Tamers (2001–2002)
  • Kong: The Animated Series (reruns)
  • Los Luchadores (2001–2002)
  • Medabots (2001–2002)
  • Mon Colle Knights (2001–2002)
  • Moolah Beach (2001)
  • Power Rangers Time Force (2001)
  • The Ripping Friends (2001–2002)
  • Roswell Conspiracies: Aliens, Myths and Legends (reruns)
  • Transformers: Robots In Disguise (2001–2002)
  • The Zack Files (2001)

2002

  • Galidor: Defenders of the Outer Dimension (2002)
  • Power Rangers Wild Force (The first 26 episodes; the remaining episodes aired on ABC Kids) (2002)

References

  1. Cerone, Daniel (February 20, 1993). "Animated Series Has Helped Fox Challenge the Other Networks on Saturday Mornings ". . http://articles.latimes.com/1993-02-20/entertainment/ca-117_1_fox-affiliate. Retrieved on July 6, 2014. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bernstein, Paula (January 18, 2002). "4Kids buys 4 hours from Fox Kids ". . http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117858752.html. Retrieved on July 6, 2014. 
  3. Cieply, Michael (February 22, 1990). "Disney, Fox Clash Over Children's TV Programming ". http://articles.latimes.com/1990-02-22/business/fi-1569_1_fox-affiliate/. Retrieved on July 6, 2014. 
  4. Hillier, Barry (November 1, 1996). "Fox Kids Worldwide is born ". http://www.kidscreen.com/articles/magazine/19961101/17341.html?word=Haim&word=Saban. Retrieved on July 6, 2014. 
  5. Littleton, Cynthia (Dec 3, 1997). "'Bus' rolling to Fox Kids ". . http://www.variety.com/article/VR1116678729.html?categoryid=14&cs=1&query=. Retrieved on July 6, 2014. 
  6. Schneider, Michael (November 7, 2001). "Fox outgrows kids programs ". . http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117855508.html?categoryid=14&cs=1&query=. Retrieved on July 6, 2014. 
  7. "Fox Ends Saturday-Morning Cartoons ". . November 24, 2008. Archived from the original on 27 January 2009. http://web.archive.org/web/20090127004014/http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/25/business/media/25kidstv.html?. Retrieved on July 6, 2014. 
  8. Schneider, Michael (November 23, 2008). "Longform Ads Replace Kid Fare on Fox ". . http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117996360.html. Retrieved on July 6, 2014. 
  9. Bernstein, Sharon (1992-09-12). "Fox to Premiere PBS' 'Ghostwriter' ". The Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/1992-09-12/entertainment/ca-404_1_fox-affiliates. Retrieved on 2010-08-27. 

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