Wednesday, October 03, 2007

KidsWB gone at season's end, what about the Legion?

Update 10/3 at 12:45 a.m.: added more reaction and commentary sites

According to Variety, the CW Network has decided to stop the KidsWB! Saturday morning cartoon block at the end of the 2007-08 season. Instead, they're farming it out to 4Kids, which is the group that does the Fox Saturday morning block.
In dumping the block, the nets have said they found it hard to compete against 24-hour cable networks, while the kids' ad marketplace has softened over the past decade. More recently, the government crackdown on food advertising geared toward kids -- which led to marketers like Kellogg's dropping out of the space completely -- also hit the area hard, according to CW insiders.

Warner Bros. TV Group prexy Bruce Rosenblum said the company examined the Saturday morning issue "closely with our partners at CBS," and ultimately decided leasing the space to 4Kids made the most business sense.

For example, by farming out Saturday morning, the net believes it can focus more ad sales energy toward the online world.

So what does that mean for the shows on the CW now, like the Legion and Batman? Dunno. It certainly won't be back on the current network, but who knows whether it'll end up somewhere else (like Cartoon Network).

Warner Bros. Animation's publicity department sent this out today:
Below you'll find a comment from Bruce Rosenblum, President, Warner Bros. Television Group, regarding the 4Kids Entertainment/The CW Network deal:

Clearly, this was an issue that we examined closely with our partners at CBS. We fully believe it makes the most business sense for The CW in this broadcast marketplace. That being said, Warner Bros. has a long, successful track record in the animation business and we absolutely intend to stay true to our heritage by producing world-class animated entertainment for the children's market be it for cable, direct-to-DVD, broadband, wireless and platforms of the future. This is an important business that touches many of the Warner Bros. divisions and we have confidence that Lisa Judson and her team at Warner Bros. Animation will continue to build towards future opportunities.

So basically if there's a plan for next season of any of the shows currently on KidsWB, they're not saying yet.

Update 10/3 at 12:45 a.m.:
  • Steve Hulett at The Animation Guild talked to someone at Time-Warner, who confirmed it was about making money (or rather, not losing money).
  • Jerry Beck's Cartoon Brew has a lot of comments. Needless to say, they're not happy thoughts.
  • Superhero Hype has the 4Kids press release.
  • Commentary at Blog@Newsarama.
  • ToonZone says that "Some current Kids WB programs may continue to air after the changeover, but no decisions have been have yet." More commentary in their forums.
  • TV Week says that The CW's COO remarked that some of the shows currently airing might continue to air on the WB after 4Kids takes over.

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