Top 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Saturday Morning Cartoons
Now, this might be a shocker to some, but did you know that SatAM shows are still around to this day? I remember back in 2014 and 2016 when The CW's Vortexx and NBC's NBC Kids blocks closed down, and people were so upset (and still are) at Litton Entertainment. But later, a few channels did the unthinkable and tried to return to the good old formula!
Kidsclick was the first one as it launched in 2017 and not only aired on Saturdays but every day! It also offered quite a few shows that used to air on Fox Kids and the 4Kids blocks as well.
Qubo is another channel that did so as they aired weekend marathons way too many times. But during each season, they would change things up! First, it was Babar, then ToddWorld, then Cosmic Quantum Ray, then Stella and Sam, then My Friend Rabbit (which was a SatAM show at one stage), then the genius brand shows (Secret Millionaires Club and Thomas Edison's Secret Lab), and then Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.
And now, MeTV is ...more
Wait, they still do? I thought they died out in like late 1990s and early 2000s.
Out of all the broadcast networks, MyNetworkTV is the only one not to have a major SatAM block.
ABC - ABC Kids
NBC - Qubo on NBC
CBS - Nick on CBS
Fox - Fox Kids
The WB/CW - Kids WB
PAX (now ION) - Freddy's Firehouse
UPN - UPN Kids
and just for the sake of it, PBS had the PBS Bookworm Bunch! Now I know the main reason why they don't air SatAM shows is that, unlike the others, MyNTV is mostly a syndication service. But that doesn't excuse them from not airing them from 2006 to 2009 when they were an actual TV network.
Imagine if they did, that would be awesome!
Okay, ABC Kids is the longest-lasting of the SatAM Cartoon blocks. As it ran from 1997 to 2011. Yep, you heard me right, this block ran from the late 90s to the early 2010s. Shame this block didn't live to see 2017 to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Kids WB is in a far 2nd with 10 years. Following that is a tie between Toonzai (also known as The CW4Kids), Qubo on NBC, and Fox Kids with 6 years. and sadly to some, looks like the Litton blocks outlived Fox Kids/Qubo on NBC/The CW4Kids...
In 2008, Fox decided to ditch SatAM cartoons as a whole due to a dispute involving 4Kids.
They never actually returned back to them. I mean sure, NBC abandoned them in 1992, but they returned a few years later. The CW aired toons until 2014 and the other two channels, ABC and CBS did the same.
Here's a strange fact! The earliest known Saturday morning cartoons were actually reruns of primetime shows! Yes, before SpongeBob, The Simpsons, and Toonami, primetime slots comprised of "The Flintstones", "The Alvin Show", and "Jonny Quest". Hard to believe that the same shows that aired late at night also aired during the daytime too.
So Kim Possible is the last non e/I cartoon to ever be aired by the major three. This is because that most of the blocks back in 2006 were just reruns. With CBS in particular, airing shows that previously were SatAM shows! (looking at you, Madeline.) While Fox and The CW continued to air non e/I shows, they aren't as major as ABC, CBS, and NBC.
As strange as it was, a controversy arose in the 1980s following a child advocacy group named Action for Children's Television (ACT) got upset over popular children's shows at the time were nothing but 30-minute toy ads. Now, remember The Simpsons episode "Apocalypse Cow"? They made fun of the fact that most shows at the time were just ads. This would later lead to the infamous KidVid act of 1996.
The more I think about it, the more shocking it is that the PTC (ACT's successor) didn't call out Nick jr...
Considering the fact that their most popular shows all just promote a toy line. Which is completely unacceptable for the under 6 group. At least the ones from the 1980s were aimed at older kids and teenagers! Not gosh dang preschoolers!
If you guessed right, it's Toonami! Since Kids WB had a Toonami block back in 2001. While it didn't last a while, it should still be noted nonetheless. Also, funny how Toonami aired on a Saturday morning block and it airs on Saturday night currently...
Okay, this is a strange one but, Qubo on NBC launched with absolutely no new shows on day one and was the only one to do so since KOL's Slumber Party had Horseland. Though Qubo on NBC DID get My Friend Rabbit a few months later but that wasn't day one.
As obscure as it is, PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch was indeed, the first fully animated SatAM e/I block. It mostly contained Nelvana shows and a few PBS stations currently air PBS Kids during Saturday Morning. But did you also know that the Bookworm bunch had one of their shows airing on a different network? In case if you're curious to know, it's Marvan the Tap-Dancing Horse. Which aired on NBC back in 2008.