Children's programming on CBS

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In regard to children's programming, CBS has aired mostly animated series, such as the original versions of Scooby-Doo, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, Garfield and Friends and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Saturday morning programming[edit]

Early years with Captain Kangaroo[edit]

CBS broadcast the live-action series Captain Kangaroo on weekday mornings from 1955 to 1982, and on Saturdays through 1984. For the first three months, Captain Kangaroo was only seen on weekday mornings. Thereafter, until 1968, the series was also seen on Saturday mornings. One exception was the 1964 to 1965 season, which saw the broadcast replaced on Saturdays by a Bob Keeshan vehicle called Mr. Mayor. From 1968 until 1982, it was seen on weekdays only again. Except for pre-emptions for news coverage, notably the three-day continuous coverage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963, and a few shows that were 45 minutes, the show aired a full 60 minutes on weekday mornings until 1981. It was broadcast in color from September 9, 1968 onward.

The audience of children could never compete in the ratings with such entertainment/news shows as The Today Show, although it won Emmy Awards three times as Outstanding Children's entertainment series in 1978–1979, 1982–1983 and 1983–1984. But in the fall season of 1981, to make more room for CBS Morning News, Captain Kangaroo was moved to an earlier time slot of 7 a.m. and reduced to 30 minutes, and was retitled Wake Up with the Captain. In the fall of 1982, it was moved to Saturday mornings to 7 a.m. (6 a.m. Central, Mountain, and Pacific). Reruns were offered to CBS affiliates to run Sunday mornings in place of the cartoon reruns that were offered before. Most CBS affiliates only cleared the Saturday morning airings after that. Still a third of the CBS affiliates no longer ran Captain Kangaroo at all after 1982. It was finally canceled altogether at the end of 1984, due to lack of clearances from affiliates.

See also[edit]

1971–1986 (the In the News era)[edit]

From 1971 to 1986, the CBS News department produced one-minute In the News segments broadcast between other Saturday morning programs. The "micro-series" (as it would be labelled today) had its genesis in a series of animated interstitials produced by CBS and Hanna Barbera Productions called In The Know, featuring Josie and the Pussycats narrating educational news segments tailored for children. This was eventually metamorphized into a more live-action-oriented micro-series.

See also[edit]

1986–1992, CBS Kid TV, CBS Toontastic and the "Action Zone" (1992–1997)[edit]

The saturday morning block was called CBS Kid TV in the early 90's and added additional programs such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987 TV series), Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (1990 TV series), Back to the Future (TV series), and Mother Goose and Grimm (TV series). In 1992, the block was renamed CBS Toontastic (later known as CBS Kidz) premiered on September 1992 with added more programs such as Beakman's World, The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, The Mask: The Animated Series and Tales from the Cryptkeeper.

During the early 1990s, Walt Disney Television Animation provided much of CBS's animated programming as part of a partnership between CBS and The Walt Disney Company (Also, Disney partnered with CBS for its holiday specials such as Happy New Year, America and The All-American Thanksgiving Day Parade). The partnership led to, among other shows, several adaptations of recent Disney films (such as The Little Mermaid (TV series), Timon & Pumbaa and Aladdin (TV series)) appearing on CBS's Saturday morning lineup. Also, the television series aired concurrently on The Disney Afternoon syndication block. When Disney purchased ABC network and eventually took over its programming, the partnership ended in 1996.

In an effort to compete with action shows at the time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was revamped into a more action oriented series and along with new shows WildC.A.T.s (TV series) and Skeleton Warriors was grouped into the "Action Zone" sub-block in fall 1994 that featured a fly-though robotic style pre-opening that eventually went into the show's opening sequence during its CBS run. The WildC.A.T.s. and Skeleton Warriors were canned around a year later and at the same time this sub-block was dropped (even though Teenage Mutent Ninja Turtles was allowed to retain the "Action Zone" brand until the end of its run two years later). In 1997, CBS Kidz was renamed Think CBS Kids.

See also[edit]

Think CBS Kids and deal with Nelvana/CBS Kidshow (1997–2000)[edit]

In 1997, CBS began broadcasting Wheel 2000, which aired simultaneously on the Game Show Network. Wheel 2000 was part of CBS's all-"educational/informational" Saturday morning lineup for the 1997-1998 season, taking advantage of the new E/I regulations mandated by the government, known as Think CBS Kids. Other programs included a show based on Sports Illustrated for Kids, the long-running Beakman's World, and notably, "Weird Al" Yankovic's first regular television show, The Weird Al Show. In the News was briefly revived as part of the block during the 1997-1998 season, hosted by CBS Radio News Washington correspondent Dan Raviv in place of original narrators Christopher Glenn and Gary Shepard. Since 1997, like other networks, the scheduling of CBS's children's programming has varied depending on the CBS station. For example, then-affiliate KTVT in Fort Worth, Texas (now a CBS owned-and-operated station) aired CBS Kidshow from 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays and 7 to 8 a.m. on Sundays from 1997 to 1998. In late-1998, Think CBS Kids was renamed CBS Kidshow.

In September 1998, CBS began contracting out to other companies to provide programming and material for their Saturday morning schedule. The first of these special blocks was CBS Kidshow, which featured programming from Canada's Nelvana studio.[1] It aired on CBS from 1998 to 2000, with shows like Anatole, Mythic Warriors,, Birdz, Rescue Heroes and Flying Rhino Junior High.[2] In January 1999, Franklin (TV series) (on the CBS lineup) and Rupert (a part of Nick Jr. (block) (since 1991) swapped networks.[3] Its tagline was, "The CBS Kids Show: Get in the Act." In 2000, CBS Kidshow was renamed Nick Jr. on CBS/Nick on CBS.

See also[edit]

Nick Jr. on CBS/Nick on CBS (2000–2006)[edit]

In 2000, CBS's deal with Nelvana ended. The network then entered into a deal with Nickelodeon (owned by CBS's former parent company Viacom (original), which at the time was a subsidiary of CBS) to air its Nick Jr. (block) programming under the banner Nick Jr. on CBS.[1] From 2002 to 2005, Nickelodeon's non-preschool series aired on the block as well, under the name Nick on CBS. When the block debuted, it was hosted by Face from Nick Jr.

On September 14, 2002, Nick Jr. on CBS was rebranded as Nick on CBS, and airing both Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. shows. The Nickelodeon shows were removed in 2005 in favor for a return to an exclusively-Nick Jr. block. The block's continuity was provided by segments featuring Piper O'Possum.

All programming during the block, as is standard for Saturday morning network programming, was labeled as meeting E/I requirements, as tenuous as some of the claims of educational content may have been. This is part of the reason why some of Nickelodeon's most popular programs (most notably SpongeBob SquarePants) did not appear on the block, even during the more open-formatted Nick on CBS era.

On December 31, 2005, Viacom was split into two different companies, with CBS Corporation becoming its own standalone company and Nickelodeon going to Viacom. Nick Jr. on CBS/Nick on CBS ended on September 9, 2006 and was renamed KOL Secret Slumber Party on September 16, 2006, as part of a multi-year partnership between CBS and DIC Entertainment[4] (now Cookie Jar Entertainment).

KOL Secret Slumber Party (2006–late-2007)[edit]

In 2006, after the Viacom-CBS split (as described above), CBS decided to discontinue the Nick Jr. and Nick lineup in favor of a block of programs produced by DIC Entertainment[5][6] as part of a three-year deal which includes distribution of selected Formula One auto races on tape delay.[7][8] KOL Secret Slumber Party premiered in September of that year. In the inaugural line-up, two of the programs were new shows, one aired in syndication in 2005 and three were pre-2006 shows.

After the announcement of the CBS/DIC partnership, the latter announced the block was originally going to be called Secret Saturday Morning Slumber Party (or Saturday Morning Secret Slumber Party), but was later renamed KOL Secret Slumber Party after DIC Entertainment, who produced all of the children's programming for the block, partnered with KOL, which co-produced programming with DIC. AOL managed the programming block's website, and produced public service announcements which aired both on television and online[9] This alliance was what led to the name change for this block, and also because some of the programs were airing on Sundays (depending on the market). KOL Secret Slumber Party's de facto hosts (and in turn, from whom the block's name was partly derived from) were the Slumber Party Girls, a teen pop group signed with Geffen Records (composed of Cassie Scerbo, Mallory Low, Karla Deras, Carolina Carattini and Caroline Scott), who appeared during commercial break bumpers and interstitial segments seen before the start and the final segment of each program as well as serving as the musical performers for one of the series featured in the block, Dance Revolution. In late-2007, KOL Secret Slumber Party was renamed KEWLopolis.

KEWLopolis (late-2007–2009)[edit]

In mid-2007, KOL withdrew sponsorship from CBS's Saturday morning block and the name was changed to KEWLopolis. Complimenting CBS's 2007 lineup were Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-lot, Strawberry Shortcake (2003 TV series) and Sushi Pack. On February 24, 2009, it was announced that CBS renewed its contract with Cookie Jar for another three seasons, through 2012.[10][11] In 2009, KEWLopolis was renamed Cookie Jar TV.

Cookie Jar TV (2009–2013)[edit]

On September 19, 2009, the name of the block was changed from KEWLopolis to Cookie Jar TV.[12] Cookie Jar TV airs at different times on some CBS stations (some air it on Saturday exclusively, and others split the block into two segments on both Saturdays and Sundays), CBS (as with any network) and Cookie Jar TV's producers ask viewers to check local listings to find out when the shows air in their area. While KEWLopolis was willing to carry Cake (TV series) and Horseland over from KOL Secret Slumber Party, Cookie Jar TV removed all KEWLopolis programming except Strawberry Shortcake (2003 TV series) upon its rebranding on September 19, 2009.[13][14] Starting in 2013, Cookie Jar TV was renamed CBS Dream Team.

CBS Dream Team (2013–present)[edit]

On July 24, 2013, CBS announced a programming agreement with Litton Entertainment (which already programs a Saturday morning block for ABC network in the form of a syndication package exclusive to that network's stations) to launch a new Saturday morning block featuring live-action reality-based series. As a result, Cookie Jar TV was discontinued on September 21, 2013, to be renamed CBS Dream Team the following week on September 28, 2013, that will be aimed at teenagers 13 to 16 years old,[15] making the network's return to live-action programming only since 1998. Strictly, CBS went to live-action programming from September 1997 to September 1998. This was the second time in at least 50 years that CBS dropped animated cartoons from their schedule.

List of notable Saturday morning programming[edit]

Note: Shows in bold are in-house productions from CBS.

Saturday morning preview specials[edit]

Animated primetime holiday specials[edit]

CBS was the original broadcast network home for the animated primetime holiday specials based on the comic strip Peanuts, beginning with A Charlie Brown Christmas in 1965. Over 30 Peanuts holiday specials (each for a specific holiday such as Halloween) were broadcast on CBS from that time until 2000, when ABC acquired the broadcast rights. CBS also aired several primetime animated specials based on the work of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), beginning with How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1966. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, produced in stop motion by the Rankin/Bass studio, has been another annual holiday staple of CBS since 1972, but that special originated on NBC in 1964. Frosty The Snowman is also another CBS hoiday staple since its debut in 1969.

All of these animated specials, from 1973 until 1992, began with a fondly remembered opening animated logo which showed the words "A CBS Special Presentation" in colorful lettering. The word "SPECIAL", repeated in multiple colors, slowly zoomed out from the frame in a spinning counterclockwise motion against a black background, and rapidly zoomed back into frame as a single word, in white, at the end; the logo was accompanied by a jazzy yet majestic up-tempo fanfare (believed to be incidental music from the CBS crime drama Hawaii Five-O) with dramatic horns and percussion (this appeared at the beginning of all CBS specials of the period – such as the Miss USA pageants and the annual Kennedy Center Honors presentation – not just animated specials).


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  7. ^ "World Screen – Home". 
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