|Type||Defunct Saturday morning cartoon block and Weekday afternoon cartoon block:
United States (1990–2002)
Defunct children's television channel:
Current daily morning cartoon block:
|Slogan||It's On Fox (1992)
Fox Kids Is What? Fox Kids Is Cool! (1995)
Fox Kids! Rocks Kids! (1997)
Fox Kids Take the Ride! (1998)
Fox Kids, Where Heroes Live! (2001)
|Owner||Fox Television Entertainment|
|Key people||Haim Saban|
|Launch date||September 8, 1990 (USA)
October 1, 1995 (AUS)
October 19, 1996 (Europe, UK)
|Dissolved||September 7, 2002 (USA)
January 31, 2004 (AUS)
January 1, 2005 (Europe, UK)
April 1, 2005 (Israel)
|Former names||Fox Children's Network (1990–1991)
Fox Kids Network (1991–1998)
|Replaced by||Jetix: USA (2004–2010)
Disney XD (Europe, UK, USA; 2009–present)
On Fox network schedule by FoxBox (2002-2008)
Weekend Marketplace (2008-present)
Fox Kids was an American children's programming block that aired on the Fox Broadcasting Company that premiered on September 8, 1990 and ended September 7, 2002, and a former brand name for a slate of international children's television channels. It was owned by Fox Television Entertainment airing programming on Monday–Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.
Depending on the show, the programming block was aimed at young children, aged 6–11, and preteens ages 12–14. It continued to run repeats until September 7, 2002. At that time, Fox put the time slots up for bidding, with 4Kids Entertainment winning and securing the rights to program the Saturday morning block. The network had managed to achieve high ratings throughout its 12-year run and lived to be the longest running children's television block/network, alongside Nickelodeon, until the record was surpassed by Kids' WB in 2008, which ended after 13 years.
According to James B. Stewart's DisneyWar, Fox Kids' history is intertwined with the history 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 September 1987 on Fox's owned-and-operated stations, as well as various Fox affiliates. This may have been due in no small part to the fact that then-Disney chief operating officer Michael Eisner and his then-Fox counterpart, Barry Diller, had worked together at ABC and at Paramount Pictures.
In 1988, Disney purchased Los Angeles television station KHJ-TV, later renaming it as KCAL-TV. The station's new owners wanted DuckTales to be shown on KCAL, thus taking it away from Fox-owned KTTV. Furious at the breach of contract, Diller pulled DuckTales from all other Fox owned-and-operated stations in the fall of 1989. Diller also encouraged Fox affiliates to do the same, though most did not initially. As Disney went forward in building The Disney Afternoon, Fox then began the process of launching its own children's programming lineup.
Fox Kids was launched on September 8, 1990 under the brand Fox Children's Network, a joint venture between Fox Broadcasting and its affiliates. Originally headed up by division president Margaret Loesch, it aired programming originally for 30 minutes per day Monday through Friday, and three hours on Saturday morning. In 1991, it rebranded as Fox Kids Network, and programming expanded to 90 minutes on weekdays and four hours on Saturday mornings, it grew to 2½ hours on weekdays a year later.
Fox Kids had its own radio program as well. Entitled the Fox Kids Radio Countdown, it was a two-hour broadcast and was hosted by Chris Leary of TechTV and ZDTV fame. The show consisted of contests, gags, and funny sound effects. It was later renamed to Fox All Access and eventually ended its run in 2012, in its later years primarily as a promotional vehicle for Fox television programs, current artists, and films.
By 1993, Fox Kids increased its schedule to a total of three hours on Monday-Friday, usually 2 p.m.-5 p.m. local time, and four hours on Saturdays in the 8 a.m.-noon ET/PT and 7 a.m.-11 a.m. CT/MT timeslots. With that expansion, this made Fox the first network to air in programming in the 4:00 p.m. hour since 1986). Many stations aired programming for one hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon at a time on weekdays, when network programs intertwined with syndicated children's lineups. Other stations aired all three hours combined in the afternoon due to having local morning newscasts; in this case, syndicated children shows were eliminated and moved to other "independent" stations. Very few aired the block three hours total in the morning. In 1995 and early 1996 Fox acquired three former ABC affiliates and Savoy/Fox acquired three former NBC affiliates and an ABC affiliate (which were later sold to Emmis a few years later). Those stations all had evening newscasts, but wanted to continue to have regular syndicated programming to lead into the news instead of cartoons, so they would run Fox Kids one hour earlier in the afternoon from 1-4 p.m.
Stations that would run it at this time included:
- New World station (until 1997, when it became a Fox O&O) KTVI (channel 2) in St. Louis. Originally, religious broadcaster KNLC (channel 24) began carrying the block after it moved from former Fox affiliate KDNL-TV (channel 30), and was turned down by KTVI, in July 1995. However, the network terminated the agreement in September 1996 as KNLC used its local commercial time to instead broadcast religious sermons and messages, along with the personal opinions of station owner Rev. Larry Rice, which the network found inappropriate for Fox Kids' younger viewership; the station refused to sell the time to advertisers, and would also occasionally censor Fox Kids advertising and programming its ownership found offensive. The block was then moved to KTVI.
- Fox O&O WGHP (channel 8) in Greensboro upon becoming owned by the network in September 1995. The timeslot was previously occupied by ABC soap operas. Beginning in the Summer of 1996, Fox Kids would move to WB affiliate WBFX (channel 20, now CW affiliate WCWG) and air in pattern.
- WHBQ (channel 13) in Memphis became a Fox O&O in September 1995. The weekday schedule was initially shown from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by syndicated reruns (initially Family Matters). In 1998, only two hours of the three-hour lineup were shown from 1 to 3 p.m. Beginning in the fall of 1999, WHBO dropped the weekday block, with the timeslot becoming occupied by syndicated programming. Also, beginning in 1996, the Saturday block was split in half; the first half was shown from 5-7 a.m., followed by syndicated shows like Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures and The Magic School Bus, then the second half of the block was shown from 9-11 a.m. This policy continued with 4Kids TV programming until the demise of the block in December 2008.
Savoy/Fox and later Emmis-owned (at the time) stations:
- WALA (channel 10) in Mobile, Alabama
- KHON-TV (channel 2) in Honolulu
- WVUE (channel 8) in New Orleans – even before switching to Fox from ABC, WVUE was an underperforming station in the market. WVUE did not have a morning newscast at the time, and as such, Fox Kids aired from 6 to 9 a.m.
- WLUK (channel 11) in Green Bay. In the fall of 2001, the Fox Kids weekday block was pushed back to 12 to 2 p.m.
In certain cities with an independent station, or affiliates of UPN and The WB, Fox contracted to air the Fox Kids block on one of these other stations if a Fox owned-and-operated station or affiliate declined to air the block to air syndicated programs for older audiences or local newscasts. All except one of the stations were owned by New World Communications and were former CBS, ABC, or NBC (in only one case) affiliates. New World (later merged with then-Fox parent News Corporation) affiliated its stations with Fox in 1994 or 1995 as a result of a deal struck between Fox and New World after the network won the contract to air the National Football Conference package. In some cases, Fox Kids would be airing on the same station as its competitors, Kids' WB and the former UPN Kids block (later replaced by Disney's One Too).
- WSVN (channel 7) in Miami, Florida, which dropped the block at the end of 1993 and at that time moved it to WBZL (channel 39) before eventually moving to WAMI-TV (channel 69) in 1997. WSVN was the first Fox affiliate to decline or stop carrying Fox Kids.
- WITI (channel 6) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin opted to not carry the block upon becoming a Fox station in 1994, with the block airing instead on the market's previous Fox affiliate WCGV (channel 24), which affiliated with UPN shortly thereafter, however WCGV continued to show more preference to Fox Kids than the weaker teen-targeted UPN Kids block.
- WJBK (channel 2) in Detroit, Michigan also chose to decline Fox Kids, which remained on former Fox affiliate WKBD (channel 50), which affiliated with UPN soon after. This arrangement ended in the fall of 1997, at which time Fox Kids would move to low-rated independent WADL (channel 38), which had been used for several years to broadcast programs that the major network affiliates declined to air.
- WJW-TV (channel 8) in Cleveland, Ohio declined to air Fox Kids when the station affiliated with Fox in 1994, while former Fox affiliate WOIO (channel 19) joined CBS at that same time. As a result, low-rated independent WBNX-TV (channel 55) received the local rights to carry Fox Kids. WBNX later affiliated with The WB. WBNX operated the largest Fox Kids Club of the block's affiliates.
- Fox's East Coast flagship WNYW (channel 5) in New York City, New York deferred the weekday block in later years to sister UPN (and later MyNetworkTV) station WWOR-TV (channel 9). This was also the case in Los Angeles, California between Fox West Coast flagship KTTV (channel 11) and its sister UPN (and later MyNetworkTV) station, KCOP (channel 13). However, both WNYW and KTTV continued to air Fox Kids programming on Saturday mornings, only moving the weekday block to their respective duopoly partners.
- WTVT (channel 13) in Tampa, Florida also opted not to carry Fox Kids. Former Fox affiliate WFTS (channel 28) was unable to continue carrying it as it had taken the ABC affiliation from WTSP (channel 10), which in turn affiliated with WTVT's former network affiliation, CBS. Fox Kids programming moved to independent station WTTA (channel 38), which also picked up certain syndicated shows that WFTS was no longer able to air. WTTA eventually joined The WB in 1998. This arrangement for WTTA to air Fox Kids continued until the end of 2001 when Fox Kids ended its weekday block, but continued reruns on Saturdays. Those, as well as Fox Box/4Kids TV (which would replace Fox Kids in the fall of 2002), would air on independent WMOR-TV (channel 32; the market's original WB affiliate from 1995 to 1998).
- KSAZ-TV (channel 10) in Phoenix, Arizona also did not carry Fox Kids upon switching to Fox in December 1994. It initially remained on former Fox affiliate KNXV-TV (channel 15), during its transition from Fox to ABC, with KNXV spending a month during the switchover as an independent station. KNXV and KSAZ's affiliation switches were part of a complicated four-way network swap that had CBS moving from KSAZ to independent station KPHO (channel 5) in September 1994, with KSAZ becoming an indepdendent until December of that year; ABC would remain on KTVK (channel 3) until January 1995, through it gradually lost ABC programs outside of primetime shows and sports to KNXV, Fox Kids moved to KTVK once ABC's daytime lineup moved to KNXV. That fall, Fox Kids programming and KTVK's WB affiliation both moved to KASW (channel 61), which KTVK's then-owner MAC America Communications managed through a local marketing agreement. This arrangement continued with 4Kids TV until that block ended in December 2008, even after Fox acquired then-UPN affiliate KUTP (channel 45; now a MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station) in 2000.
- WDAF-TV (channel 4) in Kansas City, Missouri also declined to take Fox Kids when it switched to Fox from NBC in September 1994. Fox Kids would move to KSMO-TV (channel 62; which became the market's UPN affiliate in 1995) as former Fox affiliate KSHB (channel 41) took WDAF's former NBC affiliation. In 1998, when KSMO switched to The WB, Fox Kids programming and the UPN affiliation moved to KCWB (channel 29, now KCWE). It subsequently moved to independent station KMCI (channel 38) in the fall of 1999.
- WAGA (channel 5) in Atlanta, Georgia declined to take Fox Kids when it switched to Fox from CBS in December 1994. It remained on then-Fox O&O WATL (channel 36, which became a WB affiliate in 1995), as it lost Fox's primetime and sports programming to WAGA. Fox Kids moved to WHOT (channel 34) in 1999, after that station dropped its home shopping format and converted into a general entertainment independent, where it remained until the weekday block was dropped nationally in 2002.
- KDFW (channel 4) in Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas declined to take Fox Kids when it switched to Fox from CBS in June 1995. Fox Kids stayed with Fox's then-owned-and-operated station KDAF (channel 33), which became a WB affiliate after it was sold to Renaissance Broadcasting in 1995 (which later merged with Tribune Broadcasting in 1997). In 1997, upon Fox's acquisition of KDFW through its merger with New World Communications, Fox Kids moved to independent station KDFI (channel 27, now a MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station), which Fox managed under a local marketing agreement at the time.
- WBRC (channel 6) in Birmingham, Alabama planned to carry Fox Kids in the fall of 1996 and run its weekday block in place of ABC soap operas after it switched to Fox (through a direct sale to Fox Television Stations), this was the original policy for such stations. Former Fox affiliate WTTO (channel 21) approached the network about retaining Fox Kids after it became an independent station. Fox allowed WTTO to keep Fox Kids, changed its policy for its new O&O stations to allow them the right to decline Fox Kids and allow other stations to carry it if they chose to do so.
- KTBC (channel 7) in Austin, Texas only took the Saturday morning Fox Kids block when it joined Fox in July 1995, while now-defunct low-power sister station K13VC carried both the weekday and Saturday lineups. KTBC and K13VC both simulcast the Saturday lineup until KTBC dropped it in 1997.
Much of the early programming on Fox Kids came from Warner Bros. Animation. After The WB Television Network launched in January 1995, two of Fox Kids' most popular programs, Animaniacs (following a heated dispute by 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 1995 (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. 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, added reruns of the former PBS series The Magic School Bus. In 2000, affiliates were given the option of pushing the block up one hour to 2-4 p.m. instead of 3-5 p.m. In the six or so markets where a Fox affiliate carried Fox Kids and had an early evening newscast at 5 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 a.m. and 1 p.m., one of the lowest-rated time periods on U.S. television (and when virtually all children 5 years 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.
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, owing to the cultural change of Saturday becoming the theoretical "sixth weekday".
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, 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 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 to Fox's headquarters on the 20th Century Fox lot, at which time Fox discontinued the daytime children's programming, giving the time back to their affiliates. Fox put its children's programming block up for bidding, and 4Kids Entertainment, the producers of the English dub of Pokémon, won. Fox Kids maintained a Saturday morning-only schedule until September 14, 2002, when it gave the time to 4Kids Entertainment. The block was renamed FoxBox and then three years later in January 2005, renamed again to 4Kids TV. 4Kids TV lasted until December 27, 2008, due to intervening conflicts between Fox and 4Kids that led to the two 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 clearance rate for the block of 90% of Fox's affiliates 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. 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.
After Fox Kids
While Fox Kids was ending on terrestrial television in the United States, Disney instituted a two-hour morning lineup on its newly acquired ABC Family, programmed similarly to Fox Kids. Internationally, Fox Kids continued to air under the same name, despite its new Disney ownership. At the same time, ABC rebranded its Saturday morning cartoon block, then known as One Saturday Morning, to ABC Kids. It was not until 2004 that Disney unveiled Fox Kids's new brand name for action and adventure programming, Jetix. The new name was first used in the United States on the ABC Family morning block and a new prime-time lineup on Toon Disney. Internationally, the name was phased in, first as a programming block, and then as the new network name.
Disney now holds the rights to nearly all of the Fox Family/Saban archives under Disney-ABC Domestic Television, including The Tick, Eek! Stravaganza and the Marvel animated titles. Most of these shows aired on Jetix, although Eek! Stravaganza, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and select other shows were streamed online (complete with Fox Family branding during end credits) on ABC Family's website.
There are several exceptions:
- The rights of the Power Rangers franchise, Masked Rider, Beetleborgs and the Digimon franchise were re-acquired by Saban Brands between 2010 and 2012. Some Digimon and Power Rangers series are currently airing on Nickelodeon and Nicktoons.
- In 2007, Taffy Entertainment acquired the distribution rights to Bobby's World, and as a result, these rights now belong to the MoonScoop Group.
- The Goosebumps television series, which aired on Fox Kids from 1995 to 1998, is owned by Scholastic, with home video rights licensed to Fox and is currently being broadcast on Hub Network.
- The Warner Bros. produced series (such as Animaniacs and Tiny Toon Adventures) are under their ownership and are licensed to Hub Network as of 2013. Warner also owns the only three Hanna-Barbera series ever to air on Fox: Dark Water, Tom & Jerry Kids and its spin-off, Droopy, Master Detective (along with most of the other H-B shows).
- The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper and The New Woody Woodpecker Show are owned by NBCUniversal.
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (both the Hanna-Barbera and DiC versions) is owned by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
- Both Alienators: Evolution Continues and Toonsylvania are owned by DreamWorks Animation.
- Oggy and the Cockroaches and Space Goofs are owned by Xilam.
- Britt Allcroft and Lionsgate now own the rights to the Fox Cubhouse show Magic Adventures of Mumfie.
Despite being phased out most of the world, the Fox Kids brand is still use in some outlets including the children's block programming on Fox in Finland.
- "Fox Kids Finland Website". Fox (21st Century Fox).
- Schneider, Michael; Grego, Melissa (September 9, 2001). "Fox Kids net adopted by Fox TV Ent.". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Tomlinson, Heather (July 28, 2001). "Murdoch parts with the Power Rangers and the preacher man". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Cerone, Daniel (February 20, 1993). "Animated Series Has Helped Fox Challenge the Other Networks on Saturday Mornings". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
- Bernstein, Paula (January 18, 2002). "4Kids buys 4 hours from Fox Kids". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Stewart, James B. (2005). Disney War. New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster (ISBN 0-6848-0993-1), pp. 94-95
- Cieply, Michael (February 22, 1990). "Disney, Fox Clash Over Children's TV Programming". The Los Angeles Times (USA). Retrieved 11 May 2011.
- "Fox Family Worldwide Inc". Saban. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
- Hillier, Barry (November 1, 1996). "Fox Kids Worldwide is born". Kidscreen. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
- Littleton, Cynthia (Dec. 3, 1997). "'Bus' rolling to Fox Kids". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Schneider, Michael (November 7, 2001). "Fox outgrows kids programs". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- "4Kids Entertainment Reports Third Quarter 2008 Results and Settlement of Fox Litigation". QuoteMedia.com. November 10, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-11.[dead link]
- "Fox Ends Saturday-Morning Cartoons". New York Times. November 24, 2008. Archived from the original on 27 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- Schneider, Michael (November 23, 2008). "Longform Ads Replace Kid Fare on Fox". Variety.com. Retrieved 2009-01-11.
- Archive copies of Fox Kids website at the Wayback Machine
- Retrojunk: The Fox Kids Club: The End of An Era
- Fox Kids at the Internet Movie Database