Fox Kids

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Fox Kids
Type Defunct Saturday morning cartoon block and Weekday afternoon cartoon block:
United States (1990–2002)
Defunct children's television channel:
Europe (1996–2005)
Australia (1995–2004)
Current daily morning cartoon block:
Finland (2012–present)[1]
Country United States
Availability National
International
Slogan It's On Fox (1992–1993)
Fox Kids Is What? Fox Kids Is Cool! (1995–1997)
Fox Kids! Rocks Kids! (1997–1998)
Fox Kids Take the Ride! (1998–2001)
Fox Kids, Where Heroes Live! (2001–2002)
Owner Fox Kids Worldwide Inc. (1996–2001)
Fox Television Entertainment (2001–2002)
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)
Affiliation Fox (Finland)
Fox
Replaced by Jetix: USA (2004–2010)
Europe (2005–2009)
Disney XD (Europe, UK, USA; 2009–present)
Programming block:
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 on September 7, 2002, and a former brand name for a slate of international children's television channels. It was owned by Fox Television Entertainment beginning in 2001, and throughout its existence, the program block airing on Monday–Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.[2][3][4]

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.[5] Fox Kids had managed to achieve high ratings throughout its 12-year run and lived to be the longest running children's television block on U.S. broadcast television, until the record was surpassed by Kids' WB in 2008, which ended after 13 years.

History[edit]

According to James B. Stewart's 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 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.[6]

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 of Fox's other owned-and-operated stations in the fall of 1989. Diller also encouraged Fox affiliates to do the same,[7] 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 as the Fox Children's Network, a joint venture between Fox Broadcasting and its affiliates.[2] 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 mornings. In 1991, the block was rebranded as the Fox Kids Network, and programming expanded to 90 minutes on weekdays and four hours on Saturday mornings; it grew to 2½ hours on weekdays the following year. From 1992 to 1998, Fox Kids aired a special programming block on Thanksgiving Day, called "The Fox Kids T.V. Takeover," which led into the network's NFL coverage during the final four years of its run.

Radio[edit]

In addition to the program block, Fox Kids had its own radio program entitled the Fox Kids Radio Countdown, a two-hour broadcast that 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 served primarily as a promotional vehicle for Fox television programs, current artists, and films in its later years, before eventually ending its run in 2012.

Scheduling[edit]

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.

Broadcasting ambiguities[edit]

In 1995 and early 1996, Fox acquired three former ABC affiliates while SF Broadcasting (a joint venture between Savoy Pictures and Fox) acquired three former NBC affiliates and one ABC affiliate (which were later sold to Emmis Communications a few years later). Those stations all aired early evening local newscasts, but wanted to continue to run general entertainment syndicated programming to lead into their news programs instead of cartoons; these stations opted to run Fox Kids one hour early, from 1 to 4 p.m.


Stations that would run it at this time included:

Fox station City of license/market Notes
KTVI St. Louis, Missouri A New World station until 1997, when it became a Fox O&O. Fox Kids was originally carried in that market on religious independent station KNLC (channel 24) after it moved from former Fox affiliate KDNL-TV (channel 30), and was turned down by KTVI (channel 2), 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.
WGHP Greensboro/Winston-Salem
/High Point, North Carolina
WGHP (channel 8) ran Fox Kids upon becoming an owned-and-operated station of the network in September 1995, and aired the weekday block in the 1-4 p.m. time period, which was previously occupied by ABC soap operas. In the summer of 1996, Fox Kids moved to WB affiliate WBFX (channel 20, now CW affiliate WCWG), which began airing the weekday block in pattern.
WHBQ-TV Memphis, Tennessee When WHBQ (channel 13) became a Fox O&O in September 1995, it originally ran the Fox Kids weekday schedule 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 station split the Saturday block in half, running from 5-7 a.m. and 9-11 a.m. (the two-hour breakaway from 7-9 a.m. was filled by syndicated children's programs such as Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures and The Magic School Bus). 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:

Fox station City of license/market Notes
KHON-TV Honolulu KHON (channel 2) ran Fox Kids from 1 to 4 p.m. throughout the run of the weekday block.
WALA-TV Mobile, Alabama WALA (channel 10) ran Fox Kids from 1 to 4 p.m. throughout the run of the weekday block.
WLUK Green Bay, Wisconsin WLUK (channel 11) ran Fox Kids from 1 to 4 p.m. until the fall of 2001, when it pushed the Fox Kids weekday block back by one hour to 12 to 2 p.m.
WVUE New Orleans, Louisiana WVUE (channel 8), even before switching to Fox from ABC, was an underperforming station in the market. The station did not have a weekday morning newscast at the time (and would not add one until 2002 after the Fox Kids weekday block was discontinued); as such, Fox Kids aired on WVUE from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays.

In certain cities with an independent station, or affiliates of UPN and The WB, Fox contracted the Fox Kids block to air on one of these other stations if a Fox owned-and-operated station or affiliate declined to carry the block in order to air syndicated programs aimed at older audiences or local newscasts. All except one of the stations had been owned by New World Communications and were former affiliates of CBS, ABC, or (in only one case) NBC. New World (which later merged with then-Fox parent News Corporation in July 1996[8]) affiliated its stations with Fox between September 1994 and July 1995 as a result of a deal struck between Fox and New World in May 1994,[9] several months after the network won the contract to the NFL's National Football Conference television package.[10] 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 in 1999 by Disney's One Too). Examples include:

City of license/market Fox station Notes
Atlanta, Georgia WAGA WAGA (channel 5) declined to take Fox Kids when it switched to Fox from CBS in December 1994. It remained on outgoing Fox O&O WATL (channel 36, which became a WB affiliate in January 1995), as it lost Fox's primetime and sports programming to WAGA. Fox Kids moved to WHOT (channel 34, now WUVG-DT) in 1999, after that station dropped its home shopping format and converted into a general entertainment independent station, where it remained until the weekday block was dropped nationally in 2002.
Austin, Texas KTBC KTBC (channel 7) only carried 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.
Birmingham, Alabama WBRC WBRC (channel 6) planned to carry Fox Kids when it became a Fox owned-and-operated station in September 1996 (through a direct sale to Fox Television Stations as a result of ownership conflicts resulting from New World's simultaneous acquisitions of WBRC and other stations owned by Citicasters, and WVTM-TV and other stations owned by Argyle Communications) and run its weekday block in place of ABC soap operas, this was the original policy for such stations. Former Fox affiliate WTTO (channel 21) approached the network about retaining Fox Kids when it was set to become an independent station upon the switch. 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.
Cleveland, Ohio WJW-TV WJW (channel 8) declined to air Fox Kids when the station affiliated with Fox in September 1994, while former Fox affiliate WOIO (channel 19) joined CBS at that same time. As a result, low-rated independent station WBNX-TV (channel 55; which later affiliated with The WB in 1997) received the local rights to carry Fox Kids. WBNX operated the largest Fox Kids Club of the block's affiliates.
Dallas-Ft. Worth, Texas KDFW KDFW (channel 4) declined to take Fox Kids when it switched to Fox from CBS in July 1995. Fox Kids stayed with Fox's outgoing 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.
Detroit, Michigan WJBK WJBK (channel 2) chose to decline Fox Kids upon affiliating with Fox in December 1994, which remained on the market's original Fox affiliate WKBD (channel 50), which itself became a UPN charter affiliate in January 1994. This arrangement ended in the fall of 1997, at which time Fox Kids would move to low-rated independent station WADL (channel 38), which had been used for several years to broadcast programs that Detroit's major network affiliates (WDIV-TV, WXYZ-TV and prior to affiliating with Fox, WJBK) declined to air.
Kansas City, Missouri WDAF-TV WDAF (channel 4) 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 January 1995) as former Fox affiliate KSHB-TV (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-TV (channel 38) in the fall of 1999.
Los Angeles, California KTTV KTTV (channel 11), Fox's West Coast flagship station, moved the weekday block to its sister UPN (and later MyNetworkTV) station, KCOP (channel 13). However, KTTV continued to air Fox Kids programming on Saturday mornings.
Miami, Florida WSVN WSVN (channel 7) became the first Fox affiliate to decline or stop carrying Fox Kids, when it dropped the block at the end of 1993. At that point, Fox Kids moved to WDZL (channel 39, now WSFL-TV); it would eventually move to WAMI-TV (channel 69) in 1997, where it ran until it became a Telefutura owned-and-operated station in January 2002.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin WITI WITI (channel 6) opted to not carry the block upon becoming a Fox station in December 1994; the block instead stayed on the market's original Fox affiliate WCGV (channel 24), which became a UPN affiliate when that network launched one month later, however WCGV continued to show more preference to Fox Kids than the weaker teen-targeted UPN Kids block.
Phoenix, Arizona KSAZ-TV KSAZ (channel 10) 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 four-month transition from Fox to ABC, in which it added ABC programs (excluding primetime and sports programs, and select daytime soap operas) which that network's longtime affiliate KTVK (channel 3) began turning down. KNXV spent a month during the switchover as hybrid independent station/secondary ABC affiliate. 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-TV (channel 5) in September 1994, with KSAZ becoming an indepdendent until December of that year; ABC would remain on KTVK until January 1995, Fox Kids moved to KTVK once the remaining shows that the station continued to carry from ABC's daytime lineup had moved to KNXV. By the time that KTVK became the market's original WB affiliate (it aired that network's Wednesday programming on Saturday nights on tape delay) in January 1995, it owned a large syndicated programming inventory; as such, KTVK lacked enough time in its broadcast day to air all of this programming even after dropping ABC, due to its news-intensive schedule.

As such, when the Brooks family launched KASW (channel 61) in September 1995, KTVK's then-owner MAC America Communications immediately entered into a local marketing agreement with that station. Both the Fox Kids programming and the WB affiliation promptly moved to KASW, rendering KTVK an independent station. The arrangement to run Fox's children's block on KASW 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. It was thought that 4Kids TV would move to KUTP, but KSAZ still passed on it even for its duopoly partner in that market; it therefore remained on KASW.

New York City, New York WNYW WNYW (channel 5), Fox's East Coast flagship station, deferred the weekday block in later years to sister UPN (and later MyNetworkTV) station WWOR-TV (channel 9). However, WNYW continued to air Fox Kids programming on Saturday mornings.
Tampa, Florida WTVT When WTVT (channel 13) opted not to carry Fox Kids upon switching to Fox in December 1994, 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 partner, CBS. Fox Kids programming moved to independent station WTTA (channel 38, which would eventually join The WB in 1998), that station also picked up certain syndicated shows that WFTS was no longer able to air. This arrangement for WTTA to air Fox Kids continued until the end of 2001 when Fox Kids ended its weekday block, but continued its Saturday morning lineup. 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).

Later history[edit]

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 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 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.[2][11][12] 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.[2] 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.[13] 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[edit]

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".[citation needed]

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 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 to Fox's headquarters on the 20th Century Fox lot,[2] at which time Fox discontinued the daytime children's programming, giving the time back to their affiliates[14] 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, won. Fox Kids maintained a Saturday morning-only schedule until September 14, 2002, when it gave the time to 4Kids Entertainment.[5]

The block was renamed FoxBox and then three years later in January 2005, it was 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 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 clearance rate for 90% of Fox's affiliates to carry the block due to affiliate refusals and an inability to secure secondary affiliates to carry the programming.[15] 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.[16][17] 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[edit]

While Fox Kids was ending on broadcast television in the United States, Disney instituted a two-hour morning lineup on its newly acquired ABC Family that was 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 (other than Power Rangers, no Fox Kids programming actually aired on 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. The Jetix brand was eventually discontinued shortly after Toon Disney was rebranded as Disney XD in 2009.

Disney now holds the rights to most of the Fox Family archives under Disney-ABC Domestic Television, including The Tick, Eek! Stravaganza and the Marvel animated titles (which Disney purchased separately in 2009). 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. Saban Capital Group reacquired most of the Saban Entertainment library beginning in 2010 and licenses most of its library to Nickelodeon's networks. Several of Fox Kids' programs, including Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation and the Warner Bros. Animation-produced series, air on the Hub Network in the United States as of 2014.

Despite having been retired in most of the world, the Fox Kids brand is still use in some outlets including the children's block programming on Fox in Finland.

Programming[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fox Kids Finland Website". Fox (21st Century Fox). 
  2. ^ a b c d e Schneider, Michael; Grego, Melissa (September 9, 2001). "Fox Kids net adopted by Fox TV Ent.". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  3. ^ Tomlinson, Heather (July 28, 2001). "Murdoch parts with the Power Rangers and the preacher man". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  4. ^ Cerone, Daniel (February 20, 1993). "Animated Series Has Helped Fox Challenge the Other Networks on Saturday Mornings". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-15. 
  5. ^ a b Bernstein, Paula (January 18, 2002). "4Kids buys 4 hours from Fox Kids". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  6. ^ Stewart, James B. (2005). Disney War. New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster (ISBN 0-6848-0993-1), pp. 94-95
  7. ^ Cieply, Michael (February 22, 1990). "Disney, Fox Clash Over Children's TV Programming". The Los Angeles Times (USA). Retrieved 11 May 2011. 
  8. ^ Lowry, Brian (July 18, 1996). "New World Vision : Murdoch's News Corp. to Buy Broadcast Group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Fox Gains 12 Stations in New World Deal". Chicago Sun-Times. May 23, 1994. Retrieved June 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ CBS, NBC Battle for AFC Rights // Fox Steals NFC Package, Chicago Sun-Times (via HighBeam Research), December 18, 1993.
  11. ^ "Fox Family Worldwide Inc". Saban. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  12. ^ Hillier, Barry (November 1, 1996). "Fox Kids Worldwide is born". Kidscreen. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  13. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (Dec 3, 1997). "'Bus' rolling to Fox Kids". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  14. ^ Schneider, Michael (November 7, 2001). "Fox outgrows kids programs". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  15. ^ "4Kids Entertainment Reports Third Quarter 2008 Results and Settlement of Fox Litigation". QuoteMedia.com. November 10, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-11. [dead link]
  16. ^ "Fox Ends Saturday-Morning Cartoons". New York Times. November 24, 2008. Archived from the original on 27 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 
  17. ^ Schneider, Michael (November 23, 2008). "Longform Ads Replace Kid Fare on Fox". Variety.com. Retrieved 2009-01-11. 

External links[edit]