ABC Kids (US)

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ABC Kids
Type Defunct Saturday morning cartoon block (1997–2011)
Country United States
Availability National
Slogan Illuminating Television (1997–2004)
ABC Kids is Gonna Rock Your Day! (2006–2011)
Owner ABC, Inc. (The Walt Disney Company)
Launch date
September 13, 1997 (1997-09-13)
(as Disney's One Saturday Morning)
September 14, 2002 (2002-09-14)
(as ABC Kids)
Dissolved September 7, 2002 (2002-09-07)
(as Disney's One Saturday Morning)
August 27, 2011 (2011-08-27)
(as ABC Kids)
Former names
Disney's One Saturday Morning (1997–2002)
Affiliation ABC

ABC Kids (also known as Disney's ABC Kids) was an American children's programming block that aired on ABC from September 13, 1997 (under its original brand as "Disney's One Saturday Morning") until August 27, 2011; it also aired in Canada under the "One Saturday Morning" brand on BBS/CTV until 2002. The block regularly aired on Saturday mornings in the U.S., though certain programs within the lineup aired on Sundays in some parts of the country due to station preferences for non-E/I programming or scheduling issues with regional or network sports broadcasts.

It featured a mix of animated television series and live-action children's television series. The block concluded on August 27, 2011, and was replaced one week later on September 3 by Litton's Weekend Adventure, a block of family-oriented E/I shows programmed by Litton Entertainment that is formatted as a syndication package exclusive to ABC stations.

History[edit]

Development[edit]

Immediately before The Walt Disney Company purchased ABC parent company Capital Cities Communications in 1996, ABC Saturday Morning aired ReBoot, Schoolhouse Rock!, and Disney-produced series The Mighty Ducks, DuckTales and Gargoyles. When Disney formally took over network operations in 1997, Disney head Michael Eisner sought to create a Saturday morning block that was different from the rest at the time.

In February 1997, Peter Hastings left Warner Bros. Animation in a heated dispute over the direction of two massive Warner Bros. hits he had written for, Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, and joined Disney. Hastings was tasked with overhauling ABC's Saturday morning lineup. He pitched the idea that Saturday is different from every other day and to represent weekdays as buildings. Hastings also proposed the use of virtual set technology; although he knew little about it at the time and the technology used was just starting to be developed, Disney and ABC liked the idea. He hired Prudence Fenton as consultant manager and co-executive producer. Together, they sampled virtual set technology at the 1997 NAB Show and chose technology developed by Accom and ELSET. Rutherford Bench Productions, which had previously worked with Disney, hired Pacific Ocean Post (now POP Sound) to produce the virtual set. The building was initially a drawing of Grand Central Terminal with a roller coaster added, but evolved into a towering mechanical structure. Even the interior has similarities such as a central high raised room, with two wings on the left and right sides and another on the south side.[1]

Disney's One Saturday Morning[edit]

On September 13, 1997, Disney's One Saturday Morning premiered as a two-hour block on the ABC Saturday Morning lineup.[2] It was originally scheduled for a September 6, 1997 debut, but due to ABC and other major networks airing Princess Diana's funeral instead of children's programming that day, its launch was pushed back by one week. One Saturday Morning (advertised as "five hours of summer, once a week!") featured two parts: three hours of regularly scheduled cartoons and a two-hour hosted flagship show that included features, comedy, and the virtual world Hastings had proposed, along with full episodes of three series: Doug (which had been acquired from Nickelodeon), Recess and Pepper Ann, all of which were interspersed through the show. Among the educational features were:

  • Manny the Uncanny, in which the title character (played by Paul Rugg) would visit an unusual job site and observe how the job is performed;
  • Great Minds Think for Themselves, in which the Genie from Aladdin (voiced by Robin Williams) highlighted moments in (mostly American) history in which famous figures bucked conventional wisdom;
  • How Things Werk, a "how does it work?" segment, styled like a comic strip, in which a boy named Billy would accurately explain some work of engineering (such as how elevators work or how carpeting is manufactured), only to be told "Wrong, Billy!" and have an authority figure offer a far more absurd and implausible explanation for these things; and
  • Mrs. Munger's Class, in which a page from an actual elementary school yearbook had its faces syncro-voxed for humorous effect (the actual people whose faces were featured never granted their permission to be used, prompting legal action and the eventual removal of the sketch). A similar sketch called Centerville replaced Mrs. Munger's Class.

During the introduction to One Saturday Morning as well as other introductions on the block, a tiny lightbulb icon would appear in a bottom corner of the screen with an announcer saying, "Illuminating Television," in reference to the block's educational programming. The lightbulb's chain would be pulled by a hand, after which, a different animation occurred (such as the lightbulb turning into a rocket, falling into a garbage can or jumping in a pool). The icon continued to be used after the switch to ABC Kids until 2004, when it was replaced by an "e/i" icon with a mortarboard hat atop it and an ABC logo that jumped to the top of the screen to wear the e/i hat. The mortarboard icon continued to be used until ABC Kids ended its run.

On September 6, 1999, a spin-off, Disney's One Too, debuted on UPN and in syndication, airing every weekday morning or afternoon and Sunday morning, replacing The Disney Afternoon.[3] The shorts and hosted segments were dropped in 2000 as a result of low ratings for the block; by this time, the interstitials within the block had simply become bumpers and promos.

ABC Kids[edit]

Disney purchased some the assets of Fox Family Worldwide in 2001, primarily for its Fox Family Channel, which was included in the sale.[4][5] Although only the Power Rangers series would ever jump from Fox to ABC, ABC nonetheless rebranded its Saturday morning block, as a subtle nod to Fox Family's Fox Kids branding, to ABC Kids. (As the result of the sale, Fox Kids ceased to exist; Fox's children's program lineups would be handled from that point onward by 4Kids Entertainment.) The new branding debuted September 14, 2002.[6] The rechristened block originally contained new programs, but by the end of its run, all of ABC Kids programs became repeats of Disney Channel Original Series. Replacing the massive building was a stadium motif, a theme that would last for all seven years of this block's run.[6]

Power Rangers was previously aired on Fox Kids until halfway through the Wild Force season, when the franchise moved to ABC Kids for the 2002–2003 season. Starting with the episode "Unfinished Business", the remainder of the Wild Force season premiered on ABC Kids. During its time on both Fox Kids and ABC Kids, the entire Wild Force season also reran later on ABC Family (in part both prior to the introduction of and during the ABC Family Action Block). The following Ninja Storm season also premiered on ABC Kids and then reran later on the ABC Family Action Block. The Dino Thunder, S.P.D., Mystic Force, Operation Overdrive and Jungle Fury seasons were all premiered on Jetix and then reran on ABC Kids. The RPM season aired exclusively on ABC Kids, after which ABC canceled production of the series. In lieu of a new season, ABC instead reran the first season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, with updated graphics, for the 2009–10 season.

Power Rangers ended its run on ABC Kids on August 28, 2010, nationwide due to Haim Saban having bought back the intellectual rights to the franchise from Disney and giving the television rights to Nickelodeon in May 2010. Airings ended shortly before on August 14, 2010, on West Coast affiliates due to a two-week preemption caused by the 2010 Little League World Series and the E/I recovery that resulted from it. On September 4, 2010, the hour held by Power Rangers was returned to the local affiliates. After its completion on ABC Kids, all new seasons of Power Rangers (starting with the Samurai season) began to premiere on the main Nickelodeon channel on February 7, 2011. Repeats of new seasons and all previous seasons also began airing on that network a day later.[7]

With the rise of federally mandated E/I programming guidelines, some of the network's affiliate groups, primarily Hearst Television and Allbritton Communications, refused to carry any show that did not fulfill E/I requirements (such as Kim Possible or the Power Rangers series during their time on ABC Kids) in order to instead free up time to air locally produced programming. However, some stations time shifted these shows either to very early in the morning on Saturdays or to Sundays, often before local news, Good Morning America and/or that week's "live" portion of the ABC Kids block began.

ABC Kids aired for the final time on August 27, 2011. After that, ABC discontinued airing animated programming, making it the first network not to air animated programs since September 1992, when NBC stopped airing animated programs to make room for TNBC.

Litton's Weekend Adventure[edit]

On May 24, 2011, ABC's affiliate board announced that it had reached a deal with broadcast syndication production company Litton Entertainment to produce original content for the Saturday morning block. The Litton's Weekend Adventure block launched on September 3, 2011, replacing ABC Kids.[8][9][10]

List of programs broadcast by ABC Kids/Disney's One Saturday Morning[edit]

Final Programming[edit]

Former programming[edit]

Original programming[edit]

Action[edit]
Animated[edit]
Sports[edit]

Repeats of Disney Channel series[edit]

Animated[edit]
Comedy[edit]

Repeats of Jetix series[edit]

Disney's One Saturday Morning programming[edit]

Original Programing[edit]

Action[edit]
Animated[edit]

Disney Channel Repeats[edit]

Animated[edit]
Live-Action[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldman, Michael (September 15, 1997). "ABC hopes for virtual success". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ Grove, Christopher (August 29, 1997). "Webs roll out season geared to kids". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  3. ^ Pursell, Chris (July 19, 1999). "Mouse brands UPN kidvid". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  4. ^ "News Corp. and Haim Saban Reach Agreement to Sell Fox Family Worldwide to Disney for $5.3 Billion". Saban. July 23, 2001. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-19. 
  5. ^ DiOrio, Carl (October 24, 2001). "Fox Family costs Mouse less cheese in final deal". Variety. Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  6. ^ a b Bernstein, Paula (September 29, 2002). "Kid skeds tread on joint strategy". Variety. Retrieved August 13, 2009. 
  7. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 12, 2010). "Saban re-acquires rights to 'Rangers'". Variety. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  8. ^ "ABC Orders Saturday Kids Block From Litton". TVNewsCheck. May 24, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Albiniak, Paige (May 24, 2011). "ABC to Premiere Litton's Weekend Adventure on Sept. 3". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Litton Announces "ABC Weekend Adventure"". BusinessWire. May 24, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011. 

External links[edit]