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|Owner||Fox Kids Worldwide Inc. (1990-2001)
Fox Broadcasting Company (2001-2002)
|Haim Saban (CEO, Saban Entertainment)|
Fox Kids (originally known as Fox Children's Network and later as the Fox Kids Network) was an American children's programming block and branding for a slate of international children's television channels. Originally a joint venture between the Fox Broadcasting Company (Fox) and its affiliated stations, it was later owned by Fox Kids Worldwide Inc. from 1996 to 2001, then by Fox Television Entertainment from 2001 onwards.
Fox Kids originated as a programming block that aired on the Fox network from the September 8, 1990, to September 7, 2002. The block aired on Saturday mornings throughout its existence, with an additional block on Monday through Friday afternoons airing until January 2002. Fox Kids is the only form of daytime television programming, outside of sports, aired by the Fox network to date. Following then-Fox parent News Corporation's sale of Fox Kids Worldwide to The Walt Disney Company in July 2001, Fox put the remaining Saturday morning timeslot up for bidding, with 4Kids Entertainment winning and securing the rights to program that period. The Fox Kids block continued to air in repeats until September 7, 2002, and was replaced the following week (on September 14) by the 4Kids-programmed FoxBox.
The first Fox Kids-branded television channel launched on October 1, 1995, on Foxtel in Australia. Beginning in 2002, the channels were gradually relaunched under the Jetix brand because of Disney's acquisition of Fox Kids Worldwide.
Fox Kids was launched on September 8, 1990, as the Fox Children's Network, a joint venture between the Fox Broadcasting Company and its affiliates. Originally headed by division president Margaret Loesch, its programming aired for 30 minutes per day on Monday through Fridays, and for 3 hours on Saturday mornings.
In September 1991, the block was rebranded as the Fox Kids Network, with its programming expanding to 90 minutes on weekdays and 4 hours on Saturday mornings. The weekday editions of the block grew to 2½ hours the following year. From 1992 to 1998, Fox Kids aired "The Fox Kids T.V. Takeover," a special programming block on Thanksgiving Day that led into the network's NFL coverage.
By 1993, Fox Kids increased its schedule to 3 hours on Monday through Fridays, airing usually from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time (making Fox the first network to air programming in the 4:00 p.m. hour since 1986), and 4 hours on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon Eastern and Pacific Time (7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Central and Mountain). Many stations split the weekday lineup programming into a one-hour block in the morning and a two-hour block in the afternoon (though this varied slightly in some markets), when network programs intertwined with syndicated children's lineups. Other stations aired all three hours combined in the afternoon due to their carriage of local morning newscasts; stations that aired such programming in this case had dropped children's programs acquired via the syndication market, moving them to other "independent" stations. Very few Fox stations aired all three hours of the weekday block in the morning.
When Fox Kids launched, virtually all of Fox's owned-and-operated stations and affiliates carried the block, with few (if any) declining to carry it. The first Fox station to drop the block was Miami affiliate WSVN, the network's first station to maintain a news-intensive format, in 1993 (the station had been a Fox affiliate since January 1989 as a result of NBC purchasing and moving its programming to longtime CBS affiliate WTVJ in a three-station ownership and affiliation swap in the Miami market).
The following year, in May 1994, Fox signed a multi-station affiliation agreement with New World Communications to switch that company's CBS, ABC and NBC affiliates to the network between September 1994, and July 1995, in order to improve its affiliate coverage in certain markets after the National Football League (NFL) awarded the network the contract to the National Football Conference television package. Many of the stations owned by New World (which later merged with Fox's then-parent company News Corporation in July 1996) declined to carry the block in order to air syndicated programs aimed at older audiences or local newscasts. In certain cities with an independent station, or beginning with the launches of those networks in January 1995, affiliates of UPN and The WB, Fox contracted the Fox Kids block to air on one of these stations if a Fox owned-and-operated station or affiliate chose not to carry it. In some cases, Fox Kids would be carried on the same station as one of its two competing children's blocks, The WB's Kids' WB and UPN's UPN Kids block (the latter of which was replaced in 1999 by Disney's One Too).
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Examples of stations where Fox Kids aired in lieu of the Fox station in a given market include:
|City of license/market||Fox station||Notes|
|Atlanta, Georgia||WAGA-TV||WAGA-TV (channel 5) declined carriage of Fox Kids when it switched to Fox from CBS in December 1994. The block 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 later moved to WHOT (channel 34, now Univision owned-and-operated station WUVG-DT) in 1999, after that station dropped its affiliation with the Home Shopping Network and converted into a general entertainment independent station, where it remained until the weekday block was dropped nationally in 2002.|
|Austin, Texas||KTBC||KTBC-TV (channel 7) only carried the Saturday morning Fox Kids block when it joined Fox from CBS in July 1995, while low-power sister station K13VC (which shut down in 2003 to allow Univision owned-and-operated station KAKW-TV to launch its digital signal on VHF channel 13) carried both the weekday and Saturday lineups. KTBC and K13VC both simulcast the Saturday lineup until the former dropped it in 1997.|
|Birmingham, Alabama||WBRC||WBRC-TV (channel 6) planned to carry Fox Kids when it became a Fox owned-and-operated station in September 1996 (through a blind trust trade and subsequent 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 the ABC soap opera lineup once it moved to that network's replacement Birmingham affiliate – which would become low-powered W58CK (channel 58, now WBMA-LD) and former CBS affiliates-turned-satellite stations WCFT-TV (channel 33) and WJSU-TV (channel 40); this was the original policy for such stations. Former Fox affiliate WTTO (channel 21) approached the network about retaining Fox Kids when it and satellite WDBB (channel 17) were set to become independent stations upon the switch. Fox allowed WTTO to keep Fox Kids, and 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-TV (channel 8) declined to air Fox Kids when the station affiliated with Fox in September 1994, while former Fox affiliate WOIO (channel 19) took WJW's former CBS affiliation at that same time. As a result, low-rated independent station WBNX-TV (channel 55) – which later affiliated with The WB in September 1997, adding the Kids' WB block in addition to Fox Kids and the station's syndicated children's programming inventory – received the local rights to carry Fox Kids. By the time it joined The WB, the station began promoting itself as "Cleveland's Kids Superstation," as a result of the substantial inventory of children's programming carried on the station through both syndicated content and two of the six major network children's blocks. WBNX operated the largest Fox Kids Club of the block's affiliates.|
|Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas||KDFW||KDFW (channel 4) declined to carry Fox Kids when it switched to Fox from CBS in July 1995. Fox Kids remained with Fox's outgoing owned-and-operated station KDAF (channel 33), which became a WB affiliate that same month after the completion of its sale to Renaissance Broadcasting (which later merged with Tribune Broadcasting in 1996). 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 and would acquire outright in 2001.|
|Detroit, Michigan||WJBK||WJBK (channel 2) chose to decline Fox Kids upon affiliating with Fox in December 1994 (WJBK's former CBS affiliation moved to WGPR (channel 62, now WWJ-TV)), which remained on the market's original Fox affiliate WKBD (channel 50), which itself became a UPN charter affiliate in January 1995. 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-TV (channel 4) declined to take Fox Kids when it switched to Fox 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. When KSMO switched to The WB in January 1998 (the result of a group affiliation deal between the network and KSMO's then-owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group), Fox Kids programming moved to KCWB (channel 29, now KCWE), which simultaneously assumed the market's UPN affiliation. The block 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-affiliated (and later MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated) station, KCOP (channel 13) upon acquiring that station from Chris-Craft/United Television in 2001. However, KTTV continued to air Fox Kids programming on Saturday mornings for the remainder of the block's run.|
|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-TV (channel 6) opted to not carry the block upon becoming a Fox station in December 1994 (its former CBS affiliation moved to independent station WDJT-TV (channel 58)); 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 (in January 1995), 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 programs from the latter network (excluding primetime and sports programs, and select daytime soap operas) which longtime ABC 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 independent until December of that year; ABC would remain on KTVK until January 1995, where Fox Kids also moved once the remaining shows that the station continued to carry from ABC's daytime lineup were 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 new 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 an local marketing agreement with that station. Both Fox Kids and the WB affiliation promptly moved to KASW, rendering KTVK an independent station. Because of KASW airing both the Fox Kids and Kids WB programming, it has the same children's programming lineup as Cleveland's WB affiliate WBNX. Fox's children's block remained on KASW in its FoxBox/4Kids TV iteration 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.
|New York City, New York||WNYW||WNYW (channel 5), Fox's East Coast flagship station, deferred the weekday block to sister UPN (and later MyNetworkTV) station WWOR-TV (channel 9) in September 2001. However, WNYW continued to air Fox Kids programming on Saturday mornings for the remainder of its run.|
|Sacramento, California||KTXL||In place of the station's own children's lineup after Captain Mitch's retirement, the station (Fox40) aired programming from Fox Kids until the network eliminated the weekday afternoon block in September 2002; the Saturday morning lineup (which by that time, became known as 4Kids TV) was retained as it began being programmed by 4Kids Entertainment that year until Fox dropped children's programming from its schedule in November 2008. Interstitials for Fox Kids on KTXL were written, produced and hosted by Chris Eddy from 1992 to 1998.|
|Tampa, Florida||WTVT||When WTVT (channel 13) opted not to carry Fox Kids upon switching to Fox in December 1994, former Fox affiliate WFTS-TV (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 (creating a similar children's programming inventory as WBNX-TV). WTTA's arrangement to air Fox Kids continued until December 2001, upon the discontinuance of the weekday block; the Saturday morning lineup that remained, carrying over to its FoxBox and 4Kids TV iterations, moved to independent station WMOR-TV (channel 32) – the market's original WB affiliate from 1995 to 1998.|
Between 1995 and early 1996, Fox acquired three former ABC-affiliated stations (WHBQ-TV/Memphis, KTVI/St. Louis and WGHP/High Point). Meanwhile, SF Broadcasting (a joint venture between Savoy Pictures and Fox) acquired three former NBC affiliates and one ABC affiliate during the summer of 1994 (which were later sold to Emmis Communications in 1996). 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 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Stations that would run it at this time included:
|Fox station||City of license/market||Notes|
|KTVI||St. Louis, Missouri||As a result of the New World affiliation deal, KTVI (channel 2) took the Fox affiliation from KDNL-TV (channel 30) in July 1995. Fox Kids was picked up by religious independent station KNLC (channel 24), which used its local commercial time to air religious sermons and messages, along with the personal opinions of the station's owner, Rev. Larry Rice (dealing with controversial topics such as abortion, same-sex marriage and the death penalty); the station refused to sell the time to advertisers, and would also occasionally censor advertising and programming shown during the block that its ownership found offensive. For these reasons as well as the fact that the network found the messages and opinion pieces inappropriate for Fox Kids' younger viewership, the network terminated the agreement with KNLC in September 1996, with the block being moved to KTVI (four months before it became a Fox O&O upon New World's merger with Fox).|
/High Point, North Carolina
|WGHP (channel 8) ran Fox Kids upon becoming an owned-and-operated station of the network in September 1995 (its former ABC affiliation moved to former Fox affiliate WNRW (channel 45, now WXLV-TV)), and aired the weekday block from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., a time period that was previously occupied by ABC soap operas. In March 1996, WGHP became the first Fox-owned station that did not run Fox Kids when the block 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-TV (channel 13) became a Fox O&O in September 1995 (through a direct sale by Communications Corporation of America), it originally ran the Fox Kids weekday schedule from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., followed by syndicated reruns (initially Family Matters). In 1998, the station began to clear only two hours of the three-hour lineup from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. WHBQ dropped the weekday block entirely in September 1999, replacing it with syndicated programming in the timeslot. In addition, in 1996, the station began splitting the Saturday block into two blocks, the first two hours aired from 5:00 to 7:00 a.m. and the last two ran in pattern from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. (the two-hour breakaway from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. was filled by syndicated children's programs such as Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures and The Magic School Bus); this scheduling for the Saturday block was carried over to 4Kids TV until it was discontinued in December 2008.|
Savoy/Fox and later Emmis-owned (at the time) stations:
|Fox station||City of license/market||Notes|
|KHON-TV||Honolulu||KHON-TV (channel 2) ran the Fox Kids weekday block from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. from when it switched to Fox from NBC (which moved to former Fox affiliate KHNL (channel 8)) in January 1996, until it was discontinued in December 2001.|
|WALA-TV||Mobile, Alabama||WALA-TV (channel 10) ran Fox Kids from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Fridays beginning when the station switched to Fox from NBC (which moved to former Fox affiliate WPMI-TV (channel 15)) in January 1996, until the weekday block was discontinued in December 2001.|
|WLUK-TV||Green Bay, Wisconsin||WLUK-TV (channel 11) ran the Fox Kids weekday block from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Fridays beginning with its switch to Fox from NBC (which moved to former Fox affiliate WGBA-TV (channel 26)) in August 1995. In September 2001, WLUK pushed the start of the weekday block one hour earlier while also cutting one hour of the lineup, running it from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.|
|WVUE-TV||New Orleans, Louisiana||WVUE-TV (channel 8), even before switching to Fox from ABC (which moved to WGNO (channel 26), whose former WB affiliation moved to former Fox affiliate WNOL-TV (channel 38)) in January 1996, was an underperforming station in the market – regularly placing third in local newscasts and sign-on to sign-off ratings. The station did not have a weekday morning newscast at the time (and would not add one until January 2002, after the Fox Kids weekday block was discontinued). As such, WVUE aired Fox Kids from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. each Monday through Friday until the weekday block was discontinued in December 2001.|
Much of the Fox Kids lineup's early programming was produced by Warner Bros. Animation. 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, which became one of the block's highest-rated programs when it debuted in 1993) and Batman: The Animated Series, moved to The WB when that network launched in January 1995. Both Animaniacs and Batman served as the linchpin of The WB's new children's block, Kids' WB, when it launched in September of that year (Tiny Toon Adventures, another early Fox Kids program that Warner Bros. produced and also aired on Kids' WB in reruns, had already ended its run).
In 1996, Saban Entertainment acquired a 50% ownership interest in Fox Kids, to form Fox Kids Worldwide Inc., later renamed Fox Family Worldwide. Some of Fox Kids' programming also aired on Fox Family Channel (later known as ABC Family, now Freeform), after News Corporation and Saban acquired the network from International Family Entertainment in 1997.
In 1998, Fox bought out its affiliates' interest in Fox Kids as part of a deal to help pay for the network's NFL package. The Fox Kids weekday block was reduced to two hours, and in an effort to help its affiliates comply with the recently implemented educational programming mandates defined by the Children's Television Act, reruns of former PBS series The Magic School Bus were added to the lineup. In 2000, affiliates were given the option of pushing the block up one hour to air from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. rather than 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. In the six or so markets where a Fox affiliate carried Fox Kids and carried an early evening newscast at 5:00 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 tape delay the block to air between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., one of the lowest-rated time periods on U.S. television (and when virtually all children 5 years of age and older are at school). A few only aired The Magic School Bus in this sort of graveyard slot as an act of malicious compliance with the Children's Television Act.
End of Fox Kids
By 2001, members of the Fox affiliate board had felt they were on much more even footing with the "Big Three" networks and wanted to take back the time allocated to the Fox Kids programming blocks to air their own programming. Saturday mornings, long the only province of children's programming, had become a liability as the other networks started to extend their weekday morning news programs to weekends.
Fox Kids, which had been the top-rated children's program block among the major networks since 1992, had been overtaken in the ratings by Kids' WB two years prior with the stronger animation block backed by Warner Bros. that included shows such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!. ABC and UPN aired mostly comedy-based cartoons at this time, with the exception of live-action teen-oriented sitcoms Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens (both originated on Disney Channel as part of what would be a gradual takeover of ABC's Saturday morning lineup by the cable channel's programming), 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-compliant programming sourced 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. Fox Family, despite good reviews, had a 35% audience decline, which led to Fox Kids Worldwide and Fox Family Worldwide (along with Saban Entertainment) being sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2001.
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 its programming operations to Fox's headquarters on the 20th Century Fox studio lot, at which time Fox discontinued the daytime children's programming, giving the time back to its affiliates. Fox put its children's programming block up for bidding, and 4Kids Entertainment, the producers of the English dub of Pokémon, purchased the remaining four-hour Saturday time period. Fox Kids maintained a Saturday morning-only schedule until September 7, 2002, a week before it gave the time to 4Kids Entertainment.
Fox Kids was replaced by the 4Kids Entertainment-produced FoxBox on September 14, 2002. FoxBox ran until December 27, 2008, marking Fox's complete withdrawal from children's programming. It wasn't until 2014 that Fox would reverse course and return to children's programming with the launch of a E/I programming block called Xploration Station, which is produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions.
After Fox Kids
While Fox Kids ended its existence on broadcast television in the United States, Disney instituted a two-hour morning lineup on its newly acquired ABC Family cable channel (known as the "ABC Family Action Block") that was programmed similarly to Fox Kids and featured content originated on the block. Internationally, Disney temporarily retained the Fox Kids brand for the international channels in Australia, Europe, the United Kingdom and Israel it acquired through the purchase of Fox Kids Worldwide (which became ABC Family Worldwide after the sale was completed). In 2004, Disney began branding its action and adventure programming from the Fox Kids library as 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.
Despite having been retired in most of the world, the Fox Kids name was revived for use by the children's programming block on the Fox network in Finland, a free-to-air generalist television channel. Initially, it utilized the Fox Kids' global logo and on-screen branding from early 2000s, but it was later replaced by another logo and look. It has also been brought back as part of the streaming service FOX Play in Latin America.
In addition to the program block, Fox Kids had its own radio program, the Fox Kids Radio Countdown. This two-hour broadcast was hosted by Chris Leary of ZDTV and TechTV fame and consisted of contests and gags, with funny sound effects incorporated throughout the program. It was later renamed as 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.
- 4Kids TV – successor children's program block to Fox Kids, running from September 2002 to December 2008, produced by 4Kids Entertainment.
- Jetix – action-oriented children's program block on ABC Family and Toon Disney, and international cable channels owned by The Walt Disney Company, operating from 2002 to 2009. Jetix incorporated series from the Saban Entertainment program library.
- Vortexx – children's program block produced by Saban Brands for The CW from August 2012 to September 2014.
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