Fox cartoons refers to animated television series presented by the American TV network Fox Broadcasting Company. During the more than thirty-year existence of the Network, there have been many successful prime time animated series and Fox cartoons. The first and most famous of these, The Simpsons, was the first such series since the end of The Flintstones in the 1960s.
When the upstart young Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) network was formed in 1986 by Rupert Murdoch, early shows tended to attract low viewership, with the exception of some early ratings successes such as Married… with Children and 21 Jump Street. The animation industry had experienced a decline in the 1980s.
In 1987, The Tracey Ullman Show premiered with mild success. During this time, a series of short cartoons originally intended to be bumpers gained a following with young and old audiences, and Fox ordered thirteen episodes of a new animated television series based on these, titled The Simpsons.
When The Simpsons premiered in December 1989, the series was instantly popular. Merchandise featuring the show’s breakout character Bart Simpson has accumulated over US$1 billion in sales. The Simpsons was the first successful primetime animated series since The Flintstones, paving the way for other animated series on major broadcast networks. Since its debut, a total of 586 episodes of The Simpsons have aired, and the series is airing its 27th season in 2015.
Also in September 1992, Eek! The Cat premiered on Fox Kids. In 1994, it was renamed to Eek! Stavaganza. Eek! ended in 1997. The only episode of the series to air in primetime was a Christmas special in 1993.
In 1994, X-Men: The Animated Series had a brief primetime run as the first two episodes of season 3 aired in primetime on Friday nights in July and August 1994 for two consecutive weeks. The last episode of season 3 (along with an episode of Spider-Man) would premiere in primetime in June 1995.
A boom in new adult-oriented animated programming began thereafter, with Nickelodeon’s The Ren & Stimpy Show in 1991, MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head beginning in 1992, and Simpsons producers Al Jean's and Mike Reiss’ own series, The Critic, in 1994. The Critic ran for one season (13 episodes) on its original network, ABC (in 1994); from there, it moved to FOX, where it ran for another season of 10 episodes (1995). The Critic can be described as a minor success, with DVD sales and late-night showings on cable networks (such as Comedy Central) making it a cult hit. It received critical acclaim, being the only television series to ever be reviewed on Siskel and Ebert, in which it received "Two Thumbs Up".
Mike Judge left Beavis and Butt-head in the mid-1990s to begin a new project with Simpsons writer Greg Daniels. King of the Hill premiered in January 1997, and was a huge success for the network. In August 1997, South Park debuted on the cable network Comedy Central, and with its subversive humor and numerous obscenities, it became controversial in a way similar to The Simpsons seven years earlier.
Created by comedian Eddie Murphy, the series The PJs debuted in January 1999. The show was a minor success similar to The Critic, but the show’s high budget caused it to be moved to The WB in 2001, where it lasted one season.
Seth MacFarlane's animated series Family Guy premiered after the 1999 Super Bowl. The show was cancelled in 2000, but fan petitions convinced Fox to renew it for a third season. After its third season ended in 2002, the network cancelled the series again and reruns soon began airing on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
Ratings for the series increased soon after, and DVD sales skyrocketed. Family Guy was revived and began airing again on Fox on May 1, 2005. Family Guy has remained a large success for the network. MacFarlane's follow-up series, American Dad!, began airing on February 6, 2005, and despite low ratings, the series was renewed for multiple seasons on the network before being transferred to TBS in 2014.
Futurama, the follow-up series from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, began in March 1999, and was later cancelled (with its last episode aired on August 10, 2003) thanks to scheduling changes (the same fate met previously by Family Guy during its original run). In a similar move to Family Guy, high DVD sales and ratings led to four separate DVD movies released from 2007 to 2009, all later broadcast on Comedy Central. Futurama was brought back in 2009, but would be shown on Comedy Central, with new episodes starting in 2010.
FOX cartoon series have been the subject of controversy; most notably, The Simpsons, American Dad! and Family Guy, for their approach to comedy and for the coarse language and jokes that some have said are too raunchy for network TV. These shows have been some of the most risqué material aired on FOX. Fox has also been accused by some groups of corrupting children with cartoons ostensibly for teens and adults. In Venezuela, The Simpsons and Family Guy have been taken off the air due to their content. In Russia, Family Guy and The Simpsons were subject to lawsuits regarding their content, although in Russia other animated series like South Park were more controversial.
List of cartoon series
- The Simpsons (1989–present)
- Batman: The Animated Series  (1992–1993)
- Tiny Toon Adventures specials (1992–1995)
- Eek! The Cat special (1993)
- The Tick (one episode) (1996)
- X-Men: The Animated Series  (1994–1995)
- Life with Louie (two episodes) (1994–1996)
- The Critic (1995)
- Spider-Man (one episode) (1995)
- King of the Hill (1997–2009)
- Family Guy (1999–2002, 2005–present)
- The PJs (1999–2000)
- Futurama (1999–2003, 2008–2013 on Comedy Central)
- American Dad! (2005–2014, 2014–present on TBS)
- Sit Down, Shut Up (2009)
- The Cleveland Show (2009–2013)
- Bob's Burgers (2011–present)
- Allen Gregory (2011)
- Napoleon Dynamite (2012)
- Axe Cop (2013)
- High School USA! (2013)
- Lucas Bros. Moving Co. (2013–2014)
- Golan the Insatiable (2013-present)
- Bordertown (2016-present)
Many of the Fox cartoons have had movies made of the TV series.
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
- Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (direct-to-video)
- Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (direct-to-video; later split up into three episodes for syndication)
- The Simpsons Movie
- Futurama: Bender's Big Score (direct-to-video; later split up into four episodes for syndication)
- Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs (direct-to-video; later split up into four episodes for syndication)
- Futurama: Bender's Game (direct-to-video; later split up into four episodes for syndication)
- Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (direct-to-video; later split up into four episodes for syndication)
- Inside the CIA, an American Dad! short film to promote the show, seen in Fever Pitch.
- The Longest Daycare, a short film starring Maggie Simpson from The Simpsons, seen in Ice Age: Continental Drift.
Release and air dates
- 25 December: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (in Theaters)
- 17 March: Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (on VHS)
- 8 April: Inside the CIA (in Theaters)
- 27 September: Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (on DVD)
- January: Inside the CIA (on DVD)
- 21 May: Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (on TV)
- 27 July: The Simpsons Movie (in Theaters)
- 27 November: Futurama: Bender's Big Score (on DVD)
- 18 December: The Simpsons Movie (on DVD)
- 23 March: Futurama: Bender's Big Score (on TV)
- 24 June: Futurama: The Beast With A Billion Backs (on DVD)
- 4 November: Futurama: Bender's Game (on DVD)
- 24 February: Futurama: Into the Wild Green Yonder (On DVD)
- 26 April: Futurama: Bender's Game (on TV)
- 13 July: The Longest Daycare (in Theaters)
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- Comedian Louie Anderson CorporateArtists.com. Retrieved on 2-21-09.
- Lowry, Brian (25 November 1992). "Fox putting 'Batman' in Sunday slot". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- Lowry, Brian (15 January 1993). "Article mentioning that Batman airs in primetime". Variety. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "First X-Men Primetime episode". Retrieved 2009-08-03.
- "Second X-Men Primetime episode". Retrieved 2009-08-03.
- "Third X-Men Primetime episode". Retrieved 2009-08-03.
- "Article about X-Men in primetime in 1995". Retrieved 2009-08-03.