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Kids' WB! logo
|Premiered||September 9, 1995|
|Discontinued||May 17, 2008|
|Network||The WB (1995–2006)
The CW (2006–2008)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Owner||Warner Bros. Television|
Kids' WB was an American children's programming block that originally aired on The WB Television Network from September 9, 1995 to September 16, 2006. On September 23, 2006, the block moved to The CW, which was created by CBS Corporation and Time Warner as a replacement for both The WB and UPN. The Kids' WB television block was discontinued on May 17, 2008, with its Saturday morning programming slot being sold to 4Kids Entertainment and replaced by successor block The CW4Kids.
Kids' WB was relaunched as an online network on April 28, 2008, a few weeks before the television block was replaced by The CW4Kids. Until it was discontinued in May 2015, the service allowed viewers to stream live-action and animated content, including those from Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and DC Comics. The website operated in different zones based on programming type: Kids' WB, Kids' WB, Jr. (for shows aimed at younger children) and DC HeroZone (for action-oriented animated series). It was also available on Fancast featuring Looney Tunes shorts, and full episodes of television series such as Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones and The Jetsons.
1995–99: Early years
Kids' WB debuted on The WB Television Network on September 9, 1995, the same day as the release date of the PlayStation console in North America, airing on Saturday mornings from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 am, and weekdays from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. (the block was structured to air in all time zones, airing on a tape delay outside of the Eastern Time Zone, to adjust the recommended airtime of the block to each zone, and thus during its first five years an exact timeslot for its programs was not announced on-air). On September 7, 1996, the Saturday block was extended by one hour, airing from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Although the Kids' WB block aired on almost all of The WB's affiliated stations (including those later affiliated with The WB 100+ Station Group), the network's Chicago affiliate WGN-TV – owned by The WB's co-parent, the Tribune Company – declined to carry the weekday and Saturday blocks in order to air its weekday and Saturday morning newscasts (the first incarnation of the latter was later cancelled in 1998) and other locally produced programming (such as The Bozo Super Sunday Show) in the morning hours, and syndicated programming in the afternoons (ironically, WGN's superstation feed carried the block when it carried The WB's programming from 1995 to 1999 to make the network available to markets without a local affiliate; WGN-TV began clearing Kids' WB on its Chicago broadcast signal in 2004, taking over the local rights from WCIU-TV).
On September 1, 1997, a weekday morning block was added from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m, and the weekday afternoon block was extended by one hour, running from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. However, WGN's superstation feed as well as some WB affiliates had to wait until the next day, as on the day, they aired annual labor day telethons instead. Some WB affiliates (such as WPIX in New York City, KTLA in Los Angeles and KWGN-TV in Denver, Colorado) aired the weekday morning block in conjunction with the weekday afternoon block, extending it to three hours, running from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. On the same date, the block received an on-air rebranding – which included a revised logo and graphics package centered upon the Warner Bros. Studios lot theme that was also used in promotions for The WB's primetime programming during the network's first eight years on the air – which was developed by Riverstreet Productions, and lasted until 2005.
1999–2006: Breakthrough and success with anime
On February 13, 1999, Kids' WB made a breakthrough when the English dub of the anime series Pokémon by 4Kids Entertainment moved to the network from broadcast syndication. It became a major hit for the programming block, helping it beat Fox Kids with its animated block backed by Warner Bros. Other anime shows aired on Kids' WB in later years, such as Cardcaptors, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Astro Boy, Megaman NT Warrior and Viewtiful Joe.
In July 2001, Kids' WB's afternoon lineup was rebranded Toonami on Kids' WB, extending the Cartoon Network action-cartoon brand Toonami to broadcast television, and bringing shows such as Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball Z and The Powerpuff Girls to broadcast network television. In addition, non-action programming such as the live-action children's horror anthology series The Nightmare Room were also aired on the Toonami block. The Toonami name was dropped from the afternoon block in June 2002. On September 3, 2001, the Kids' WB weekday morning block was discontinued, with The WB giving that slot back to its local affiliates to carry locally produced shows, syndicated programming and/or infomercials.
On May 31, 2005, The WB announced that the weekday afternoon Kids' WB block would be discontinued "at the request of the local affiliates", as it became financially unattractive due to the fact broadcast stations perceived that children's programming viewership on afternoon timeslots had gravitated more towards cable networks – these stations began to target more adult audiences with talk shows and sitcom reruns in the daytime. Kids' WB's weekday programming continued, but with redundant programming and theme weeks until December 30, 2005 (the block began to increasingly promote Cartoon Network's afternoon Miguzi block and the Kids' WB Saturday morning lineup during the transition). The weekday afternoon Kids' WB block aired for the last time on December 30, 2005, and was replaced on January 2, 2006 by "Daytime WB", a more adult-targeted general entertainment block featuring repeats of sitcoms and drama series formerly seen on the major networks. As a result, the Saturday morning Kids' WB lineup that remained was extended by one hour on January 7, 2006, running from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., no longer affected by time zone variances.
2006–08: Move to The CW, discontinuation
On January 24, 2006, Warner Bros. Television (producer of Kids' WB and owner of the block's original broadcaster from 1995 to 2006, The WB) and CBS Corporation (owner of UPN and subsidiary of National Amusements who also owns film studio Paramount Pictures' parent company Viacom) announced that they would shut down both The WB and UPN and then merge them into The CW, which would primarily feature programs aired by its two soon-to-be predecessor networks as part of its initial lineup. The combined network utilized The WB's scheduling practices (inherting the 30-hour weekly programming schedule that the network utilized at the time of the announcement) and brought the Kids' WB block, still run by Warner Bros. Television and maintaining the same name, to the new lineup (The CW's decision to use The WB's scheduling model was mainly due to the fact that it included children's and daytime programming blocks that were not offered by UPN, which had not aired any children's programming since the Disney's One Too block was discontinued in August 2003).
On October 2, 2007, The CW announced that it would discontinue the Kids' WB programming block through a joint decision between corporate parents Time Warner and CBS Corporation, due to the effects of children's advertising limits and cable competition; the network also announced that it would sell the five-hour Saturday programming slot to 4Kids Entertainment. The Kids' WB block aired for the final time on May 17, 2008 (for some stations that aired the block on a day-behind basis, the block's last airdate was on May 18).
On May 24, 2008, 4Kids launched The CW4Kids in place of Kids' WB and the block was renamed Toonzai on August 14, 2010; it was replaced by Vortexx (programmed by Saban Brands) on August 25, 2012 and ran until it ended on September 27, 2014. The lineup for the block consisted of 4Kids-produced shows, such as Chaotic, as well as new seasons of Yu-Gi-Oh! and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The official site, http://www.cw4kids.com, officially launched on April 20, 2008. After Vortexx ended on September 27, 2014, the new and current block that currently airs in place of four previous blocks aired on The CW is One Magnificent Morning, an E/I block which launched on October 4, 2014.
On April 28, 2008, Warner Bros. Entertainment announced that The WB and Kids' WB brands would be relaunched as online networks, with the Kids' WB network consisting of five subchannels: Kids' WB, Kids' WB Jr., Scooby-Doo, Looney Tunes and DC Hero Zone. After the dissolution of In2TV, the Kids' WB online portal absorbed most of that service's children's programming. The service was significantly scaled back in 2013, with most of the archival content being removed. The archival content can be easily accessed through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.
The site was split into 3 websites in May 2015. These sites are: DCKids.com, LooneyTunes.com and ScoobyDoo.com. All three are grouped into WB Kids Sites. The decision to split the site into three ended, after almost twenty years, the use of the "Kids' WB!" brand name.
- Jim Cummings
- Rino Romano
- Jeff Bennett
- Harland Williams
- Maurice LaMarche
- Jonathan David Cook
- Candi Milo
- Tom Kenny
- Dana Snyder
- Kevin Michael Richardson
- Joshua Seth
- Mendoza, N.F. (October 22, 1995). "WB Raises the Animation Ante". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Pokemon Takes 'Em All!". Press release. USA: Time Warner. May 6, 1999. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- "One-Two Punch of Pokémon and Batman Beyond Flattens Competition for Kids' WB". Press release. USA: Time Warner. June 4, 1999. Retrieved 5 July 2011.
- Carter, Bill (January 24, 2006). "UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network". New York Times. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
- CW turns to 4Kids on Saturdays, Variety.com, October 2, 2007.
- Brands Old and New for 4Kids at Licensing Expo 2008, AWN Headline News
- Online Kids' WB Venture, DC Hero Zone Press Release, The World's Finest, April 29, 2008
- WB Revived as Online Platform, Variety.com, April 28, 2008
- Warner Moves Toon Content Online to KidsWB.com, KidScreen Magazine, April 29, 2008