Saturday morning preview specials were aired on television annually to present previews of each network's fall lineup of Saturday morning children's programming. Like for their new prime time counterpart shows, television networks in the United States and Canada would film a preview special for the fall season. These would often air as part of the regular network schedule, or be made available to their affiliates for airing at any time, especially to fill timeslots which contained programming canceled months before.
The Saturday morning previews were generally aired on the network in prime-time, usually the Friday night before the new schedule began. Specials were staggered between differing time slots and days in order to allow each network's show to stand out.
The preview specials are usually hosted by stars of one or more of the network's popular series and feature an array of special guests, with the continuity between each program preview being fictionalized with a small plot or theme to keep viewers interested. The previews were for new and returning series, with each preview featuring the show's opening credits and a scene from that program. They also unveiled a network's new imaging for Saturday morning programming.
With the changes in direction for Saturday morning, in light of FCC rules requiring programming to be educational or informational and media consolidation, especially with CBS's Viacom ownership until 2005 and ABC's Disney ownership which caused those companies to market their all-children's networks (Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, respectively) much more than their broadcast counterparts, causing purposeful viewership declines. The exodus of this programming to cable, along with the outsourcing of children's blocks to other parties meant the preview specials on the legacy "Big 3" networks all but disappeared by the start of the new millennium, with FOX being the last network to still feature annual specials (even though FOX's Saturday morning block was programmed by 4Kids TV). Fox, incidentally, abandoned all children's programming in favor of the Weekend Marketplacepaid programming block in December 2008; the block was eventually leased in fall 2014 to an outside E/I programmer.