Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Weekday Afternoon TV Part 1

During the late 80's and through out the 90's kids from all over the country came home from school on weekday afternoons ,sat down in front of the TV,and tuned in to the one thing that made their weekdays worth anything..Weekday Afternoon Cartoons.

Y'see,during that era,Certain Networks would air Afternoon Blocks that aired animated shows..with some Live action programming thrown in. Animated or Live action,it didn't matter,the youth of that era were entertained by quality programs

The Networks that aired such blocks were: Fox,The WB[before they became cw],Cartoon Network,the USA Network ,Fox/ABC Family,and Nickelodeon[for their nick in the afternoon block].

Weekday Afternoon blocks began as far back as the 1960s. Cartoon blocks would occupy the 3-5 p.m. time periods, with some stations running cartoons from 2-5 p.m. In smaller markets, network affiliates sometimes filled the 3 or 4 p.m. hour with such programming. In the 1970s, additional stations signed on running such programming. The programs were distributed on various television stations through broadcast syndication.

 In the 1980s, networks signed on in many mid-sized and small markets. This market was meant for made-for-television cartoons which had grew as a result. Many of these stations started running cartoon blocks on weekdays as early as 2 p.m. in the afternoon hours. There were some stations that had aired cartoons as late as 6 p.m. on weekdays. Most large and mid-sized markets had at least two local stations running such programming in the 2:30 to 5 p.m. timeslots. Some markets had as many as three. It was the same in the 1990's.

Weekday Afternoon blocks would continue to thrive in some form or another on various networks for years. Though,Weekday Afternoon Blocks existed since the 60's,It was The 80's when things Really started to pick up.
The USA Network!

In the mid-1980s the USA Network began it's well known animation block, USA Cartoon Express.The 1st wave of shows on that block were comprised of Old Hannah-Barbera Shows (like scooby-doo,wacky races,laugh-o-lympics,dyno-mutt,pebbles and bamm-bamm,yogi's gang and yogi's space race),with a few Filmation stuff thrown in (like he-man,she-ra,and filmation's ghostbusters).

In the late 80's The USA Network would acquire airing rights to some of DiC's and Ruby-Spears animated shows (like alvin and the chipmunks,m.a.s.k.,mister t,and hulk hogan's rock and wrestling.). They also acquired airing rights for Jem,The Transformers (for a short time),and G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero. Superfriends and Voltron also started to air.
In 1993,the block began airing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Even More of DiC's library (such as captain n,the mario cartoons,legend of zelda,and others). In 1994,The Real Ghostbusters was acquired.

By 1996,The USA Cartoon Express Ended and was replaced by the Morning Only,but still great,USA Action Extreme Team. AET,ended in 1998,when it was decided that the animation blocks were too expendable.

In the fall of 1986, Fox officially began its Kids block. It was a quaint Hour-and a-Half Block with some fun shows like: Alvin and the Chipmunks,Silverhawks,Dennis the Menace, Heathcliff,Inspector Gadget,the 80's Jetsons,and,of course,Thundercats. In 1987,The obscure DJ Cat Show debut. The show didn't last long. Disney's Ducktales also debut.

In 1989,Fox would air The Disney Afternoon. The Disney Afternoon was an hour long block that aired Ducktales and (the then new) Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.

Also in 1989,We were introduced to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.

In 1990(?),Disney and Fox had a falling out and the block moved to The WB. Club Mario replaced The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. Club Mario ended in late 1990. Also in late 1990,Fox rejuvenated it's Afternoon block with a show called Peter Pan and the Pirates.

In 1991,Fox's Block became known as The Fox Kids Network. The block also expanded to 2 hours. In 1992,Fox would acquire Warner Bros. shows. Shows like: Looney Tunes,Tiny Toon Adventures,Tom and Jerry's Kids,and Taz-Mania.  

In 1993,Fox introduced a show that would become a phenomenon..Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers! It would also add a 3rd hour to the block. In 1994,Fox would add Marvel Cartoons starting with X-Men and Spider Man: The Animated Series.

In 1995,The Fox Kids Network shortened it's name to simply Fox Kids. In 1999,The block would start airing Anime,starting with Digimon.

Fox would continue their Weekday Afternoon block until Late 2001. The Block would be continued in spirit on ABC Family (then known as fox family) in 2002. 
The WB!

In the Early 90's,The WB Network (now known as the cw network) had 3 blocks. In 1990/1991, The Disney Afternoon moved from Fox to WB and took the 3 pm-5 pm slot,while the 2pm hour was occupied by 2 random non-disney shows,like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,Samurai Pizza Cats, And Mega Man (the ruby-spears series),and many others.

When the Kids' WB SatAM block debuted in The Fall of 1995,it brought with them a Weekday Afternoon block of their own.  During that time,Kids WB went from 4 pm-5 pm. with the 2 pm-4pm slots going to the non-Kids WB shows. As for The Disney Afternoon,it moved from The WB to UPN.

A year Later,in 1996,Kids WB was extended by a full hour from 3 pm-5 pm. While the other shows were back to a single hour block again. However those shows would faze out completely in 1997,when Kids WB expanded to 3 hours, from 2 pm-5 pm. Plus,older WB shows that originally aired on Fox Kids,would migrate to Kids WB. The first being Animaniacs.

In 1999, Kids' WB decided to start airing Anime. With the first one being Pokemon. BTW,thanks to Pokemon,Kids WB was able to defeat Fox least for a few months.

The next Anime,Yu-Gi-Oh!,would also prove to be a success. 

In The Summer of 2001, Kids' WB's afternoon lineup was rebranded "Toonami on Kids' WB" and was an extension of Cartoon Network's hit block,Toonami. It aired Toonami shows like,Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. However,for the long run, The block proved pointless,so it was scrapped in the Fall.

In 2006, Kids WB ended their weekday afternoon block at the request of the local affiliates. (Boo!) The Block replaced by Daytime WB.

Prior to acquiring the Disney Afternoon,UPN had no Weekday Afternoon blocks (though they did have morning blocks on weekdays and sundays). TDA ran for 2 hours,from 3 pm-5 pm. The block ended in the Fall of 1997 and UPN was left without an Afternoon block once again.  .
Cartoon Network!

In Late 1992,Turner Broadcasting decided to make Cartoon Network more interesting. So they created an action cartoon block for weekday afternoons called Super Adventures. The block was an hour long. In Late 1995,Super Adventures was replaced with The Power Zone,an hour-and-a half block of action cartoons.

While those blocks had decent success,it wasn't the super hit that Turner Broadcasting wanted. So they decided to try something different.

On March 1997, Turner created Toonami. Toomami wasn't just a program block,it looked different,it felt different. and thus it became an instant and huge success. Toonami lasted for an hour-and-a half (from 4 pm - 5:30 pm) and was hosted by Space Ghost villain-turned-producer Moltar at the Ghost Planet Industries building.

In The Fall of 1997,Toonami became a 2 hour block(from 4 pm - 6pm). In 1999, Cartoon Network relaunched Toonami with a new environment, the Ghost Planet Spaceship Absolution, and a new host named Tom. The block soon expanded to 3 hours (from 4 pm -7 pm). 

However in 2004, Toonami was moved from weekday afternoons to a Saturday evenings,where it aired for four hours. Replacing Toonami was an adventure block called Miguzi. The Block started as an early evening block airing from 5 pm - 7 pm.  Later the block would move back an hour from 4 pm - 6 pm. Miguzi ended in 2007.

During the Summer of 1995, Nickelodeon made a special Weekday afternoon block called Nick in The Afternoon.  It was hosted by Stick Stickly and would air many of Nick's shows. This Summer exclusive block lasted until 1998,where it became a normal Weekday Afternoon Block. In 1999,Nick in the Afternoon was replaced with Henry and June's Summer.
ABC Family!

In 1991, The Family Channel (now known as abc family)started it's own Weekday Afternoon Block. It was average size,lasting for 2 hours and aired shows like: Captain N,The New Adventures of Speed Racer, Popeye,The Super Mario Cartoons and many more. 

When Fox bought the Family Channel in 1998,The Family Channel was renamed Fox Family. Soon after the buy-out,The Afternoon Blocks began airing shows from Fox Kids in a 2 hour block (from 2 pm - 4 pm). The block would later be extended to 3 hours (from 2 pm - 5pm) in 1999. Besides Fox Kids shows,the block would also air Mega Man: The Animated series, Monster Rancher,and Totally Spies. 

In Late 2001,Fox Family and Fox Kids were bought by Disney and thus Fox Family became ABC Family. The ABC Family Afternoon Block would expand to 4 hours (from 2 pm - 6 pm). 

In 2006,ABC Family ended both it's Weekday and Weekend blocks.  
The Hub Network!

In 2010,The Hub Network (now stupidly known as discovery family) introduced an unnamed 2 hour block. This block aired from 3 pm - 5 pm. In 2011,The block would expand to 3 hours (from 3 pm - 6 pm). Then in 2012, the block was named Huboom and now aired from 3 pm - 7 pm.

Unfortunately,in the Summer of 2013 (last year),The Hub Network Stupidly ditched the block and it was never seen again.
So there you have it. A history of Weekday Afternoon TV. I miss it. I really do. I'll never forget the fun times I had watching these blocks every Weekday Afternoon.

I hope everyone enjoyed this. Stay tuned for part 2,where I'll share my experience. I'll also be listing some of the shows that aired.
Continued In Part 2!!

1 comment:

RekkaDragonJay said...

Yeah. Those bloaks treated animation like they are expandable. They are not expandable. And if I was running a network, I would not treat them as such. Can't wait for part 2.