Cartoon Network is an American pay television channel owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, a division of AT&T's WarnerMedia. The channel was launched on October 1, 1992, and primarily broadcasts animated television series, mostly children's programming, ranging from action to animated comedy. It operates usually from 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM (ET/PT) and is targeted at children in between 7–15. Its overnight daypart block Adult Swim is aimed at adults and is treated as a separate entity for promotional purposes and as a separate channel by Nielsen for ratings purposes. A Spanish language audio track for select programs is accessible via second audio programing (SAP); some cable and satellite companies offer the Spanish feed as a separate channel by removing the main English-language audio track.
|Launched||October 1, 1992|
|Owned by||Warner Bros. Entertainment|
|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)
|Language||English (Spanish with SAP)|
(channel space shared with nighttime programming block Adult Swim)
|Dish Network||Channel 176 (East)|
Channel 177 (West)
|Orby TV||Channel 210 (East)|
Channel 211 (West)
|DirecTV||Channel 296 (East)|
Channel 297 (West)
|Available on most cable providers||Channel slots vary on each system|
|Google Fiber||Channel 351|
|FuboTV||Internet Protocol television|
|Sling TV||Internet Protocol television|
|PlayStation Vue||Internet Protocol television|
|Hulu with Live TV||Internet Protocol television|
|YouTube TV||Internet Protocol television|
|AT&T TV Now||Internet Protocol television|
On August 4, 1986, Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting System acquired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists from Kirk Kerkorian; due to concerns over the debt load of his companies, on October 17, 1986, Turner was forced to sell MGM back to Kerkorian after approximately only 75 days of ownership. However, Turner kept much of MGM's film and television library made prior to May 1986 (as well as some of the United Artists library) and formed Turner Entertainment Co.
On October 3, 1988, its cable channel Turner Network Television was launched and had gained an audience with its extensive film library. At this time, Turner's animation library included the MGM cartoon library, the pre-1948 color Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts, the Harman-Ising Merrie Melodies shorts (except Lady, Play Your Mandolin!), and the Fleischer Studios/Famous Studios Popeye cartoons.
In 1991, Turner beat out bidders including MCA Inc. (then-owner of Universal Studios) and Hallmark Cards when it made a deal to purchase animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions for $320 million. On February 18, 1992, Turner announced its plans to launch the Cartoon Network as an outlet for Turner's considerable library of animation.
On October 1, 1992, Cartoon Network launched to finale of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with a backdrop of cartoon explosions, followed by a special event called Droopy's Guide to the Cartoon Network hosted by the MGM cartoon character Droopy, during which the first cartoon on the network, Rhapsody Rabbit, was shown. Initial programming on the channel consisted exclusively of reruns of Warner Bros. cartoons (the pre-1948 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies), the 1933–1957 Popeye cartoons, MGM cartoons, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons. At first, cable providers in New York City; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; and Detroit carried the channel. By the time the network launched, Cartoon Network had an 8,500-hour cartoon library. From its launch until 1995, the network's announcers said the network's name with the word "The" added before "Cartoon Network", thus calling the network "The Cartoon Network". By the time that the network debuted, Cartoon Network also operated a programming block (containing its cartoons) that aired on TNT, entitled "Cartoon Network on TNT".
Cartoon Network was not the first cable channel to have relied on cartoons to attract an audience; however, it was the first 24-hour single-genre channel with animation as its main theme. Turner Broadcasting System had defied conventional wisdom before by launching CNN, a channel providing 24-hour news coverage. The concept was previously thought unlikely to attract a sufficient audience to be particularly profitable, however the CNN experiment had been successful and Turner hoped that Cartoon Network would also find success.
Initially, the channel would broadcast cartoons 24 hours a day. Most of the short cartoons were aired in half-hour or hour-long packages, usually separated by character or studio – Down Wit' Droopy D aired old Droopy Dog shorts, The Tom and Jerry Show presented the classic cat-and-mouse team, and Bugs and Daffy Tonight provided classic Looney Tunes shorts. Late Night Black and White showed early black-and-white cartoons (mostly from the Fleischer Studios and Walter Lantz cartoons from the 1930s, as well as black-and-white Merrie Melodies and MGM cartoons), and ToonHeads would show three shorts with a similar theme and provide trivia about the cartoons. There was also an afternoon cartoon block called High Noon Toons, which was hosted by cowboy hand puppets (an example of the simplicity and imagination the network had in its early years). The majority of the classic animation that was shown on Cartoon Network no longer airs on a regular basis, but Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes, still aired and lasted until 2017.
A challenge for Cartoon Network was to overcome its low penetration of existing cable systems. When launched on October 1, 1992, the channel was only carried by 233 cable systems. However, it benefited from package deals. New subscribers to sister channels TNT and TBS could also get access to Cartoon Network through such deals. The high ratings of Cartoon Network over the following couple of years led to more cable systems including it. By the end of 1994, Cartoon Network had become "the fifth most popular cable channel in the United States".
For the first few years of Cartoon Network's existence, programming meant for the channel would also be simulcast on TBS and/or TNT, both of which were still full-service cable networks that carried a variety of different programming genera, in order to increase the shows' (and Cartoon Network's) exposure; examples include The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Cartoon Planet, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, and 2 Stupid Dogs.
The network's first exclusive original show was The Moxy Show, an animation anthology series first airing in 1993. The first series produced by Cartoon Network was Space Ghost Coast to Coast in 1994, but the show mostly consisted of "recycled animation cells" from the archives of Hanna-Barbera, being an ironic deconstruction of a talk show. It featured live-action guests, mostly consisting of celebrities which were past their prime or counterculture figures. A running gag was that the production cost was dubbed "minimal". The series found its audience among young adults who appreciated its "hip" perspective.
Kevin Sandler considered Space Ghost Coast to Coast instrumental in establishing Cartoon Network's appeal to older audiences. Space Ghost, a 1960s superhero by Hanna-Barbera, was recast as the star of a talk show spoof. This was arguably the first time the network revived a "classic animated icon" in an entirely new context for comedic purposes. Grown-ups who had ceased enjoying the original takes on the characters could find amusement in the "new ironic and self-referential context" for them. Promotional shorts such as the "Scooby-Doo Project", a parody of The Blair Witch Project, gave similar treatments to the Scooby gang. However, there were less successful efforts at such revivals. A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith and Boo Boo Runs Wild (1999) were short cartoons featuring new takes on Yogi Bear's supporting cast by John Kricfalusi. Their style of humor, sexual content and break in tone from the source material was rather out of place among the rest of the Cartoon Network shows, and the network rarely found a place for them in its programming.
In 1994, Hanna-Barbera's new division Cartoon Network Studios was founded and started production on What a Cartoon! (also known as World Premiere Toons and Cartoon Cartoons). This show debuted in 1995, offering original animated shorts commissioned from Hanna-Barbera and various independent animators. The network promoted the series as an attempt to return to the "classic days" of studio animation, offering full animator control, high budgets, and no limited animation. The project was spearheaded by Cartoon Network executives, plus John Kricfalusi and Fred Seibert. Kricfalusi was the creator of The Ren & Stimpy Show and served as an advisor to the network, while Seibert was formerly one of the driving forces behind Nickelodeon's Nicktoons and would go on to produce the similar animation anthology series Oh Yeah! Cartoons and Random! Cartoons.
Cartoon Network was able to assess the potential of certain shorts to serve as pilots for spin-off series and signed contracts with their creators to create ongoing series. Dexter's Laboratory was the most popular short series according to a vote held in 1995 and eventually became the first spin-off of What a Cartoon! in 1996. Three more series based on shorts debuted from 1997 to 1999: Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel (the latter two as segments of the same show; I Am Weasel was later spun off into a separate show), The Powerpuff Girls, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Mike, Lu & Og. The unrelated series Ed, Edd n Eddy was also launched in 1999, creating a line-up of critically acclaimed shows. Many of these series premiered bearing the "Cartoon Cartoons" brand, airing throughout the network's schedule and prominently on Cartoon Cartoon Fridays, which became the marquee night for premieres of new episodes and series beginning on June 11, 1999.
These original series were intended to appeal to a wider audience than the average Saturday-morning cartoon. Linda Simensky, vice president of original animation, reminded adults and teenage girls that cartoons could appeal to them as well. Kevin Sandler's article of them claimed that these cartoons were both less "bawdy" than their counterparts at Comedy Central and less "socially responsible" than their counterparts at Nickelodeon. Sandler pointed to the whimsical rebelliousness, high rate of exaggeration and self-consciousness of the overall output each individual series managed.
In 1995, Cartoon Network launched "Cartoon Network Online" as an America Online exclusive website. It would later merge with ghostplanet.com as simply "CartoonNetwork.com", and featured games, videos, shopping, Cartoon Orbit, which launched in 2000, and even promotions to movies, video games, food items, toys, etc., such as Campbell's Soup, Ice Age, the original Spy Kids trilogy, the Cat in the Hat, Juicy Drop Pop, Wonder Ball, Hot Wheels, and so many more. In addition, CartoonNetwork.com also ran Cartoon Network's first online original series Web Premiere Toons, which mostly featured interactive web cartoons that ran from 1999 to 2002.
In 1996, Cartoon Network decided to air preschool programming and air them every Sunday morning, such as hiring Children's Television Workshop, the makers of Sesame Street on PBS Kids, to make a show called Big Bag, a live-action/puppet television program targeted at pre-school viewers, as well as Small World, a children's animated anthology show and variety show, in which showcased featured several segments from animated TV programs aimed at preschoolers from several countries around the world except for Japan, China, and Korea. Big Bag ran until 1998, and Small World ran until 2001.
In 1996, Turner Broadcasting System merged with Time Warner (ironically, Time Warner's predecessor Warner Communications had created rival Nickelodeon, now owned by Viacom, in 1977). The merger consolidated ownership of all the Warner Bros. cartoons, allowing the post-July 1948 and the former Sunset-owned black-and-white cartoons (which Warner Bros. had reacquired in the 1960s) releases to be shown on the network. Although most of the post-July 1948 cartoons were still contracted to be shown on Nickelodeon and ABC, the network would not air them until September 1999 (from Nickelodeon) and October 2000 (from ABC), however, the majority of the post-July 1948 cartoons that were shown on its now-sibling broadcast network The WB's Kids' WB block began airing on Cartoon Network in January 1997. Newer animated productions by Warner Bros.' animation subsidiary also started appearing on the network – mostly reruns of shows that had aired on Kids' WB and some from Fox Kids, along with certain new programs such as Justice League.
In 1997, Cartoon Network launched a new action block entitled Toonami. Its lineup initially consisted of 1980s reruns of Robotech and Thundercats. However, new shows were introduced and they consisted of action cartoons and anime, such as Sailor Moon, Tenchi Muyo!, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, and Dragon Ball Z. Toonami was hosted by Moltar from the Space Ghost franchise until 1999, where Toonami was later hosted by its own original character, a muscular teenage robot named TOM. On March 2, 1998, a series of bumpers featuring the instrumental Powerhouse were introduced. These bumpers lasted from 1998 to 2004.
One new original series premiered in 2000: Sheep in the Big City. On April 1, Cartoon Network launched a digital cable and satellite channel known as Boomerang, which was spun off from one of their programming blocks that featured retro animated series and shorts.
Three new original series premiered in 2001: Time Squad, Samurai Jack, and Grim & Evil. On June 18, Betty Cohen, who had served as Cartoon Network's president since its founding, left due to creative disagreements with Jamie Kellner, then-head of Turner Broadcasting. On August 22, Jim Samples was appointed general manager and Executive Vice President of the network, replacing Cohen. Adult Swim debuted on September 2, with an episode of Home Movies; the block initially aired on Sunday nights, with a repeat telecast on Thursdays. The initial lineup consisted of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, Sealab 2021, The Brak Show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
In 2002, Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? and Codename: Kids Next Door premiered; the former was short-lived, but the latter became a juggernaut for the network in the mid-2000s. The first theatrical film based on a Cartoon Network series, The Powerpuff Girls Movie, was released on July 3, 2002. It received generally positive reviews from critics and grossed $16.4 million globally on a budget of $11 million. On October 1 of that year, Cartoon Network celebrated their tenth anniversary, with a montage showcasing the network's various phases over the years.
2003 saw the debuts of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Evil Con Carne, both spinoffs of Grim & Evil. On October 3, the Cartoon Cartoon Fridays block was rebooted in a live-action format as "Fridays", hosted by Tommy Snider and Nzinga Blake (2003–2004), the latter of which was later replaced by Tara Sands (2005–2007). It aired several new Cartoon Network series, most of which did not bear the "Cartoon Cartoon" sub-brand. Acquired shows started picking up again with Totally Spies! the following year in the fall.
In 2004, Cartoon Network premiered three new original series: Megas XLR, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, alongside with the acquired series Code Lyoko. On June 14, Cartoon Network rebranded, which included an updated version of its original logo (with the checkerboard motif retained and the "C" and "N" being the centerpiece) and a new slogan, "This is Cartoon Network!" The bumpers introduced as part of the rebrand featured 2D cartoon characters from its shows interacting in a CGI city composed of sets from their shows. These bumpers lasted from 2004 to 2007. By now, nearly all of Cartoon Network's classic programming had been relocated to its sister network Boomerang to make way for new programming.
2005 saw the debuts of five more original series: The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Camp Lazlo, Robotboy, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, and Ben 10. On August 22, Cartoon Network launched a block aimed at the preschool demographic known as Tickle-U; shows on the block included Gordon the Garden Gnome, Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, Little Robots, Firehouse Tales, and Gerald McBoing-Boing. The block was largely unsuccessful and was discontinued in 2007. From 2005 to 2008, most of the network's older Cartoon Cartoons (such as Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls) could be viewed in segments on a half-hour block known as The Cartoon Cartoon Show.
In 2005, Cartoon Network signed a deal with AMC Theatres for Summer MovieCamp to feature episodes of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi, Camp Lazlo, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Codename: Kids Next Door, and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends in the big screen.
After its predecessor, What a Cartoon!, Cartoon Network created an all-new animated short series consisting of overseas shorts, pilots, college shorts, or even shorts created for the show itself. That show was called Sunday Pants; it first aired on the day of October 2, 2005. Sunday Pants varies on different types of animation, from traditional hand-drawn animation to Flash, or even CGI, possibly making it similar to other shows such as Liquid Television on MTV or KaBlam! on Nickelodeon. The show was created by Craig "Sven" Gordon and Stuart Hill, and was produced at Spitfire Studios. The show has a similar concept to What a Cartoon!, except that the shorts are 1–3 minutes long and the show is squeezed to be 23 minutes (without commercials). There are animated and live-action intervals in-between shorts. The live-action ones are performed by American band The Slacks, while the animated ones are animated by WeFail. The show lasted for less than a month, with its final airing taking place on October 23, 2005. In January 2006, the show was announced to be returning the month after but said return never came to fruition and the series was ultimately cancelled.
Two new Cartoon Network original series premiered in 2006: Squirrel Boy and Class of 3000. Three made-for-TV movies debuted this year: Codename: Kids Next Door – Operation Z.E.R.O., Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Good Wilt Hunting, and Re-Animated, the latter of which was the network's first live-action TV movie and a collaboration between live-action and animation.
Samples resigned from his post on February 9, 2007, following a bomb scare in Boston caused by packages left around the city that were part of an outdoor marketing campaign promoting the Adult Swim series Aqua Teen Hunger Force. On May 2, Stuart Snyder was named Samples' successor. On September 1, the network's look was revamped, with bumpers and station IDs themed to The Hives song "Fall is Just Something That Grown-Ups Invented." 2007 saw the debut of Out of Jimmy's Head, a spin-off of the movie Re-Animated, and the first live-action Cartoon Network series. 2007 also saw the debut of the series Chowder. In late 2007, The network began broadcasting programs from Canadian channels such as YTV and Teletoon, including George of the Jungle, 6teen, Storm Hawks, League of Super Evil, Chaotic, Bakugan Battle Brawlers, Stoked, and the Total Drama series. Each October from 2007 to 2009, Cartoon Network also re-ran 40 episodes of the former Fox Kids series Goosebumps.
Cartoon Network announced at its 2008 upfront that it was working on a new project called The Cartoonstitute, which was headed by animators Craig McCracken as executive producer and Rob Renzetti as supervising producer. Both reported to Rob Sorcher, who created the idea. It would have worked similar to What a Cartoon!, by creating at least 150 pieces of animation within 20 months. Cartoonstitute was eventually cancelled, and out of all the shorts, two or three, Regular Show, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and Uncle Grandpa, were selected, after animator Craig McCracken (creator of The Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends) left the network after 15 years in 2009. On September 20, 2008, Cartoon Network ended Toonami after its 11-year run. From 2008 to 2010, Cartoon Network aired animated shorts that served as interstitials between programs, called Wedgies, which included The Talented Mr. Bixby, Nacho Bear, Big Baby and The Bremen Avenue Experience. On July 14, 2008, the network took on a refreshed look created by Tristan Eaton and animated by Crew972. The bumpers of that era had white, faceless characters called Noods, based on the DIY toy, Munny. These characters had many variations that made them look like characters from different CN shows. The standard network logo was changed to be white, adopting different colors based on the occasion in the same style.
In June 2009, Cartoon Network introduced a block of live-action reality shows called "CN Real", featuring programs such as The Othersiders, Survive This, BrainRush, Destroy Build Destroy, Dude, What Would Happen and Bobb'e Says. The network also aired some limited sports programming, including basketball recaps and Slamball games, during commercial breaks. The lineup was universally panned for being live-action shows on a channel dedicated to cartoons. That year, it also started airing live-action feature films from Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.
On May 29, 2010, a new brand identity was introduced, along with new bumpers, a theme, and a tagline, "CHECK it". The branding, designed by Brand New School, consists of the black and white checkerboard which formed the network's first logo (and was carried over in a minimized form to the second logo), as well as various CMYK color variations and various patterns. On December 27, 2010, Adult Swim expanded by one hour, moving its start time from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET. In February 2011, Cartoon Network aired its first sports award show Hall of Game Awards, hosted that year by professional skateboarder Tony Hawk.
At its 2011 upfront, Cartoon Network announced 12 new series, including The Problem Solverz (originally planned for Adult Swim, but switched to CN for being “too cute”), The Amazing World of Gumball, The Looney Tunes Show, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, Level Up (a scripted live-action comedy series with a 90-minute precursor film), Tower Prep, Green Lantern, DreamWorks Dragons (a series based on the DreamWorks film, How to Train Your Dragon), Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, the 4th season of Total Drama; ThunderCats, Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, and Ben 10: Omniverse. The network announced it planned to debut a new programming block called DC Nation which would focus on the DC superheroes, the first being the series Green Lantern.
After announcing two new live-action shows in Unnatural History and Tower Prep, which were both cancelled after their first seasons, Cartoon Network acquired the game show, Hole in the Wall (originally aired on Fox). By the end of 2011, Hole in the Wall and the final two CN Real shows, Destroy Build Destroy and Dude, What Would Happen? were removed from Cartoon Network's schedule completely. In 2012, Cartoon Network acquired the television rights to The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange, based on the web series, The Annoying Orange and added it to its primetime lineup.
On February 2, 2012, Corus Entertainment and Astral Media, owners of Teletoon, announced they would launch a Canadian version of Cartoon Network that also includes a version of the U.S. network's Adult Swim nighttime block. The channel launched on July 4, 2012. The following month, March 2012, Cartoon Network aired its first documentary, Speak Up, an anti-bullying campaign featuring a special appearance by President Barack Obama. On October 1, 2012, Cartoon Network celebrated its 20th anniversary, airing birthday and party-themed reruns of its shows for several days. Earlier in the year on March 30, 2012, the Cartoon Planet block was revived to air the channel's original programming from the late 1990s through mid-2000s. In addition, the channel announced new programming for 2013, including the live-action series Incredible Crew; the animated series Teen Titans Go!, Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe, I Heart Tuesdays (which never went through production), Clarence, Total Drama: All-Stars, Grojband, Beware the Batman, The Tom and Jerry Show, and Legends of Chima; and a new Powerpuff Girls special, the latter of which aired on January 20, 2014.
On May 20, 2013, Cartoon Network updated its identity by adding new bumpers, graphics, and sounds. A short animation was created for each show, and these animations were used when featuring the show in Next bumpers. The background used in its promos and bumpers was also changed from black to white. On April 28, 2013, the network aired the CNN half-hour documentary The Bully Effect, which details the story of teenager Alex Libby and his struggle with bullying in high school. The special is based on the 2011 film Bully directed by Lee Hirsch.
On March 6, 2014, Stuart Snyder was removed as president and COO of Turner's Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media division after a restructure. On July 16, Christina Miller was named his successor as president and general manager of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Boomerang. At the end of the month, Cartoon Network's 8 pm ET/PT primetime hour was given to its night time block Adult Swim, causing new episodes of the network's programming to change timeslots. On October 21, 2014, Cartoon Network, along with CNN and Boomerang, were taken off-air from US-based TV provider, Dish Network, due to contract disagreements. However, the channels were restored a month later.
On May 30, 2016, Cartoon Network USA refreshed the channel with new graphics based on previous rebrands in the Check It family called "Dimensional". The new graphics were developed by Bent Design Lab and feature various characters in 3D CGI, stop-motion, and 2D graphic techniques. Branding and marketing agency Troika developed the "Dimensional" style guide, a set of channel-wide standards. In September 2016, the network recovered an extra hour from its Adult Swim block, ending its broadcasting daily at 9 pm in order to air new episodes of Regular Show later. This was later reversed on December 5, 2016.
On October 22, 2016, AT&T reached a deal to acquire Time Warner for $108.7 billion. The merger was approved by regulators on June 12, 2018, and the merger was completed 2 days later, with Time Warner's name changed to WarnerMedia. To celebrate the network's 25th anniversary, Cartoon Network made an exhibit called "Cartoon Network: 25 Years of Drawing on Creativity" in partnership with the Paley Center, with showings from September 16 to October 8, 2017, in their New York City location, and will move to their Beverly Hills, California location with showings from October 14 to November 19 of that year.
On January 26, 2018, the network announced plans to launch a new cruise ship, in partnership between Turner Broadcasting and Oceanic Group. The ship, Cartoon Network Wave, embarked on its maiden voyage in late 2018. On October 29, 2018, Cartoon Network announced construction of its first amusement hotel in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, expected to open in Summer 2019. The company is working with Palace Entertainment to "offer fun and unexpected ways to experience the animated worlds of Cartoon Network from the moment of arrival," according to current president Christina Miller.
On March 4, 2019, AT&T announced a major reorganization of WarnerMedia's Turner Broadcasting division, which involves Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Turner Classic Movies being transferred to Warner Bros. Entertainment. Although AT&T did not specify any timetable for the changes to take effect, WarnerMedia had begun to remove all Turner references in corporate communications and press releases, referring to that unit's networks as "divisions of WarnerMedia".
On November 27, 2019, it was announced that Christina Miller would be leaving WarnerMedia at the end of 2019. Michael Ouweleen will be serving as interim president of Cartoon Network, with Miller helping with the transition.
Cartoon Network's current programming includes original animated series such as Ben 10, Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart, The Amazing World of Gumball, We Bare Bears, and Craig of the Creek, as well as acquired programming from other studios, which as of December 2019 includes Lego Ninjago, Teen Titans Go!, Power Players, Total DramaRama, DC Super Hero Girls and Unikitty!. In the past, Cartoon Network has also produced live-action programming, such as the live-action/animated hybrids Out of Jimmy's Head and The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange, and shows such as Level Up, Tower Prep, and Incredible Crew.
In addition, Cartoon Network reruns various Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry cartoons, which have been in constant rotation from the network's launch in 1992 until 2017. In its early days, Cartoon Network benefited from having access to a large collection of animated programming, including the libraries of Warner Bros. (Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (Tom and Jerry and other series), and Hanna-Barbera (The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Snorks, and others). Turner's ownership of Hanna-Barbera gave the network access to an established animation studio, something chief rival Nickelodeon did not yet have. Most of these series were removed by 1999 and moved to Boomerang in 2000.
Much of Cartoon Network's original programming originates from the network's in-house studio, Cartoon Network Studios. Beginning as a division of Hanna-Barbera, this studio would produce some of the network's earliest original series, including Dexter's Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel, Johnny Bravo, and The Powerpuff Girls. Cartoon Cartoons was once the branding for Cartoon Network's original animated television series, but it has seldom been used by the network by 2003. The name was eventually discontinued in 2008.
By the early 2000s, Cartoon Network had established programming blocks aimed at different age demographics. The shows broadcast during the early morning had preschoolers as their target audience and mostly had prosocial behavior as a theme. The Toonami programming block, featured later in the day, mostly included anime shows and its target audience was tweens and teenagers. Prime time shows mostly included classic cartoons, featured as part of The Tex Avery Show, The Chuck Jones Show and The Bob Clampett Show. Preschool programming was discontinued by 2007.
Current programming blocks
Adult Swim – A night time program block aimed at young adults, which airs content that is not suitable for children. It does not feature any advertising for Cartoon Network programming and, due to its long runtime and different demographics, is branded as a separate channel. Adult Swim airs a mix of live-action and animated comedies, including both original series such as Rick and Morty and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, as well as acquired programming like Fox shows and Japanese anime, aired under the Toonami branding since May 2012, every Saturday night. Adult Swim is currently broadcast daily from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. ET/PT; its starting time has changed various times, from 11:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and to 8:00 p.m.
Cartoon Network shows with established fan followings, such as Dexter's Laboratory, allowed the network to pursue licensing agreements with companies interested in selling series-related merchandise. For example, agreements with Kraft Foods led to widespread in-store advertising for Cartoon Network-related products. The network also worked on cross-promotion campaigns with both Kraft and Tower Records. In product development and marketing, the network has benefited from its relation to corporate parent Time Warner, allowing for mutually beneficial relationships with various subsidiary companies.
Time Warner Cable, the former cable television subsidiary of the corporate parent (which was spun off from Time Warner in 2009), distributes Cartoon Network as part of its packages. Turner Broadcasting System, the subsidiary overseeing various Time Warner-owned networks, helped cross-promote Cartoon Network shows and at times arranged for swapping certain shows between the networks. For example, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, one of CN's original shows, was at times seen at Kids' WB (which was discontinued on May 24, 2008), while Xiaolin Showdown and ¡Mucha Lucha!,two of Kids' WB!'s original shows, were seen at Cartoon Network. In each case, the swap intended to cultivate a shared audience for the two networks. Time Inc., the former subsidiary overseeing the magazines of the corporate parent, ensured favorable coverage of Cartoon Network and advertising space across its publications. Printed advertisements for CN shows could appear in magazines such as Time, Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated Kids until Time Inc. was spun off from Time Warner on June 9, 2014. AOL, a now-former sibling company to Time Warner covering Internet services, helped promote Cartoon Network shows online by offering exclusive content for certain animated series, online sweepstakes and display advertising for CN.
Warner Home Video, the home video subsidiary, distributed VHS tapes, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs featuring Cartoon Network shows. Select Warner Bros. Family Entertainment VHS releases came with bonus cartoons from Cartoon Network. Rhino Entertainment, the former record label subsidiary of the corporate parent (which was spun off from Time Warner in 2004), distributed cassette tapes and CDs with Cartoon Network-related music. These products were also available through the Warner Bros. Studio Store. DC Comics, the comic book subsidiary, published a series featuring the Powerpuff Girls, indicating it could handle other CN-related characters. Warner Bros., the film studio subsidiary, released The Powerpuff Girls Movie in 2002. Kevin Sandler considered it likely that this film would find its way to HBO or Cinemax, two television network subsidiaries which regularly broadcast feature films. Sandler also viewed book tie-ins through Warner Books as likely, since it was the only area of marketing not covered yet by 2001.
Editing of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies shorts
Cartoon Network has, during its history, broadcast most of the Warner Bros. animated shorts originally created between the 1920s and the 1960s, but the network edited out scenes depicting discharge of gunfire, alcohol ingestion, cowboys and Indians gags, tobacco, and politically incorrect humor. The unedited versions were kept from both broadcasting and wide release on the video market. Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943), a politically incorrect but critically well-regarded short, was notably omitted entirely, while The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950) and Feed the Kitty (1952), both well-regarded, had their finales heavily edited due to violence.
There was media attention in June 2001 over a network decision concerning further omissions from broadcasting. Cartoon Network formerly scheduled a 49-hour-long marathon annually known as June Bugs, promising to broadcast every Bugs Bunny animated short in chronological order. The network originally intended to include 12 shorts for its 2001 airing of the marathon (one of them part of the Censored Eleven list of Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoons effectively shelved from distribution) that had become controversial for using ethnic and national stereotypes, albeit broadcasting them past midnight to ensure few children were watching, with introductions concerning their historic value as representatives of another time. The network's corporate parent considered it likely that there would be complaints concerning racial insensitivity. This led to all 12 being omitted in their entirety. Laurie Goldberg, vice-president of public relations, defended the decision, stating, "We're the leader in animation, but we're also one of the top-rated general entertainment networks. There are certain responsibilities that come with that".
Adult Swim (often stylized as [adult swim] or [as]) is a teen/adult-oriented nighttime programming service that airs on Cartoon Network from usually 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM ET/PT everyday in the United States, and broadcasts in countries such as Australia and New Zealand; Adult Swim is treated by Nielsen as a separate network in its ratings reports (similar to the company's ratings treatment of Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite and the now-defunct Nickmom) due to differing target demographics between it and Cartoon Network. The network features myriad stylistically variable animated and live-action shows, including original programming, syndicated shows mainly consisting of Fox animated programming, and Japanese anime, generally with minimal or no editing for content. The programs featured on Adult Swim are geared toward a mature audience, in contrast to the originally all-ages young teen and preteen daytime programming on Cartoon Network. Adult Swim moved its start time up an hour at 8pm on March 31, 2014. The 8pm hour was given back to Cartoon Network on numerous occasions, however, who used it to premiere Adventure Time: Stakes in 2015, new episodes of the eighth season of Regular Show in 2016, new episodes of the sixth season of The Amazing World of Gumball in 2018 and will use it to premiere Steven Universe Future in 2019.
Toonami (a portmanteau of "cartoon" and "tsunami", suggesting a "tidal wave" of animated cartoons) is a brand of Cartoon Network, used initially for action-oriented programming blocks on Cartoon Network television channels worldwide, mostly showing American cartoons and Japanese anime, originating in the United States on March 17, 1997, and ending on September 20, 2008. It was revived on May 26, 2012, as a Saturday night anime block on Adult Swim, reclaiming their Saturday anime lineup, similar to its previous mature-geared "Midnight Run" incarnation which was that block's forerunner. The host was a muscular teenage robot named TOM, voiced by Steven Blum.
The Toonami brand was subsequently used in the United Kingdom as the name of an action-oriented animation channel with two CGI hosts. It replaced a former Cartoon Network-owned channel, CNX, which had been a Toonami/live-action hybrid network.
Toonami was launched as a 24-hour channel in Asia in December 2012, in India in February 2015 and in France in February 2016. "It really is the ultimate home of the action hero," said Sunny Saha from Turner International.
Boomerang began as a programming block on Cartoon Network on December 8, 1992, and continued until October 2004, aimed towards the Baby Boom generation. The block's start time changed frequently but was always aired in the weekends. On April 1, 2000, Boomerang received a new look and was spun off into its own cable channel. In 2017, an online Boomerang video-on-demand service was launched. The SVOD service is the only platform that airs new episodes of “Scooby-Doo”, “Looney Tunes” and “Tom & Jerry”.
Move It Movement
Move It Movement (previously named Get Animated) is a campaign of the channel, encouraging children to get active, more importantly in outdoor areas. The program is designed "to provide support and encouragement in the ongoing battle against childhood obesity." The Get Animated campaign was launched on February 28, 2005.
Cartoon Network On Demand
Cartoon Network On Demand is a video on demand service, which launched in 2002, and allows viewers to watch the latest episodes of the most Cartoon Network programming. These Cartoon Network episodes can be rented and are available in widescreen and in high definition. Some on-demand programs for Cartoon Network will restrict the ability to fast forward if the episode is fairly new. If the program cannot fast forward, the intro will be replaced by an advisory bumper saying: "You're watching Cartoon Network On Demand, Fast-Forward is not available during this program".
High definition channels and service
A high definition feed of Cartoon Network is available on many cable and all satellite service providers. The high definition feed was launched on October 15, 2007. Like all Turner networks, 4:3-sourced content is stretched on the high definition feed to fill the 16:9 aspect ratio. The network's HD content airs with letterboxing on the standard definition channel, and since May 13, 2013, the high definition feed is downscaled by the provider for the standard definition feed, resulting in all programming appearing in a 16:9 ratio with letterboxing. Unlike the other Turner networks, standard definition advertising is also stretched into 16:9 mode.
Cartoon Network Studios
Cartoon Network Studios is a production studio located in the network's West Coast headquarters of Burbank, California, which serves as the network's first animation studio division to provide original programs for the network. While the studio makes original programs for the network, original Cartoon Network shows like The Moxy Show, Big Bag, Cow and Chicken, I.M. Weasel, Mike, Lu & Og, Ed, Edd n Eddy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Sheep in the Big City, Codename: Kids Next Door, The Secret Saturdays, and Sunday Pants were all co-produced by the network itself without the studio.
Williams Street Productions is the adult production studio division that provides original program to the network's late-night program Adult Swim that is located in Atlanta, Georgia, along with the main headquarters of the network.
Cartoon Network Studios Europe
Cartoon Network Studios Europe (formerly known as Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe until 2017) is the network's European production studio division that is located in London, England, which provides other original programs but from the United Kingdom.
Cartoon Network Latin America Original Productions
Cartoon Network Latin America Original Productions is the network's Latin America production studio division that is located in Latin America.
Cartoon Network Productions
Cartoon Network Productions is the network's distribution arm. It distributes the shows, pilots, and movies through various international Cartoon Network channels since 1994.
Cartoon Network Games
Cartoon Network Games (formerly known as Cartoon Network Interactive until 2014) is the video game developer and publisher of video games based on Cartoon Network shows since 2000.
Cartoon Network Enterprises
Cartoon Network Enterprises is the network's global licensing and merchandising arm established in 2001. It distributes merchandises of various Cartoon Network brands such as The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, We Bare Bears, Steven Universe, and more.
Cartoon Network has a mobile app that provides the latest full episodes, a live stream from the East and West coast, and games, as well as the network's schedule.
In 2011, Cartoon Network characters were featured in a four-player mascot brawler fighting game similar to Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. video game series called Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion for the Nintendo 3DS. The game was later released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the Wii as Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion XL. Several video games based on the cartoon series Ben 10 were released by Cartoon Network as well. The Cartoon Network website also features various flash games incorporating characters from various Cartoon Network franchises. For example, FusionFall which was a massive multiplayer game released on January 14, 2009, and shut down on August 29, 2013.
Cartoon Network registered its official website, CartoonNetwork.com, on January 9, 1996. It officially launched on July 27, 1998. Sam Register served as the site's Senior Vice President and Creative Director from 1997 to 2001. In its early years, small studios partnered with the network to produce exclusive "Web Premiere Toons", short cartoons made specifically for CartoonNetwork.com. More about animation was included in the "Department of Cartoons", which featured storyboards, episode guides, backgrounds, sound and video files, model sheets, production notes, and other information about shows on the network. In January 1999, the Department of Cartoons showcased the "MGM Golden Age Collection", most of which had not been published or even seen in more than 50 years. Cartoon Network launched Cartoon Orbit, an online gaming network characterized by digital trading cards called "cToons", in October 2000. The game officially ended on October 16, 2006.
In October 2000, CartoonNetwork.com outdid its rival Nickelodeon's website in terms of unique users, scoring 2.12 million compared to Nick.com's 1.95 million. In July 2007, Nielsen ratings data showed visitors spent an average of 77 minutes on the site, surpassing the previous record of 71 minutes set in 2004, and the site ranked 26th in terms of time spent for all US domains.
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