Fox Dumps Saturday Morning Cartoons in Favor of Infomercials
Since 2002, 4Kids has been programming Saturday morning fare on Fox but as the deal ends in December, the network has decided to abandon children’s programming in favor of infomercials according to Variety. 4Kids will continue to provide programming for the CW’s Saturday morning schedule under a separate deal. Some of the Fox shows will move to the CW but none were named.
4Kids had been paying Fox $20 million for the four hour block filled with animated fare based on games, toys and original properties. Two of those hours will now be returned to the local channels with the other two, 10 a.m. – noon, devoted to the paid advertising.
"These are hopefully not infomercials," said Fox Networks Group chairman Tony Vinciquerra. "These will be long-form programs that highlights their product. In that regard, it will have a little better quality." But we suspect that’s exactly what will be offered.
Saturday mornings used to feature a wide array of choices for children dating back to the 1950s but in more recent times, cable channels such as Disney and Nickelodeon siphoned away the audience so bit b bit, the network programmed less for the kids and are now closer to abandoning the once sacred hours entirely.
The deal ended after an acrimonious suit between Fox and 4Kids over money based on the percentage of affiliate stations carrying the animated shows. 4Kids contended the number fell below 90% entitling them to a $13 million refund while Fox said nothing was owed. Although 4Kids continued to provide programming, they did not pay $13 million owned between April and October. The settlement had 4Kids agree to pay $12.25 million and end the partnership now rather than next September.