Cartoon Network is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by The Cartoon Network, Inc., a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting System, itself being a subsidiary of Time Warner. It was founded by Betty Cohen and launched on October 1, 1992.
The channel primarily broadcasts children’s shows, mostly animated programming, ranging from action to animated comedy. It is primarily aimed at children and young teenagers between the ages of 7 to 15, and targets older teens and adults with mature content during its late night daypart Adult Swim, which is treated as a separate entity for promotional purposes and as a separate channel by Nielsen for ratings purposes. It operates daily from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM (ET). 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. It is also the related channel of Turner-owned Boomerang.
As of January 2016, Cartoon Network is available to approximately 94.0 million pay television households (80.7% of households with television) in the United States.
- 2.1Original series
- 2.2Programming blocks
- 2.2.1Current programming blocks
- 4Controversy and censorship
- 5Related projects
- 5.1Adult Swim
- 5.4Move It Movement
- 5.5Cartoon Network On Demand
- 5.6High definition channels and service
- 5.7Cartoon Network Studios
- 5.8Williams Street
- 5.9Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe
- 5.10Cartoon Network Productions
- 5.11Mobile app
- 5.12Video games
- 7International channels
- 8See also
- 10External links
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 74 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.
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 Entertainment purchased animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions for US $320 million. On February 18, 1992, Turner Broadcasting System announced its plans to launch the Cartoon Network as an outlet for Turner’s considerable library of animation.
On October 1, 1992, Cartoon Network played “The Star Spangled Banner” (which was a tradition whenever a new Turner-owned network launched) and a video of a person placing a dynamite in a field and then blowing the dynamite up, the channel’s launch then occurred on that day and was hosted by the MGM cartoon character Droopy in a special event called Droopy’s Guide to the Cartoon Network, during which the first cartoon on the network, The Great Piggy Bank Robbery, was shown.Initial programming on the channel consisted exclusively of reruns of classic 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 Tonightprovided classic Looney Tunes shorts. Late Night Black and White showed early black-and-white cartoons (mostly from the Fleischer Studios and Walter Lantzcartoons 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 air on a regular basis, with the exception of Tom and Jerry and Looney Tunes.
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 parody. 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 Eddywas 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 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.
Cartoon Network’s programming would not be available in Canada until 1997 when a Canadian specialty channel called Teletoon and its French-language counterpartlaunched.
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!, 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. During that same year, a series of bumpers featuring the instrumental Powerhouse were introduced. These bumpers lasted from 1997 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, and Code Lyoko (which was an acquired series). 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 four more original series: The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Camp Lazlo, 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, Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, Peppa Pig, 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.
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. That year, it also started airing live-action feature films from Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema.
A new identity for the channel was introduced on May 29, 2010, along with a new theme and new bumpers, and a new tagline, “CHECK it”. The branding, designed by Brand New School, makes heavy use of the black and white checkerboard which made up 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 14 new series, including Adventure Time, Regular Show, The Problem Solverz (originally planned for Adult Swim, but switched to CN for being “too cute”), 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, Dragons: Riders of Berk (a series based on the DreamWorks film, How to Train Your Dragon), The Amazing World of Gumball, 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.
On March 18, 2012, Cartoon Network aired its first documentary, Speak Up, an anti-bullying campaign featuring a special appearance by President Barack Obama.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.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Cartoon Network, the Cartoon Planet block was revived on March 30, 2012, now airing the channel’s original programming from the late 1990s through mid-2000s. From October 1 to November 4, 2012, Cartoon Network celebrated its 20th birthday, airing birthday and party-themed reruns of its shows.
In 2012, Cartoon Network announced new programming for the upcoming year, including the live-action series Incredible Crew; the animated series Teen Titans Go!, Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe, I Heart Tuesdays, 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 gave a refresh to its look 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 March 6, 2014, Stuart Snyder was confirmed to have been removed as president and COO of Turner’s Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media division after company changes. On July 16, 2014, Christina Miller was named his successor as president and general manager of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Boomerang.
On March 31, 2014, 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 the Dish Network in the United States after Turner Broadcasting declined to renew its contract with the Dish Network. The channels were restored on November 21, 2014.
On May 30, 2016, Cartoon Network USA refreshed the channel with a new graphics package 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 list of rules on how the graphics should be implemented on the channel. In September 2016, the network took back 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 October 22, 2016, AT&T reached a deal to buy Time Warner for $108.7 billion. If approved by federal regulators, the merger would bring Time Warner’s properties, including Cartoon Network, under the same umbrella as AT&T’s telecommunication holdings, including satellite provider DirecTV.
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 in their New York City location, and will move to their Beverly Hills location with showings from October 14 to November 19.
Cartoon Network’s current programming includes original animated series such as Adventure Time, The Amazing World of Gumball, and Steven Universe, as well as acquired programming from other studios, which as of November 2017 includes various iterations in the Total Drama franchise, Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, Supernoobs, Sonic Boom, Peanuts, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. In the past, Cartoon Network has also produced live-action programming in the past, 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 has been in constant rotation since the network’s launch in 1992. 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). Especially in its earlier years, the company’s co-ownership with Hanna-Barbera gave the network access to an established animation studio, something chief rival Nickelodeon did not yet have.
Cartoon Cartoons was once the branding for Cartoon Network’s original animated television series, but it has seldom been used by the network since 2003, with newer originals being branded as Cartoon Network Original Series. Much of said original programming originates from the network’s in-house studio, Cartoon Network Studios. The studio originally began as a division of Hanna-Barbera, but eventually was spun off when H-B was folded into Warner Bros. Animation in 2001. This studio would produce some of the network’s earliest Cartoon Cartoons, including Dexter’s Laboratory, Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel, Johnny Bravo, and The Powerpuff Girls.
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 were 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.
Current programming blocks
- Adult Swim – A night time program block aimed at young adults, which airs content unsuitable for children. It does not feature any advertising for Cartoon Network programming and, due to its long runtime and different demographics, is considered a separate brand altogether. Adult Swim airs a mix of live-action and animated comedies, such as Rick and Morty and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, as well as Japanese animation, under the Toonami branding. Adult Swim is currently broadcast from 8:00 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. and to 9:00 p.m.
- New New New New – A Friday night premiere block that airs from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. ET. Originally launched in January 2017 as Friday Party!, new episodes of Teen Titans Go!, The Amazing World of Gumball, We Bare Bears, and OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes are showcased. This also marks the return of Friday night premieres on the network in 18 years; the last to do so was Cartoon Cartoon Fridays, which ran from 1999 to 2007.
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, Samurai Jack, one of CN’s original shows, was at times seen at Kids’ WB, while Cardcaptors, an anime licensed by Kids’ WB, was at times 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 contents 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 the 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.
Controversy and censorship
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 (some 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 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, however, 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”.