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Thread: First Weekend in America With No Saturday Morning Cartoons

  1. #1
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    Post First Weekend in America With No Saturday Morning Cartoons

    This Is the First Weekend in America With No Saturday Morning Cartoons
    Robert Sorokanich
    4 October 2014

    Saturday morning American broadcast TV was once animation's home field. Filling a cereal bowl with artificially colored sugar pebbles and staring at the tube was every kid's weekend plan. Not any more: For the first time in 50-plus years, you won't find a block of animation on broadcast this morning. It's the end of an era.

    Yes, The CW, the final holdout in Saturday morning animation, ran its last batch of Vortexx cartoons last weekend. This week, where you once saw shows like Cubix, Sonic X, Dragon Ball Z and Kai, Digimon Fusion, and Yu-Gi-Oh!, you'll instead find "One Magnificent Morning," a block of live-action educational programming.

    It's the end of an era, but it's been a long time coming: NBC ditched Saturday morning cartoons in 1992, CBS followed suit not long after, and ABC lost its animated weekend mornings in 2004. The CW, a lower-tier broadcast network, was the last holdout in a game that the Big 3 left long ago.

    What killed Saturday morning cartoons? Cable, streaming, and the FCC. In the 1990s, the FCC began more strictly enforcing its rule requiring broadcast networks to provide a minimum of three hours of "educational" programming every week. Networks afraid of messing with their prime-time slots found it easiest to cram this required programming in the weekend morning slot. The actual educational content of this live-action programming is sometimes debatable, but it meets the letter of the law.

    But more importantly, with hundreds of cable and satellite channels to choose from that don't have to abide the FCC's guidelines, whippersnappers kids these days can get their animation fix any day of the week. With the rise of cable and satellite, advertisers no longer had to cram all their kid-aimed commercials into the four-hour Saturday morning block. When the money left Saturday mornings, so did the cartoons.

    Add in mobile streaming from Netflix, Hulu, and the like, and you'll realize that the spoiled brats we're raising today don't even need to dash to the TV in time to catch the opening credits. They can just watch whatever, whenever. Sheesh.

    Still, there's something a little hollow about the notion that we woke up this morning to an America bereft of broadcast 'toons. I guess we all had to grow up sometime.

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  2. #2
    .~ *aĉa virino* ~. Array Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I don't think there is a need for Saturday morning cartoons anymore, due to the accessibility of various types of programming online and on cable. The landscape has changed, and so these kinds of things change with it.

    at the same time, I was a little sad. I have a lot of definitive memories from my childhood, regarding Saturday morning. It was kind of a special time every week.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  3. #3
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    tbt I don't remember saturday morning cartoons, as a Kid i would not have been up before noon on a saturday that being said what I have fond memories of is TGIF and SNICK. and I agree with Jennifer about the landscape changing
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  4. #4
    under a groove Array Chanaynay's Avatar
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    This breaks my heart. Saturday morning cartoons were something I was always there for as a kid.

    I guess it's only natural because of the landscape change already mentioned - I definitely stream more than I do actually watch TV. It's just easier because you don't have to schedule your hours to watch shows then.

    That said, on a larger scale I'm still not sure how I feel about all these kids being raised on iPads now. I mean yes I had a GameBoy and a Nintendo64 as a kid but even then it became something social for the neighborhood kids and I to do (I remember my mom took a photo of us sitting on the sidewalk playing with our GameBoys all connected to each other haha). Now a lot of kids seem to be spending their time playing single player apps, watching Netflix, and more on the iPad. I don't like how dependent we're making everyone on these things. I think the problem is that this technology is so new that we're struggling to gauge the proper amount of time spent on the iPad in comparison to the amount of time with other kids or playing with real world toys. I remember when I was at a nice restaurant a few weeks ago I saw this family and both their kids were on their iPads and the parents just sat their kind of helpless. I feel like showing kids you can play games, watch TV and movies, and all this other stuff on just one iPad and letting them exploit that kind of makes it harder for them that you can entertain yourself in so many other ways without technology.
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