Fox Kids

Fox Kids
TypeSaturday morning cartoon block
CountryUnited States
Availability   National
OwnerJoint venture between News Corp and Saban
Launch dateSeptember 8, 1990
Closure dateSeptember 7, 2002
Past namesFox Children's Network
The Fox Kids Network


''This article discusses Fox Kids in United States. For the history of Fox Kids in the United Kingdom, see Jetix (UK)


Fox Kids (officially Fox Family Worldwide, Inc, and prior to that Fox Children's Productions and Fox Kids Worldwide) was the Fox network's children's programming division and brand name from September 8, 1990 until September 7, 2002.

It was a joint venture between News Corporation Limited and Haim Saban's Saban Entertainment (known for the Power Rangers franchise), airing Mondays-Saturdays.

Fox Kids ended in 2002 when Fox sold the money-losing Fox Family Channel and the Fox Kids division to The Walt Disney Company, owing to widening competition from cable channels like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. The block continued to run in repeat form until September 2002, when Fox sold the Saturday morning programming time to 4Kids Entertainment for their own children's block.

History

According to James B. Stewart's DisneyWar, Fox Kids' history is intertwined with the history of The Disney Afternoon. Afternoon launched on some of Fox's owned-and-operated stations, as well as the various Fox affiliates. This was due in no small part to the fact that then Disney CEO Michael Eisner and then Fox head Barry Diller had worked together at the ABC network and at Paramount Pictures. When Disney bought a Los Angeles television station, KCAL-TV, it wanted Afternoon to be shown on it, thus taking it away from Fox owned & operated KTTV. Furious at the breach of contract, Diller then pulled Afternoon from all other Fox owned & operated stations, and encouraged Fox affiliates to do the same. Fox then began the process of launching its own children's programming lineup.

Fox Kids launched in the fall of 1990, originally headed up by division president Margaret Loesch and airing programming originally for 30 minutes per day Monday-Friday and three hours on Saturday morning. In 1991 it expanded to 90 minutes on weekdays and four hours on Saturday mornings. In 1992 the network eventually expanded to 2½ hours Monday-Friday.

Radio

Fox Kids had its own radio lineup as well. Entitled the Fox Kids Radio Countdown, it was two hours in length and was hosted by Chris Leary of TechTV and ZDTV fame. The show consisted of contests, gags, and funny sound effects. It was later renamed to Fox All Access and continues to air currently.

Scheduling

By 1993 Fox Kids was up to three hours on Monday-Fridays (usually 2 p.m.-5 p.m. local time) and four hours on Saturdays (8 a.m.-noon ET/PT, 7 a.m.-11 a.m. CT/MT). Stations had the choice of airing one weekday hour in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, or all three at the same time in the morning or afternoon. This was because some stations had morning newscasts. In 1995 and early 1996 Fox acquired three former ABC affiliates and Savvoy/Fox (Emmis a few years later) acquired three former NBC affiliates and an ABC affiliate. Those stations all had evening newscasts, but wanted to continue to have regular syndicated programming to lead into the news instead of cartoons, so they would run Fox Kids one hour earlier in the afternoon from 1-4 p.m..

Stations that would run it at this time included;
  • New World station (until 1997) becoming Fox O&O KTVI (Channel 2) in St. Louis. Originally, religious broadcaster KNLC (Channel 24) took the block after it moved from former Fox affiliate KDNL (Channel 30), and was turned down by KTVI, in July 1995. However, the network terminated the agreement as of September 1996 and KTVI began to carry the block, as KNLC used their local commercial time to instead broadcast religious sermons and messages, along with the personal opinions of station owner Rev. Larry Rice, which the network found inappropriate for their young viewership. The station refused to sell the time to advertisers, and would also occasionally censor Fox Kids advertising and programming they found offensive in their view.
  • Fox O & O WGHP (Channel 8) in Greensboro upon becoming a Fox O & O in September of 1995. The timeslot here was previously occupied by ABC Soap Operas. Beginning in the Summer of 1996 Fox Kids would move to WBFX (now WTWB) (Channel 20) and run in pattern.
  • Fox O & O WHBQ (Channel 13) in Memphis upon becoming a Fox O & O in September of 1995. The timeslot here was previously occupied by two ABC Soap Operas and a syndicated show.
Savvoy/Fox and later Emmis-owned (at the time) stations;
  • WALA (Channel 10) in Mobile, Alabama
  • KHON (Channel 2) in Honolulu
  • WVUE (Channel 8) in New Orleans -- even before switching to Fox from ABC, WVUE was an underperforming station in the market. As a result, WVUE did not have a morning newscast, and as such, Fox Kids aired from 6 to 9 a.m..
  • WLUK (Channel 11) in Green Bay. In the Fall of 2001 Fox Kids was pushed back to Noon to 2 p.m..
The cities with alternate independent, UPN or WB stations, Fox contracted to air the Fox Kids block on these other stations so that their O&O and affiliate stations were free to program all of their hours for older audiences or news. All except one of such stations are those that were owned by New World Communications which were once CBS, ABC, or NBC (in only one case) affiliates. New World (later merged with Newscorp) affiliated its stations with Fox in 1994-1995 when Fox won the contract to air the National Football Conference package. In some cases Fox Kids would be airing on the same station as their competitors, Kids' WB and the former UPN Kids block.

Examples include;
  • WSVN (Channel 7) in Miami, which dropped the block at the end of 1993 and at that time moved to WBZL (Channel 39) and eventually moved to WAMI (Channel 69) in 1997. WSVN was the first Fox affiliate not to take Fox Kids.
  • WITI (Channel 6) in Milwaukee, which would opt to not take the block upon becoming a Fox station in 1994, leaving it on WCGV (Channel 24), which was the previous Fox affiliate and took UPN affiliation shortly thereafter, however WCGV continued to show more preference to Fox Kids than the weaker teen-targeting UPN Kids block.
  • WJBK (Channel 2) in Detroit also saw no need for Fox Kids, leaving it on WKBD (Channel 50), which was the previous Fox affiliate and would take the UPN affiliation soon after. This arrangement ended in the fall of 1997, of at which time would move to low-rated independent WADL (Channel 38), which is regarded in that market as a station where the main network affiliates dump programming they don't want to broadcast.
  • WJW (Channel 8) in Cleveland opted not to take Fox Kids. Former Fox affiliate WOIO (Channel 19) took CBS affiliation. As a result low rated independent WBNX (Channel 55) would take Fox Kids. After that WBNX continued to grow and buy better programming eventually taking WB affiliation as well.
  • Fox's East Coast flagship WNYW (Channel 5) in New York in later years deferred the block to sister UPN station WWOR (Channel 9). This was also the case in Los Angeles between Fox West Coast flagship KTTV (Channel 11) and their UPN station, KCOP (Channel 13).
  • WTVT (Channel 13) in Tampa also opted not to take Fox Kids. Former Fox affiliate WFTS (Channel 28) also could not keep it because they were taking ABC affiliation which moved from WTSP (Channel 10) which replaced that with CBS affiliation that WTVT originally had. Fox Kids therefore moved to an independent station WTTA (Channel 38) owned by Sinclair which also picked up other syndicated shows that WFTS could no longer air. WTTA eventually took WB programming in 1998. This arrangement for WTTA to air Fox Kids continued until the end of 2001 when Fox Kids ended weekdays but continued reruns on Saturdays. Those as well as Fox Box/4Kids TV (which would replace Fox Kids in the Fall of 2002) would air on WMOR (Channel 32) which was a WB station from 1995 to 1998.
  • KSAZ (Channel 10) in Phoenix also did not take Fox Kids upon beginning Fox Affiliation in December of 1994. It remained on KNXV (Channel 15) the former Fox affiliate soon to become an ABC affiliate. This station would run for a month as an independent station. This affiliation switch was complicated. CBS would move from KSAZ to KPHO (Channel 5) previously an independent September 1994. KSAZ then became an indepdendent until that December. ABC would remain on KTVK (Channel 3) until January of 1995. At that time Fox Kids moved to KTVK in place of the ABC Soap Operas. That Fall though Fox Kids would move to KTVK's managed station KASW (Channel 61) which also took WB affiliation as well. This arrangement still continues with 4Kids TV even though Fox owned KUTP (Channel 45) is a former UPN station now affiliated with My Network TV.
  • WDAF-TV (Channel 4) in Kansas City also did not take Fox Kids in 1994. In that market it would move to KSMO (Channel 62) as former Fox affiliate KSHB (Channel 41) took NBC from WDAF. KSMO became the UPN affiliate in 1995. In 1998 when KSMO took WB affiliation, Fox Kids along with UPN programming moved to KCWB (now KCWE) (Channel 29). In the fall of 1999 though it moved to KMCI (Channel 38).
  • WAGA (Channel 5) in Atlanta also did not take Fox Kids. It remained on then Fox Owned WATL (Channel 36) which would give up primary Fox affiliation while keeping children's programming. That station would take WB affiliation and be sold to Qwest and Tribune. When WHOT (Channel 34) in nearby Athens dropped its shopping format for general entertainment in 1999, Fox Kids moved there and remained until it was canceled nationally in 2002.
  • KDFW (Channel 4) Dallas/Ft. Worth also did not take Fox Kids in 1995. Fox continued to own KDAF (Channel 33) so they kept it there as well as taking WB affiliation. Soon after that, the station was sold to Tribune. In 1997 upon Fox's acquisition of KDFW in a group deal, Fox Kids would move to newly co-managed independent station which is now a My Network TV station KDFI (Channel 27).
  • WBRC (Channel 6) Birmingham in the Fall of 1996 was originally going to take Fox Kids and run it in place of ABC soaps because they would be a Fox O & O (not a New World station) and this was the original policy for such stations. But former Fox affiliate WTTO (Channel 21) approached Fox about being allowed to keep it even though they were becoming an independent. Fox decided that WTTO could keep Fox Kids and they changed the policy of the new O & O's allowing those stations to also assign Fox Kids elsewhere. At the same time WGHP in Greensboro also dropped Fox Kids moving it to the WB station there.
  • KTBC (Channel 7) Austin only took the Saturday lineup of Fox Kids in 1995, while (now-defunct) sister station K13VC would pick up the weekday and Saturday lineup. KTBC and K13VC both simulcasted the Saturday lineup until KTBC dropped it in 1997.
  • WOLF-TV (Channel 5/38/56) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the area Fox on the air waves FOX originally started out on 38, but when the WB took over the air wave channel of 38, FOX was moved to 56. But FOX has remained the entire time on Cable Channel 5.

Later history

In 1996, Fox Kids merged with Haim Saban's Saban Entertainment, Inc.; some of this programming also aired on Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family).

In 1999 the Fox Kids programming weekday block was trimmed to 2 hours, and added The Magic School Bus, which had previously aired on PBS. In 2000, affiliates were all given options to push the block up to 2-4 p.m. instead of 3-5 p.m.. In the 6 or so markets with 5 p.m. newscasts that carried Fox Kids (such as St. Louis and New Orleans for example) they already were running the block an hour early back in 1996. Some affiliates (like WLUK) would even tape delay the block to air between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., one of the lowest-rated time periods on US television. A few only aired The Magic School Bus in this inconvenient slot, in order to fulfill FCC-mandated 'educational/informational programming' requirements, which require a station air 3 hours of E/I shows per week and to reduce the hit taken by airing lower-cost children's advertising instead of higher-rated syndicated programming with more advertising revenue.

The end of an era

By 2001, Fox stations felt they were on much more even footing with "The Big Three" networks and wanted to take back the Fox Kids programming blocks to air their own programming. Saturday mornings, long only the province of children's programming, had become a liability as the other networks started to extend their weekday morning show franchises to the weekends, and the local Fox stations wanted to start Saturday morning newscasts, owing to the cultural change of Saturday becoming the theoretical 'sixth weekday'.

Fox Kids, long the #1 kids network since at least 1992, had been overtaken by Kids' WB two years prior with the stronger animated block backed by Warner Brothers and containing Pokémon as well as other video game and anime-based shows like Yu-Gi-Oh. ABC aired the 'tween-coms' primarily on its sister network Disney Channel, while CBS aired preschool programming from Nick Jr., splintering the audience. The added factor of Nickelodeon's aggressive schedule that out-rated all the broadcast networks among children on Saturday mornings left Fox Kids behind, and the programmers could find no way to catch up and stand out in this crowded field.

In October 2001, Saban and News Corp sold the group to The Walt Disney Company, at which time Fox discontinued the daytime children's programming, giving the time back to their affiliates. FOX put their programming up for bidding, and 4Kids Entertainment, producers of Pokémon, won. Fox Kids maintained a Saturday morning schedule, programmed by Disney, until September 14, 2002, when it gave the time to 4Kids Entertainment. The block was renamed FoxBox and in January 2005, renamed again to 4Kids TV.

The Walt Disney Company dissolved the U. S. Fox Kids brand in 2002, and it was not until 2004 when they started their own brand, known as Jetix. The worldwide Fox Kids are slowly being converted to Jetix now, and in Latin America and Europe the rebranding has already taken place. Some of the former Fox Kids programming, such as the Power Rangers, now airs in the US on Toon Disney, which have hours branded as Jetix on Toon Disney; Power Rangers also airs on the broadcast ABC Kids block on ABC Television.

Programming timeline for Fox Kids USA

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

  • The Fox Cubhouse (1994-1996)
  • Jim Henson's Animal Show with Stinky & Jake (1994-1996) (as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
  • Johnson and Friends (1994-1996) (as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
  • Rimba's Island (1994-1996) (as part of the Fox Cubhouse)
  • (1994-1998, 2001)
  • The Tick (1994-1996)
  • Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? (1994 - 1996)
  • Red Planet (3 part mini-series, repeated in early 1995 and Spring of 1996)

1995

1996

1997

1998

(Donkey Kong Country was not part of the regular Fox Kids lineup; however, two episodes aired as specials in 1998.)

1999

2000

2001

2002

Logos


Fox Kids Network logo, used from 1993-1996.

Fox Kids Network logo, used from 1997-1998.

Fox Kids logo, used from 1998-2001 The Network Byline Was Removed.

Fox Kids logo (3D), used from 1998-2001.

Fox Kids Network's final logo, used in 2002.

External links

See also

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