Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Come Back, Ted

Cartoon Brew has had a number of posts on Cartoon Network's insane decision to show old live-action movies and TV shows (because, after all, where else can you go to see "Saved By the Bell?"). The collapse of Cartoon Network reminds me a lot of the slow implosion of the American Movie Classics channel, which started out showing uncut, commercial-free old movies -- then, gradually but inexorably, added commercials, newer movies, and other things that turned it into a channel with no real identity at all. That's what's happened to the Cartoon Network: by phasing out most of the cartoons they'd been showing -- classic cartoons, Hanna-Barbera cartoons that don't contain the word "Scooby" -- they sort of guaranteed that they'd eventually wind up catering to an audience that doesn't even like cartoons.

I should add that it seems to me that Cartoon Network and CNN both seemed to jump the shark around the time Ted Turner stopped being involved with them. (Though Turner Classic Movies seems to have retained its identity, at least for now.) Turner has his eccentricities, and he did give us that "Captain Planet" thing, but he does seem to like good cartoons -- he was the one who had the Cartoon Network buy the rights to broadcast Freakazoid!

In Canada, by the way, we've never had to suffer through a cartoon channel going down the tubes like this, because our cartoon channel, Teletoon, was mediocre right from the beginning. Teletoon would never show a cartoon made before the '80s, and when they finally gave in and purchased the rights to some Looney Tunes cartoons, they bought the "Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show" package that ABC used to show -- meaning that they were showing edited-for-Saturday-morning cartoons in prime time.

4 comments:

Jerry Beck said...

Cartoon Network is the only dedicated niche channel (like CNN, Weather Channel. Food Network, Weather Channel... you get the idea)that ignores it's base. I suppose it wouldn't matter if the network were labeled something else (like "Turner Children's Channel"). But it's called CARTOON NETWORK and viewers (of all ages)are led to believe that's what they will show. To Time-Warner and Turner Entertainment, the word "cartoon" doesn't mean what it does to you or I. It means "children's program". (i.e cartoon = children's program)
"Looney Tunes" = "old children's programs" - and there is nothing more worthless to an entertainment conglomorate than an old kid's show (seen any Howdy Doody or Captain Kangaroo reruns anywhere lately?). I still hold out hope for an intellgently programmed animation channel some day.

jorge garrido said...

Whoah! It's hard to top Jerry Beck in the comment department, so I won't even try. WEll, I'm comment but I know I won't top it. Here goes:

I HATE Teletoon, especially that crappy Bugs and Tweety Show they show from the 80's.

What funny is Jeff Harris says canadian animation outlets are making american ones look bad. Fat chance.

Cartoon Network has sucked for years, it used to be the best channel around, but it lost its direction when Betty Cohen left the network.

jorge again said...

Oh, yeah, I just wanna say that Ted Turner's a dumbass, and I don't wihs he'd come back. He's the one who inforced the censored 11. From wikipedia:

"When he obtained distribution rights to all pre-1948 Warner Bros. cartoons in 1986, Ted Turner vowed that he would not distribute or air any cartoons from the Censored Eleven."

Mr. Semaj said...

Jerry Beck does bring up a good issue with their twisted perception on the definition "cartoon". Even in their own adjacant Adult Swim network, you'd THINK they'd get the idea that cartoons are not, nor should they, be limited to just kids. And you can use The Simpsons, The Boondocks, and South Park for a broader form of that arguement.

Not everything on the "new" Cartoon Network is bad, but they clearly limited the aim of their viewing audience. For that, I'm hoping for a shakeup sometime in the future. If it gets to the point where even cable providers are complaining, it's time for change.