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4Kids Entertainment ( ) (commonly known as 4Kids) is a Worldwide International Americanmarker film and television production company and it was claimed to be one of the world's largest distributors in children's television. It is known for English-dubbing Japanesemarker anime, specializing in the acquisition, production and licensing of children's entertainment around the United States. The first anime that 4Kids dubbed was the first 8 seasons of Pokémon that aired on Kids' WB! in the United Statesmarker. The company is most well-known for its range of television licenses, which has included the multi-billion dollar Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Japanesemarker anime franchises. They also ran two program blocks: The CW4Kids on The CW and 4Kids TV on Fox stations, both aimed at children. As of December 27, 2008, the 4KidsTV block ended on Fox, leaving only 4Kids to broadcast The CW4Kids.

4Kids Entertainment has its world headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, New York Citymarker; its subsidiary, 4Kids Productions, has its headquarters in a separate building in Midtown.

Licenses and productions

The former logo


4Kids Entertainment licenses, develops, and distributes a wide variety of media products, ranging from video games and television programs to toy lines featuring the Royal Air Force. 4Kids focuses on licensing content for the children and pre-teen market, yet still they buy license to adult anime, including content for both boys and girls. Many of its licenses come from dubs of Japanese anime, including Fighting Foodons, and Shaman King, while others are Western animations or properties like Chaotic, or Back to the Future: The Animated Series.

Most programs are either licensed out to local stations, or broadcast on their dedicated programming block 4Kids TV. Typically, 4Kids will retain several properties on hiatus (such as Yu-Gi-Oh! GX), or in production to allow for turnover of their existing products. 4Kids also licenses, and merchandises, a number of non-animation based products, such as calendars like The Dog, and toys like Cabbage Patch Kids.

Television

4Kids TV (Defunct)

4Kids TV logo from January 22, 2005 to September 1, 2007, now used on its website
In late January 2002, 4Kids Entertainment signed a four-year, US$100 million deal with the Fox Broadcasting Company to program its Saturday morning lineup. It premiered September 14, 2002 as "FoxBox" after Fox Kids was dissolved following the purchase of Fox Family Worldwide by Disney. FoxBox rebranded to "4Kids TV" in January 2005. 4Kids Entertainment is wholly responsible for the content of the block and collects all advertising revenues from it. 4Kids Entertainment announced that it would exit its contract with Fox and terminate its Fox programming block by the end of 2008. The final broadcast of 4Kids TV on Fox was on December 27, 2008.

Many of the licenses distributed by 4Kids Entertainment, and presented on 4Kids TV are managed by 4Kids Productions, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of 4Kids Entertainment. First launched in 1992, 4Kids Productions deals primarily with television, film, home video, and music licenses, and currently manages the programming for 4KidsTV.

The CW4Kids

CW4Kids logo
On October 2, 2007, Warner Bros. and CBS announced that the Kids' WB block on their co-owned network, The CW, would be ending in September 2008, and no longer be marketed and produced in-house, due to factors including building children's advertising and marketing restrictions, and cable competition. Rights for the five hour Saturday morning block were bought by 4Kids, and they began to program the time with their own programming (mixed in with three former Kids' WB originals) in September 2008. Because of this additional deal, 4Kids provided programming for both The CW and Fox in the 2008-09 season giving 4Kids nine hours of combined children's programming on two broadcast networks, as 4KidsTV ran until December 27, 2008. The new block, The CW4Kids, started May 24, 2008. Three former 4Kids TV shows were announced to the lineup as well (Sonic X, Dinosaur King, Kirby: Right Back At Ya!, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward). and new shows that are in the future so far (Rollbots, Biker Mice from Mars, HTDT, and Winx Club)

Outside the United States

In the United Kingdommarker and Republic of Irelandmarker, several 4Kids TV-distributed anime (notably the Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokémon franchises) was carried by subscription entertainment channel Sky One, generally in early morning slots. (Note that Sky is a corporate relative of Fox, via parent company News Corporation.) Other channels which show or have shown 4Kids properties include CITV, Jetix, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network in the United Kingdom, RTÉ 2 in the Republic of Ireland, and RTL 2 in Germanymarker. And also, Mew Mew Power and Winx Club air on Popgirl.

Other notable business proceedings

4Sight Licensing Solutions Inc.

On April 18, 2006, 4Kids had announced a new subsidiary entitled 4Sight Licensing Solutions Inc. 4Sight will license and market brands aimed at adults, teenagers and pre-teens. "We have built an impressive roster of captivating and successful children's entertainment properties," said Alfred Kahn. "Given the increased number of brands that we are representing that focus on an older audience, we felt it would be beneficial to organize a new subsidiary primarily devoted to the marketing and licensing of these brands. We believe that we can successfully utilize our marketing and licensing expertise to build brand value for properties targeting an older consumer that are not necessarily media or character driven."

4Kids and Microsoft

On January 17, 2006, 4Kids and Microsoft signed a deal to license children's video games exclusively for the Xbox 360 gaming system, in an effort to put more child-oriented games on the system, whose gaming library is currently dominated by games targeted toward the 13-and-up market. One of the first titles announced was Viva Piñata which would be developed by Rare Ltd.marker

Censorship

250pix
Like many other Japanese anime, anime owned by 4Kids is politically correct. The management of 4Kids Entertainment has stated that they seek to "localize anime so that children in English-speaking countries will understand it...", judging that localization is necessary in order for these titles to be marketable. For most titles, the editing 4Kids performs falls into a few broad categories – 4Kids may seek to "Americanize" a program by changing character names, dialog, music, food, or stereotypes which would be unfamiliar or even offensive to an American audience. They also may remove some materially suggestive objects such as cigarettes or guns (replacing them with lollipops, water guns or nothing), crosses, or content deemed too violent or suggestive for American children. For example, in Yu-Gi-Oh!, the issue of death is sidestepped in the localized version, with dead characters being sent to the "shadow realm" (though this could generate plot errors, due to the fact that one can be resurrected from the Shadow Realm), as well as the fact that the Shadow Realm is a real place in the series completely independent from death. Other examples include removing many instances of violence from "One Piece", offensive romance from "Sonic X" and the elimination of several episodes from Pokémon, to make 4Kids's shows more towards a family-friendly audience.

In an interview with Al Kahn, CEO of 4Kids, when asked how the company decides what properties or anime to acquire, his reply was, "We look at things such as popularity, but also if it has a merchandising component; can we license it, can we license products for it? That's really the main issue for us... the playing pattern, if it's popular and how it merchandises. If we can't merchandise it, it really doesn't have a lot of interest for us." Kahn claimed in the same interview that this was necessary, because otherwise adapting an anime would not be commercially viable due to the re-dubbing, re-editing, and re-scoring that 4Kids performs. 4Kids Entertainment remains largely unmoved by these claims, stating "...if [anime fans] want this programming to come to the United States then they're going to have to accept the fact that it's going to be available in two styles."

A March 2006 study by the Parents Television Council on violence in children's television programs said that the 4Kids dub of Shaman King was too violent for children. L. Brent Bozell also pointed out the 4Kids-dubbed Shaman King in one of his weekly column as an example of children's media he perceived as having undue "cultural landmines".

References

  1. http://4kidsentertainment.com/services/4kidstv.html
  2. " Contact." 4Kids Entertainment. Retrieved on October 13, 2009.
  3. 2004 annual report of 4Kids Entertainment
  4. Schneider, Michael. CW turns to 4Kids on Saturdays. Variety: Oct. 2, 2007.
  5. 4Kids Launches 4Sight Licensing Solutions Anime News Network. Accessed April 18, 2006.
  6. Microsoft and 4Kids Entertainment Form Alliance 4Kids Entertainment.com. Accessed 17 January 2006.
  7. Pennington, Steven. Alfred R. Kahn Anime News Network. Accessed 24 April 2005.
  8. New PTC Study Finds More Violence on Children's TV than on Adult-Oriented TV. Parents Television Council. March 2, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2007.


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