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Fox Kids was the Fox Broadcasting Company's Americanmarker children's programming division and brand name from September 8, 1990 until September 7, 2002. It was owned by Fox Television Entertainment airing programming on Monday-Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

The programming block was aimed at young kids, and teenagers ages 7–14 and it continued to run repeats until September 7, 2002. At that time, Fox put the time slots up for bidding, with 4Kids Entertainment winning and securing the Saturday morning programming block.

History

According to James B. Stewart's DisneyWar, Fox Kids' history is intertwined with the history of The Disney Afternoon. DuckTales, the series which served as the launching pad for the Disney Afternoon, premiered in September 1987 on Fox's owned-and-operated stations, as well as various Fox affiliates. This may have been due in no small part to the fact that then-Disney chief operating officer Michael Eisner and his then-Fox counterpart, Barry Diller, had worked together at the ABC network and at Paramount Pictures.

In 1988 Disney purchased Los Angelesmarker television station KHJ-TV, later renaming it as KCAL-TVmarker. The station's new owners wanted DuckTales to be shown on KCAL, thus taking it away from Fox-owned KTTVmarker. Furious at the breach of contract, Diller pulled DuckTales from all other Fox owned-and-operated stations in the fall of 1989, and encouraged Fox affiliates to do the same, though most did not initially. As Disney went forward in building the Disney Afternoon, Fox then began the process of launching its own children's programming lineup.

Fox Kids was launched as Fox Children's Network in September 8, 1990, a joint venture between Fox Broadcasting Company and its affiliates. Originally headed up by division president Margaret Loesch and airing programming originally for 30 minutes per day Monday through Friday, and three hours on Saturday morning. In 1991 programming expanded to 90 minutes on weekdays and four hours on Saturday mornings, and a year later grew to 2½ hours on weekdays.

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, mainly as a promotional vehicle for current artists, films, and programs on the primetime Fox schedule.

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 Savoy/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 KTVImarker (Channel 2) in St. Louismarker. Originally, religious broadcaster KNLCmarker (Channel 24) took the block after it moved from former Fox affiliate KDNLmarker (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 WGHPmarker (Channel 8) in Greensboromarker upon becoming a Fox O & O in September 1995. The timeslot here was previously occupied by ABC Soap Operas. Beginning in the Summer of 1996 Fox Kids would move to WBFX (now WCWGmarker) (Channel 20) and run in pattern.


WHBQmarker (Channel 13) in Memphismarker became a Fox O & O in September 1995. The weekday schedule was initially shown from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., followed by Family Matters. In 1998, only two hours of the three hour lineup was shown from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.. Beginning in the fall of 1999, the weekday block was no longer aired at all; instead, the timeslot was occupied by syndicated talk and court shows. Also, beginning in 1996, the Saturday block was split in half; the first half was shown from 5-7 AM local time, followed by syndicated shows like Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures and The Magic School Bus, then the second half of the block was shown from 9-11 AM local time. This policy continues with 4Kids TV programming.

Savvoy/Fox and later Emmis-owned (at the time) stations;
  • WALAmarker (Channel 10) in Mobile, Alabamamarker
  • KHON-TVmarker (Channel 2) in Honolulumarker
  • WVUEmarker (Channel 8) in New Orleansmarker -- 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..
  • WLUKmarker (Channel 11) in Green Baymarker. 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;
  • WSVNmarker (Channel 7) in Miami, Floridamarker, which dropped the block at the end of 1993 and at that time moved to WBZLmarker (Channel 39) and eventually moved to WAMI-TVmarker (Channel 69) in 1997. WSVN was the first Fox affiliate not to take Fox Kids.
  • WITImarker (Channel 6) in Milwaukee, Wisconsinmarker, which would opt to not take the block upon becoming a Fox station in 1994, leaving it on WCGVmarker (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.
  • WJBKmarker (Channel 2) in Detroit, Michiganmarker also saw no need for Fox Kids, leaving it on WKBDmarker (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 WADLmarker (Channel 38), which is regarded in that market as a station where the main network affiliates dump programming they don't want to broadcast.
  • WJWmarker (Channel 8) in Cleveland, Ohiomarker opted not to take Fox Kids. Former Fox affiliate WOIOmarker (Channel 19) took CBS affiliation. As a result, low rated newer independent WBNX-TVmarker (Channel 55) would take Fox Kids. After that, WBNX continued to grow and buy better programming eventually taking WB affiliation as well. WBNX's Fox Kids Club became the largest Kids Club in the eastern United States. It's Fox Kids Club magazine circulation was the second largest in the country. WBNX (now affiliated with The CW) continues to air 4Kids TV on Sunday mornings and Kids WB on Saturdays.
  • Fox's East Coast flagship WNYWmarker (Channel 5) in New York, New Yorkmarker in later years deferred the block to sister UPN (and later MyNetwork TV) station WWORmarker (Channel 9). This was also the case in Los Angeles, Californiamarker between Fox West Coast flagship KTTVmarker (Channel 11) and their UPN (and later MyNetwork TV) station, KCOPmarker (Channel 13).
  • WTVTmarker (Channel 13) in Tampa, Floridamarker also opted not to take Fox Kids. Former Fox affiliate WFTSmarker (Channel 28) also could not keep it because they were taking ABC affiliation which moved from WTSPmarker (Channel 10) which replaced that with CBS affiliation that WTVT originally had. Fox Kids therefore moved to an independent station WTTAmarker (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 WMORmarker (Channel 32) which was a WB station from 1995 to 1998.
  • KSAZ-TVmarker (Channel 10) in Phoenix, Arizonamarker also did not take Fox Kids upon beginning Fox Affiliation in December 1994. It remained on KNXVmarker (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 KPHOmarker (Channel 5) previously an independent September 1994. KSAZ then became an indepdendent until that December. ABC would remain on KTVKmarker (Channel 3) until January 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 KASWmarker (Channel 61) which also took WB affiliation as well. This arrangement still continues with 4Kids TV even though Fox owned KUTPmarker (Channel 45) is a former UPN station now affiliated with My Network TV.
  • WDAF-TVmarker (Channel 4) in Kansas City, Missourimarker also did not take Fox Kids in 1994. In that market it would move to KSMO-TVmarker (Channel 62) as former Fox affiliate KSHBmarker (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 KCWEmarker) (Channel 29). In the fall of 1999 though it moved to KMCImarker (Channel 38).
  • WAGAmarker (Channel 5) in Atlanta, Georgiamarker also did not take Fox Kids. It remained on then Fox Owned WATLmarker (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 WHOTmarker (Channel 34) in nearby Athensmarker dropped its shopping format for general entertainment in 1999, Fox Kids moved there and remained until it was canceled nationally in 2002.
  • KDFWmarker (Channel 4) Dallas, Texasmarker/Ft.marker Worth, Texasmarker also did not take Fox Kids in 1995. Fox continued to own KDAFmarker (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 KDFImarker (Channel 27).
  • WBRCmarker (Channel 6) Birmingham, Alabamamarker 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 WTTOmarker (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.
  • KTBCmarker (Channel 7) Austin, Texasmarker 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-TVmarker (Channel 5/38/56) Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvaniamarker/Scranton, Pennsylvaniamarker 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 1995 and 1996, Fox Kids merged with Haim Saban's Saban Entertainment, Inc. to form Fox Kids Worldwide Inc. Some of this programming also aired on Fox Family Channel (now ABC Family).

In 1998 Fox bought out their affiliates' interest in Fox Kids as part of a deal to help pay for the network's pricey NFL football package. The Fox Kids programming weekday block was trimmed to 2 hours, and added The Magic School Bus, which also 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.

End of Fox Kids

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 & UPN aired mostly comical cartoons, with the exception of Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens, which were sitcoms aimed at teenagers, while CBS aired preschool programming from Nick Jr., and NBC was airing the E/I programming from Discovery Kids, 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.

After Fox Family Worldwide was sold to Disney in 2001, Fox Kids was placed under the oversight of Fox Television Entertainment and moved to Fox headquarters on the 20th Century Fox lot, 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 until September 14, 2002, when it gave the time to 4Kids Entertainment. The block was renamed FoxBox and then in January 2005, three years later renamed again to 4Kids TV. The 4Kids TV block lasted until 2008, when Fox and 4Kids parted ways.

After Fox Kids

While Fox Kids was ending on United Statesmarker broadcast television, Disney instituted a two-hour morning block on its newly acquired ABC Family, programmed similarly to Fox Kids, simply titled ABC Family Action Block. Internationally, Fox Kids continued to air under the same name, despite its new Disney ownership.

It was not until 2004 that Disney unveiled its new brand name for action and adventure programming, Jetix. The new name was applied first in the United States on the ABC Family morning block and a new prime-time lineup on Toon Disney. Internationally, the name was phased in, first as a programming block, then the new network name.

Disney now holds the rights to nearly all of the Fox Family/Saban archives, including Power Rangers, Digimon, The Tick, Eek The Cat and The Terrible Thunderlizards. Most of these shows air on Jetix, although Eek! The Cat, The Terrible Thunderlizards, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, and select other shows are being streamed online (complete with Fox Family branding during end credits) at ABCfamily.com.

Programming

See also



References

External links




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