Animaniacs was doomed the moment Kids WB took over?

wonderfly

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Just finished reading this article from Looper:


As we all know, Fox Kids had ordered 65 episodes of Animaniacs up front, which premiered in the Fall of 1993. It was one of the huge hits on Fox Kids from the Fall of 1993 to the Spring of 1994, but then after that, Fox Kids stopped putting effort into funding the show (only 4 more episodes were produced by Fox Kids - all 4 of which aired in the Fall of 1994).

I always wondered back then WHY Fox Kids wasn't putting more effort into greenlighting more episodes. and it turns out there's 2 reasons for this: the runaway success of Power Rangers (which also premiered in the Fall of 1993) caused Fox Kids to focus on that, and also because Fox Kids became aware that The WB had plans to launch their own network (and their own kids block - Kids WB - which didn't premiere until the Fall of 1995).

But then there's an interesting bit from this article:

"It finally looked like Animaniacs was back on track for the long haul, but as it turned out, it became a victim of its own success in a way that not many series ever have.

Animaniacs suffered for being popular outside its target audience

Animaniacs had always been extremely popular with college and adult audiences, which was by design, since a great deal of its pop culture references, double entendres, and sexual innuendo would fly right over the heads of its supposed target demographic. Fox had embraced this aspect of the series, but Kids WB wasn't too keen on letting in all of those older audiences. Warner Bros. had specifically pitched its kids' programming block to its advertisers as being great for very small children, which Animaniacs was decidedly not. As a result, executives found themselves in a quandary as to what to do with the series.

Unfortunately, it became clear pretty quickly that the answer was "nothing."

Animaniacs was "too popular with adults and college age kids"?!?

Sure, Kids WB ordered 13 episodes of Animaniacs, which aired in the Fall of 1995 and in early winter 1996, but we the fans were kinda expecting new episodes premiering all week long on weekday afternoons, all that Fall (like the way it was back in 1993). Instead, we got just 1 new episode a week, on Saturday mornings (and sometimes we went a few weeks without a premiere). Then they only ordered 8 more episodes for the Fall 1996/Spring 1997 season, and 9 final episodes for the Fall of 1997 and all of 1998 (the final episode aired in November of 1998).

And we all know what was heating up on TV by November of 1998: Pokemon. Which started off in syndication in the Fall of 1998, but was officially picked up as a Kids WB exclusive in February 1999.


On one hand, it at first glance looks like Animaniacs was a staple of Kids TV in the 90's for 5 years, but really....it was a powerhouse in 1993/1994, but then it was mistreated by Fox Kids, and then in turn by Kids WB.

So does anyone else think Animaniacs was mistreated (by Fox Kids and/or Kids WB) and....was Animaniacs too "adult" for Kids WB? That's the first time I ever heard that....
 
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Daikun

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I always wondered back then WHY Fox Kids wasn't putting more effort into greenlighting more episodes. and it turns out there's 2 reasons for this: the runaway success of Power Rangers (which also premiered in the Fall of 1993) caused Fox Kids to focus on that, and also because Fox Kids became aware that The WB had plans to launch their own network (and their own kids block - Kids WB - which didn't premiere until the Fall of 1995).

There's a third reason: Shifting management at the Fox network. Jamie Kellner, who co-founded Fox, would later move on to create The WB, and Fox Kids itself was being taken over by Saban Entertainment. They would rather push their own shows than continue a partnership with WB (a contract which cost $100 million, BTW), so it would make sense for them to pull out.
 

Peter Paltridge

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About the low number of episodes being pushed out during the Kids WB years...Ruegger said something curious; he said there was never an official order. He said when they moved to Kids WB they produced episodes at their own pace until they were told they were cancelled, so the low number was actually them slowing down production voluntarily. Weird if true, but at that point Animaniacs wasn't the only show Tom was running.
 

ToonJay723

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Animaniacs was "too popular with adults and college age kids"?!?
Yep, so was Freakazoid and Pinky and the Brain. That's was why the executives shoehorned in Elmyra.


Sure, Kids WB ordered 13 episodes of Animaniacs, which aired in the Fall of 1995 and in early winter 1996, but we the fans were kinda expecting new episodes premiering all week long on weekday afternoons, all that Fall (like the way it was back in 1993). Instead, we got just 1 new episode a week, on Saturday mornings (and sometimes we went a few weeks without a premiere). Then they only ordered 8 more episodes for the Fall 1996/Spring 1997 season, and 9 final episodes for the Fall of 1997 and all of 1998 (the final episode aired in November of 1998).
Well they already made 65 episodes for syndication, with the exception of He-Man, shows usually don't get a large order if they already have 65 or 78 episodes.
 

TnAdct1

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While I do agree that a big issue with Kids WB in the early years was that the executives were upset that their line-up was a hit with older viewers (if their attempts to sabotage things in 1996-1997 were any indication), I don't think that Animaniacs was mistreated by the network. Rather, this is a case of the times changing, with Animaniacs having a decent lifespan for a 1980's-1990's cartoon (where a lot of the successful shows lasted at least five seasons).
 

TheCartoonRailfan

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Despite what was happening with Fox and WB, Animaniacs was still receiving tremendous attention while it was airing on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Regarding the audience, Fox should have just left the show alone since it was still highly popular with the adult crowd.
 

Saotome2U

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I remember this, and kinda funny I revisited this article maybe a couple weeks ago. It really is a shame that at the time, Kids WB execs were so hellbent on getting the young audience and not continuing to bank on their popular shows even though it brought in more teens to adults. I definitely know that was one of the reasons Freakazoid was canceled (and part of the retooling for season 2), and the theme of Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain puts it in your face, and like someone said above, that is why Elmyra was brought in and pretty much killed Pinky & the Brain. But also, to put a bow on this, look at the one show that premiered after these were canceled: Histeria!

You could easily tell this show was being catered for the kiddies -- and I mean, the really really young aged kids who would never get any jokes from Animaniacs, Freakazoid, or the smart wit from P&tB. All 3 of these shows were canceled and/or retooled to lower quality way ahead of their time.
 

mimitchi33

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A lot of kids' shows have flopped in the past because more adults like them than kids. An infamous case is what happened to Young Justice, where more teen girls watched it than boys. This created an issue, as the toys had to sell with both kids and teens in order to become big. They did not, hence the cancellation.
 

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