The future of anime on American TV

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Golden Geek

Gera Gera Po
Dec 31, 2013
544 11
United States
Anime on American TV probably reached its peak sometime in the early to mid-2000s, before Toonami's death in 2008 and the rise of the Internet led to an abrupt collapse. Are we going to enter this same cycle again, or will we maintain at a steady level?

Current homes of anime on American TV:
  1. Toonami. This is the most consistent and promising home for anime on American TV, especially with Jason DeMarco's recently expressed interest in pickups outside of the action genre. However, ratings have been consistently slumping down, and the schedule is constantly shifting around in a seemingly desperate attempt to get them back up. According to DeMarco, plans are in place for the block through 2021...but then what?
  2. Disney XD. Naruto: Shippuden was an experiment - a failed one. No one really knows what happened to Stitch!. However, Beyblade Burst, Doraemon and Yokai Watch have all performed fairly well for the network, and they're currently treating Pokemon a lot better than Cartoon Network had in years. There's also the factor of several of the network's series, such as Big Hero 6: The Series, DuckTales, Milo Murphy's Law, and Star vs. the Forces of Evil abruptly shifting over to the main Disney Channel. Disney could easily shift the focus/target of Disney XD to slightly older-skewing, perhaps a competitor to TeenNick, with older cartoons, the D|XP block of video game programming, and some PG anime. (Though a follow-up question to that is...which ones? Toonami already took two good candidates, Black Clover and My Hero Academia.)
  3. Starz. Starz has always had a healthy relationship with anime, though they're not showing as much on their linear stations as they used to. (Currently, the Digimon Adventure tri. movies and some Ghibli fare are in rotation.) However, their on-demand service has a surprising selection of titles from all sorts of different licensors, including Ah My Buddha!, Boogiepop Phantom, Buso Renkin, Death Note, Dirty Pair Flash, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, His and Her Circumstances, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Inuyasha, Naruto, Please Teacher!, Shingu: Secret of the Stellar Wars, Space Pirate Mito, Super GALS!, Toradora!, Vampire Knight, Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Zatch Bell!. Considering how many people use on-demand/streaming services nowadays, is this just as viable to capture new anime fans as broadcasting them on TV?
  4. Nicktoons. Honestly, I had to dig through the Nicktoons schedule and try to find out if they were still showing any anime. Once a week, Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V airs. That's it. Considering they let the Dragon Ball series go back to Toonami and how little Nickelodeon cares for this sub-channel of theirs in general, I wouldn't count on seeing any more anime in the future on Nicktoons.
  5. Toku. Formerly the Funimation Channel. While their schedule was originally just as anime-focused as Funimation's was (simply with Media Blasters' titles), the network has become a lot more focused on B-movies and tokusatsu series, leaving only a few anime for the late-night hours. (Not like there's any other appropriate time to show the likes of Yosuga no Sora on television.) Furthermore, the channel is managed so poorly that online schedule sites still show Funimation Channel's old placeholder schedule!
Those are the five main stations I know of where you can see anime on American TV. With two of them on the way out, is there a chance of anime reaching anywhere near its peak it once had, where you could find it at almost all hours of the day on American TV somewhere? Could a network like Viceland, which is already broadcasting anime in Australia and the UK, get involved in the US? If I email Syfy enough times, will they ever bring back Ani-Monday? Or is streaming simply the future not just for anime, but television in general?


Staff member
Oct 5, 2014
5,238 36 1
Austin, Texas
At the moment Toonami is pretty much the face of TV anime broadcasting. Since it's revival it has gone through a handful of anime shows and continues to acquire more titles to air. Although while that is the case it really isn't doing all that well considering that ratings overall are falling and streaming is picking up I think for now Toonami is pretty much going to continue being the consistent anime broadcast block. Plus not too many channels are airing anime other than Disney XD simply from a lack of anime that would fit a channel, especially for Disney XD since there aren't too many shows to air. Toonami is also having that issue but it isn't as difficult for it to deal with compared to XD.


Fight the darkness all around
Mar 17, 2010
705 1
As someone from a neighboring country where the only anime on TV are Beyblade, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh!, I'm not too optimistic about the medium's future on television.

For children's shows, it looks like US broadcasters have more or less closed the door. Established hits like Beyblade, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! have fallen further and further down cable listings. Wasn't Beyblade Burst the last "new" anime series to find a TV partner? That was back in 2016 and there's been no word of something new hitting the field. The companies with toys/TCGs to push are looking towards online outlets. Even the latest Digimon is MIA. Now that Disney is dismantling XD I suppose we could see them lean more on imports, but that's assuming they just don't pull a Viacom and use the channel exclusively for reruns and burnoff.

For older audience anime, well, there's just Toonami and I don't really see that changing. Between them, Hulu and Netflix (the latter two sign agreements that prevent TV runs for an amount of years), most of the mainstream-friendly anime gets snatched up, leaving few scraps to go around.

Toonami's problem is multi-faceted:

- Their target age demo is the one most likely to ditch linear television.

- Anime fans value immediacy over everything else and a linear channel airing dubs will struggle to counter that. World exclusives like FLCL are great, but it's not realistic to expect those to one day make up the majority of their schedule. The block is even losing out on dub premieres as more companies look to offer quicker turn arounds on their streaming services. I've heard people claim My Hero Academia was a bad pick because the show's old. It only premiered in 2016.

- They're David vs. multiple Golliaths. Netflix and Amazon essentially have unlimited resources and can offer producers the ability to launch their shows in 200 countries. Hulu has fewer, but is smart and knows when to head hunt marquee titles. Toonami is a US-only block whose primary bread and butter is in a declining segment of media distribution.

- The block is in a way, weighing anime down. By that I mean Adult Swim dumping all of their anime shows to Saturday nights limits its audience. That's the least watched day of the week. It tells viewers "this is anime day" and if they're of the dismissive kind, they might easily not check out shows they'd otherwise like because of those ideas. The big benefit of linear television is easy discoverability. Adult Swim doesn't really use that to its advantage. One Punch Man and Dragon Ball Super hit a lot more people than 11PM on Saturday night.

- Toonami is type cast. The block is dominanted by formulaic shonen shows. While this has provided a loyal audience, they've narrowed their reach. Adding alternative programming now may alienate the base they've cultivated.
Mar 17, 2009
4 2
Anime has made its way to Viceland USA. The Marvel anime series Iron Man and Wolverine air two episodes each on Friday nights at 12am EST, repeating the same night at 3am:


The series were last seen on TV in 2014 during the last days of G4. Perhaps this could be a predecessor for more anime series coming to the channel, similar to Viceland UK? Currently they air Tokyo Ghoul, Seraph of the End, Samurai Champloo and Eureka Seven.


Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2002
103 2
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I believe since daytime Toonami died in 2008, the audience has gradually shifted towards Crunchyroll and online alternatives. Anime seems a bit harder to program for mainstream American TV networks, because they can't control the content like they can their own productions. It may be wise if Toonami eventually licensed out their co-productions like New FLCL to alternative streaming platforms like Crunchyroll, so that people who don't subscribe to cable can also support the show.
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Peace Loving Shinobi
Mar 8, 2008
1,315 4
Los Angeles, CA
I think it will be about what we have now. Netflix and Amazon will get stuff. Crunchyroll and Funimation will get stuff on their own services. And other stuff will be on Toonami/Adult Swim. Disney XD or Nick will show the more kiddie toyetic shows like Beyblade and Pokemon and what have you.