Cartoon Network is a cable television network created by Turner Broadcasting which primarily shows animated programming. The original American channel began broadcasting on October 1, 1992, with the Bugs Bunny short Rhapsody Rabbit being its first-ever aired program. Cartoon Network originally served as a 24-hour outlet for classic animation properties from the Turner Broadcasting libraries. Cartoon Network is mainly youth-oriented, but shares channel space with a late-night adult-oriented channel skein called Adult Swim, helping to boost being popular with kids and adults. In recent years, Cartoon Network began airing more live-action programming, mainly being movies.
In 2008, Cartoon Network made a music video stating that comedies are the heart of the network and action is the soul of the network. Cartoon Network's west feed was also introduced in 2008, three hours behind regular networks.
Late 1980s-2000s: Early developments and launch of Cartoon Network and Boomerang
In 1986, Ted Turner's cable-TV conglomerate acquired all of the MGM and most of the United Artists film libraries (United Artists and MGM were together since 1981 when MGM bought UA, which is how MGM gained access to the Associated Artists Productions catalog) (which also included Gilligan's Island and its animated spin-offs, the U.S. rights to a majority of the RKO Radio Pictures library, and the a.a.p., later United Artists owned, catalog which includes the pre-1948 Warner Bros. film library, the Harman and Ising Merrie Melodies except for Lady, Play Your Mandolin! the pre-August 1948 color Warner Bros. cartoons and the Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios Popeye cartoons originally released by Paramount Pictures). In 1988, its cable channel Turner Network Television launched and had gained an audience with its film library. With this massive MGM and United Artists libraries, Turner formed Turner Entertainment.
In 1990, it purchased animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions and acquired its large library as well as most of the Ruby-Spears library.
By October 1, 1992, Cartoon Network was created as an outlet for Turner's massive library of animation, and the initial programming on the channel consisted exclusively of reruns of classic Warner Bros. (like Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies), MGM (like Tom and Jerry, Happy Harmonies and Droopy the Dog), and Hanna-Barbera cartoons (like The Jetsons and The Flintstones), with many Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons like Wally Gator, used as time fillers.
From its launch, the channel would be broadcasting cartoons 24 hours per day, 7 days per week until 2007. In 2007, Cartoon Network leased out its night block to Adult Swim.
Most of the short cartoons were aired in a half-hour or hour-long packages, usually separated by character or studio—Down Wit' Droopy D aired old Droopy Dog shorts, The Tom and Jerry Show presented the classic cat-and-mouse team, and Bugs and Daffy Tonight provided classic Looney Tunes shorts. Late Night Black and White showed early black and white cartoons (mostly from the Fleischer Studios), and ToonHeads aired themed cartoon shorts with original, unique bumpers and trivia about the cartoons they were showing. Another noteworthy early show was High Noon Toons, which was a programming block hosted by cowboy hand puppets Haas and Lil'
Today, Cartoon Network no longer airs any classic programming. The sister channel Boomerang offers Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies and the MGM Tom and Jerry series daily. The rest of the classic programming does not air on a daily basis.
Original series and the Time Warner acquisition
Cartoon Network started as a channel to rerun classic animated series. The network's first original series, The Moxy Show was created in 1993. Hanna-Barbera's new subsidiary, Cartoon Network Productions, was founded in 1994 and started production on What-a-Cartoon!, a series of creator-driven short cartoons that premiered on Cartoon Network in 1995. It was the network's third original series since the second was Space Ghost Coast to Coast and the first was The Moxy Show. The project was spearheaded by several Cartoon Network executives, plus Fred Seibert (who was formerly one of the driving forces behind the Nicktoons, and would go on to produce the similar animation anthology series Oh, Yeah! Cartoons). The chief purpose of What-a-Cartoon! was to help Cartoon Network expand their library of exclusive programming and it introduced a number of new cartoon ideas. Only seven of them, however, were spun off into their own series runs. These six series, Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, The Powerpuff Girls, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Mike, Lu & Og became the origins of the network's original cartoons which were collectively known as Cartoon Cartoons. But the channel later dropped this name for their cartoons after 2003. At 2003, Cartoon Network had a new block called Fridays.
Toonami was introduced in 1997, bringing Saturday night ratings higher than before and Cartoon Cartoons were doing well. In 1996, the merger of Turner with Time Warner was complete. This consolidated ownership of all the WB cartoons, so now post-1948 and the former Sunset-owned cartoons (which WB reacquired in the 1960s) were being shown on the network, leading up to a 2000 announcement that Cartoon Network would be the exclusive TV home of the classic Warner Bros. animated library. Newer animated productions by WB also started appearing on the network - mostly reruns of shows that had aired on Kids' WB (which in turn aired PPG for a short time in 2002) plus certain new programs such as Justice League.
Cartoon Network's programming would not be available in Canada until 1997 when a Canadian specialty network Teletoon (and its French-language counterpart) was launched.
On October 1, 2002, Cartoon Network's 10th birthday, Cartoon Network aired a one-day special bumper acknowledging their 10th anniversary. The promo showed quick clips from shows, bumpers, and promos throughout Cartoon Network's history.
The 2000s: Making way for new series
On June 14, 2004, Cartoon Network relaunched itself with a new logo and slogan, “This is Cartoon Network.” The first program ever aired on the relaunched Cartoon Network was The Powerpuff Girls. The bumps now featured 2D cartoon characters from their shows interacting in a CGI City composed of sets from their shows. They were created by Animal Logic.
By now, nearly all of Cartoon Network's classic cartoon programming had been replaced by new programming, with the exception of a select few, such as Tom and Jerry, a longtime staple of the Turner networks. Within 1 year, 2005 was known as the golden age for the network, having as much as 20 new shows with new episodes for each one, at once. The network also was heavily promoted in 2005 with new commercials on a daily basis. On April 10, 2006, the network took off more shows from the 1990s (Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls etc.), put them on a 30 minute (later hour long) block called The Cartoon Cartoon Show. Some shows like Time Squad, Mike, Lu & Og, I Am Weasel, Looney Tunes and Sheep in the Big City were taken off the network completely. Some shows started to air on Boomerang this year.
Since the City Era was introduced and The New Cartoon Network, years ranging from 2004 to 2005 were what was believed to be the final years of Cartoon Network's Golden Age.
Still using their "City" look, Cartoon Network launched Cartoon Network Summer in 2005 where new episodes of old shows and premieres of new shows including Camp Lazlo and The Life and Times of Juniper Lee. Lumpus and Slinkman (from Camp Lazlo) hosted a block at Summer '05 called Lumpus and Slinkman's Cabin Fever from 10am-4pm. In December of that year, Cartoon Network aired sneak peeks of new shows started to air including Ben 10, and My Gym Partner's a Monkey.
On April 10, 2006, Cartoon Network's slogan was a simplistic “Cartoon Network - Yes!,” as spoken by Fred Fredburger, a character on The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. The network also used bumps featuring the cast of Camp Lazlo as stick puppets and characters in front of a red background.
The new campaign featured three different styles of bumps. The first style is "Lunchbox of Doom," featuring an assortment of show clips inside a CGI gothic lunchbox, a reference to an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. The second is "VS.," comparing two cartoon characters. The last style is a reprise of the CGI City look, using flat, dark colors.
As of 2007, Cartoon Network retained the image campaign that began in 2006, although a slightly refreshed version of the theme is currently in use. On October 15, 2007, the channel began broadcasting in 1080i High Definition.
On February 9, 2007, Jim Samples, president of Cartoon Network resigned over the Boston Bomb Scare. He had been president since 2001. Then, in mid-2007, Stuart Synder became president of the network.
Starting in Fall of 2007, the network look was revamped, and bumpers and station identification were themed to The Hives song "Fall is Just Something That Grown-Ups Invented," and aired for several months past fall, leading into July 2008, when it got replaced. It has seemed to still be aired during the summer. Another bumper named "Ridiculously Short Cartoons" aired excerpts from shows on Cartoon Network, also airing until May 2008.
Starting September 14, 2007, the first live action Cartoon Network Studios show, Out of Jimmy's Head started to air. In May 2008, the show left the network and the character sneak peek was still on Cartoon Network Video until Summer 2008 when the show was deleted from the Video list.
Live action started to air a lot of movies and shows.
A new direction
About a third of their Cartoon Network Studio shows were canceled during this year. When the new year started, Cartoon Network started using some of the shows that currently aired on Teletoon. Johnny Test was added in January 2008, George of the Jungle was also added in January 2008, Bakugan Battle Brawlers was added in February 2008, Chop Socky Chooks was added in March 2008, Total Drama Island was added in June 2008 and 6teen (which originally aired on Nickelodeon) was added in November 2008.
Cartoon Network announced at its 2008 Upfront that it was working on a new project called "Cartoonstitute," which was headed by animators Craig McCracken (as executive producer) and Rob Renzetti (as supervising producer). Both report to Rob Scorcher, who created the idea. The program would've worked in a way similar to What A Cartoon!, by creating at least 150 pieces of animation within 20 months.
Since April 2008, Cartoon Network has played a 1-minute sign-off bumper, depicting a child's daily activities from sunrise to nighttime. In the end, it reads "Good Night. See you tomorrow!" before the Adult Swim program block began. It was their first sign-off bumper after 7 years of showing such a nightly block.
Changes in store
Starting July 14, 2008, Cartoon Network replaced its Fall 2007 era with little creatures called Noods which are most of the time white until they either change colors or change to, and hereby take the personalities of, Cartoon Network main characters or other characters. Also, they have been characters in the Supermarket with food. For example, Chowder behind eaten fruits. Nood looks were so popular that Cartoon Network made Seasonal Noods for the Holidays of the Year including Halloween and Winter. The Logo has also changed a bit. A Marathon means a new color logo and the Holidays has an ice logo. It changed in almost every program that airs. Many pages of the Cartoon Network website was changed to a new background. The pages include Games, Shows, and Front-Page.
On September 20, 2008, Toonami ended and gave its Saturday night time slot to Action Flicks, showing animated action movies. In mid-2008, Movie Madness was changed into The Flicks. The Flicks airs each Sunday night premieres of worldwide movies or network movies. Pretty much, Cartoon Network stopped airing shows before 2007, since most of them were canceled. Some weren't canceled but aired on CN Video, in their Cartoon Network website or iTunes. 2008 also brought the return of the show, ¡Mucha Lucha! and also had many airings of the popular show, Johnny Test.
Programming blocks also changed. New episodes of Comedies moved to Thursdays because on Fridays, You Are Here, a new Action block started to air replacing Fried Dynamite's reruns of the Flicks movies. You Are Here is an action block. On Mondays to Wednesdays, the evening includes a remix of shows including comedies and non-comedies (sometimes movies). Thursdays are new episodes of comedies as for Fridays are new episodes of action shows. Saturdays include action movies and Sundays are Premieres of movies.
Cartoon Network had another live-action movie year. Plus, the network got all their pre-2007 shows pretty much out of their network. Ed, Edd n Eddy, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Codename: Kids Next Door still air, which makes them the only Cartoon Cartoons that is currently airing on the channel.
Low ratings for Skunk Fu! brought the end of the show for the network since it wasn't seen starting March 2009. Chop Socky Chooks left the network again, Ed, Edd n Eddy returned, Squirrel Boy returned, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends returned and League of Super Evil premiered. The Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends series finale aired on May 3, 2009, airing the last five episodes in a marathon from 1PM-7PM mixing up new episodes and older, popular episodes. Squirrel Boy later had a big marathon called the Squirrel Boy Squirrel Bash!
On June 17, Cartoon Network had hosted reality shows for a block called CN Real. It proved to be unsuccessful to both CN fans and the ratings, so it was discontinued in July of that year
Out with the Noods, In with the Physics
In 2010, May 29, Noods had been out of Cartoon Network and replaced by wacky, colorful physic bumpers highly reminiscent to the ones from the network's heyday. Also, a new logo of the C and N turned into 3D cubes was added. This was a tiny upward rank of Cartoon Network's greatness, as many fans hated the Noods. The new look was created by Brand New School.
In 2009, two new series, Adventure Time and Regular Show were announced. The Warner Bros. Animation produced series MAD was also announced. Adventure Time started airing on April 5, 2010. Regular Show and MAD premiered on September 6, 2010.
In 2010, two new series were announced, The Amazing World of Gumball and Warner Bros. Animation produced series, The Looney Tunes Show. Both premiered on May 3, 2011.
In 2012, Steven Universe, Uncle Grandpa, The High Fructose Adventures of the Annoying Orange and WB produced series Teen Titans Go! were announced. They started airing on CN in 2013.
In 2013, Cartoon Network announced the cancellation of The Looney Tunes Show for the Annunciation of a new Looney Tunes reboot called Wabbit (later renamed New Looney Tunes in 2017). The show ended in 2014.
New series Clarence and We Bare Bears started airing in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
A Spanish language audio track is accessible via SAP, some cable and satellite companies offer the Spanish feed as a separate channel.
Adult Swim (stylized as [adult swim]) is Cartoon Network's late night adult-oriented sister network, which premiered on September 2, 2001, in the United States. In March 2005, Adult Swim was split from Cartoon Network so that Nielsen Media Research could treat it as a separate channel for rating purposes. However, Adult Swim programming still airs as a block on the same broadcast channel like Cartoon Network.
Boomerang is an American pay television network as well as a streaming service that is owned by Turner Broadcasting System. Launched in 1992 globally and in 2000 for the United States, Boomerang originated as a programming block and spinoff of Cartoon Network. It eventually grew into its own separate channel and identity, and similarly shares the same brand and likeness as Cartoon Network. The network's schedule is more experimental than most children's networks, mixing in older and newer content, and also runs on a sustained model with little advertising outside of Turner services and short-form continuity mainly featuring cartoon shorts and featurettes. It specializes in classic and contemporary animated programming owned by WarnerMedia, including Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and Scooby-Doo. The channel also aired both Powerpuff Girls shows - The original series aired from December 2008-July 2015, and the reboot aired from November 2016-January 1, 2018. Since then, nothing Powerpuff Girls-related has aired on the channel, except for a bumper that was introduced in 2015 that features the girls and Mojo Jojo competing in an obstacle course (similar to the likes of Wipeout.), until September 2020, when the original series started airing again. The series would continue to air on Boomerang until recently, when its timeslot was replaced with Codename: Kids Next Door.
High definition channels and service
On October 15, 2007, Cartoon Network began to provide content in high definition.
A Cartoon Network HD channel is available from many cable and all satellite service providers. Actual high definition content, however, remains limited to a few newer programs. Older 4:3 content is stretched to fill a 16:9 aspect ratio. This process results in a warped picture, which is especially apparent during horizontal panning. All programs produced in HD are aired in letterbox on the SD feed.
- The Best Place for Cartoons (October 1, 1992-June 13, 2004)
- Screwy, Ain't It? (September 1997-September 2003)
- This is Cartoon Network (June 14, 2004-2006)
- YES! (2006)
- Let's Go! (2009-May 28, 2010)
- CHECK it. (May 29, 2010–present)
- Are You CN What We're Sayin'? (Summer 2014-2015)
- On Your Cartoon Network! (February 2017-present)
- NEW NEW NEW NEW (February 2017-2018)
- Lady, Play Your Mandolin! was sold to Sunset/Guild Films. Sunset owner Guild shut down in 1961 because Seven-Arts studios bought Guild. In 1967, Seven-Arts bought WB, putting the Sunset packages back in WB's ownership
- The latest released WB cartoon sold to a.a.p. was Haredevil Hare, released on July 24, 1948.
- Cartoon Network
- Liu, Ed. "PR: Cartoon Network Creates The Cartoonstitute", Toon Zone, TimeWarner, 2008-04-03. Retrieved on 2008-04-05.
- "Adult Swim/CN Split Cements Strategy". ICv2. March 3, 2005. http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/6516.html. Retrieved August 13, 2010.