A sad Saturday for cartoon fans, as it was the first weekend in the last 50 years of television history that America woke up with no Saturday morning cartoons to watch. On September 27 the last remaining cartoon block aired for the final time. As this bleak wikipedia entry states “As of 2014, there are currently no more children’s animated productions on network TV.”That is most certainly all, folks.
The Saturday-morning ritual has been replaced by educational programming, enforced by FCC ruling that networks must provide a minimum of three hours it to audiences each week. Though these rules were introduced in the 90s, their influence is what is considered to be behind the demise of cartoons on screen today. Now that advertisers know that young eyes are no longer in the living room, but now around devices and portable screens, advertisers are no longer interested in supporting the time slots that cartoons would traditionally be seen in.
Cable and streaming networks are also to blame. These outlets do not have to abide by the guidelines set out by the FCC, so can stream as many visually delicious adventures as they wish, without committing to educational content. This is a shame as entertainment and education should not need to be separated out in this way, and replaced with uninspired ways to fill quotas. Studios like Pixar, Aardman and Frederator Studios show us that well-made animated content that entertains adults and kids alike has the magic factor beyond all others. Kids TV classic Sesame Street was started under the mission to “master the addictive qualities of television and do something good with them”, inspired by a piece of research which showed that kids learn better when around adults. The show has broken boundaries in education and changed attitudes to issues such as HIV and cultural diversity, as well as introducing us to the little-known planet Koosbane.