Television history was made on Oct. 4, 2014 as no Saturday morning cartoons were aired, solidifying the fact that the once-cherished programs will no longer be shown on Saturday mornings at all. It was the first time in 50 years that an animated show did not start off the nation’s weekend on at least one of the main television networks.
A great percentage of America can look back and have some of their fondest memories of childhood being on a Saturday morning. Children would whip out a bowl of their favorite sugary cereal and turn on the television to start watching the latest episodes of their most beloved cartoon series. Animaniacs, The Jetsons, Ghostbusters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Scooby-Doo are among many of the highly-cherished programs that made watching cartoons on a Saturday a sacred morning, indeed.
The aforementioned TV shows are not dead and gone by a long shot. Only the time slot audiences once viewed them in is. Children today may have little to no opinion on the fact thanks to the technological advances that have allowed TV-on-demand to be more accessible through the years. The trend began with VHS, then DVD, then Blu-Ray and now the streaming services like Netflix and Hulu that don’t even require a television to watch one’s favorite programs.
The fact that cartoons would, one day, no longer be shown on Saturday mornings was inevitable. The CW channel was the last remaining network on television to follow suit with the trend of cutting animated programs from their schedule. NBC was the first major network to rid themselves of cartoons in the weekend morning time slot when teen comedies such as Saved By the Bell began to take over in 1992. NBC also began featuring the weekend version of The Today Show. Networks such as ABC and CBS fell into the cartoon-ridding trend shortly after and in 2008 Fox placed infomercials in the animated shows’ time slot.
The Vortexx was the name of the CW’s final animated TV series and it has now been replaced by One Magnificent Morning, which is a live-action five-hour bloc designated towards teenage audiences. Although they are no longer airing at the time when America has known them to in the past, cartoons are very much alive and thriving.
Multiple animated series have grown to target specific audiences. Babies and young children enjoy the likes of Pocoyo, while the little ones, just beginning their schooling, love shows such as Disney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates. The long-running Spongebob Squarepants still warms the hearts of all ages as the show still continues to produce new episodes. The likes of animation series geared towards teens and adults are very prominent as well. The Simpsons remains a long-time fan favorite as well as Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy.
As cartoons are said to no longer be shown on Saturday mornings, those who hold that childhood memory in their hearts will feel a twinge of sadness for the recent loss. But one must fear not as the production of cartoon animation will continue to rise with the numerous shows that are currently forming memories for a new generation.
By Cody Collier