When the children of America woke up this morning, they did so without the option of parking in front of the TV with a bowl of sugary cereal and watching cartoons, for the first time in decades.
Last Saturday, the CW — the last of the remaining broadcast networks to air a block of Saturday morning cartoons at all — aired Saturday morning cartoons (a four-hour block of cartoon programming called The Vortexx) for the last time, according to the Washington Post, replacing their Saturday morning cartoons with a five-hour block of live-action programming geared towards teens called One Magnificent Morning. This means that when the sun came up this morning, all of the TV-watching kids in America were bereft of Saturday morning cartoons to watch on network TV.
This is the first weekend in 50 years where Saturday morning cartoons are not being broadcasted on local channels in America.
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) October 4, 2014
For decades, American kids would get up early Saturday mornings — including this writer, who in the 70s and 80s would watch a test pattern for two hours before Scooby Doo came on — to aimlessly vegetate in front of the TV while Saturday morning cartoons catered to us. First it was old Bugs Bunny and Looney Toons, then it was He-Man and She-Ra, then it was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and it came to an end with Cubix and Sonic X. Tastes, and technology, may have changed, but the one thing that was constant was the fact that Saturday morning was cartoon time.
According to Gizmodo, the beginning of the end for Saturday morning cartoons came in 1992, when NBC became the first of the Big Three networks to do away with Saturday morning cartoons. CBS followed, but ABC managed to hold out until 2004. The CW, an upstart network, held on until last Saturday.
Gizmodo writer Robert Sorokanich says that cable, streaming, and (mostly) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) killed the Saturday morning cartoon tradition.
“In the 1990s, the FCC began more strictly enforcing its rule requiring broadcast networks to provide a minimum of three hours of ‘educational’ programming every week. Networks afraid of messing with their prime-time slots found it easiest to cram this required programming in the weekend morning slot. The actual educational content of this live-action programming is sometimes debatable, but it meets the letter of the law.”
Further, the hundreds of cable and satellite channels available, to say nothing of limitless streaming options available via YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu, mean that kids these days can get their cartoon fix any time they want.
The end of Saturday morning cartoons is another beloved American childhood tradition that is going the way of the Model T. According to these Inquisitr reports, school bake sales (thanks, Michelle Obama) and playground swing sets (thanks, insurance companies) are also being phased out.
Do you have fond memories of watching Saturday morning cartoons? Let us know in the comments.
[Image courtesy of: Masternet]