Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel

Cartoon Network UK's 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel
An article from the UK’s Daily Express (30th August 1993) about the then soon to be launched Cartoon Network Europe. (Click To View The Full Image)

Cartoon Network UK’s 25th Anniversary: A Brief History Of The Channel

Tomorrow (17th September), 25 years ago, Cartoon Network Europe commenced broadcasting, it became Europe’s first television channel dedicated to animation, the channel launched only 11 and a half months after its U.S. counterpart and just like the original U.S. version, it aired cartoons from Hanna-Barbera’s animation library, which includes all time classics such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo!, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and many more, plus the Tom and Jerry shorts from MGM.

Cartoon Network Europe’s oldest (publicly known) schedule that can be found on the internet (including TCM’s first night and CN’s first 24-hour schedule) can be found on the link below:

https://www.toonzone.net/forums/threads/old-international-cartoon-networks-schedules.5253261/page-3

Cartoon Network Europe was the first version of the channel based outside the United States, a Latin American version did launch in April 1993, although that version was based at Turner’s HQ in Atlanta and to an extent, it’s still based there today. Cartoon Network USA had somewhat of a slow start, initially not every cable service carried the channel (it was available for those with a satellite dish), this wasn’t really Turner’s fault, it was just the reluctance of cable companies making long-term contracts. But when Cartoon Network launched in Europe, it took a different approach, the channel launched as a free-to-air channel available to all cable providers around the UK and Europe and anyone with a satellite dish pointing at Astra’s European satellite service. The first general manager of Cartoon Network Europe was Sue Kroll (now the Head of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution at Warner Bros.).

At launch, Cartoon Network Europe broadcasted between 5am and 7pm, it launched alongside and timeshared with another new channel from Turner – TNT Classic Movies, this was the precursor of TCM (Turner Classic Movies), which launched in the U.S. the following year. At launch, Cartoon Network already had rivals in the UK multichannel market, its biggest U.S. rival – Nickelodeon made it to UK shores 16 days earlier, Nickelodeon had the support of British satellite TV provider – Sky who still owns a stake in the channel today, Nickelodeon was already quite established in the U.S. and already had some original content, however, Nickelodeon had a slower but more localised approach to Cartoon Network and didn’t expand into other parts of Europe until later in the 1990’s, also Nickelodeon required a subscription to Sky’s newly launched Multichannels package.

CN’s other rival was UK-based TCC (The Children’s Channel) which was also available in the Benelux and Nordic parts of Europe and in France, it faced competition against children’s channel Canal J. It seems it was no co-incidence that Cartoon Network launched with a partial soundtrack service in French, Norwegian and Swedish, also a localised version of CN launched in the Netherlands four years later. Even though, CN was available in Europe, although it had quite a heavy UK focus as all shows were in English and mostly had UK focused advertising. In December 1996, Cartoon Network Europe became a 24-hour service, however most cable operators (as well as Sky’s analogue satellite service) continued carrying the Cartoon Network/TNT timeshare service.

Immediately after the channel’s initial launch, CN Europe was met with controversy on Continental Europe as the governments of France and Belgium prohibited cable companies from carrying Cartoon Network, as it was seen as an “invasion of American culture”, the ban was lifted. Turner’s news channel – CNN International has been broadcasting from London since 1985, so Turner already had an established base in the UK. On 26th November 1993, Cartoon Network Europe took part in “The Great International Toon-In”, where Cartoon Network USA and all six Turner-owned entertainment networks in the United States (that existed at the time), Cartoon Network Latin America and Cartoon Network Europe shared a marathon schedule presented by 3D-CGI character Moxy the Dog.

After a successful launch in Europe, Cartoon Network launched in the Asia-Pacific region the following year, which means, after two years, the channel already had near global coverage. The next stage in Cartoon Network’s journey will be one that will change the course of the channel forever. Over in the United States, the now Turner-owned Hanna-Barbera animation studio set up a new studio brand – Cartoon Network Studios and started to experiment with new ideas for the channel in a brand new animation shorts programme called “World Premiere Cartoons” (later became “What A Cartoon”), What A Cartoon spawned Cartoon Network’s original Cartoon Cartoons such as Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, Cow and Chicken, Mike, Lu and Og, Courage the Cowardly Dog and Johnny Bravo. As years went by, Cartoon Network started to become less dependent on its classic animation archive and started to focus on more original programming, also the merger with Time Warner in the mid-1990’s further supplemented the channel with animated productions from Warner Bros. Animation, this included Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman: The Animated Series, The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Taz-Mania, Animaniacs and the all-important post-1948 Looney Tunes shorts.

By the late 90’s, countries and regions started to have their own versions of Cartoon Network, where as the UK version (i.e. the original pan-European version) still functioned as the pan-European version of the channel up until 15th October 1999, a separate pan-European version was launched that summer which copied CN UK’s schedule (with some shows excluded and replaced), however after a couple of years, things started to differ. Also as a whole, Cartoon Network Europe started to diverge from its American counterpart in terms of presentation, by using an altered version of CN USA’s Powerhouse rebrand. All the movies from TNT were moved to a new channel – a UK version of TCM, TNT became a short-lived UK and analogue only entertainment channel.

In May 2000, Cartoon Network UK welcomed in the new millennium with a new channel that celebrates animation from the past – Boomerang (which originated from a programming block from the channel’s early days), this means Cartoon Network’s schedule was now freed up for more original shows, Cartoon Network Europe also started to make its own co-productions by partnering with European studios with new shows such as The Cramp Twins and Fat Dog Mendoza. In later years, came Robotboy, Spaced Out, Skatoony and Chop Socky Chooks. Cartoon Network UK started to air Japanese anime starting off with Dragon Ball Z, the popularity of Dragon Ball Z led to the establishment of the Toonami programming block, which led to a new channel called CNX in 2002 which targeted teenagers and young adults and featured productions from Adult Swim, action movies and Japanese anime. Less than a year later, the CNX channel was rebranded as Toonami and became more child friendly. Toonami started to move away from the action animation format and started airing live-action sitcoms, after this change, it closed a year later. In 2006, a companion channel – Cartoon Network Too launched, the channel acted as a overflow to the main CN channel and later focused on action animation, the channel also had a pre-school programming block called Cartoonito which later spawned the Cartoonito pre-school channel which launched in 2007. In 2014, Cartoon Network Too closed and Cartoon Network UK’s one-hour timeshift service – Cartoon Network +1 was reinstated.

The 2000’s decade saw an explosion of brand new animation from Cartoon Network Studios with Sheep in the Big City, Time Squad, Samurai Jack, Grim & Evil (later became The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy), Whatever Happened to Robot Jones? and Codename: Kids Next Door. In 2002, Cartoon Network introduced a brand new look called “Casillas” (Spanish for Boxes) as it was developed by design studio – Ink Apache, the rebrand was very creative and made use of existing archive footage of Cartoon Network’s animated shows.

In 2005, Cartoon Network UK (and the rest of Europe) introduced Cartoon Network USA’s “CN City” graphics package on its channel, CN City featured all of Cartoon Network’s cartoon characters living together in one city making it effectively one big crossover. The CN City era remains one of the most memorable eras on Cartoon Network and saw the launch of Foster’s Home of Imaginary Friends, Camp Lazlo, Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and Cartoon Network’s most successful action-animation franchise – Ben 10. After CN City era, Cartoon Network UK introduced another rebrand featuring an arrow that heavily featured the logo, this era featured bumpers animated by British animation studio – Pesky. The second stage of the Arrow Era featured CGI bumpers developed by design studio – Stardust. During this time, Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack were airing on the channel.

In 2010, Cartoon Network UK introduced a fresh new graphics package known as “Check It” that helped reboot the channel for the new animation renaissance of the 2010’s, Check It is considered to be a modern adaptation of Cartoon Network’s original Checkerboard graphics package. This era saw the successful Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Cartoon Network Development Studios Europe first ever show – The Amazing World of Gumball, which had its world premiere on Cartoon Network UK in 2011. A high-definition version of Cartoon Network – Cartoon Network UK HD also launched in 2011. Uncle Grandpa, Clarence, Teen Titans Go! and Steven Universe later followed with another iteration of “Check It” – Check It 3.0. Before the end of Check It 3.0. The Powerpuff Girls reboot was introduced in 2016, followed by Ben 10 later that year. In 2016, there was a short-lived Check It 4.0. rebrand that only lasted a year. In 2017, the Dimensional graphics package was introduced, which is Cartoon Network UK’s current era, during this era, OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes, Ben 10: Challenge, The Heroic Quest of the Valiant Prince Ivandoe, Unikitty! and Apple and Onion premiered, and next month, the channel will premiere Craig of the Creek. Coming soon in the near future another CN Studios Europe production will premiere – Elliott From Earth.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/media-american-invaders-are-targeting-your-kids-childrens-rights-and-non-stop-cartoons-will-do-1487639.html

https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=229iAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3nYNAAAAIBAJ&pg=1307,57411&dq=cartoon+network&hl=en

https://web.archive.org/web/20010826133132/http://www.cartoonnetwork.co.uk/news/frame_findex_exclude.html

https://web.archive.org/web/20080928103809/http://europe.turnerinfo.com:80/CN/UK/timeline/index.jsp

https://www.cartoonnetwork.co.uk

Toonami India To Close On 15th May

Toonami India To Close On 15th May

Toonami India To Close On 15th May

Turner India has announced that Cartoon Network India’s sister channel – Toonami will cease broadcasting on Tuesday 15th May. At launch, the channel mostly focused on action animation with shows such as Batman, Superman, Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Justice League, Inazuma Eleven Go and Dragon Ball Z, but in 2017, the channel was re-purposed as an classic animation channel, mostly airing shows from Cartoon Network’s and Hanna-Barbera’s library, however, the channel still airs the action-anime series Dragon Ball Super.

Turner India just soft-launched launched a new version of Cartoon Network called Cartoon Network HD+ last Sunday (15th April) which is being rolled out on other operators, it’s likely that the new channel will be Toonami India’s eventual replacement. The other Toonami channel in the Asia-Pacific region – Toonami Asia just recently closed at the end of March.

https://www.regularcapital.com/2018/03/toonami-asia-close-end-march/

https://dthforum.com/threads/toonami-india-will-get-shutdown-on-15-may-2018.48319/

Toonami Celebrates 20th Anniversary On 17th March

Toonami Celebrates 20th Anniversary On 17th March

Toonami Celebrates 20th Anniversary On 17th March

Cartoon Network’s action-animation and Japanese anime programming block and international channel brand – Toonami will celebrate its 20th anniversary this Friday (17/03/2017) and Saturday (18/03/2017) with live streams, never-before-seen animated shorts and prize giveaways. The weekend ceremony will start with a Toonami Pre-Flight livestream on Friday at 8pm ET on Toonami’s website (http://www.toonami.com/PreFlight) with feature Jason DeMarco and Gill Austin, the iconic voices of Toonami’s 3D CGI presenters T.O.M (Steven Blum) and SARA (Dana Swanson), the live-stream will feature classic footage from the history of Toonami and an interview with Sean Akins – the co-creator of Toonami programming block.

Toonami first appeared as an afternoon programming block on Cartoon Network USA on 17th March 1997, starting off with an episode from the 1985 animated series – Thundercats, as time went on, Toonami aired hit imports from Japan such as Dragon Ball Z, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gundam Wing and U.S. animation such as Justice League Unlimited from Warner Bros. Animation. Toonami also expanded to Cartoon Network’s international feeds, including the UK and Australia. The block ended in 2008, but was revived four years later in 2012 as part of Cartoon Network’s adult nighttime programming block – Adult Swim, since then, Toonami also had an international revival with channel launches in Asia and France. Faithful action-animation and anime fans have kept Toonami popular despite its late-night timeslot, with many of its new episode premieres trending on Twitter on Saturday nights.

Toonami has recently extended its broadcast period by half hour, starting at the earlier time of 11pm ET/PT on Saturday nights, the block has also welcomed back new episodes of Samurai Jack, a show which also aired on Toonami while the block was airing on Cartoon Network. New episodes of Samurai Jack are produced by Cartoon Network Studios and Williams Street (Adult Swim’s production house). Toonami has also been airing the latest installment of the Dragon Ball franchise – Dragon Ball Super.

On Saturday 18th March at midnight, Toonami will premiere Mamoru Oshii’s (creator of the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi anime series – Ghost in the Shell) new five-episode micro-series, “Sand Whale and Me”. A new 5-minute episode from the micro-series will air every week for the next five consecutive weeks. Toonami fans also voted for their favourite Toonami logo throughout the history of the block, the winning logo will be used on-air for the special 20th-anniversary broadcast. Throughout the 20th anniversary broadcast, viewers will have a chance to win T-shirts, T.O.M action figures, a limited run, printed comic from Intruder 3, and much more.

Adult Swim’s Toonami Celebrates 20 Years of Action, Ghost in the Shell’s Mamoru Oshii to Premiere New Micro-Series on Anniversary Weekend: From the Adult Swim Press Release, via ToonamiFaithful.com

Adult Swim’s dedicated weekend block, Toonami, celebrates 20 years with live streams, never-before-seen animated shorts and giveaways. The weekend celebration will kick-off Friday, March 17 with a Toonami Pre-Flight live-stream on Toonami.com/PreFlight and will feature Jason DeMarco and Gill Austin, the iconic voices of T.O.M and SARA, and classic footage from the past and an interview with co-creator Sean Akins.

Toonami first appeared on Cartoon Network’s afternoon programming block on March 17, 1997 and returned as a Saturday-night block on Adult Swim in 2012. Part lifestyle brand, part programming block, Toonami helped usher in the wave of anime in the late 90s. Toonami has recently welcomed back new episodes of Samurai Jack, and has extended its broadcast a half-hour earlier to 11 p.m. ET/PT.

“It’s hard to believe Toonami is celebrating its 20 year anniversary. Much has changed since Toonami’s premiere in 1997, but our strategy remains the same: to air the best anime and action cartoons, packaged and presented in a way that respects and welcomes fans” says DeMarco, senior vice president and creative director, on-air for Adult Swim. “Those fans are the reason Toonami still exists in 2017, and we couldn’t be more thankful for their years of support. Here’s hoping we’re still around for another 20 years.”

Viewers across the country are invited to join the festivities with a special, live edition of Toonami Pre-Flight starting at 8 pm. ET on Friday. Steve Blum, voice of T.O.M will be live in the studio to help celebrate and answer fan questions along with DeMarco and Austin. Blum’s otherworldly counterpart, Dana Swanson (SARA), will also present an exclusive reflections piece. There will be favourite Toonami memories, throwbacks and more.

The celebration will continue into the March 18 broadcast of Toonami, with the help of Arby’s®. Fans of the block voted on their favorite graphics look of Toonami throughout the years and starting that Saturday, The premiere of legendary director Mamoru Oshii’s (Ghost in the Shell) five-episode micro-series, “Sand Whale and Me,” is also scheduled for Midnight. Each 5-minute episode will run throughout the next five consecutive weeks. For on-air eyes only, fans will have the limited chance to participate in an anniversary-themed giveaway to win T-shirts, T.O.M action figures, a limited run, printed comic from Intruder 3, and more. Details on how to register will be revealed during that night’s broadcast.

Toonami airs Saturday nights at 11 p.m. ET/PT and Toonami Pre-Flight airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on AdultSwim.com.

http://toonamifaithful.com/press-release-toonami-celebrates-20-years-of-action/