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Children's television series

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(Redirected from Children's television)

Children's television shows are television programs designed for and marketed to children, normally aired during the morning and afternoon hours, mainly before and after school. The purpose of the show is mainly to entertain and sometimes to educate the young audience about basic life skills or ideals.

Programs vary in their intended age group audience and style of presentation. Some take the form of game shows or comedies, and many take the form of animated series, although early cartoons were often intended for an adult audience.

Children's television is nearly as old as television itself, with early examples including shows such as Blue Peter, Captain Tugg, Howdy Doody, The Clangers, The Flowerpot Men and The Singing Ringing Tree. Early children's television in the United States, was often a marketing branch of a larger corporate product such as Disney, and rarely contained an educational element. Though there is some debate on the intended audience, later non-educational children's television programs included the science fiction programs of Irwin Allen (most notably Lost in Space), the fantasy series of Sid and Marty Krofft, and the extensive cartoon empire of Hanna-Barbera.

Many children's shows also have a large adult following, sometimes in appreciation of their quality and educational value, and sometimes among adults who watched the shows as children or with their own children and now have a nostalgic emotional connection.

Contents

U.S. television

History of U.S. children's television

In the USA, most early children's programming ran during the late afternoon, or during otherwise-unused timeslots on weekend mornings. As time went on, Saturday morning became the most popular time for non-educational children's programming, and by the 1970s, all three major US networks had a full schedule of children's programs running in this space.

At the same time, as locally originated live-action children's programming fell out of style with the network affiliates (who filled the slots with cheaper syndicated programming, or more profitable news shows), the independent stations filled the gap by scheduling cartoons (usually reruns of Saturday morning fare, or public domain copies of old Paramount or Warner Bros. shorts) in these afternoon time slots. By the early 1980s, the afternoon time slot was nearly as popular as Saturday morning was, and first-run programming (such as The Transformers and G. I. Joe) began to appear. Even Disney stepped into the fray eventually, premiering their first syndicated cartoon (DuckTales) in 1987.

The 1980s and early 1990s also saw the rise of Saturday morning's biggest competition yet:

  • Nickelodeon was the first cable network to cater directly to children, and as it got carried on more and more cable systems, it took away more and more viewers from the broadcast networks. Nick's biggest selling point was that, unlike syndicated and Saturday morning programs, viewers could watch their favorite shows practically any time they wanted. Nickelodeon's programming during this period was mostly live action (though they did run cartoons produced by others during the midday "Pinwheel" block during the 1980s), but it introduced its own line of original cartoons (Nicktoons) in 1991.
  • Turner Broadcasting, having recently acquired Hanna-Barbera Productions from their bankrupt previous owners, used the combined H-B and MGM libraries to form the basis of the Cartoon Network, which launched in October 1992. As with Nickelodeon, the ability to watch a cartoon anytime was the main attraction, even though CN's schedule was meager at first.

By this time, NBC had enough, and replaced its Saturday morning schedule with The Today Show and teen-oriented live-action shows. ABC continued to run cartoons in their Saturday morning block throughout the 1990s; after their acquisition by Disney, the block became mostly Disney-originated under the "One Saturday Morning" banner. CBS later followed suit; however, they later merged with Nickelodeon's corporate parent Viacom, and CBS now offers a block of Nickelodeon's educationally-oriented programming on Saturday mornings.

Cartoon Network introduced its own line of cartoons in 1996 with the World Premiere Toons/What A Cartoon! project, which spawned Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls, among others.

Fox Kids fell on hard times in the late 1990s, after Warner Bros. (which had produced some of its biggest hits) broke ties with it, and the popularity of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers began to wane. By this time, Fox had merged Power Rangers producer Saban Entertainment and the former Marvel Productions (which used to be Saturday morning fixture DePatie-Freleng Enterprises) into Fox Kids, and in 2000, most of Fox Kids' assets were put up for sale. Disney won the bid, acquiring all of the Saban assets and Fox Kids' international operations. Left without a programming block, Fox subcontracted their Saturday morning timeslots to 4Kids Entertainment, and gave the new block the Fox Box brand, later renamed to 4Kids TV.

List of shows

The following is a partial list of television shows for children that have received particular recognition or popularity, listed by their country of origin. Successful children's television shows are often broadcast in multiple countries.

Australian television

Belgian television

Canadian television

Chilean television

French television

German television

Irish television

Japanese television

Mexican television

Dutch television

Swiss television

UK television

US television

Venezuelan television

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