Variety reports that The CW will stop producing their own Saturday morning content next year and have outsourced it to 4Kids, the folks who distributed Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, and currently program Fox’s Saturdays:
The CW announced late Tuesday it will shut down the nearly 13-year-old Kids’ WB! franchise at the end of this season and turn Saturday mornings over to 4Kids Entertainment, which has handled Fox’s Saturday morning kids block for the past six years.
Under the five-year pact, 4Kids will program five hours of children’s programming between 7 a.m. and noon on Saturdays on the CW starting September 2008. 4Kids will handle all national commercial advertising, and will share in ad revenue with the CW. The CW’s share will be applied against a guarantee 4Kids will pay the net.
Some other interesting points:
–Kids WB! is the last in-house produced animation block on any of the networks; interestingly enough, 4Kids programs Fox’s animation content on Saturdays and still has two years left on its contract. ABC reruns Disney Channel content, while the other networks farmed theirs out some time ago.
–Warner Bros. will continue to produce animated content for cable, direct-to-DVD, broadband and wireless. The article notes the recently announced T-Works, their online animation platform.
–Toonzone.net reports that “some current Kids WB programs may continue to air after the changeover, but no decisions have been have yet.” So I guess we’ll have to wait and see if Legion of Super-Heroes, The Batman and the upcoming Spectacular Spider-Man programs make the cut for next year, end up somewhere else or get canned.