ABC Kids (TV programming block)
ABC Kids (originally titled Disney's One Saturday Morning until 2002) was a Saturday morning American children's programming block that aired on ABC from September 13, 1997, to August 27, 2011. It featured a mixture of animated and live-action series from Walt Disney Television Animation and Disney Channel, aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 17.
|Launched||September 13, 1997|
|Closed||August 27, 2011|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Owner||The Walt Disney Company|
|Formerly known as||Disney's One Saturday Morning (1997–2002)|
|Format||Defunct Saturday morning children's program block|
The block regularly aired on Saturday mornings, though certain programs within the lineup aired on Sundays in some parts of the country due to station preferences for non-educational programming or scheduling issues with regional or network sports broadcasts.
After five years of mainly repeats of programs introduced onto the block prior to the 2007–08 season, ABC decided it would cease to provide children's programming during the Saturday morning timeslot, and entered into an agreement with Litton Entertainment to program that period; the block that resulted from this deal – Litton's Weekend Adventure, which is structured as a syndication package distributed with virtual exclusivity to ABC's owned-and-operated stations and affiliates – replaced ABC Kids on September 3, 2011.
Disney's One Saturday MorningEdit
In the years immediately prior to The Walt Disney Company's purchase of ABC corporate parent Capital Cities/ABC Inc. in 1995, the network's children's program block at the time, ABC Saturday Morning, aired such Disney-produced series as The Mighty Ducks, DuckTales and Gargoyles; it was one of two networks at the time that prominently carried Disney programming on Saturday mornings, as CBS also carried Disney cartoons (CBS's were mostly television spin-offs of Disney Renaissance films, whereas ABC's were mostly other Disney properties). After Disney formally took over ABC's operations in 1996, Disney head Michael Eisner sought to create a Saturday morning block that was different from those carried by its competitors at the time.
In February 1997, Peter Hastings left Warner Bros. Animation and joined Disney, where was tasked with overhauling ABC's Saturday morning lineup. He pitched an idea around the concept that Saturday is different from every other day of the week, and the representation of weekdays as buildings. Hastings also proposed the use of virtual set technology; although he knew a bit about it at the time and the technology used was just starting to be developed, Disney and ABC liked the idea. He hired Prudence Fenton as consultant manager and co-executive producer. Together, they sampled virtual set technology at the 1997 NAB Show and chose technology developed by Accom and ELSET. Rutherford Bench Productions, which had previously worked with Disney on other projects, hired Pacific Ocean Post (now POP Sound) to produce the virtual set. The building was initially a drawing of Grand Central Terminal with a roller coaster added, but evolved into a towering mechanical structure. Even the interior has similarities such as a central high raised room, with two wings on the left and right sides and another on the south side.
On September 13, 1997, Disney's One Saturday Morning premiered as a two hour sub-block within the ABC Saturday Morning lineup. It was originally scheduled to debut the Saturday prior on September 6, but coverage by all U.S. networks of the funeral of Princess Diana pushed back the premiere up one week to September 13. Disney’s One Saturday Morning featured two parts: three hours of regularly scheduled cartoons and a two hour flagship show that included feature segments, comedy skits, and the virtual world which Hastings had proposed, along with newer episodes of three animated series: Doug (which had been acquired from Nickelodeon in 1996), Recess and Pepper Ann.
Doug, Recess and Pepper Ann were each nominally given 40-minute time slots. The extended 10 minutes during each show's slot were for One Saturday Morning's interstitial segments and educational features. The live-action wraparound segments were originally hosted by Charlie (portrayed by Jessica Prunell, now an attorney) for the block's first season in 1997, and later by MeMe (Valarie Rae Miller) beginning in September 1998; the segments also featured an elephant named Jelly Roll (voiced by stand up comedian and actor Brad Garrett), who served as a sidekick to the human host. Schoolhouse Rock!, a longtime essential of ABC's Saturday morning block since 1973, also aired as an interstitial segment during The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show, the only non-Disney cartoon to carry into the block and one that would air until 2000, when the carriage contract with Warner Bros. was exhausted.
Disney’s One Saturday Morning was initially a massive success, beating Fox Kids during its first season to be the most-watched Saturday morning block on broadcast television. It remained competitive in its second season, beating all of Fox Kids' shows except Power Rangers. The shorts and hosted segments were discontinued in 2000 in a reformatting of the ABC block; by this time, the interstitials within the block were relegated to bumpers and program promotions. In September 2001, live-action series were added to the One Saturday Morning lineup with the addition of the "Zoog Hour," an hour-long sub-block featuring the Disney Channel original series Lizzie McGuire and Even Stevens (the sub-block, advertised in promos for Disney’s One Saturday Morning promoting the two programs as "powered by Zoog," was named after Disney Channel's weekend programming block at the time, Zoog Disney).
A spin-off of Disney's One Saturday Morning, Disney's One Too, debuted on UPN on September 6, 1999; produced through a time-lease agreement between Disney and UPN, the block aired each weekday (either in the morning or afternoon, depending on the station's preference) and on Sunday mornings, and featured many of the programs shown on One Saturday Morning (including Recess, Pepper Ann and Sabrina: The Animated Series).
On July 23, 2001, the Walt Disney Company purchased Fox Family Worldwide, primarily for its Fox Family Channel, which was included in the sale as well as Saban Entertainment, a company in which Fox purchased a 50% interest in 1994. On September 14, 2002, ABC rebranded its Saturday morning block, as a subtle nod to the Fox Kids brand acquired by Disney through its purchase of Fox Family Worldwide, to ABC Kids (as a result of the sale, Fox Kids ceased to exist; Fox's children's program lineups would be handled from that point onward by 4Kids Entertainment until 2008).
The rechristened block originally contained a mix of first-run programs exclusive to the block, as well as reruns of several original series from Disney Channel. NBA Inside Stuff also began airing on the block as a result of ABC's acquisition of the broadcast television rights to the NBA from NBC (where the series originally premiered in 1992), beginning with the 2002–03 season's Christmas Day game; Inside Stuff continued to air on ABC Kids until 2004.
Through Disney's acquisition of Saban Entertainment, ABC also moved the Power Rangers series from Fox Kids to the ABC Kids block. All first-run episodes from the franchise premiered on ABC Kids beginning with the second half of the show's Wild Force season (starting with the episode "Unfinished Business"), with the entirety of the Wild Force and Ninja Storm seasons subsequently airing in reruns on ABC Family (the former season aired in part both prior to the introduction of and during the ABC Family Action Block). Subsequent seasons from Dino Thunder to Jungle Fury had their first-run episodes debut on Jetix first and re-air on ABC Kids. The RPM season aired exclusively on ABC Kids, after which ABC canceled production of the series. In lieu of a new season, ABC instead aired a re-version of the first 32 episodes of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, which included a new logo, an updated title sequence, comic book-referenced graphics, and extra alternative visual effects. The re-version aired from January 2 to August 28, 2010.
In September 2004, ABC Kids almost exclusively carried live-action and animated series from Disney Channel as a result of the short-lived Fillmore! (which had been airing in reruns since the summer of 2004) and Recess (which was airing in reruns on the block since it ended in 2001) being dropped from the lineup. With the expanded regulation of federally mandated educational programming guidelines defined by the Federal Communications Commission's Children's Television Act, ABC chose to fulfill the three-hour quota by carrying select episodes of Disney Channel live-action comedies and animated series (anywhere between 9 and 13 episodes from a given season) featuring moral lessons and/or educational anecdotes. Beginning with the 2006–07 season, ABC Kids consisted mainly of repeat episodes of Disney Channel series. Hannah Montana, The Emperor's New School and The Replacements were the last Disney Channel series to be added to the block in September 2006.
In March 2010, ABC came to the decision to stop providing a three hour block of E/I-compliant, repurposed Disney Channel programming sent to its own stations and ABC affiliates. The network chose to lease out the three-hour time slot and seek other programmers for an agreement to produce a syndicated block, not for the network, but for each ABC station as the network was turning the E/I responsibility back to local ABC stations.
In April 2010, ABC's affiliate board announced that it had reached a deal with Litton Entertainment, a production company which produces syndicated programming (including educational programs aimed at children and teenagers), to produce six, all-new, original half-hour E/I series exclusively for ABC stations for the 2011–12 season.
ABC Kids aired for the final time on August 27, 2011. Litton's Weekend Adventure effectively replaced ABC Kids the following week on September 3, 2011. As a result, ABC discontinued airing animated programming, making it the first network not to air animated series within its children's program lineup since August 1992, when NBC discontinued its animation block on Saturday mornings to launch the live-action block TNBC.
Surpassing every Saturday morning cartoon block, ABC Kids outlived any cartoon block aired on NBC, CBS, the CW, or Fox Broadcasting Company.
- 1 Aired during the One Saturday Morning era.
- 2 Aired during the ABC Kids era.
|Title||Premiere date||End date|
|101 Dalmatians: The Series1||September 13, 1997||September 4, 1999|
|Disney's Doug1||September 13, 1997||September 8, 2001|
|Recess1 2||September 13, 1997||August 28, 2004|
|Pepper Ann1||September 13, 1997||January 27, 2001|
|Jungle Cubs1||September 13, 1997||September 5, 1998|
|The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh1||September 13, 1997||September 7, 2002|
|Hercules: The Animated Series1||September 12, 1998||April 24, 1999|
|Mickey Mouse Works1||May 1, 1999||January 6, 2001|
|The Weekenders1||February 26, 2000||January 12, 2002|
|Teacher's Pet1||September 9, 2000||September 7, 2002|
|Buzz Lightyear of Star Command1||October 14, 2000||September 8, 2001|
|House of Mouse1||January 13, 2001||August 31, 2002|
|Lloyd in Space1||February 3, 2001||September 7, 2002|
|Teamo Supremo1 2||January 19, 2002||September 13, 2003|
|Fillmore!2||September 14, 2002||February 19, 2005|
|Title||Premiere date||End date|
|Lizzie McGuire1 2||September 15, 2001||September 10, 2005|
|Even Stevens1 2||September 15, 2001||September 7, 2002|
|February 26, 2005||September 10, 2005|
|The Proud Family1 2||August 31, 2002||September 2, 2006|
|Kim Possible2||September 14, 2002||September 2, 2006|
|Lilo & Stitch: The Series2||September 20, 2003||September 2, 2006|
|That's So Raven2||September 20, 2003||August 27, 2011|
|Phil of the Future2||September 25, 2004||September 2, 2006|
|The Buzz on Maggie2||September 17, 2005||January 21, 2006|
|The Suite Life of Zack & Cody2||September 17, 2005||August 27, 2011|
|The Emperor's New School2||January 28, 2006||August 27, 2011|
|The Replacements2||September 9, 2006||August 27, 2011|
|Hannah Montana2||September 9, 2006||August 27, 2011|
|Sabrina: The Animated Series1||September 11, 1999||October 13, 2001|
|Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action!1||October 20, 2001||August 3, 2002|
|The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show1||September 13, 1997||September 2, 2000|
|Power Rangers Wild Force2||September 14, 2002||February 8, 2003|
|Power Rangers Ninja Storm2||February 15, 2003||February 14, 2004|
|Power Rangers Dino Thunder2||February 21, 2004||February 12, 2005|
|W.I.T.C.H.2||January 15, 2005||March 26, 2005|
|Power Rangers S.P.D.2||February 26, 2005||March 4, 2006|
|Power Rangers Mystic Force2||March 11, 2006||February 24, 2007|
|Power Rangers Operation Overdrive2||March 3, 2007||March 22, 2008|
|Power Rangers Jungle Fury2||March 22, 2008||February 28, 2009|
|Power Rangers RPM2||March 7, 2009||December 26, 2009|
|Mighty Morphin Power Rangers2 (2010 re-version)||January 2, 2010||August 28, 2010|
|Schoolhouse Rock!1||September 13, 1997||September 2, 2000|
|Science Court / Squigglevision1||September 13, 1997||September 2, 2000|
|NBA Inside Stuff1 2||September 7, 2002||August 28, 2004|
- The Disney Afternoon – a Disney-produced syndicated children's program block that ran from 1990 to 1997.
- Disney's One Too, a programming block that aired on UPN from 1999 to 2003, as a successor to UPN Kids
- Get Animated! – Disney Channel's Saturday morning block, launched at the same time ABC Kids ended
- "ABC Orders Saturday Kids Block From Litton". TVNewsCheck. NewsCheck Media. May 24, 2011. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- "Litton Announces "ABC Weekend Adventure"". BusinessWire. May 24, 2011. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Paige Albiniak (May 24, 2011). "ABC to Premiere Litton's Weekend Adventure on Sept. 3". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
- Michael Goldman (September 15, 1997). "ABC hopes for virtual success". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- Christopher Grove (August 29, 1997). "Webs roll out season geared to kids". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- Katz, Richard (May 8, 1998). "ABC kids block tops Fox on Saturday". Variety. Retrieved July 14, 2018.
- Claudia Eller (March 9, 1999). "The One That Got Away : With 'Doug,' Nickelodeon's Loss May Be Disney's Gain". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
- Chris Pursell (July 19, 1999). "Mouse brands UPN kidvid". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- "News Corp. and Haim Saban Reach Agreement to Sell Fox Family Worldwide to Disney for $5.3 Billion". Saban Entertainment. July 23, 2001. Archived from the original on February 2, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2009.
- Carl DiOrio (October 24, 2001). "Fox Family costs Mouse less cheese in final deal". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- Paula Bernstein (September 29, 2002). "Kid skeds tread on joint strategy". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- "Disney ABC Kids Networks Unveils 2006-7 Programming Slate". Retrieved 9 May 2020.
- "Litton Entertainment to Produce and Distribute Original Programming for ABC Stations for Fall 2011". Litton Entertainment. The Futon Critic. April 19, 2010. Retrieved May 11, 2020.