The Zone (YTV)
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The Zone is the flagship weekday afternoon programming block on the Canadian television channel YTV. It airs between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. ET and PT in Canada. On Saturday mornings, it is called The Zone Weekend (formerly CRUNCH).
|Launched||September 2, 1991|
|Country of origin||Canada|
|Official website||Official website|
Currently, the hosts of The Zone are Mark "Suki" Suknanan, Jesse Beam, and Spencer Litzinger.
The program usually features the hosts and the addition of one guest host. The "guest host" is sometimes an inanimate or personified object that is spoken to by Nayan Patel. Some examples would be "The Hand in the Toilet" (the toilet was embedded in the wall; a hand came out the hole once in a while) and "The Camera Man".
Another voice on the show was Egghead (the director Greg Dickinson, who worked on The Zone from 1993-2008) Egghead's face was never seen. He also appeared several times as "the guy in the gorilla suit".
In its early history, the Zone had featured a group of puppets known as Grogs as the co-hosts. A large television with a frame resembling a piece of purple bubble gum with eyes and other mechanical miscellany called Snit (Atul N. Rao) was once a "host" on The Zone; after him came Elvayz, a talking bust of Elvis Presley, although this character has been removed as well. Occasionally, guest hosts would appear on The Zone, such as children's author Robert Munsch and environmentalist David Suzuki.
While usually following a certain theme throughout the week, there are scheduled events that have occurred during The Zone, such as:
|Music Mondays||Carlos interviews musicians; he has also played songs on a guitar.|
|Quirky But True News Tuesdays||Carlos brings up some funny and bizarre stories from the Internet, as well as weird stories from viewers and tells them on the air in a news style format.|
|Game Drop Wednesdays||A new game will be released on The Zone's website on YTV.com, every Wednesday. Carlos also shows fan art sent in by viewers.|
|Throwdown Thursdays||Carlos tries to perform challenges sent in by viewers online.|
History and current developmentsEdit
The Zone began its life as the Afterschool Zone on YTV, debuting on September 2, 1991, with its first host Phil Guerrero, a lone speaker seated on a stool in front of a spartan orange backdrop. The Afterschool Zone was simply a small segment that played between airings of regular television programming, primarily as an entertaining segue into the next programming block to retain viewers and to provide some level of interaction with its young audience. Similar programming existed on YTV's weekend morning broadcasts, also starring variety of hosts, labeled "PJs", or program jockeys, as a take on DJ (disc jockey) and VJ (video jockey). This was done primarily as a tactic to comply with Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission restrictions on advertising in children's programming: popular imported programming would run a few minutes short due to fewer ads being permitted compared to US stations. Instead of filling the time with public service announcements or other filler material (which had been the previous practice of YTV in the late 1980s/early 1990s), the idea of devoting several minutes between programs to interaction between live-action hosts was used, and has proven successful to this day.
The "Afterschool" portion of the title was soon dropped and PJ "Phresh" Phil was sometimes joined by another PJ, Jenn (although she featured more prominently during weekend morning programming and was rarely on The Zone). The segments usually involved discussion or banter on various topics, video clips, previews, and viewer mail.
Eventually, the PJs were joined by a variety of puppets named the Grogs and Spitfire. 1994 saw the introduction of animatronic character Snit (Atul N. Rao), which displayed a pair of moving teeth on a television screen covered with what appeared to be purple bubble gum. When a primetime version of The Zone, YTV Shift, was cancelled, its former host Paul McGuire joined Phil. On October 31, 1997, the two sent Snit into space, and Snit was replaced with the prop Elvays, a plastic Elvis head with a digitally added moving mouth.
Eventually, a week of programming was devoted to a plotline which featured PJs Phil and Paul on a quest hunting for extraterrestrials.and making a discovery. This discovery was revealed to be the return of the Snit character (minus its familiar purple coloring). Following cosmetic and technological upgrades, Snit went on to host Snit Station, a weekend morning programming block, replacing Brainwash; the block was later renamed The Vortex, before it was renamed CRUNCH.
A female co-host, Sandra Jackson, was added to the Zone in 1999. She began hosting alongside Paul and Phil.
As a slight format change, the "You Rule!" campaign was replaced with a "Keep it Weird!" theme. When the New Year came, Sandra, Paul, and Phil were found to not be "Y2K Compatible", venturing into other opportunities and were thus replaced with comedian Pat Kelly and Jenny Katie Racicot (previously PJ Katie on Treehouse, with no relation to the original PJ Jenn or PJ Jazzy Jan) Elvays was replaced with "the Hand in the Toilet".
While Jenny and Pat were hosts, they formed the band "Nuclear Donkey", which was featured at the end of the YTV's compilation album Big Fun Party Mix.
At one point during their tenure, a bizarre plotline emerged involving electronic insects known as Yokomites that were under the control of a mysterious chicken-man named Fiendly Fowl. They were created by Fowl to destroy the station, should his demand to be given the station was ignored. At the end, there was an animated comic where Pat and Jenny went into the Yokomites' lair to defeat them. The hand in the toilet was "killed" when it saved them.
With Jenny's departure, Pat had a brief breakdown as a one-week plotline, where he demanded a new co-host or he would no longer host. He built a giant wooden crate in the studio parking lot and locked himself inside it as a protest until YTV hired a new co-host. At the end of the week Sugar Beard came along claiming to be Pat's new co-host and she opened the crate with a crowbar to reveal a disheveled Pat who was in desperate need of a shower. The two co-hosted the block afterwards. However, Pat himself soon also departed, leaving Sugar as the lone host. A plotline emerged where Sugar would discover that one of the YTV's janitors was playing with the cameras during off-hours, clandestinely acting out as a host for The Zone. Employing detective skills to track down this janitor, Sugar eventually discovered Carlos and invited him to become her co-host.
Sugar and Carlos hosted together for several years, introducing such segments as "A Dash of Sugar" and "Late Afternoon With Tito Lemmy", along with many characters such as Van Vogel, Pretty Tiffany, Johnny "The Brick" Wahl, and Wiwyam Birdie. They also co-wrote six songs together as the band "Nuclear Donkey".
On January 19, 2007, Sugar announced on that she would leave The Zone on January 26, 2007. Sugar's last "Nuclear Donkey" song appeared on Big Fun Party Mix 8, a compilation from YTV. Carlos hosted The Zone alone until Monday, December 31, 2007, on The Zone's Countdown to Halfway to New Year's party, where he introduced his new co-host, Joyce. She had recently appeared on The Zone working at the Tree Farm, where Carlos chose The Zones Christmas Tree. Joyce co-hosted until January 2, 2009, when she left to travel the world. In fall 2009, The Zone returned to starting at 3:00 p.m. instead of 4:00 p.m.
On August 20, 2012, The Zone began doing the 4@4 lineup featuring four back-to-back episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants on Mondays and Wednesdays, The Fairly OddParents on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness on Fridays. The Penguins of Madagascar was formerly on the block as well. On July 5, 2013, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was added to the block; encore presentations of the episodes which air on Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
On August 26, 2013, The Zone's lineup returned to the way it was the previous year.
In October 2013, two new hosts were announced, The Next Star's Mark "Suki" Suknanan and TFC's Rachel Bonnetta. Suki is responsible for all things celebrities and Rachel talks about the latest trends. These are the first two new cast members since Andrew Chapman.
On December 31, 2013, Andy Chapman announced he was leaving the Zone.
In November 2014, Rachel Bonnetta and Adam Christie left The Zone, and Lisa Gilroy from Undercover High got added to the team. Around the same time, a brand new contest called "The Z-Head Zearch" was introduced asking fans to submit videos to be aired on The Zone.
On January 7, 2017, Meisha Watson began co-hosting The Zone Weekend.
On May 23, 2018, Spencer Litzinger joined The Zone.
On December 3, 2018, Carlos left YTV after 16 years.
On March 22, 2019, Meisha Watson left YTV and her hosting duties of The Zone and The Zone Weekend.
On March 23, 2019, Spencer Litzinger started co-hosting The Zone Weekend.
The schedule for The Zone is as follows:
The Zone Weekend scheduleEdit
Saturday (as of 2018)Edit
- SpongeBob SquarePants - Saturdays at 7:00 a.m., 7:30 a.m., and 8:00 a.m.
- The Loud House - Saturdays at 8:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 9:30 a.m.
- The Adventures of Kid Danger - Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Saturdays at 11:30 a.m.
- "YTV Shows: The Zone". YTV.com. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- "YTV Hosts And Stars: Where Are They Now?". Huffington Post Canada. Retrieved 20 May 2018.
- "YTV (2017) - 1st Zone Weekend of 2017". YouTube. MIKER PHONE. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "YTV (2018) - The Zone: TMNT Day Segments ft. Spencer". YouTube. MIKER PHONE. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "CARLOS SAYS GOODBYE!". YouTube. YTV. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- "SO LONG YTV". Instagram. Meisha Watson. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
- ytv.com schedule