Vortexx (stylized as VORTEX<) is a defunct Saturday morning children's anime television block that aired on The CW from August 25, 2012 to September 27, 2014. Programmed by Saban Brands, it succeeded Toonzai, a block that was programmed by 4Kids Entertainment until its bankruptcy. The Vortexx block primarily featured animated programs, although it also featured several live-action series, including the Lost Galaxy installment of the Power Rangers franchise (which had been re-acquired by Saban), and the WWE wrestling series WWE Saturday Morning Slam.
|Launched||August 25, 2012|
|Closed||September 27, 2014|
(2 years, 33 days)
|Country of origin||United States|
|Format||Saturday-morning cartoon block|
|Official website||Official website (Archive link)|
Vortexx was succeeded by Litton Entertainment's One Magnificent Morning which features live-action educational programming on October 4, 2014. It was the conclusive Saturday morning block across the major American broadcast networks that primarily featured non-educational programming aimed at children.
On April 6, 2011, following a lawsuit involving the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, 4Kids Entertainment, which programmed the CW4Kids/Toonzai block for the network, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On May 1, 2012, Kidsco Media Ventures, an affiliate of Saban Capital Group, placed a bid to acquire some of 4Kids' assets. On June 26, 2012, after competition from 4K Acquisition Corp, a subsidiary of Konami, the deal was finalized, with 4K Acquisition receiving the U.S. rights to the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise and Saban receiving all other assets, including the programming rights to The CW's Saturday morning block. On July 2, 2012, it was announced that Saban Brands, via Kidsco Media Ventures, would begin programming the block that fall. On July 12, 2012, it was announced that the block would be named Vortexx, which launched on August 25, 2012.
In 2013, Vortexx became the only Saturday morning block without a strictly E/I-based lineup to air on broadcast TV. This happened in November of that year, when Tribune acquired Weigel's 50% stake in This TV, and their Cookie Jar Toons/This Is for Kids block came to an end.
Between May 31, 2014 and June 5, 2014, The CW announced that Vortexx would be discontinued and succeeded on October 4, 2014 by One Magnificent Morning, a block produced by Litton Entertainment that would feature live-action documentary and lifestyle programs aimed at pre-teens and teenagers, similarly to a block also introduced by Litton for CW co-owner CBS the previous year. The move came as part of a shift by broadcast television networks towards using their Saturday morning lineup solely to comply with the educational programming requirements mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), along with the cultural shift towards cable and online video on demand viewing of children's and animated programming. Vortexx aired for the final time on September 27, 2014, it was the conclusive Saturday morning block across the major American broadcast television networks that primarily featured non-educational programming aimed at children. The KidsClick block from Sinclair Broadcast Group launched on both Sinclair stations and This TV on July 1, 2017, but has no association with a traditional broadcast network otherwise.
Officially the network preferred the block to air from 7:00 a.m. to Noon in each time zone, though there were local scheduling variances in some areas that may have moved it to different hours, to Sundays, or split the lineup between Saturday or Sunday, along with local pre-emptions of select shows. CW Plus stations in the Central, Mountain and Alaska time zones time zones also aired the block one hour earlier or later, depending on the local time zone, as The CW Plus operates separate feeds based on the network's Eastern and Pacific time zone scheduling for primetime shows. San Antonio CW affiliate KMYS split the Vortexx block over two days, between early Sunday and early Monday mornings before 5:00 a.m. due to an existing arrangement to air Fox's Weekend Marketplace paid programming block in lieu of sister station KABB.
WTVW in Evansville, Indiana (which hurriedly joined The CW on January 31, 2013 due to the market's former affiliate going dark) was unable to schedule the block when it initially began its affiliation with the network, due to contractual obligations to paid programming slots and existing syndicated E/I programming on Saturday mornings through March 2013. The station began carrying Vortexx in its network-recommended timeslot on April 6, 2013, with the station's acquired E/I programming moving to Sunday afternoons.
On April 29, 2013, Saban Brands announced a separate partnership with Kabillion to add programming from the Vortexx block to the existing Kabillion video on demand service for cable providers. The programs were listed on the service without any separate Vortexx subdivision under their individual show titles, with Vortexx promotional advertising. The shows currently remain on Kabillion with other advertising, even with the discontinuance of Vortexx.
Vortexx only ran an hour of programming that met the FCC's educational programming guidelines; as a result, The CW's affiliates handled the responsibility of filling the remaining two hours, The CW Plus cable-subchannel affiliates had E/I-compliant programs acquired from the syndication market built into the national schedule, alleviating stations carrying CW network programming via that feed from the responsibility of purchasing the local rights to such programs.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures (August 25, 2012 – November 24, 2012)
- Power Rangers Lost Galaxy (August 25, 2012 – January 12, 2013)
- WWE Saturday Morning Slam (August 25, 2012 – May 11, 2013)
- Transformers: Prime (December 8, 2012 – June 1, 2013)
- The New Adventures of Nanoboy (March 9, 2013 – August 10, 2013)E/I
- B-Daman Crossfire (August 17, 2013 – January 18, 2014)
- The Adventures of Chuck and Friends (August 17, 2013 – February 8, 2014)E/I
- Justice League Unlimited (August 25, 2012 – August 23, 2014)
- Rescue Heroes (August 25, 2012 – August 23, 2014)E/I
- Cubix: Robots for Everyone † (August 25, 2012 – September 15, 2012 and August 30, 2014 – September 27, 2014)E/I
- Dragon Ball Z Kai † (August 25, 2012 – September 27, 2014)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! † (August 25, 2012 – September 27, 2014)
- Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal † (August 25, 2012 – September 27, 2014)
- Sonic X † (October 6, 2012 – September 27, 2014)
- Bolts and Blip (July 13, 2013 – September 27, 2014)
- The Spectacular Spider-Man † (August 17, 2013 – September 27, 2014)
- Digimon Fusion (January 25, 2014 – September 27, 2014)
- Tiny Toon Adventures Halloween special, "Night Ghoulery" (October 27, 2012 and November 24, 2012)
- Gummibär: The Yummy Gummy Search for Santa (December 1, 2012 and December 22, 2012)
- Spike Saves Christmas (December 15, 2012)
- Spike's Reindeer Rescue (December 22, 2012)
† – Former CW4Kids/Toonzai program
- Steinberg, Brian (July 12, 2012). "'Power Rangers' Backer Saban to Reenter Kiddie TV". Advertising Age. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- "Saban Brands to launch Vortexx kid shows on The CW". L.A. Biz. July 12, 2012. Retrieved July 12, 2012.
- James, Meg (August 8, 2012). "Haim Saban to unveil Saturday kids' shows, including WWE program". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
- "The CW Sets 5-Hour Saturday Morning Block". Deadline Hollywood. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Sullivan, Gail (September 30, 2014). "Saturday morning cartoons are no more". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- "4Kids Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". Anime News Network. May 30, 2011. Retrieved June 3, 2011.
- "4Kids sells Yu-Gi-Oh CW Network related assets jointly to konami kidsco". Anime News Network. June 26, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Wallenstein, Andrew (July 2, 2012). "Saban Brands to rebuild CW toon block". Variety. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Marcucci, Carl (July 3, 2012). "The CW signs Saban Brands for kids block". Radio & Television Business Report. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- "Saban builds CW kids' block". C21Media. July 3, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- Dickson, Jeremy (July 3, 2012). "Saban and The CW launch kids TV block". KidScreen. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
- "CBS Slates Teen-Centric Programming Block For Saturdays". Deadline Hollywood. July 24, 2013. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
- Newkirk, Jacob (January 28, 2013). "Local 7 picking up CW programming". Evansville Courier & Press. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
- "Jake's DTV Blog: The official announcement from Mission Broadcasting on WTVW and CW". Jake's DTV Blog. January 29, 2013. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Getzler, Wendy (April 29, 2013). "Vortexx on-demand channel launches on Kabillion". Kidscreen.com. Retrieved April 29, 2013.
- Pena, Daniel (October 2, 2013). "Saturday Morning Slam Not Likely To Return, Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella's Relationship, Birthdays". Wrestling, Inc. Retrieved October 2, 2013.