Useful Notes / Block Programming

A programming block is the arrangement of television and radio programs so that similar types of programs will air in succession. TV channels and radio stations tend to do this with the hope that it will keep viewers interested and stay tuned to the station for a longer period of time rather than leave after just one show. This is quite popular in cable TV, where they can arrange reruns into blocks to fill daytime slots where there aren’t so many viewers watching. Some blocks have become so popular that they ended up getting their own channel.

Block programming is not as common on commercial radio stations as it was in the past. Many stations now stick to a format, often one specific type of music or specific type of talk radio, which listeners can expect when tuning in to that station. Having different blocks of programming rather than sticking to a general format could alienate listeners who often only listen to radio for only a couple of hours a day. Some public radio and multicultural stations still use block programming, though even this is declining due to competition for donations.

The Kids Block is common form for blocks which focus on child-friendly programming. Many blocks in the past were dedicated to Saturday Morning Cartoons though they have largely been set aside in The New '10s and replaced with Edutainment Show blocks (many of which are produced by Litton Entertainment).

Examples:

  • Cartoon Network
    • [adult swim]: Beginning in 2001, this late-night block airs on Cartoon Network. It has been primarily dedicated to adult animation shows, though some live-action programs have aired on this block.
    • Cartoon Planet: Essentially, it was an hour long variety show hosted by Space Ghost, Zorak and Brak who are characters from Space Ghost Coast to Coast who provided skits and music as well as introducing clips from older cartoons in the Turner Library. That format ran from 1995 to 1997. When it was revived in 2012 though, it changed in format. Space Ghost no longer appeared and instead of old cartoons, the block consisted of segments from more recent Cartoon Network programming from the mid 90s to late 2000s. The block ended in 2014.
    • Boomerang: Began as a programming block in 1992 and focused on classic animated programs such as Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo. It started as a 4 hour block but later reduced to 3 hours. It consistently aired on weekends though the specific time kept changing. It ultimately got its own TV channel in 2000 while the block itself ended in 2004. The channel itself has had numerous blocks itself, often being holiday based or based on particular program. The only current one though is the Boomerang showcase which airs movies.
  • The CW (formerly The WB)
    • Kids' WB!: Ran from 1995 to 2008 and focused on child-related programs that aired on Saturday mornings and on weekday mornings (until 2001) and afternoons (until 2005). Content included shows made by Warner Brother Animation (some being animated adaptations of characters from DC Comics), dubbed Anime series and other animated programs. It was replaced by The CW4Kids though a website for the block was launched in 2008 which allowed people to stream live action and animated shows. The website shut down in 2015.
    • The CW 4Kids, later Toonzai: Began in 2008, taking over from Kids WB. It changed its named to Toonzai in 2010 after entering a joint venture with Saban Brands. The Block originally carried programs from Kids WB and 4Kids TV, which ended near the end of 2008, but dropped most of the WB programming once Saban was got involved and from that point aired similar programming that 4Kids TV aired. Saban bought out the block in 2012, when 4Kids entertainment faced bankruptcy due to a Yu-Gi-Oh–related lawsuit, and the U.S. rights to Yu-Gi-Oh. Saban than replaced the block shorty after with Vortexx.
    • Vortexx: Saturday morning cartoon block that replaced CW 4 Kids in 2012. In addition to a few of the programs that 4Kids used to air, the block also featured a number of action related cartoons as well as WWE Saturday Morning Slam. It was discontinued in 2014 in favor of Litton Entertainment's One Magnificent Morning. The end of Vortexx marked the end of the last Saturday-morning block featuring non-educational programming aimed at kids.
  • Disney owned Networks (ABC, Disney Channel)
    • TGiF: ABC prime time comedy block, typically consisted of sitcoms, that ran on Fridays from 1989 to 2000 and from 2003 to 2005. The name stood for "Thank Goodness it's Friday". It was considered among the first time from a major network to brand a block rather than focus on marketing shows individually. The block was notable for attracting older teens and young adults in addition to a general family audience with the programming being more focused towards the former demo as time went on. Change in viewing habits though caused ratings to drop and the block initially ended in 2000 and the space was often used for reality shows. It was brought back in 2003 but faced many of same issues as before and ended in 2005. Recent years have seen a comedy hour on the channel on Friday nights though the TGIF brand isn't used.
    • The Disney Afternoon: Began in 1990, this was an block of made for syndication animated programs that aired in the afternoons. The block contained four 30-minute animated programs that was accompanied with unique segments and "wrappers" around those shows and was distributed by Buena Vista Television. The block ended in 1997 and was replaced with a 90-minute block that did not contain any official name but still featured Disney programming.
    • One Saturday Morning: Running from 1997 to 2011 (though its name was changed to ABC kids in 2002), this Saturday morning block initially consistent of 5 hours of programming, most of which came from Disney. The first 3 hours were dedicated to cartoons while an additional 2 and a half hours were dedicated to a live action show of the same name which featured skits and segments interpreted through 4 other cartoon series. The live show though ended in 2000. While it played some exclusive shows in its first few years, it spent its last 5 years as a block that mostly only played repeats of Disney Channel shows including ones that had ceased many new episodes. The block ended in 2011 and replaced with the educational based programming block Litton's Weekend Adventure (the first of a number Litton produced blocks).
    • Marvel Universe: Began in 2012, this block airs on Disney XD and consists of animated programs produced by Marvel Animation. It runs on Sundays 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
  • Fox
    • Fox Kids: Ran from 1990 to 2002 and aired on Fox during weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings. The block saw a mix of animated programs including those from Warner Bros. and Marvel in addition to a couple of live action programs like Power Rangers and the short-lived Galidor. Was replaced in 2002 by "Fox Box", which was renamed 4Kids TV in 2005, after Fox Kids' parent, Fox Family Worldwide, was bought by The Walt Disney Company.
    • 4Kids TV: Aired on Saturday mornings on Fox which began as Fox Box in 2002 and changed its name in 2005. Its programming consisted of imported shows like dubbed anime (Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and One Piece) and non-Japanese shows (Winx Club from Italy, Cubix from South Korea and The Adrenaline Project from Canada), as well as more original animated programming like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Chaotic. The changes made with the anime dubs have been quite controversial with anime fans. Conflicts between 4Kids Entertainment and Fox caused the block to end in 2008, though much of its programming moved to the CW4Kids block.
    • Animation Domination was a animated based block that aired on Fox from 2005 to 2014. It also aired on the Canadian channel Global as "Animation Rules". The block aired on Sunday evenings. American Dad! was the first show to originate on the block and the rest of the block was initially filled with Family Guy, The Simpsons and King of the Hill. King was canceled in 2009 and was replaced by The Cleveland Show, giving Seth Macfarlane his third show on the block after Family Guy and American Dad, and lasted until 2013. Bob's Burgers also originated on the block in 2011. A few other shows originated on the block but most were either canceled after one season or were moved to FXX. The block ended in 2014 and was replaced with Sunday Funday which airs most of the Animation Domination shows still airing at that time (minus American Dad which moved to TBS) mixed with some live action programming. It was announced that it would be discontinued in 2014 after not getting the demographics Fox wanted (though some stations continued to air it until 2016). A new animated domination block was created for FXX and contained some of the shows on ADHD.
      • It had a sister block called Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) that launched in 2013. It also focused on adult animation but aired on Saturday Nights to compete against Adult Swim and Saturday Night Live and aired for 90 minutes. The block ended in 2016.
  • Nick Studio 10: A short-lived afternoon block on Nickelodeon that ran from February 18 to June 17, 2013. The hosts would air skits and viral during commercial breaks and for a time interrupted the main programming though this was reduced due to viewer complaints. The block went on hiatus for the summer season and has not returned since, leaving the afternoon programs unhosted.
  • PBS Kids: This block serves as a brand for most of the children based Edutainment Show programs on PBS. Launched in 1994 as PTV (with a sister block for older kids called The Game launched in 1996), it changed its name to PBS Kids in 1999 and still runs today. Also had a sister block called PBS Kids Go! that launched in 2004 to focus on similar programming for 6- to 8-year-old children, a slightly older intended audience than the original block. PBS Kids Go! was discontinued in 2013.
  • Teen NICK: Started out as programming block in 2000 that aired on Nickelodeon during Sunday evenings. It had a focus on teen-oriented programming. The block was discontinued in 2008 but exists today as its own TV channel.
  • Teletoon
    • Camp Teletoon: This block airs annually on weekdays in July and August which is when most kids are out of school for summer vacation. The block airs in the morning until noon and typical features the most popular programs currently airing on the channel.
    • Teletoon at Night: Formed in 2002 as The Detour, this is a late-night block that is rather similar to Adult Swim's format in terms of programming, mostly adult animated shows. It airs every night of the week. A French-language version of the block "Télétoon la suit" airs on Teletoon's French-language channel.
  • Treehouse TV: Before it became a television channel in 1997, it was a block on YTV called The Treehouse. Like the channel today, Treehouse focused on programming for preschoolers. It was hosted by PJs (Program Jockeys) and featured puppets named The Fuzzpaws which were carried over to the Treehouse channel. It was replaced by a block called YTV Jr. ,which was not hosted, though it was short lived as the Treehouse channel became widely available across Canada and made the block obsolete.
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