Follow TV Tropes

Following

Creator / Kids' WB!

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kidswblogo_transparent.png
The best place for cartoons with pants and with no pants.

"So hang with us, and then you'll see
Dubba-dubba's all in the family
Jammin' this place for kids to be
Dubba-dubba Kids Dubba-dubba WB!"
—From a music video promoting the block, circa 1998.

Yakko Warner: What is a dubba anyway?
Jeff Bennett: We don't know, but it's awfully fun to say!
—The Saturday morning block's intro sequence from Fall 1996.
Advertisement:

The Saturday-morning and weekday afternoon children's programming block on The WB (and The CW for its first one-and-a-half years), which deserves special mention as being not only the longest-running Saturday-morning block in television history, but also the only block of its kind to outlive the channel it was created for. Programmed in-house by Warner Bros.' television division, it served primarily as an outlet for Warner Bros. Animation works, but it also aired programming from third-party studios as well.

Kids' WB! launched on September 9, 1995, nearly eight months after The WB's launch, and was meant primarily to compete against Fox Kids, who had utterly dominated the children's television space throughout much of the decade. Unlike Fox Kids, Kids' WB! only programmed a full hour of programming during the weekday afternoons and three hours during Saturday mornings. It wasn't until the premiere of Superman: The Animated Series in 1996 where the Saturday block was extended to four hours. In Chicago, WB affiliate WGN-TV chose not to carry the block due to commitments to its newscasts, meaning it aired on then-independent station WCIU insteadnote ; it wasn't until 2004 that WGN-TV started carrying the block.

Advertisement:

The block had a laxer standards and practices department than Fox Kids, which allowed for more darker and raunchy material to air. Animaniacs took advantage of this upon its move from Fox, with the show amping up its Biting-the-Hand Humor at an even stronger level than even the Fox days. Bruce Timm noted that when Batman: The Animated Series was revived by the network, they got only "two paragraphs of stuff we can't do" as opposed to the "five single-spaced pages of notes" that Fox gave them during the original series' run.

1999 ended up being a turning point for the block. While Fox Kids was starting to struggle due to problems with the ill-fated Fox Family network, the aftermath of the Fox/New World debacle, the conclusion of network darlings X-Men and Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the growing presence of cable networks such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and a newly-relaunched Disney Channel and the beginning of Power Rangers' Seasonal Rot, Kids' WB! picked up a little syndicated show called Pokémon, the move of which caused the franchise's popularity in the West to reach monolithic levels. Ratings started overtaking Fox Kids that year, and its popularity combined with the strength of its DC cartoons (in particular Batman Beyond and Static Shock) as well as additional anime additions like Yu-Gi-Oh!, firmly established it as the premier children's destination for broadcast TV. Kids' WB would expand its weekday afternoon block by another hour, with the Saturday block expanded to five hours (which they kept for the remainder of its run), and Fox Kids would fold two years later and be replaced by FoxBox, programmed by 4Kids Entertainment (which dubbed Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh).

Advertisement:

Not everyone was pleased about it, though. Fans of Animaniacs, as well other Steven Spielberg-produced WB cartoons such as Freakazoid! and Pinky and the Brain, felt Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh!'s popularity was cannibalizing WB's in-house productions due to the fact that it was cheaper to just license the shows and give them multiple time slots than produce their own shows if it didn't bring in similar ratings. In addition, Kids' WB! also began losing interest in DC cartoons (Justice League ended up airing on Cartoon Network instead) after The Zeta Project failed to impress; The Batman ended up being the last original DC cartoon for the network, premiering two years after Zeta Project's end and staying until the block itself closed.

Speaking of Cartoon Network (which was owned by WB sister outlet Turner Broadcasting, who had actually taken over The WB's operations in 2001, continuing to do so until two years later), a majority of the shows featured on the block, particularly ones that were out of their first-run, would slowly find their way to that channel as early as 1997, either airing in their entirety or though weekly spotlight blocks and experimentations. There was also an even bigger attempt at synergy by attempting to brand the late-afternoon weekday block under the Toonami name, temporarily airing two of the original block's most iconic shows, Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon, while some of Kids' WB's own shows, like Superman: The Animated Series, Cardcaptors, and Batman Beyond would begin airing on the actual Toonami block. Viewers and critics panned it, and the rebranding was dropped after just one year. It produced one original program, The Nightmare Room, which got solid reviews but lasted for only 13 episodes, and was the only live-action show ever aired on the block.

Sadly, reality started to catch up to Kids' WB! as children increasingly flocked to cable, which aired children's programming often on a 24/7 basis. In addition, WB Animation started producing more shows for Cartoon Network, including Teen Titans, Krypto the Superdog (though reruns aired on Kids' WB! for E/I requirements) and Baby Looney Tunes, with Kids' WB! being shoved in the wayside (this was also during a time when the overall WB network was facing ratings problems). The WB Animation shows made for the network during this period, such as ¡Mucha Lucha!, Loonatics Unleashed, and Xiaolin Showdown, had their fans, but were seen as failing to live up to its '90s-early '00s peers. The weekday block was discontinued in December 2005, and shortly thereafter the WB announced it would merge with UPN (which had long given up on children's programming for several years) to form the CW, with Kids' WB! joining the new network. None of the block's anime programming made the jump; future Yu-Gi-Oh! series (along with reruns of the original show) moved over to FoxBox successor 4KidsTV, while Pokémon became a full-time Cartoon Network program after years of reruns.

By the 2007-2008 season, signs were starting to point towards the end of the block: The Batman, Legion of Super Heroes, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! and Tom and Jerry Tales were all announced canceled, and only one show, The Spectacular Spider-Man, was slated to premiere mid-season. In October 2007, The CW announced a four-year deal with 4Kids Entertainment to take over the five-hour slot beginning in the summer of 2008. Kids' WB! aired its last broadcast on May 17, 2008, with its successor, The CW4Kids (later re-branded as Toonzai) launching the following week; shows that weren't canceled, including Spider-Man (which premiered two months before the block closed) and Johnny Test finished their seasons in the new block's inaugural season before moving to other networks that fall; The Spectacular Spider-Man found a new home at Disney XD, while Johnny Test jumped ship to Cartoon Network.

The name was repurposed as a website featuring the Looney Tunes shorts, the Hanna-Barbera library, and the DC Comics-based cartoons. In 2013, the website's shows were scaled back heavily, and after The WB website shut down in 2013 as well, it was euthanized in May 2015.


Shows featured on Kids' WB!, in the order they appeared:

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001note 

2002note 

2003

2004

2005

2006note 

2007

2008


The block itself is associated with the following tropes:

  • Adapted Out: Some of WB's children programs from the late 80s and early 90s, such as Beetlejuice, Taz-Mania and Kidsongs never aired on Kids' WB due to existing agreements with other networks (Nickelodeon, Fox Kids and PBS Kids respectively, with the former two both eventually airing on Cartoon Network). Not to mention that the former two shows had already ended production and the latter was aimed at pre-schoolers. Later on, two WBA series produced for Cartoon Network, Justice League and Duck Dodgers, were similarly denied runs on the block.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: KOL Secret Slumber Party on CBS from 2006, which was partially sponsored by then-WB owned AOL (both companies also jointly owned The CW), and featured a blatantly girl-centric lineup as opposed to Kids' WB's equally blatant boy-centric agenda. As such, neither block ever bothered promoting the other's series (except possibly during local ad time on CBS/CW duopolies). Downplayed in that AOL's involvement was mostly limited to running the tie-in website (the actual shows were produced by DiC Entertainment) and dropped out after just one year.
  • Anvil on Head: In one bumper, a seesaw incident launches an anvil onto the head of the WB logo, causing an imprint on its "head" as well as Circling Birdies.
  • The Artifact: As the block began to shift more towards action cartoons and anime, which were fueled by the successes of Superman: The Animated Series and especially Pokemon, the WB studio and its water tower became this after the The Big Cartoonie Show, which featured the block's final runs of Animaniacs, was discontinued in late 2000.
    • The block itself, or at least the name became this during the CW era.
  • Circling Birdies: In some bumpers, the WB logo would get injured or dizzy and stars and birds would circle around its head. In the spot where it gets hit with an anvil, the birds are replaced with winged anvils.
  • Cross Through: Happened very often in the promos, especially in the ones advertising Pokémon.
    Agent Kay: Meet [my new partner,] Bulbasaur.
    Bulbasaur: Bulbasaur.
    Agent Jay: You're trading me in for a lizard?! What's so special about him!?
    Bulbasaur: Bulbasaur!! (performs Vine Whip on Jay)
    Kay: Built-in weaponry.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: From the block's debut until around sometime in 1997, the WB studio backgrounds were flat instead of 3D and were similar to those found in if not completely ripped from Animaniacs. Confetti and balloons were almost everywhere and instead of the stylized shield-like emblem that was similar to the normal Warner Bros. logo, the logo at the time consisted of a yellow ring simply placed in back of the constantly bouncing letters, with the colors of the letters and exclamation mark all being different colors. Also, many actors from the sitcoms of the main network's lineup like The Parent 'Hood and Sister, Sister would appear during the bumpers, sometimes interacting with the animated characters.
  • Dueling Works: With Disney's One Saturday Morning and Fox Kids (thanks to WB taking their shows back from them). Fox Kids' successor, the FoxBox, later renamed 4Kids TV, served as this for a while until 4Kids got into a shoving match with Fox and took over this block instead.
  • In Name Only: The version of Toonami that took over the block between 2001 and 2002. While Toonami classics like Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon did air on Kids WB, this "Toonami" was hardly like the original on Cartoon Network. For starters, Tom didn't even have any voiced lines, and a greater part of the lineup consisted of shows that were already airing on the block at the time, some of which such as Generation O! and Scooby-Doo didn't fit the block's action-animation branding. This also came at the cost of temporarily reducing the original Toonami's schedule by an hour.
  • "Kick Me" Prank: In one bumper, the WB logo and Omi from Xiaolin Showdown put a "Tickle Me" sign on the WB water tower's back, making it angry.
  • Potty Emergency: In this promo, Wakko Warner has one, but he's informed that the toilet lid is stuck, however, the handle still works.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: As stated above, The shows' animated stars would sometimes interact with characters from The WB's live-action sitcoms in the bumpers.
    Curtis Williams: Dot has something to say.
    Dot: Thank you, Curtis. And now, back to our program.
    • The later CG-animated bumpers would frequently employ kids interacting with the Kids' WB logo.
  • "Sesame Street" Cred: The bumpers in the block's first two years consisted of stars from The WB's primetime shows (and comedian Harland Williams) informing viewers when the shows were taking breaks and returning.

Top