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Executive Meddling / Western Animation

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With all the Moral Guardians clamping down on content deemed Harmful to Minors and greedy people who want to milk money from franchises, Western Animation is rife with Executive Meddling.

  • Because of The CW's failed pilot for an Aquaman series, Mercy Reef, the character was not seen in JLU's final season, and his arch-enemy Black Manta was turned into Captain Ersatz Devil Ray. The episode "To Another Shore" was to feature Aquaman vs. Manta, but his role was given to Wonder Woman instead. Knowing this helps to explain some of the episode's serious WTF moments: Why is Wonder Woman at a meeting about global warming (yes, Themyscira is an island, but...)? Why did she give a very Aquaman-ish threat to the leaders of the free world? Most of all, why is Devil Ray so pissed at her?
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  • Until the Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the first season of Young Justice (2010), policy was that Wonder Woman and related characters were only allowed to appear if she's one of the main characters. Since then, this has changed as she was a guest star in those series, appeared in Superman/Batman: Apocalypse and Donna Troy appeared in Super Best Friends Forever.
  • Plastic Man and the Blue Beetle were also forbidden from appearing due to media adaptation rights conflicts. Those conflicts have seen been resolved, so both now appear along with Aquaman and Black Manta in Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
  • On the subject of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the producers have stated that when using The Atom, Firestorm and Blue Beetle, they were encouraged to use the more recent, non-white versions for the sake of diversity. This in turn led to Ryan Choi, Jason Rusch and Jaime Reyes being given more prominent roles in the DCU after the 2011 DC relaunch. However, Ronnie Raymond was the one to share the Firestorm matrix with Jason Rusch rather than Martin Stein, and Choi and Reyes' predecessors did appear in later episodes, with Ted Kord (the second Blue Beetle) being given a noble Heroic Sacrifice as opposed to the ignoble death his comics counterpart suffered.
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  • There were apparently problems getting Black Lightning into various DC animated series (which explains Black Vulcan in Superfriends). However, when they delved into it when they were doing Brave and the Bold, they couldn't find the exact reasons whynote , thus giving them a chance to bring Black Lightning into a DC animated production for the first time.
  • Batman: The Animated Series had its share of meddling in its production. Executives did not think that young viewers would identify with Batman very well, so decreed that his sidekick, Robin would have to appear in every episode in the second season, something that the creators did not want, as Batman needed some time alone as a solo vigilante. A proposed story involving a Catwoman and Black Canary team-up was axed when the executives noticed that Robin was not involved. In the end, the creators won out, and by The New Batman Adventures period, Robin made only occasional appearances where they saw fit (this time as a young Tim Drake version, even), but the team-up script was forever lost. A similar plot was used instead in "Batgirl Returns". (Black Canary later appeared in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, by which time Catwoman was ensnared in the Bat-Embargo.)
    • Meddling and censorship sometimes led to the producers having to think of inventive ways of showing otherwise unacceptable content. For example, in the episode "Robin's Reckoning: Part 1", they were not allowed to show Dick Grayson's parents plummeting to their deaths from a trapeze, so they instead framed the shot so that you simply see their shadows swinging out of view, then the snapped rope swinging back followed by the audience's shocked reaction. The creators conceded on a DVD commentary that this made the scene much more effective, and thanked the studio for making them do it that way. Track down the book about B:TAS if you want to see many of the decisions Fox censors made for them. ("It must be clear that Batman is kicking thugs in the stomach." "Try to have Catwoman land on something other than her face or breasts." "For some reason, they didn't like the hyenas chowing down in the baby carriage." etc.)
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    • The BTAS episode "Over the Edge" was subject to bits of Executive Meddling. Originally, when Batgirl/Barbara was to fall to her death while hitting her father's police car on the way down, the camera angle stayed outside of the car, looking head-on at Gordon and Bullock as Barbara hits the hood. The network censors objected to the blatant on-screen violence and flagged the shot. The writers at WB Animation then set the shot of Barbara landing on the hood from inside the police car, using the conventional "back seat" shot seen in so many movies. This is a much more startling and frightening shot, as the camera angle is so common and generic that the violence is ten times more unexpected. However, the censors, in a remarkable show of Genre Blindness, only paid attention to the fact that Barbara's landing was technically further away from the camera and signed off on the more vicious shot. An interview with Dini shows him saying something to the effect of "If the network wanted us to change a scene because it was too violent or scary, our policy was to follow their words to the letter, but at the same time make it much scarier," noting that they could get away with some seriously twisted things if they followed the words to the letter.
    • FOX Network executives put the kibosh on an adaptation of Batman versus Dracula when they insisted vampires could not be shown drinking blood. Years later, The Batman was able to use Dracula and show vampires drinking blood, but only as a direct-to-DVD movie subject to less censorship than the TV series. (By the same token, the movie gave Batman a love interest, Vicki Vale, who was nowhere to be seen in the show, and included a number of sexual innuendoes, such as the Renfieldized Penguin remarking that Vicki had "nice jugulars.")
    • FOX also refused to let Dini use Firefly, a pyromaniac villain. (Burning off half of Harvey Dent's face in an explosion was apparently okay — but this was changed from the comics' origin of acid being deliberately thrown in his face.) It wasn't until the series transferred to the WB that Firefly made an appearance. Though ironically, Dini and Timm both ended up with the opinion that he was one of the dullest villains they ever put on the show.
    • As it originally came out to tie into Batman Returns, Catwoman and the Penguin was designed to resemble their counterparts in the film, hence Selina having blonde hair and the Penguin's attire and deformities. It might also be why in "Joker's Wild" and "Dreams in Darkness", the Joker was identified as "Jack Napier" as he was in the Batman (1989). That said, these are undone in the transition to The New Batman Adventures, which featured a black-haired Catwoman, a more traditional-looking Penguin, and "Jack Napier" retconned into an alias the Joker used. note 
  • Batman Beyond: When asked to do a show about Batman in High School, creative interpretation of that concept gave us a teenage boy inheriting the mantle from an elderly Bruce Wayne in a dark Cyberpunk future.
  • Superman: The Animated Series: Bruce Timm said that for some reason, DC wouldn't give him permission to have Clark reveal his identity to Lois. Ever. It came up again in Justice League, when Timm revealed that DC again squashed the reveal by forbidding him to say or insinuate that Clark and Lois were dating despite them being married in the comic for 10 (Real Life) years. It wasn't until the build-up to JLU's (first) Grand Finale that Superman (not Clark) took Lois on a date.
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series: Bruce Timm has confirmed that the members of the production staff were barred from using Sinestro (save for 1 Episode) or the Sinestro Corps due to plans for the character in the proposed film franchise. The writers have mentioned this worked out for the best, as it forced them to work with lesser known, untapped villains such as the Red Lanterns.
  • Beware the Batman was as much of a victim. Due to recent theater shootings, WB ordered that all the guns were removed and replaced by laser guns or other unrealistic weapons. Some dialogue hints this was a last-minute decision. After that, Mattel refused to make a toyline to focus on its own original line of Batman toys, which killed any chances for a second season.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Kipo was originally a normal human. Her having mutant powers was a request from executives who believed Kipo needed something special. Her odd skin colour is a holdover from the comics, where many characters had crazy skin tones, kept in order to foreshadow the eventual twist.
  • Adventure Time:
    • Though it is notorious for dancing circles around the censors note  — at least in America note , one thing in particular wouldn't fly with the censors: the character Tree Trunks dying by explosion in the episode "Tree Trunks". The creators revealed that she had been transported to a crystal world, and she was later rescued by the titular characters. After her return in other episodes, Tree Trunks is one of the most beloved characters in the show. If the creators had had their way, she would have exploded, and only appeared in one episode. Instead, they were forced to think outside of their own box, which led to a few episodes all about Tree Trunks, like "Crystals Have Power" and "Apple Thief".
    • It also got hit with a long-term instance of this trope. Because the show airs in some countries where homosexuality is, at best, socially taboo and, at worst, considered highly illegal and because said countries don't want their children exposed to the notion that not everyone is heterosexual, the network currently won't let the creators openly acknowledge Marceline and Princess Bubblegum's lesbian relationship in the show. The writers have resorted to simply implying it as hard as possible without actually saying it, though they've been allowed to confirm it in interviews and on the Internet before having the characters kiss and begin dating again in the series finale.
  • In a particularly bizarre piece of censorship, one episode of Æon Flux had a scene redubbed on executive insistence, so that a scene of two characters having bizarre but consensual and enjoyable sex was turned into a torture scene. Giving a very dubious message of "kink is unspeakably depraved, but on-screen recreational torture is fine".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have implied executive meddling as the reason for their inability to resolve the Ursa subplot on the series proper. Apparently, they had plans to give many things much more closure, but executives, along with time constraints, forced them to the end the series the way it did. By their own choice, they ended up turning down a proposal to have the Ursa subplot resolved in a brief throwaway scene of her and Zuko reuniting at the end, as that would be a textbook example of a Writer Cop Out, wrapping something up in a quick, unsatisfying way. Thankfully, the sequel comics The Promise and The Search eventually resolve this subplot.
    • In the DVD commentary for one of the episodes, one of the creators makes a vague reference to "certain people" who objected to the show having such strong female characters. May have been an attempt at Executive Meddling that didn't take.
    • The ambiguity of Jet's death is also due to executive meddling, because execs were against showing a teenager being violently murdered.
    • That isn't the only time the executives' stance against killing has caused trouble for the show. The whole point of Avatar Kyoshi's backstory is that she chose to Shoot the Dog and kill Chin the Conqueror, but the higher-ups wouldn't accept her killing him outright, so this was changed to her using bending to split the continent and Chin falling to his death after stubbornly refusing to get out of the way (Kyoshi herself insists this distinction is irrelevant and considers herself Chin's killer). Similarly, Avatar Roku's death at the "hands" of Firelord Sozin -Executives refused to let the Firelord kill Roku, so instead he just shows up out of nowhere while Roku is dealing with a volcano, offers to help, and then leaves just as randomly without affecting anything at all.
    • DVD commentary also mentions that Nickelodeon would have liked Aang to be thirty, use bladed weapons, and ride a motorcycle. These suggestions were the subject of a Take That! in the episode "Sokka's Master".
    • Not that they were always wrong. During the show's development, the execs noticed that Fire Lord Ozai was just Orcus on His Throne, and suggested that there be a younger, more active villain pursuing the Avatar. This idea became Prince Zuko, one of the show's lead characters.
    • To get the swimsuit outfit designs they wanted for the 3rd season episode "The Beach", several highly inappropriate outfit candidates were included along with what the designers actually wanted in order to thwart executive meddling. It was a classic bargaining tactic: make an absurd offer so your actual desired offer looks quite reasonable in comparison.
  • When a little boy burned down his trailer home and caused the death of his baby sister, the program Beavis and Butt-Head was blamed because Beavis was a bit of a pyromaniac. As a result, he was no longer allowed to shout "Fire!, Fire!", he was no longer able to carry around a lighter and set things ablaze, and many past episodes' fire references were edited out.
    • It did lead to one memorable music video scene — the video was Wax's "Southern California," which famously features the Unusually Uninteresting Sight of a man on fire jogging down a street. Instead of Beavis saying anything about fire, he just goes into a catatonic daze of pure bliss.
    • Beavis continued to hilariously lampshade this bit of Executive Meddling as the show went on. Upon seeing a monk in a video, he begins excitedly shouting "friar, friar!" while Butthead nervously prods him to stop. Beavis eventually mutters "oh yeah" and settles down again. Another time, he slowly and deliberately chants "liar, liar, pants on..." and then concludes with a distracted "whoa!". Yet another time, while watching Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy," Beavis sees Robin Williams and exclaims, "Look, it's Mrs. Doubt-FIRE!!!"
    • 15 years later, this was apparently lifted as the first new episode of the series have Beavis proudly exclaiming "FIRE! FIRE!"
    • Mike Judge actually agreed with a suggestion of giving the boys a smart, female Foil and created Daria Morgendorffer, who would wind up getting her own spin-off that is better remembered than B&B itself.
  • One episode of the Beetlejuice cartoon show is a huge Take That! to ABC's Broadcast Standards and Practices, featuring an annoying, fairy godmother-like character Goody Two Shoes who claims to represent the "Bureau of Sweetness and Prissiness" (yes, she does use the abbreviation at one point). The characters finally manage to shake her by being too Sickeningly Sweet even for her tastes, and the end of the episode lampshades actual censorship in the show, namely how the camera cuts to another character's reaction whenever Beetlejuice eats a bug. There's also the ratings-obsessed Mr. Monitor, who's practically the personification of Executive Meddling.
  • According to Big City Greens co-creator Shane Houghton, getting the executives to allow the character of Cricket's Spoiled Sweet best friend Remy Remington to exist in the show was a bit of a headache due to one of the executives at DTVA hating the character and feeling like something was missing (and yet the executive in question was completely clueless about just what it was; at one point the executive even suggested they give Remy a new pair of shoes as though that alone would fix the character). Eventually, the problem was solved by the Houghton brothers tapping Remy's now current VA, Zeno Robinson, to voice the character. Zeno's cheerful yet slightly neurotic take on the character was a smash-hit with the show's crew and execs and Zeno has been the voice of Remy ever since.
  • The Boondocks:
    • An in-universe spoof in "A Huey Freeman Christmas": Huey is asked to direct the school's Christmas play, but important aspects of his script are vetoed by the school principal; Huey eventually walks off the project, but his teacher puts on Huey's version of the play as written (and gets fired for it).
    • Two episodes of Season 2, "The Hunger Strike" and "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show", were banned from premiering on Adult Swim. Both episodes were centered around BET and portrayed them as being socially irresponsible, and exploiting black stereotypes for profit. Despite denial by Adult Swim, many believe that BET threatened Sony and AS to pull the episodes with legal actions. Viacom (parent company) was confirmed to threaten legal action against Adult Swim. Thankfully, both episodes were featured on the Season 2 DVD.
  • In 2007, Cartoon Network had a Cross Through event for its most popular shows called "CN Invaded", with the plot being that these various shows were being invaded by aliens. None of the creators of the five shows involved (Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Ed, Edd n Eddy, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, Camp Lazlo, and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy) had any interest in doing it, but found themselves forced to make the episodes regardless, since it was meant to satisfy a sponsorship deal with food manufacturer Kraft. Hence the reveal that the aliens wish to steal the Earth's supply of cheese partway through the event. To add insult to injury, Kraft would end up pulling out for unknown reasons just as these episodes completed production.
  • The Stinger sequences for Camp Lazlo were sacrificed via Credits Pushback. As seen with Chowder, it's a wonder anybody on Cartoon Network even bothers with stingers anymore (though ever since the new original programming came along, like Adventure Time and Regular Show, they don't have any stingers).
  • On ChalkZone, Rudy was originally eight years old, and was that age for the first two shorts on Oh Yeah! Cartoons. When Oh Yeah! Cartoons was picked up for a second season, Nickelodeon became interested in spinning off the shorts into its own TV series. For unknown reasons, they requested that Rudy had to be aged up to ten years old for the series. For the remainder of the shorts before the show premiered, Rudy was aged up by two years (and re-designed) and Penny was added as a new main character (her addition hasn't been confirmed as executive meddling, but she may have been added into the second season of Oh Yeah! Cartoons because there weren't any female characters in the shorts.)
  • The "puppet mode" Stinger segments that play during the credit sequence of Chowder were completely removed from their first run due to the current practice of Cartoon Network appropriating a show's credit sequence for additional show promotion and advertising with their blatant Credits Pushback (a practice becoming increasingly more common on television in the United States). Fortunately, the Stinger segments are now finally being shown, but only when the show is aired during "off-peak syndication."
  • After the Code Lyoko pilot, Garage Kids, was made, several changes were made to the show's intended plot (which was forced to be a set of Strictly Formula standalone episodes instead of a continuous story line) and setting (Originally, there was to be a blurrier divide between the real and virtual worlds by allowing the characters to maintain their powers in both). These, along with budget cuts, angered co-creator Thomas Romain so much that he left the production staff.
  • Originally, the Kids Next Door were to use high tech equipment to fight adult tyranny. The folks at Cartoon Network, however, asked this to be changed since Dexter's Laboratory had already done this. This resulted in 2x4 technology, which Mr. Warburton has called one of the coolest things about the show. The show as a whole came into existence due to executives becoming interested in some of the side characters in "Kenny and the Chimp" and pushing Warburton into creating a second pilot starring these characters. These characters being what would become Sector V of the Kids Next Door.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog was forced off the air by executive meddling for a while, eventually only being shown in October. As explained here, the episode "The Mask" was caught under fire by Moral Guardians who believed the episode contained lesbian undertones, and threatened to sue Cartoon Network's bottom off unless they cancelled the show. Many at the network admitted that Courage was their favorite of all the Cartoon Network original series, saying they would have kept it running if it wasn't for the threat. Whatever the case, the show got to air the rest of its final season and still occasionally reruns on the network.
  • Danny Phantom: The show's third season being the final one was the result of the Nick executive championing the series leaving the network and getting replaced by one who wanted to push Avatar: The Last Airbender as the channel's core action franchise. When it came time to air these final episodes, episode premieres were moved around the schedule and placed in odd timeslots, with several also being aired Out of Order.
  • An episode of Daria revolves around the school holding a contest where entrants create health and safety posters. Jane and Daria collaborate on an entry, featuring a skinny blonde girl, and a poem explaining that she has achieved this supposedly angelic physique through the magic of bulimia. Mr. O'Niel and Ms. Li love the painting, but aren't too keen on the less-than-sugary poem, so they ask the girls to change it to one with a more sanitized and curriculum-approved message about good nutrition. The girls refuse, citing artistic reasons, which sets off a series of events which culminates in a very entertaining scene where Mrs. Morgendorffer threatens Ms. Li with legal action.
  • Darkwing Duck: Parodied In-Universe. Executives try to mess with the show itself onscreen, such as trying to change the focus to villain Bushroot. They at least figured that killing Darkwing off should be vetoed.
  • Drawn Together: It's been implied more than once and is the general opinion of the creators that the show was cancelled due to executive meddling. In fact, the movie can be seen as a feature-length middle finger to Comedy Central. The creators firmly believe that despite South Park being just as crude and vulgar as Drawn Together, and at one point providing heated competition in ratings, the latter was cancelled solely for Comedy Central's pet.
  • The Dreamstone:
    • The creative team were pushed to create more female characters (Amberley being the only female of the main cast originally), thus most supporting characters made after the first episode were created to please executives (Wildit, Spildit, Zarag, even the Planet Dreamstone has a feminine voice).
    • Seasons Three and Four were made primarily because ITV commissioned the team for two more seasons after the second. This caused some problems distributing the series for a while since the final two seasons were thus the property of a different company.
  • Happens In-Universe in the DuckTales (2017) episode "The Duck Knight Returns!". Scrooge (who hasn't set foot in a cinema since 1938) ultimately has three simple demands for the director in charge of the Darkwing Duck reboot film: the movie should be in color, the villain should have a mustache to twirl...and Dewey is in charge of filming the final scenes. It's only the last one that really causes any trouble (the director made the rest of the film an exercise in True Art Is Angsty, while Dewey's scenes involve musical numbers and a borderline Random Events Plot), and the movie would have likely been a disaster if it hadn't been canceled.
  • Dungeons & Dragons (1983):
    Eric: This is all Venger's fault! We ought to do something about that guy!
    Hank: Eric's right!
    Eric: I am?
    • And all of them were chastised by the Dungeon Master for listening to Eric. He then treated them to a lecture about mercy.note 
    • "The Dragon's Graveyard" is notable because it shows what the show could have been if the executives had left well enough alone. The beginning starts off with them almost getting home, before Venger stops them. The kids avert Angst? What Angst? with a vengeance and Bobby breaks down crying. They finally get sick of him thwarting all their attempts to return home, and decide to take the offensive and kill note  him to stop this from happening ever again. The series was intended to be a Deconstruction of kids going to a magic world by having the kids actually be afraid of the life-threatening situations they got into, and depressed about being lost on an alien world. But the Media Watchdogs just wouldn't let that happen.
    • All bladed weapons were forbidden from the show, so we got a warrior that uses a bow with energy arrows, a cavalier that only uses a shield for both offense and defense, and a thief that can turn invisible but doesn't really use any weapons.
    • Of course, the writers disliked the whole The Complainer Is Always Wrong approach, and made it a point for Eric's dire predictions to come true, without actually stating out loud that Eric was correct, leaving it for observant viewers to notice.
  • Word of God says that the Earthworm Jim cartoon was made to boost video game sales and that Doug TenNapel wants nothing to do with the show (despite that it has a sizable cult following). Years later, Doug tried to make a Lighter and Softer animated adaptation of his graphic novel Gear, which he intended to develop as a dark (though not as dark as the source material, which is...very morbid, to say the least), plot-driven animated series in the vein of Avatar: The Last Airbender or Gargoyles. When he pitched it to Nick however, the executives didn't like it and retooled the show to have a more zany and comedic direction, said show ultimately became the short-lived Catscratch.
  • Mocked in an episode of Eek! The Cat about how cartoons are made. At the end of the episode the producers of Fox rewrite the show so that Eek is a warrior kangaroo named Kangor the Destroyer.
  • According to the scriptwriter Michael Edens, the Disney Death of Alec Deleon in Exo Squad was caused by Executive Meddling. Originally, he was supposed to be Killed Off for Real as early as in the destruction of Mars, as foreshadowed in a Dream Sequence six episodes before that. However, on the whole, Exo Squad was largely free of meddling- even despite its Merchandise-Driven nature, this didn't stop the crew from making a deep, complex storyline. It did end up getting canned, though, thanks to stations deciding to mess around with the show and put it into unreachable timeslots like 4:00 AM- despite the muscle of both a toyline and Universal Television behind it.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • Per word of Butch Hartman, characters like Poof, Sparky and Chloe were ordered to be added into the show by Nickelodeon.
    • According to the tenth season's trivia, originally, only 13 episodes were put into production. Later on however, Nickelodeon ordered an additional set of 7 episodes late in production.
    • In the episode "Timmy TV", Timmy finds out his life is a popular reality show in Fairy World. The fairy executives use this opportunity to convince Timmy to make a few changes in order to increase the show's ratings, such as changing Timmy's hat purple, replacing Timmy's mom with Florence Henderson, and replacing Chester and AJ with monkeys. Timmy, however, draws the line at getting rid of Cosmo and Wanda.
  • Family Guy:
    • The episode "PTV" dealt with Executive Meddling (thanks to Lois bringing the FCC into Quahog after having the straw break the camels back in regards to some of his lewd shows, and other more personal reasons depending on the version). The same episode in Real Life also subverted it in a way: The FCC was okay with the creators using Peter's pooping off the side of the highway onto another highway and it landing on Lois's car's windshield (the original reason for Lois' calling in the FCC) for another show of Peter's so long as they at least do minor things such as remove Peter lowering his pants, silence the wet sound of the poop landing, and making the poop look ambiguous. The writers ultimately decided that the changes weren't worth it, so they rewrote it to have Lois protest against PTV after seeing The Side Boob Hour (a collection of all the side-boob shots of actresses that network TV once allowed), and even that had to be monitored by censors in Real Life so as not to show too much Side Boob.
    • In "Peter, Peter, Caviar Eater", one of the cutaway gags was a parody of the DeBeers "Diamonds" commercial that had to be edited to remove strong implications that the female shadow was going to give the male shadow a blowjob. The version that ended up airing had the woman slide about three inches down before the scene cuts to a title card that reads, "Diamonds: She'll Pretty Much Have To." However, the actions and implication are still intact and viewers will still understand what's going on, whether or not it's explicitly shown.
    • Many jokes and gags in the syndicated runs are either edited or cut out completely. Lampshaded when a disclaimer notes, "Family Guy is a lot funnier on Adult Swim, because we don't cut out the funniest jokes."
    • The episode "Brian Griffin's House of Payne" explored the idea of Executive Meddling in which Brian finds an old script he did for a TV drama series called What I Learned on Jefferson Street, about a single father who turns his life around by going back to college and starts being a dad to his toddler-aged daughter. When Brian's series gets made, it gets co-opted by James Woods and is turned into a raunchy sitcom called Class Holes about a sexy college co-ed's life falling apart when her father enrolls in the same college she's enrolled in.
  • On the Marvel side of things, Human Torch was not left out of The Fantastic Four (1978) because network execs feared children would set themselves on fire to imitate him. Rather, it was because Universal had the rights to the character for an (eventually unmade) project. The Torch explains in the FF comic book that he was out of the country when the contracts for the cartoon were being signed.
  • Final Space:
  • The Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Everyone Knows It's Bendy" is both notorious among fans of the show and a disappointment for people involved in it (especially the episode's writer, Lauren Faust) because of executive meddling. The episode was originally conceived as a regular 22 minute episode. However, Cartoon Network insisted that the show switch from half-hour episodes to quarter-hour episodes (which ultimately only happened three times in the show's entire run. Once in Season 1, and twice in Season 2). As a result, several key moments in the episode were left on the cutting room floor one of which was Bendy getting his much needed punishment for his actions instead of becoming the Karma Houdini in the final product.
  • Futurama came back on a different network, since CN's rights ran out. The subsequent renewals of Futurama as a set of movies and then a relaunched series both began with some reference to the idiocy of the executives who shut down their business. The first movie spent about five minutes depicting the executives as complete and utter buffoons before describing how their remains were ground up to form a useful powder.
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • From season 4 onwards, some elements of the show that Jim Davis and Mark Evainer thought took up too much time in the show were removed in order to have more time for ads in between segments. These included the Once per Episode songs in the U.S. Acres segments note  and having three quickies in an average episode, which led to two types of quickies, Screaming with Binky and U.S. Acres Quickie, being phased out. By the time the final season aired, the show stopped using them entirely (though international prints and The Program Exchange's syndicated prints still used at least one).
    • The show itself spoofs executive meddling in-universe in "Learning Lessons" and "Kiddie Korner", which both feature characters who try and force educational content into the show.
  • Gargoyles suffered from meddling during its final season, The Goliath Chronicles. Executives wanted more lessons crammed in, resulting in a Full House moment at the end of every episode. Unsurprisingly, both the fans and the creator don't consider the third season as part of canon, save for the first episode.
  • The Godzilla Power Hour was a victim of meddling NOT by Hanna-Barbera, (which licensed the series to be made), but surprisingly by Toho, the creators and owners of Godzilla themselves. As a result of Toho's denial of service, Hanna-Barbera was forced to not only create several monsters that "resembled" the classic monsters of the Toho films (including Godzooky) but also could not use Godzilla's very own iconic roar.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002) was criticized as having failed due to a severe lack of promotion for both the show and toy line, an inconsistent air time, and — for the toys — a gross mis-distribution of the figures and several missed shipments to retailers, among other things. While most of these accusations are debatable, one isn't: even years after both show and toy line were canceled, the toy line's designers Four Horsemen convinced Mattel to allow them to continue to make merchandise for the series for free, extending it long after interest in it has died. In a bit of reverse-meddling, Mattel only agreed if the new merchandise were immobile statues instead of the action figures Four Horsemen wanted.
  • A writer who worked on Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats recalled cartoonish gags being cut from the storyboards. The Japanese animation producers at TMS could not understand them and wanted those toned down.
  • High Guardian Spice was initially pitched and greenlit as an animesque series for children and families. Partway during production, Crunchyroll mandated the inclusion of profanity, sexual content, and graphic violence so they could advertise it towards the streaming service's usual teen and young adult audience. However, the show's staff wasn't given the time or budget to go back and retool the show with this change in mind, resulting in the final product's infamously conflicted tone, essentially being a kids' cartoon with some extremely forced "adult" moments.
  • Infinity Train: During development of its first season, the crew was worried about overtly tackling the subject of divorce, fearing that the network would reject the idea as being too heavy for the target audience. After the first pitch, Cartoon Network not only encouraged them to directly say that Tulip's parents are divorced, but also supported them exploring it in-depth. Ironically, the show would end up being cancelled after its fourth season precisely because executives were growing increasingly upset that later seasons were tackling even heavier subject matter.
  • Invader Zim had a number of pushback from executives considering the show's violence and dark comedy, such as Keef explictly dying from electrocution at the end of "Bestest Friend". However, one of the most trotted out examples of executives meddling with the show actually isn't one. Vasquez wanted the opportunity to use an image of GIR covered head to toe in blood, but already knew that Nickelodeon would reject such imagery for obvious reasons. So they never told the executives and secretly turned the image into an Easter Egg, overlaying a very translucent picture of "Bloody GIR" into several episodes.
  • Jem:
    • The bosses asked Christy Marx, the creator and writer of most episodes of that series, to create a new Misfit for them. Christy attempted to make a black member for the Misfits, but the bosses rejected that, but offered her another idea: the new Misfit could be British — leading to the creation of Jetta. Their odd reasoning was since the Misfits were the antagonists of the show, the executives were worried that African American groups would take offence if one of the villains was black. Jetta was the best compromise that they could come up with ("ethnic," but still white.)
    • After season 1, Christy Marx was also told that she had to re-use music from previous episodes, forcing her to find ways to justify re-using old music in new scripts. As a result, only about half of the music from season 2 is original, and some of the new music is repeated only a few episodes later.
  • In the original pitch for Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy was sent to Hell by accident, with Lucifer trying to crush his optimism and purity by sending out The Dreaded Serial Killer Heloise to torment him, only for her to fall in love with him as he spread joy and good cheer throughout Hell and befriended Lucifer's son Beelzebub. The product would have been exclusive to Teletoon and aimed at tweens and young teens, but when Disney XD came on board to distribute the series to the US, they demanded the mature elements to be made more kiddie-friendly to fit their conservative target market. Thus Hell became Miseryville, Lucifer became Lucius Heinous VII, Beelzebub became Beezy J. Heinous, Heloise became a Mad Scientist, and Jimmy's past was simply left vague. The executive-mandated changes are even more obvious in the second season, where the show has further distanced itself from the original concept to become even Denser and Wackier.
  • Parodied in Johnny Bravo, "Cartoon Makeover." Weird Al, Don Knotts, and The Blue Falcon team up to revise the cartoon to make it more appealing to the audience. Naturally, the kids hate it and the previously mentioned trio turn the show back to normal before the episode's end.
  • Justice League Action was originally conceived as a TV Series about Batman, but it was instead turned into a Justice League series to promote the then-next venture of the DC Extended Universe.
  • Harley Quinn (2019) wanted to include a scene with Batman performing oral sex on Catwoman but DC forbade them with their reasoning being "Heroes don't do that" as well as concerns over an impact on toy sales (despite the show being aimed at older audiences). This led to much derision online from fans and Justice League director Zack Snyder.
  • Kaeloo:
    • Stumpy was originally supposed to have no arms, but even for a show like Kaeloo, it was considered to be a bit too much.
    • In-universe, the director sometimes calls the characters when the scene is getting too violent or risqué to let them know that he wants them to change that part of the episode to avoid angering Moral Guardians.
  • Besides its constantly rotating time slot, King of the Hill's creators frequently clashed with Fox over its story lines. Mike Judge and his writers wanted more emphasis on recurring plotlines and character development, while Fox demanded they drop these to allow for easier syndication play. This led to Negative Continuity and Retcons in later seasons that undercut the show's story arcs and character development (Luanne comes to mind), or just plain rewrote character back stories (Peggy's background and relationship with her mother), which were heavily criticized by the show's fans.
  • Word of God says executive meddling is why Least I Could Do's animated series never aired on TV. Ryan Sohmer had signed a deal with Teletoon to acquire funding for 13 episodes of Least I Could Do, when suddenly notes from the higher-ups started coming in. Notes that said the show needed to "feel more Canadian," that the setting should be specifically in Toronto, that Issa should be an Inuit, that Mick should wear a Toronto Maple Leafs shirt and that Rayne and Noel should go out fishing instead of on walks. Needless to say, Sohmer kindly told them where to stick it and backed out of the deal, funding the series through Kickstarter instead.
  • Somebody at Nickelodeon seriously has it out for The Legend of Korra:
    • First of all the creators were initially told that the series would just be one mini-series measuring at about 12 episodes. Then it was renewed for a second season, with it up in the air whether that would be the final season or not. This mean that the writers had to resolve every plot thread in those seasons by the end, leading to pacing problems. It wasn't until seasons three and four were renewed at the same time that they were actually able to plan ahead, and pacing and structure improved drastically as a result.
    • Nick also fell into the old habit of flipping the show around scheduling-wise, so no one could get a solid idea of when it would be on.
    • The writers also struggled to have Korra be a girl, as Nick was insistent that boys wouldn't watch a show with a female main character. It took test audiences made up of boys to prove that this was a baseless assumption.
    • Book 3 avoided any problems with executives but Book 4 suddenly got hit hard again. The budget was slashed viciously meaning the season didn't have nearly as many episodes as the writers wanted/needed. They were bullied into having a pointless Clip Show episode; Nick actually threatened to fire some of the studio staff if one wasn't made. And just to top it off, Book 4, which resolved the show's Myth Arc, was yanked off television. Instead Nick relegated it to their online programming. This actually turned out for the best, as the writers were now free of FCC regulations. Books 3 and 4 would feature a graphic on-screen death, family-unfriendly topics such as mass violence and political repression, capped off by an onscreen same-sex couple.
  • Several aspects of the Darker and Edgier second season of Legion of Super-Heroes have the fingerprints of meddling. Superman X's existence seems to have come out of a pressing need to have a Superman with a warrior complex and more superpowers:
    James Tucker: They wanted a super-up Superman. They didn't care how we did it, but they wanted him to be more of a badass. For me, I didn't want to alter our existing Superman that much. So along with Michael Jelenic, we came up with the clone from the future. (More here.)
    • More depressingly, Saturn Girl's season-long Convenient Coma and the near-disappearance of Phantom Girl seem to be the results of maximizing the ratings for the target 8-to-11-year-old male Demographic.
      Stan Berkowitz: ... the network focus-grouped The Batman (and Legion of Super-Heroes) and found out that what our very young male audience wanted was more fights, jokes and costumes and fewer female characters. No surprises there... [1]
  • After Devil May Hare, the first Looney Tunes short staring the Tasmanian Devil was made, executive Eddie Selzer made it extremely clear that no more cartoons about him would be made, since Taz was, in his opinion, stupid and unfunny. However, Jack Warner himself liked the cartoon (and audiences were asking for more Taz cartoons), so this was overturned.
    • Not that the WB animators were likely to listen to Eddie Selzer anyway. According to Chuck Jones, once while he and his frequent collaborator Michael Maltese were brainstorming ideas for a new Bugs Bunny cartoon, Selzer stuck his head in Chuck's office and said that he didn't think bullfights were funny so he didn't want them to make any bullfight cartoons. They hadn't even mentioned bullfighting during their brainstorming session, but after Selzer left, Maltese waited a few seconds, then said, "Well, he hasn't been right yet..." They immediately produced Bully for Bugs, in spite of Selzer's orders, which turned out to be one of Bugs' better vehicles.
      • Insiders have since noted that Selzer had to screen the cartoons after they were made. He obviously said nothing after seeing Bully For Bugs, so it was accepted that like Leon Schlesinger he let the animators make whatever they wanted as long as they were within budget.
      • Selzer's meddling had a tendency to backfire: when Chuck Jones was starting production on the Pepé Le Pew short For Scent-imental Reasons, he told them a French skunk was a terrible idea and the short would bomb (they had already made two Pepe cartoons prior to this one, neither of which had flopped). For Scent-imental Reasons went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject, and, being executive producer, Selzer had to accept the award. Boy, if there were ever a grander way to eat your words...
    • Executive Meddling is the reason the Daffy/Speedy series of Looney Tunes shorts (the most despised Looney Tunes shorts ever) exists. In 1964, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales were the three most popular characters in the Looney Tunes series. Television companies, thus, demanded more cartoons featuring Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales (who, at this point, had only starred in about 20 cartoons). Unfortunately, since the newly-reopened Warner Brothers Animation Studio had a very limited budget (due in no small part to the Fall of the Studio System), they had no choice but to pair the two characters together rather than give them separate cartoons. And thus we got "classics" like Well-Worn Daffy, Skyscraper Caper, and Speedy Ghost To Town.
    • After the Daffy/Speedy series met its demise in 1968, the rest of the studio's output was dedicated to new characters like Cool Cat, Merlin the Magic Mouse, and Bunny and Claude. When Robert McKimson returned to the studio for one last spell (following Alex Lovy's departure), he was told that he couldn't even use Daffy or Speedy anymore.
  • Lincoln and his family in The Loud House were originally conceived as being a family of rabbits with Warren (who would become Lincoln) being the only male with twenty-five sisters; in fact Lincoln's toy rabbit Bun-Bun is based off of Warren's concept art. An executive named Jenna Boyd advised Chris Savino to make them human. Savino said that was some of the best advice he had received in his career.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. According to Word of God, executives have been mostly hands-off for the show, and the writers have been allowed a lot more freedom than expected, with some exceptions. The length of this section is due to how open the people who work on the show have been about talking about it, rather than an unusually high amount of interference.
    • Season One had that E/I label on the upper-left corner of the screen on TV, in compliance with a broadcast television standard (cable is exempt). In Season Two, it's mysteriously removed. It's not clear why this is, but bronies sure are satisfied that the show appears to be hindered by the standards much less now, though it still maintains the preschool show rating of TV-Y. On the flip side tho, the move angered a number of Slice of Life fans who were drawn to the show as they feared that the removal of the logo meant that the show would focus less on slide of life issues and more on adventure, as well as introduce scarier villains (they were not wrong), and resulted in these fans denouncing the franchise.
    • Princess Celestia was originally to be a queen, but was made a princess because apparently, Disney has supposedly made it so that little girls affiliate queens with evil and princesses with good. After all, this was several years before Queen Elsa became Disney's pop-culture icon.
      • Executives forced all of Princess Celestia's toys released for the first couple of years of the show's run to be pink, even though she has a white coat in the series. Even after her body color was corrected to white, she often still had hints of pink included somewhere in her toy designs, such as on the tips of her wings.
    • Prince Blueblood was supposed to be a duke, but again, kids can't grasp the subtleties of royal hierarchy.
    • Apple Bloom was originally to find her cutie mark on her own without any help. Lauren Faust was asked to add Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo to be her friends, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders were born. Oddly enough, Faust always thought they should have their own spin-off show, but Hasbro suggested that the Crusaders should be used in the main series first.
    • One of the most common forms of executive meddling was the demand for specific, popular characters from previous gens to appear in the show in a prominent enough fashion to sell the toy version of them. Thankfully, no specifics about how those characters would have to appear, so the writers could deal with this fairly easily (for instance, Cheerilee becoming the teacher of Ponyville).
    • The episode "Suited For Success" can be viewed as a satire of executive meddling, as Rarity's artistic vision of Pimped Out Dresses for all her friends is compromised by their nitpicking, despite the fact that most of them don't have any clue what they're talking about, and with Rainbow Dash offering absolutely no advice other than "Make it 20% cooler." The second take on the song in the episode (to begin with based on another song about executive meddling) even contains lines that make some sense in the context of the story but really work in such a satire: "Make sure that it stays within our budget." is an example of one of those lines. It makes sense in the story, because the ponies naturally don't have unlimited money to spend on the dress, and even more ironic, as they impose many lavish changes to their respective dresses, but still demand that "even if [Rarity] simply has to fudge it, make sure it stays within [the ponies'] budget". It also works in respect to the satire as well.

      Executives were mostly hands-off for the show, but one thing mentioned by Lauren Faust as a "requirement" was "to incorporate fashion play," which was handled by making it a matter of Rarity being an artist. The episode can be seen as incredibly meta if you think about it like this. Ironically the episode itself fell slightly to a bit of Executive Meddling, the episode title was originally to be "Dress For Failure" but was altered because it was considered too downbeat.
    • According to this, Big Macintosh was planned to get his own episode, but it was rejected. This later came to fruition in Season 5, where he's given an episode that mainly focuses on him.
    • In season 1, he could only be called Big Macintosh in-show instead of Big Mac, due to the latter being an obvious usage of a trademark from another large company. This seems to no longer be in effect, however, as he has been called "Big Mac" several times in season 2 and a couple times in online printables.
    • The character Derpy Hooves, a Memetic Bystander grey cross-eyed pegasus who's largely looked at as the bronies' avatar was subjected to meddling. When she was first given a slightly larger role in the show, Moral Guardians complained that the character portrayal resembled an offensive caricature of a mentally challenged person note , something completely inappropriate to include on a children's television show—and they complained to Hasbro to fix it. Apple removed the episode of her appearance from iTunes, only for it to come back with a completely edited version of the infamous scene, which wound up replacing the original version of the episode nearly everywhere (apart from the early DVD "The Friendship Express"). Derpy has a more normal voice (since Tabitha St. Germain got the gender mixed up at first), her eyes are less crossed, and Rainbow Dash doesn't call her by name. Needless to say, bronies were not happy about the edit. Derpy then went on to have very few appearances, causing fans to be worried she was being phased out, up until she returned properly in the season 4 episode "Rainbow Falls". Later word confirmed the character "wasn't going anywhere", and that the "cameo drought" during previous episodes was intentional, to build up her return.
      • Hasbro crediting Derpy as "Muffins" in "Slice of Life" was confirmed to be due to "legal reasons", and not executive meddling, by director Jim Miller.
    • Lauren Faust originally intended for Princess Cadance to be a unicorn and was surprised to see her changed into an alicorn. However, this allowed Hasbro to continue selling a pink alicorn toy while allowing them to produce show-accurate WHITE Princess Celestia toys, because ToysRUs thinks Pink Means Feminine (and apparently, only pink).
    • Twilight becoming an alicorn has been speculated to be the result of executive meddling, considering that a very large number of Princess Twilight Sparkle toys were launched with the episode.
      • "Baby Cakes" likely exists because Hasbro demanded there be baby ponies at some point in Season 2. The show's crew weren't specified how to use them, though.
      • Same could be said for a lot of other Merchandise-Driven stories like "A Canterlot Wedding" or "The Crystal Empire", each with more or less of a confirmation.
    • For the finale of season 4, "Twilight's Kingdom", they did get one note that they couldn't do in that episode: show Twilight punching Tirek in the face. A bit weird when one considers that the second episode of the series was allowed to show Rarity kicking a manticore in the face on-screen and later in season 5 where Rainbow Dash is shown hitting several Changelings in the face in a dream.
    • Before season 4 aired, Meghan McCarthy promised that Flash Sentry wouldn't be a character on it. Despite this promise, he appeared twice and after the backlash following the second time, Big Jim (Series' co-director) confirmed that Flash was added "by request" and admitted the fans shouldn't trust any staff's promises anymore. Ouch.
    • According to M. A. Larson Hasbro was the one behind the idea of having the 100th episode be a Lower-Deck Episode that focused on background characters and included many fandom in-jokes.
    • The suits at Hasbro were the ones who came up with the premise of "Fame And Misfortune", and handed it to M.A. Larson. He immediately didn't like the idea of the fan's favorite background ponies grabbing the Jerkass Ball and showing the less savory sides of the Brony fandom, because he knew that the episode was going to feel like it was attacking them. However, Larson was forced to go through with the episode, and he later admitted that he hated it because it was very needlessly mean-spirited for an otherwise light-hearted show.
    • According to Jim Miller the higher-ups mandated that they did the School of Friendship which the writers "tried to make fit as organically as possible".
    • Jim Miller also said Hasbro didn't feel comfortable with the brief Ship Tease Big Macintosh had with Marble Pie in "Hearthbreakers" due to the vague implication that they may or may not be distant cousins.
  • The third season of The Owl House was cut down from the usual order of 10-20 22-min episodes to three 44-min specials, all because one executive felt the show didn't fit the Disney "brand", resulting in a lot of content having to be scrapped so that they could use the remaining time they had to complete the main story. It was later revealed to be because the executives were trying to phase out seralized cartoons from the Disney Channel in favor of more episodic shows, and didn't think to move the show to Disney+ where it would be more suited because it was first produced before the service's launch.
  • In the Pepper Ann episode "Girl Powe R", when Pepper Ann's sister Moose sees her favorite comic-turned-TV show, Tundra Woman is at first turned into The Ditz. When Moose rallies people to make feminist complaints about this, the executives go way too far in the other direction and turn Tundra Woman into an Amazon, which draws further complaints due to her losing all character in favor of being an overly-violent Neanderthal. In the end, it was cancelled and replaced with a space cartoon.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • When Disney Channel executives heard the song "Gitchie Gitchie Goo", they asked the creators to make a song for each episode. That idea could have failed hard, but it worked wondrously, proving that Tropes Are Not Bad and Executive Meddling can sometimes be a good thing.
    • Isabella and Baljeet did not exist in the original concept for the show, and were added at the request of the executives. Like with the musicals, this proved to be successful as both characters are very popular with the show's fans.
    • Also notable is a Take That! in one episode aimed at Disney's Standards and Practices department. Phineas and Buford seem to be gearing up for a fight — only to have it revealed that they have to thumb wrestle when the referee finishes reading off the exact policy required by Standards and Practices.
    • Parodied In-Universe in the episode "Nerds of a Feather", where Doofenshmirtz tries to start a Buddy Cop show about him and Perry. He gets a TV producer on board, but as soon as the producer suggests giving Perry's character a girlfriend, Doof flips out and storms away. Word of God says this is based on some averted meddling from the Disney execs; the creators didn't want to go through with it because Perry's "married to his work."
  • Pinky and the Brain:
    • When the show was retooled into Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain, the executive meddling that forced the change got a combined Take That! and Lampshade Hanging in the form of the retool-explaining Expository Theme Tune: So Pinky and the Brain / Share a new domain / It's what the network wants / Why bother to complain? ... Brain even voices his displeasure, saying he deeply resents this.
    • Spoofed in Pinky and the Brain in the episode "You'll Never Eat Food Pellets in This Town Again," where the title characters are actually actors in a hit TV show about two lab mice who take over the world. After a ridiculously tiny drop in ratings, the executives of the show's network decide to alter the show beyond recognition, turning it into any other '90s sitcom. The whole thing turns out to be Brain's nightmare, but when you consider the genuine meddling going on behind the scenes of the actual show...
    • Ironically, a year before the Elmyra retool, "new character" executive meddling was parodied (with a bit of blatant The Three Stooges homage) in "Pinky and the Brain... (and Larry)." Larry does almost nothing but introduce himself repeatedly, he inserts his name into every conversation, his presence on the show is completely unexplained, Brain hates him because he screws things up worse than Pinky ever could, and by the end of the episode he gets kicked out, only to be replaced by... Zeppo.
  • Pound Puppies (1980s) was also affected by network consultants in its second season. Q5, who also had ordered changes to The Real Ghostbusters, was behind these suggested improvements to the show. However, the changes wound up controversial to fans: Nose Marie suddenly became a motherly figure, and Bright Eyes was de-aged to be more of a "little sister"-type character.
  • The infamous ending of The Powerpuff Girls (1998) episode "Mime for a Change" is due to executive meddling. It was originally meant to conclude on a straightforward note with Rainbow the Clown being forgiven for his actions as Mr. Mime, but executives felt like this made him a Karma Houdini and insisted the girls punish him for his crimes like any other villain on the show.
  • During his tenure as head writer on The Real Ghostbusters, J. Michael Straczynski constantly battled with ABC execs. Some production members have noted having a happier time with the syndication episodes, which were subjected to far less scrutiny and it shows. (The H. P. Lovecraft-inspired, "The Collect Call of Cthulhu," is just one of the episodes people have noted the network wouldn't have cared for.) After Season 2, ABC hired a consulting firm, Q5, to "fix" the cartoon, despite it doing incredibly well in both ratings and merchandise sales. According to JMS, Q5 never did any research or viewer questionnaires but only demanded changes based upon what they themselves believed would make a successful show.
    • Especially contentious was the ongoing debate over the Ghostbusters' secretary, Janine Melnitz. Q5 claimed the character was too cynical and abrasive. Her personality should be more supportive and "feminine", instead. The consultants also expressed concerns that her sharp, angular glasses might scare children — and yet, all the grotesque ghosts and monsters running around were a-ok. JMS acquiesced to one of ABC's demands, making Janine a Ghostbuster for an episode. The execs had felt young girls needed a positive female role model and saw this as an opportunity to do so.
    • Other additions the consulting firm wanted were more Slimer-centric episodes, and junior Ghostbusters, a group of children that followed the Ghostbusters on missions, including a handicapped member. Both were attempts to pander to different age groups. Eventually, JMS simply quit out of frustration. After his departure, all of these changes came to pass, including altering Janine's look, personality, and voice. JMS would come back in Season 6 (though other jobs meant he could only do a few episodes). He lampshaded the changes made to Janine in the episode "Janine You've Changed." In Extreme Ghostbusters, Janine is back to her original personality, Slimer is back as a minor supporting character, and no mention is made of the Junior Ghostbusters.
    • The same network consultants had also wanted Ray to be removed from the cast, as they felt he was a pointless character. Straczynski and the other writers objected, and Ray was allowed to remain.
    • Peter became more friendly towards Slimer, due to the consultants wanting their rivalry downplayed and for Slimer to be more of a cute mascot character. In fact, everyone became nicer to Slimer...meaning they were all more like Ray. The character the executives wanted to get rid of for being "unnecessary" (which was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy). The irony of this was not lost on JMS.
    • The show was no longer allowed to mention the Necronomicon, despite having done so previously. The Q5 consultants insisted it was a real book (it's not, it was made up as a plot device by H. P. Lovecraft), and they didn't want to promote occultism. In the show about ghosts. They also no longer wanted the show to mention what ghosts are (despite it, well, being right there in the title).
    • The consultants wanted established roles for the four main characters. Egon was "The Brain", Ray was "The Hands", Peter was "The Mouth" and Winston was "The Driver". JMS and the writing team rightly called them out for the racist implications of reducing the black team member to a glorified means of transportation, as well as the sexism of making Janine a bland, "nurturing" character.
  • ReBoot was the near-constant target of Executive Meddling from ABC. It got so bad that in one episode the network demanded that a shot of Dot kissing her younger brother on the cheek and saying she loved him be cut out for broadcast because it "promoted incest." One side-effect of this was the inclusion of numerous jabs at the Broadcasting Standards and Practices office at ABC in the show.
    • In Argentina, Media Watchdogs tried to ban the show, showing the "Evil Dead" episode as evidence that it was not suitable for children. Thankfully, they never succeeded.
    • The game portion of the first episode aired on Cartoon Network rather than ABC is more or less a non-stop series of "look what we can do now" moments.
      • In the episode where Enzo loses in a Mortal Kombat-style fighting game, the demon played by the user is clearly announced as Satan. His fatality is one-handedly grabbing his opponent's heads and crushing them — although the actual crushing part only happens offscreen, you still see him grab their heads and still hear it quite clearly. This is also the episode where Enzo's eye is slashed out onscreen. "Look what we can do now" indeed.
    • The line: "It's the ABCs, they've turned on us! Traitorous Dogs!" the ABCs (Armored Binome Carrier) being Megabyte's fleet.
    • At one point Enzo aims a ridiculously large bazooka at Megabyte's troops, only to discover, to his disgust, that it fired a life raft labeled "BS Approved."
    • And for much of the episode about Enzo's birthday, an uptight female binome rejected most of the acts Dot was planning for the party. This is a confirmed Take That!note  and the same episode then features Dot singing in a revealing red dress, with Enzo staring at her in what is, hopefully, surprise.
    • Dot's chest, or as the animation studio called it on their own blog, Dot's "Mono-breast." ABC would not allow Dot to show any cleavage, even when she wore costumes where it would be anatomically impossible not to show it. When ABC dropped ReBoot, the studio celebrated by stuffing Dot into an Elvira costume, and dedicating an episode to her new breasts (oh, and Evil Dead and horror movies in general also got a couple of nods).
    • On the flip-side, the show did actually gain one huge benefit from Executive Meddling: Enzo. They were asked (read: told) to put a little kid character in to boost sales in the U.S. Even the crew of the show has admitted that they ended up grateful that they were forced to include him.
    • On the topic of Reboot, its, *ahem*, reboot, ReBoot: The Guardian Code, suffered from a major case of meddling on its own. According to a poster on 4Chan who claimed to have worked on the show, the CEO essentially took full control of the production away from the crew working on it. Additionally, some really bad decisions were made, including falsely advertising the show as being the first to be done in the Unreal engine (it wasn't), poor hiring choices where programmers and artists were concerned, not familiarizing himself with the source material, and as an ultimatum, not listening to the fans and then lashing out at the viewers when it became clear that the show's first season did poorly.
  • Regular Show was originally going to have the main duo of Mordecai and Rigby be zookeepers at a People Zoo, rather than groundskeepers at a park. J.G. Quintel thanked the executive that hated that concept for talking him out of it during a San Diego Comic-Con panel, admitting that it was a horrible idea in retrospect.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show:
    • The Nickelodeon suits made creator John Kricfalusi do some cartoons that were traditional and heartwarming, to help offset the extreme grossness of the show.
    • The Executive Meddling forced John Kricfalusi to replace some gags and premises, instead of going for coarse and down-straight obscene. The toilet and sex jokes took over the absurdity and nonsense. Nick's executives also asked him to give a softer side to Ren, which made him an adorable Jerk with a Heart of Gold. A few of these restrictions seemed to diminish after John K left and Games Animation studios took over, something the former has been more than willing to point out.
    • In John K's words "for every idea Nick accepted, they threw out five others" and some of the censoring they did was downright ridiculous (i.e. in "Big House Blues", they removed a scene of the dog-catcher shaking his butt at Ren, because the execs thought it was "too feminine" and "Stimpy's Invention" almost didn't get made because of nervous execs).
      • According to interviews with the likes of Bob Camp and Bill Wray, it was even worse in the Games Animation episodes, with executives not even consistent about how they wanted the episodes to play out. They even went the opposite way with Ren, with Wray claiming to be under more pressure to make him meaner and meaner as the series progressed.
  • Lampshaded in the Rocky and Bullwinkle story arc of the Bungling Brothers Circus, when Rocky is captured by an Indian and tied to a stake. He points out to the Indian that cannibalism is forbidden by the network.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
    • While nothing specific was stated, Mitch Watson said that some ideas were shot down for being too scary or weird by the "powers that be".
    • Velma's relationship with Hot Dog Water couldn't be explicitly stated as a romantic one due to resistance from higher-ups, leading to their status later being confirmed by Word of Gay.
  • An interesting subversion in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. The character designer behind Perfuma went on record saying that he intended Perfuma to be a trans woman, but never pushed the issue beyond subtle touches to her design, since he didn't think Dreamworks would let them get away with it. Season five of the series introduces an actual trans man, meaning that it's possible that Perfuma could have been canonically trans if her designer hadn't been afraid of executives shooting it down.
  • The Simpsons is practically immune to meddling in real-life. Producer James L. Brooks has the clout to make it a rule that the network can't give notes. Little things have been tinkered with (largely relating to legal/censorship issues), but the series has been spared the problems others have faced. That doesn't mean the series doesn't parody this trope, though:
    • Executive Meddling is parodied when too much meddling causes Krusty to retire for the umpteenth time.
    Krusty: Folks, I've been in showbiz for sixty-one years, but now these jerks have sucked all the fun out of it. I don't need twelve suits tellin' me which way to pee!
    Male Executive: Uh, for "pee," could you substitute "whiz"?
    Lindsey Naegle: I don't know, that could upset the Cheez Whiz people.
    Male Executive: I was just thinking that.
    Krusty: I can't take it anymore!
    • It was also parodied when executives came up with Poochie.
      Meyers: No, no, no! He was supposed to have attitude.
      Silverman: Um... wh-what do you mean, exactly?
      Myers: Oh, you know, attitude, attitude! Uh... sunglasses!
      Lady: Could we put him in more of a "hip-hop" context?
      Krusty: Forget context, he's gotta be a surfer. Give me a nice shmear of surfer.
      Lady: I feel we should Rasta-fy him by... 10 percent or so.
    • Also a major factor of the plot in "Beyond Blunderdome". In the episode, Mel Gibson intended to star in a potential remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Homer disliked it, and the fact that he was the only person to actually honestly voice this opinion was the reason why he hired Homer to help him with it in the first place. Homer then came up with some ideas, such as speeding up the film, replacing the main villain with a dog with shifty eyes, and finally rewriting the entire filibuster speech to have Mel Gibson go to his usual roles of a mindless killing machine. Ultimately the last one was chosen. Several executives were appalled by the change after a test screening, and decided to burn it. Eventually after a literal chase throughout Hollywood, they relented, and the Executives who were against the new version turned out to be quite right in their judgment about how horrible the change was, as the audience was disgusted and mortified by the final version, with one audience member, Jimmy Stewart's granddaughter, threatening to sue Homer Simpson and Mel Gibson for tarnishing her grandpa's masterpiece.
    • Parodied in the episode "Homer to the Max":
      Homer: Oh, I can't wait. Look, Marge, I got a scorecard printed up at that all-night scorecard place.
      Lisa: Isn't mid-season just a dumping ground for second-rate shows that weren't good enough for the fall schedule?
      Homer: You're thinking of all the other years. This year's shows are classic. There's "The Laughter Family" — that's animated. Networks like animation 'cause they don't have to pay the actors squat!
      Ned Flanders: [voice slightly off] Plus, they can replace them, and no one can tell the diddley-ifference!
    • In "Natural Born Kissers," treasure-hunting Bart and Lisa dig up an alternate (and implausibly happy) ending for Casablanca. The Old Jewish Man reveals he was one of the executives who insisted the happy ending be filmed, but he buried it after watching it. He also apparently insisted on a "killing spree" ending to It's a Wonderful Life.
    • One of the few times Matt Groening exercised his executive meddling privileges was during the production of "Homer vs. Dignity", aka the Panda Rape Episode. The original ending had Homer, dressed as Santa Claus, on the Christmas parade float, throwing pig blood on the audience while sobbing uncontrollably. Groening insisted on a rewrite, and the blood was changed to fish entrails—which Mr. Burns throws instead of Homer, as he finally grows a set and refuses to do it. (This also allowed for a hilariously bad pun, "Merry Fish-mas to all!")
    • The now-abandoned premise of having a character "warn" the audience about the scariness of the Treehouse of Horror episodes was a clear reference to network squeamishness. The final warning, in fact, in "Treehouse of Horror VIII", was delivered by a FOX censor himself, who described his role as "protecting you from reality" (before being brutally murdered on-screen by the TV rating graphic).
    • In "Once Upon a Time in Springfield", Krusty is approached by two unnamed network executives who forced him to add a female character named Princess Penelope to his show to increase the ratings and attract more female viewers. Krusty refuses, but they are ready to make a reality show to find his replacement. Desperate to stay in this sweet gig, Krusty grovels and agrees, while the network executives congratulate themselves on a job well done by giving each other a high five. As the ratings improve and Penelope immediately overshadows Krusty as the star of the show, Bart and Milhouse (who are loyal fans) try to get the show back to the way it was. However, the situation gets more complicated when Penelope reveals to Krusty that she's his biggest fan and joined the show mainly because of him, leading to the two falling in love and nearly getting married.
    • "Homer's Phobia" came very close to being killed by the network before it aired. After viewing a cut of the episode, the censors came back with pages of notes and edits that would have been impossible to make by the deadline. There was a shake up at FOX, though, which included replacing the censor. When they showed them the cut, a new note came back that only said, "Acceptable for broadcast." As John Waters (who guess starred as John in the episode) noted in the DVD commentary, "It's all politics." In the end, only two things were changed: use of the word "fag" as the word that straight people use to make fun of gays (it was changed to "queer"), and John's line about how Homer reminds him of his father was changed to Homer reminding John of his landlord (though this was done because John didn't want people to think his father was intolerant of his sexuality).
  • In The Smurfs, the Black Smurfs from the original comic book story were changed to purple in the Animated Adaptation to avoid Unfortunate Implications. The same change would later appear with the Papercutz English translation of the comic book story itself.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM):
    • The series was cancelled because of meddling, not from Sega, but from ABC - a new president came in and declared that he was sweeping out the old and bringing in new stuff. That, coupled with the fact that the show's ratings suffered as a result of its competition with Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, resulted in its cancellation.
    • Some of the second season's alterations were a result of Executive Meddling too. The creative team were asked to balance out the gender ratio with another female character, resulting in the creation of Dulcy the Dragon. Similarly, executives also asked for more comedic material, the infamous Antoine-centered half-hour episodes being part of that request.
  • South Park:
    • After "Jared Has Aides" premiered, it was banned from Comedy Central's airwaves until 2009 because it featured audio of Butters getting beat by his parents. The creators were forbidden from treating Butters like this ever again, until the episode "Butterballs", in which he is abused by his grandmother.
    • In the two-parter "Cartoon Wars", remember the message stating that Comedy Central refused to broadcast an image of Muhammad handing Peter Griffin a football helmet? That was real; Trey Parker and Matt Stone tried to get the network to sign off on it, but they refused. (The episode remains censored to this day, even on DVD and the Internet.) The duo retaliated by including a short depicting cardboard cut-outs of Tom Cruise, George W. Bush, various other Americans and Jesus defecating on each other and onto the US flag, which was viewed as a-okay to show.
    • "200", the first episode of a season 14 two-parter, featured the Super Best Friends, a superhero team consisting of religious figures — including Muhammad (who was previously uncensored with no problems in the group's first appearance in Season 5, though that was made and aired before September 11th, 2001 and The War on Terror). This time around, Muhammad was portrayed as a giant censor bar, except for the scenes where he was in a bear suit. A New York-based Muslim group practically shat bricks over the portrayal of Muhammad in a bear suit, and warned Trey and Matt that they might very well end up like Theo van Gogh (a filmmaker who was shot and stabbed multiple times by an Islamic extremist for making a documentary about violence against women in Islamic cultures) because of it. Comedy Central, fearing the worst, waited until Trey and Matt delivered the next episode ("201"), then heavily censored it prior to air; they bleeped out all instances of the word "Muhammad" in dialogue and bleeped out the "moral of the story" speech at the end, which had nothing to do with Mohammad and was actually about intimidation and fear (an irony that was not lost on many people). The scenes depicting Buddha snorting cocaine alongside Jesus looking at pornography went completely uncensored, likely as an ironic Take That! against the executives' decision.
    • Comedy Central censors ordered a scene removed from "An Elephant Makes Love to a Pig" that involved Shelley setting Stan on fire (and then dousing him with water, explaining a puddle that suddenly appears underneath him in the episode). This was due to fear of another Beavis and Butt-Head-style controversy. As early deleted and removed scenes (pre-season 10) tended to be destroyed afterwards or lost in some other way, the scene lives on through a leaked video rip that someone had made back in the early days of the show.
    • "Tom’s Rhinoplasty" was to originally have a line where Wendy lies to Stan about witnessing Ms. Ellen in the bathroom with a nasty yeast infection (as an attempt to make him lose interest in her). The censors heavily objected to the yeast infection reference, asking Parker and Stone to replace it with something less "disgusting". They obliged, and changed Wendy's lie to be about spotting Ms. Ellen "taking a huge dump" and it allegedly smelling worse than a dead calf rotting in the sun. It passed the censors, and the two noted on the commentary how strange it was that a yeast infection reference was considered gross and taboo, but that a poop joke could easily make it through.
    • In "Starvin' Marvin", the original idea was to have Sally Struthers killed by the Ethiopians, and then they would feast on the fat from her body. Comedy Central wouldn't allow this, so Parker and Stone had to retool the ending to show Struthers being tied up and Dr. Mephisto's mutant turkeys being donated as food for the Ethiopians.
    • Parker and Stone originally planned to have Butters take Kenny's place as the new Butt-Monkey in season 6, but were forced to change these plans by Comedy Central. Since then, the duo have threatened to quit production, and almost bailed halfway through season 8.
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series came in for a substantial amount of meddling:
    • The writers weren't allowed to use the words death, die, or kill; hence, when Peter finds out Uncle Ben has been killed, it's shown as a police officer shaking his head and saying "I'm sorry, kid. The guy was armed."
    • Realistic guns were out, so even petty thieves are armed with futuristic lasers.
    • Morbius, a vampire. The writers weren't allowed to show him sucking blood through his fangs, so he apparently has fangs for no reason, as he instead drains plasma (they can't use the word "blood" apparently) through suckers in his hands. The suckers were so squicktastic that they made the character even creepier, whereas his declarations of "I hunger for PLASMA!" were often Narm.
    • Carnage. In the comics, he's a mass-murdering psychopath, but the series stripped him of the "mass-murdering" part — instead he sucks out their "essence" through his handsnote , which is restored to his victims after he's sucked into a portal. In the scene where he acquires the symbiote he attacks some prison guards; he picks one up and makes some knives with his fingers but instead it shows him busting through a wall.
    • Sandman is never seen because rights were tied up with the (unmade) original movie plans and instead Hydro-Man was used in his place.
    • It's worth noting that there's a common misconception that Spider-Man wasn't allowed to punch anyone, as it would make the show too violent. This is very much not the case, as the showrunner, John Semper Jr., often reiterates online; the lack of punching was a deliberate creative decision to make the fights more creative, and visually interesting.
    • If that's not absurd, listen to these:
      "When Spider-Man lands on a roof, make sure he doesn't harm any pigeons."
      "Spider-Man can imprison a villain, but they can not be given a ticket to California to leave."
    • A mixup over villain names forced the writers to introduce the Hobgoblin in season one rather than the Green Goblin, to match the toys that had been ordered. This allowed Hobgoblin to become an engaging character in his own right and a precursor to the more dangerous Green Goblin.
    • The Punisher had to undergo some censorship (though whether it was mandated by executives or decided on in advance by the showrunner is unknown). He isn't shown using lethal force, but it is implied that he's done so in the past. The telling of his origin (the shooting murder of his wife and young children, which obviously couldn't be shown) was also incredibly effective in spite of the censorship. The only visual is a kite flying in the sky that falls to the ground at the sound of gunshots, landing in a puddle and forming the classic skull as it became soaked in water.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants' third season was intended to be its last, concluding with the Big Damn Movie. Due to the huge amount of money the movie grossed at the box office, and because of reruns still getting high ratings, Nickelodeon ordered more seasons to be made. Stephen Hillenburg and several other members of the show's crew weren't interested, so they either resigned to executive positions or left Nickelodeon because of it.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil initially had the titular character as a grade schooler who did not have magic powers, but believed she did. Minutes before pitching the series to Disney, an executive asked Daron Nefcy to make Star a teenager and give her real magic powers.
    • According to Daron Nefcy, Alphonse and Ferguson were created at the request of Disney Television Animation, who wanted Marco to have male friends. Though she had to oblige, she didn't really know what to do with the characters, so she just stopped putting them in episodes after a while.
  • Supa Strikas: In-universe. Cool Joe is given a record contract, but is required to change almost everything about his act.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! almost never happened largely because of Nintendo's unwillingness to license the series. Nintendo finally agreed but not before asking for hefty royalties in the process. Despite the show being a smash hit and many celebrities (whose kids loved the show) wanting a guest appearance, Nintendo balked after production for its lone season ended. This didn't stop Nintendo from licensing two spinoffs which aired on NBC Saturday mornings, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. While a televised Mario cartoon hasn't aired since, Nintendo did sign off on a 2022 movie from Illumination Entertainment.
  • Superjail!:
    • Adult Swim shot down the idea of the series being a silent cartoon and insisted that Christy Karacas and Stephen Warbrick give the characters dialogue and voices. The executives did concede to letting Jacknife remain as The Unintelligible.
    • Karacas voicing Alice is also due to an executive's suggestion that the original actress be let go.
    • One episode idea from season 1 was rejected by Adult Swim, because it only involved Jacknife and Jailbot and took place in the outside world instead of the jail: Jacknife would have evaded capture and built a robotic suit to fight Jailbot in, while the citizens of the real world would think Jailbot was an alien and think of Jacknife as a hero. Ironically, an episode involving the two characters stuck outside of the jail wound being aired as the Season 2 premiere, under the name "Best Friends Forever", and was considered one of the better episodes of that run!
    • The opening to "Special Needs" had to be altered slightly, as the Standards and Practices department objected to the visual of Jesus (in actuality a disguised Jailbot) leaping down from his crucifix to beat up Jacknife. The shot of him leaping was replaced with a reaction shot of the congregation.
    • Season 3 had some scenes that were censored by the network for being "too disturbing", although the crew had noted that other disturbing shots had slipped by without notice. The censored shots included a visual metaphor of Alice's groin being a jackhammer, a drug-crazed inmate snorting cocaine, and a shot where dogs tear apart and eat an inmate. These shots were meant to be uncensored in the DVD release, but the censored versions of the episodes were used instead.
    • All of the DVD releases have been advertised as "uncensored", but something happened in production to prevent the season 1 and season 3 sets from actually having the original unbleeped/uncensored episodes, leading to fans becoming angry at the false advertising and the creators having no idea themselves at what exactly occurred. To this date, the season 2 DVD release is the only one that has actually used the uncensored copies of episodes.
    • Mistress Kilda's death scene in "Lord Stingray Crash Party" was ordered to be toned down considerably, although Karacas can't remember all the details of what they had to change. The one noticeable detail that the crew does recall is that they had to color her innards a pale yellow.
    • Chris McCulloch originally voiced Lord Stingray, but was let go after an executive thought he was parodying the Monarch and told the crew to go with a different voice actor. It worked out for the better in the end though, as the crew and executives were more pleased with Eric Bauza's portrayal. The lines McCulloch voiced were dubbed over in post-production, although an early animation test has his take on the character.
    • "Hot Chick" had some content edits made to it during production:
      • Hunter was to originally not be defeated by the Twins, but would wind up shapeshifting back to goo when the inmates were trying to sexually assault her. The entire climax was changed as a result of having to tone down the disturbing implication. Her nudity also originally had detail, but Williams Street S&P forbid the depiction of nipples and pubic hair, leading to her Barbie Doll Anatomy.
      • One Twin originally wore a Nazi armband as part of his inmate gang disguise. After S&P told the crew that they couldn't show the swastika, the armband was edited to be a solid red in most shots, while another depicted it with a "Nazi smiley face" instead (with SS bolt eyes). As the network allowed the actual inmates to sport swastikas, it might have been that the Twin's disguise went a little too far (as he wore a fake Hitler mustache and had his scalp shaved).
    • "The Budding of the Warbuxx" originally had the titular Warbuxx with an umbilical cord, which was later removed in the final animation to tone down on the implications that the Twins had killed and eaten something that was likely their offspring. The birth of the Warbuxx was also altered to have it bud off of them (and outright shown), rather than the implication that it had come out of the Twin's butt.
    • In general since the hiatus between seasons 1 and 2, and the switch in animation studios, the censorship rules at Williams Street have changed a bit and anything to do with dead children or cannibalism winds up vetoed by the executives. This left the crew to have to slip in things implying it or find a way to write around the edits.
  • Despite the show receiving excellent ratings, Hanna-Barbera decided to end SWAT Kats after its second season so the company could direct its focus towards the What-A-Cartoon project they were developing at the time. Given how the resulting What A Cartoon Show went on to produce pilots that became some of the earliest Cartoon Cartoons series (as well as the precursor to one of Fox's most successful animated sitcoms), this is not a bad thing. Not only that, but one of the unfinished scripts ended up evolving into Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, which helped to bring that franchise back into success. However, there's a common misconception that Ted Turner himself ordered the series cancelled due to the violence; this resulted from a misquoted interview, and the Tremblay brothers have repeatedly denied Turner was behind the cancellation.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan was cancelled because the higher ups at Cartoon Network wanted toy companies to make toys for the series, but failed to get licensers for it. There were several toy manufacturers who wanted to take on the show, but Cartoon Network never contacted any of them and the show was murdered because of a personal falling out between executives at CN and Genndy Tartakovsky, the former of which wanted the show to go in a more Ben 10 direction.
  • Done in-universe in the Taz-Mania episode, "Taz Babies". The Vice President of the network makes changes to the show, including truncating scenes of witty dialogue, making Bull Gator the main character, changing Axl into a dog, and eventually turning it into a Spinoff Babies show before deciding to just cancel it entirely.
  • Teen Titans Go!:
    • The episode "Serious Business" originally began with the characters standing outside the bathroom desperate to use it and complaining about how long it was taking. This went against Cartoon Network's standards, so they asked them to change the scene to be funnier. This was the result.
    • According to this comment from a former crew member, William Walter Thompson voiced himself in "Wally T", but was redubbed by Tara Strong because Cartoon Network wouldn't air episodes of their shows that didn't have work by people who were all members of SAG-AFTRA.
    • The song from "The Chaff", "Poop Time", was supposed to be in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, but it was rejected by Warner Brothers for being too gross.
  • Given the three different companies responsible for the production of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003)Playmates Toys, Mirage, and 4Kids — it wasn't surprising that this eventually crept in. Especially the events surrounding season 7. After an intended follow up season to "Fast Forward" was aborted, a struggle between the three parties began over the direction for the cartoon. Among the eventually rejected suggestions were a card game-based series, a series with the Turtles caring for their infant past selves, and a completely fresh Continuity Reboot.
  • The Total Drama series:
    • After the success of Total Drama Island, Teletoon gave a significant chunk of their executive production authority over the show to Cartoon Network prior to the debut of Total Drama Action, leading to a series of changes that contributed to the overall poor fanbase response towards that season.
    • Co-creator Tom McGillis confirmed that the break-ups of Gwen & Trent, Duncan & Courtney, and Owen & Izzy were all due to the higher-ups wanting to teach kids that "First loves don't always last". It is known that the various studios working on the series have made many such similar "requests" of varying scale over the years; it's rumoured that Duncan & Gwen's immensely controversial Relationship Upgrade was one such request, as the show's creators have previously voiced a greater fondness for Duncan & Courtney and Gwen & Trent (which of course only worsens the Ship-to-Ship Combat present in the fandom).
    • Word of God has also implied that the meddling has gone even deeper as the series continued its run, with the shorter seasons being attributed to studio desires to save money and turn out the series faster, at a noticeable cost of quality in the writing.
    • While it's never been outright confirmed, The Ridonculous Race is believed have had some studio interference in regards to the teams picked for the Final 3. The Final 3 for said series consists of Police Cadets (Sanders & MacArthur), Ice Dancers (Jacques & Josee) and Surfer Dudes (Geoff & Brody) with the questionable inclusion of the last (who'd already been eliminated before being brought back to the competition and went through very little to no Character Development) believed to be due to how all the original planned versions of the Final 3's had more females than males. This belief is further supported by how random and abrupt the eliminations of Best Friends (Carrie & Devin) and Sisters (Emma & Kitty) are in order for them to have a spot in the Final 3, especially in the case of the latter team as it also results in them having a plot that was hinted to be paid off in the finale but now becomes an Aborted Arc.
    • In February 2018, Megan Fahlenbock's contract was terminated by "the network", meaning either Teletoon or Cartoon Network. Because of this, she didn't reprise her role as Gwen for the second spin-off Total DramaRama. However, she does voice a grown-up Gwen at the end of the episode "Tiger Fail", suggesting she was not permanently fired from the role as some feared. This seems to have been the case with several other voice actors as well, judging from how many characters got new voice actors. For instance, Brian Froud, the voice of Harold, has confirmed that he wanted to reprise the character for DramaRama but was turned down by Fresh TV for unknown reasons.
    • Total DramaRama came about because of executive meddling. According to Chris' voice actor, Christian Potenza, Cartoon Network had told Fresh TV that they were not interested in additional competition seasons as they believed a show about teenagers would not do well with children. Having no interest in ordering new seasons of Total Drama or Ridonculous Race, CN instead asked Fresh TV to make a new Total Drama show that would appeal more to younger audiences. The result was DramaRama, a Spinoff Babies show starring kiddie versions of the teens at a daycare. That said, CN does seem to have changed their minds afterwards, as the original Total Drama was revived for two more seasons on HBO Max, with DramaRama's cancellation being announced some time later.
  • The Total Drama franchise wasn't Fresh TV's only work to suffer from Cartoon Network's meddling. Grojband was originally pitched to Fresh TV as a full half-hour program with a one-minute Expository Theme Tune, and while Canadian broadcaster and commissioner Teletoon was pretty happy to fund production as it was, American broadcaster Cartoon Network demanded the show be changed to the Two Shorts format so that it would better fit in with their style of programming (with each short being shown as a Quarter Hour Short to match this) and had Fresh TV shorten the intro to a mere 20 seconds to make more room for commercial airtime. And even though CN got to air the show's first 13 episodes before Teletoon did, Grojband was still royally Screwed by the Network and cancelled after a single season.
  • Transformers: Beast Wars story editors Bob Forward and Larry DiTillio stated, after the conclusion of the series, that they had no interest in working on toy-based series ever again, due to the demands of Hasbro executives, including which characters needed to be written out or introduced. For instance, Tigerhawk was shoehorned in only a few episodes before the series end and was promptly killed off in the finale.
    • One such issue of executive meddling came when the executives ordered them to kill off two Predacons, Scorponok and Waspinator, at the end of the first season to make room for the incoming characters from Season 2. DiTillio and Forward, recognizing how much of a fan favorite Waspinator had become, begged the execs at Hasbro to allow them to kill off the comparatively unpopular Terrorsaur in his stead, particularly as Tarantulas carried out the same function that he did only more successfully. DiTillio and Forward thankfully won this battle, and Waspinator was spared while Terrorsaur was killed.
      • All of this is ironic was because it was meddling that got Waspinator into the series in the first place. The writers didn't care for the character at all, but were required to use him. They made him the Butt-Monkey out of frustration, but that made him popular with fans. And he even grew on the writers, too.
    • As it turns out, they both eventually did work on such series again, as DiTillio ended up writing for He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002), and Bob Forward for the Hot Wheels Alien Racers series.
    • One of the main criticisms of the sequel, Beast Machines, was that the writers seemed to pay no attention to the character development of the previous show, with many of the characters suffering drastic shifts in personality and taking actions which were entirely inconsistent with their portrayal in Beast Wars. It was later revealed that this was because the writers were given only rough outlines of the plot and characters and explicitly ordered not to actually go back and watch the show they were making a sequel to, so that the new show wouldn't be "too continuity heavy." It didn't work.
    • Every bit of Transformers media ever will have Hasbro sticking their nose into scripts to tell the writers which new character to focus on, who to talk up, and who to kill off/write out (usually because their toys weren't selling). The TFWiki has a page on it.
  • NBC adopted the Christian video series VeggieTales to air on their former children's programming block Qubo, but not before bowdlerizing any and all references to Christ, God, the Bible, and Christianity. Public response eventually made them lighten up — the Biblical discussions before and after each story were still cut, but religious references within the episode could stay.
  • The Venture Bros.
    • Apparently, when the idea of the series was first pitched to Adult Swim, executives wanted to change the character of Doc Venture (they saw him as too mean) as well as switching the episode format to two 15-minute episodes. Even though the show wasn't changed, Adult Swim still regrets even making such suggestions.
    • It is speculated that the reason why the show suddenly went from featuring actual Jonny Quest characters to Expies starting in Season 3 (Jonny became "Action Jonny", Race Bannon became "Red") was due to the production of the live action film making Warner nervous as to what the show was doing to the characters (Jonny was a paranoid junkie, Race a former torturer who gets killed and voids his bowels onscreen)
    • The show has proven itself to the network to the point where it is fairly proof against it these days. The reason for the hiatus in the middle of Season 4 is because the writers weren't happy with the stories they had. Adult Swim gave them the time and resources to redo it better.
    • The show was cancelled after Season 7 for reasons that not even the creators know—they didn't get the bad news until midway through writing Season 8. Ouch.
  • Wander over Yonder didn't get a third season not because of low ratings, but because higher-ups decided that around 40 half-hours is enough for an episodic, comedy series.
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • The producers were once forced to cut a scene where the character Lance Alvers saves Kitty Pryde from being crushed by a statue. Apparently, the WB execs felt this would frighten young children, not because the character was imperiled — but because it wasn't that long after September 11th. Even though this is a show where mutants with superpowers attack each other and stuff blows up all the time. As a result of the cut, Lance is seen just holding Kitty with no explanation why, leaving viewers confused.
    • Lance and Kitty didn't fare well with Executive Meddling at all. They were broken up in season 3 due to Kids' WB! complaining about too much romance on the show. Scott and Jean's relationship was spared though.