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Franchise Killer / Western Animation

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  • The poor scheduling by networks of The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin led to the death of any new stories being produced for the Teddy Ruxpin franchise, and also had a hand in bankrupting series creator Worlds of Wonder.
  • The failure of The Avengers: United They Stand was the final nail in the coffin of the (loosely defined, but still there) Marvel animated universe that aired on Fox Kids throughout the '90s. All subsequent Marvel cartoons have taken place in other continuities and aired on other networks. It wouldn't be until Ultimate Spider-Man that Marvel would nurture the idea of a shared animated universe againnote .
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  • Ben 10: Omniverse: While the ratings for it were an improvement over Ultimate Alien, the show's Denser and Wackier tone, questionable story decisions and dumbing down of the main character (all of which were intended to appease fans of the first series) resulted in a less than stellar reception from the fanbase. Adding to the toy sales not doing very well, Cartoon Network chose to make the next series a continuity reboot that Man of Action Studios, the original creators of the franchise, returned for. While Omniverse didn't kill the franchise itself, it did end up killing the original continuity of Ben 10.
  • The failure of Beware the Batman (not helped by lack of advertising and few reruns), along with the success of Teen Titans Go!, led to the death of DC Nation as well as action-adventure series on Cartoon Network (at least, those without heavy comedy elements) in general for the next three years. Regarding family friendly DC animated shows, the creators and producers started relying more on DVD and digital services, along with sites like YouTube, hence the longevity of shows like DC Super Hero Girls. As a result, there barely were any other new family-friendly DC cartoons other than TTG on TV for a few years, aside from Justice League Action, which was barely advertised and ended up being screwed, and a cartoon adaptation of DC Super Hero Girls helmed by Lauren Faust and closer to her earlier DC Super Best Friends Forever shorts which aired on DC Nation. Even then, the latter show was also barely advertised, is only reran on Boomerang (which has less coverage than Cartoon Network) and has new episodes shoved into awkward Sunday afternoon slots (which, granted, is better than what JLA got with its Saturday Morning death slot). DC Universe, meanwhile, leaned in the other direction for darker animated series, giving the Un-Cancelled treatment to Young Justice as being a bit more violent than originally, as well as including Harley Quinn as an adult cartoon.
    • Beware the Batman also stopped other animated series specifically focused on Batman from being made for several years, in spite of Justice League Action, Young Justice, and Harley Quinn featuring him in prominent roles, until the announcement of Batman: Caped Crusader.
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  • Blue's Clues suffered from two major moments that are considered to have killed the show. The first was Steve Burns leaving in 2002. Both parents and kids found themselves less invested in new host Donovan Patton (AKA Joe), who would admit years later that Steve was clearly the superior host. However, the show managed to pull on for another two years with Patton as host. The second, much clearer one, was the Spin-Off, Blue's Room, in 2004. Many inexplicable changes were made for the spin-off: specifically, the non-appearance of many characters from the main show, Blue now being able to speak, the change to puppetry as well as the revamp of the notebooknote . It didn’t help that episodes of Clues now ended with a Room segment, which likely caused fans to stop watching out of sheer revulsion. Production of both shows ceased in 2006 and 2007, respectively. However, the show still remained a staple of the Nick Jr. brand over the next ten years thanks to on-demand and streaming services in the US and Europe, and DVD sales remained strong in all markets, paving the way for a reboot known as Blue's Clues & You!, which premiered late-2019.
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  • The Boondocks: When series creator Aaron McGruder left after Season 3 due to a contractual dispute with Sony Pictures Television and Adult Swim, Season 4 was developed without him. Due to heavy fan backlash against this (seemingly) final season, The Boondocks was (apparently) cancelled in 2014, and the franchise's future was left uncertain. At least until 2019, when Sony confirmed that the animated series would be revived on HBO Max in the near future (this time with McGruder returning as the showrunner again), albeit as a Continuity Reboot instead of a straightforward continuation.
  • Code Lyoko: Evolution was this for Moonscoop's Code Lyoko franchise. Fans not only lambasted the show's shift to live action but also the wooden performances of its actors and reacted strongly to the new character Laura Gauthier. The show's writing was also heavily criticized, as all of Moonscoop's original ideas and scripts were scrapped by the new staff, leading to Moonscoop disowning the new show. All of this led to Evolution lasting only 1 season of 26 episodes, with only one episode receiving an English dub. With Moonscoop Entertainment filing for bankruptcy a year after the show’s conclusion and its reorganization into Splash Entertainment (now infamously known for Norm of the North among others) making any follow up unlikely, Evolution has likely ended the franchise for the foreseeable future.
  • The Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs animated series is what killed any future for the Cloudy franchise. What didn't help was lack of merchandise and proper marketing. However, the show did maintain a small cult following years later.
  • Ever wondered why you don't hear much about Felix the Cat anymore outside of merchandising or that 2004 direct-to-video film? You can pin the blame on the failure of 1988's Felix the Cat: The Movie. Filling the Silence, poor animation and lip-syncing, a Random Events Plot (and a poorly executed one at that) and numerous plot holes can make this movie painful to watch for even the most avid Felix fan. The '90s cartoon The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat attempted to revive the franchise, but poor ratings for the first season, prompting an unsuccessful retool in the second season (which did even worse in ratings), quickly brought Felix to an early grave yet again. Don Oriolo, who formerly held the rights to the character and related intellectual property, then tried to bring Felix to the CGI world in the form of another cartoon, but that went nowhere and the rights to Felix and related properties were eventually passed on to DreamWorks Animation and Universal. Neither studio has a concrete plan to resurrect Felix at the moment besides licensing merchandise, and the character's 100th anniversary in 2019 went by without even so much as a Google Doodle.
    • Even before those was the failure of the early 30's sound cartoons; Pat Sullivan made little effort to upgrade the Felix cartoons to sound (not helped by his private life being in shambles due to his wife's alleged suicide and his heavy alcoholism) and when he did, they were rushed, sloppy, and far behind the times, resulting in the Felix cartoon series getting forgotten by the far more popular Mickey Mouse shorts—Sullivan's subsequent death put the final nail in the coffin for his animation studio. An attempt to revive the cartoons was done in the mid-1930s by Van Beuren Studios; while the cartoons were seemingly well received despite having little in common with the character's previous appearances, when RKO negated Van Beuren's contract in favor of distributing Disney, it caused Van Beuren to go belly-up, thus sending Felix to an early grave yet again, after only three color shorts. What caused the franchise to not fully die out, is that despite the cartoons being put on ice, Felix still ran in newspaper and magazine comics for quite a long time.
  • After the second season of Gargoyles, creator Greg Weisman jumped ship, and a third season called Gargoyles: The Goliath Chronicles sank the franchise on TV. Greg wrote a comic series to replace the third season, but unfortunately it didn't sell well enough to keep up once Disney hiked up the licensing fee.
  • The negative reception of the Animated Adaptation of Henry Danger, The Adventures of Kid Danger, alongside creator Dan Schneider's departure the same year it premiered, pretty much killed off Schneider's long-running namesake Schneider's Bakery series of sitcoms (All That reboot notwithstanding).
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Despite making five times its budget, Hey Arnold! The Movie was still considered a Box Office Bomb (since the studio spent another $13 million on marketing the film) and was critically panned. This led to the cancellation of Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie (until it was Uncanceled 15 years later) and likely why the remaining episodes of Hey Arnold! were aired sporadically until the final one aired in 2004, three years after production of the series ended. However, with Nickelodeon rebooting most of its classic Nicktoons in 2015, The Jungle Movie was Saved from Development Hell and released in 2017, with the network suggesting that a revival could be at hand.
    • While The Jungle Movie was critically acclaimed, it floundered in the ratings against Trolls Holiday. This not only meant that a revival was out of the question, but it also led to the cancellation of the entire Nicktoon reboot plans (by this point there were rumors about a "mega-crossover" movie and even a shared universe), with only the Rocko's Modern Life and Invader Zim specials being produced (both of which were eventually released on Netflix, instead of airing on Nick proper) and Rugrats getting a CG/live action film and a revival, although the former was later axed after being removed from Paramount's schedule.
  • The Holly Hobbie and Friends direct-to-DVD series has an interesting case of this when the producers of the show decided to change several aspects of the franchise from the fifth DVD on. Said DVD, Fabulous Fashion Show, was so badly reviewed across the board, with an overall 1.3/5 on Amazon with 18 reviews, compared to 4+ star averages for the others, that it all but killed the franchise. The subsequent DVD, Marvelous Makeover, rebounded to 3.3 stars, but the various changes that had been made to the series, such as moving to 22 minute stories and replacing most of the voices, were still generally poorly regarded. Making things worse was the shoddy voice replacement job- the new cast sounds nothing like the old one, and while they opted to use a Non-Singing Voice for the titular character, the singing voice and speaking voice wasn't even matched either. Aside from that, the characterizations were all botched and the characters were passing the Idiot Ball around. The show's final picture book release was seen a bit later in 2008, and afterwards, production on all media was discontinued entirely until 2017, where the franchise was rebooted into a live-action series.
  • Universal and Hanna-Barbera released Jetsons: The Movie in 1990, complete with CGI, a Green Aesop played out with a Gang of Critters that was essentially a rewrite of an old episode of Star Trek, and reuniting nearly all of the surviving original cast membersnote  save for Judy Jetson being voiced not by Janet Waldo but by '80s pop starlet Tiffany thanks to Executive Meddling. The film also marked the last performance ever of noted voice artist Mel Blanc (Mr. Spacely), who was still recording while in the hospital (as he had years before then) and died before the film was completed, as well as George O'Hanlon (George), who by that point had to have the lines read and acted to him before recording, who also passed away before he could quite finish the film. Both Blanc and O'Hanlon's remaining lines had to be completed by Jeff Bergman. Penny Singleton did not die during production like Blanc and O'Hanlon, but the movie remained her last acting role until her death thirteen years later. Coming on the heels of the 1980s Jetsons revival (the new syndicated episodes and two TV movies), this film's disappointing box office and harsh critical reviews were apparently enough to send the franchise back into hibernation. It has stayed there (despite rumors of a potential live-action film occasionally floating about, which ultimately has never been made) until a direct-to-video film crossing over with WWE was released in 2017, which received mixed reception.
  • The cancellation of Cartoon Network's MAD, combined with that of the MADtv revival on The CW, dashed any future attempts to to adapt the satirical MAD Magazine to any form of other media. The former had a successful four-season run, but the Ripped from the Headlines-nature of its comedy meant it was doomed to become an Unintentional Period Piece whose reruns quickly ceased to entertain the network's target demographic. Meanwhile, the revival series only managed eight episodes before being scrapped. With the magazine suffering from Magazine Decay due to being switched to a nearly all-reprint magazine in late 2019 as a result of the AT&T/Time Warner merger, even the future of the magazine itself looks uncertain.
  • The end of the Madeline cartoon franchise tends to be blamed by fans on the 2002 feature-length TV movie, My Fair Madeline, with its upsetting plot that has Madeline unfairly blamed for causing chaos at the Louvre (she was trying to stop an art theft, but no one believes her), sent away from her beloved boarding school and friends to a London finishing school as a result, and later Wrongly Accused of trying to steal the Crown Jewels of England and sent to jail. A final feature-length production, Madeline in Tahiti, was made in 2005, but never released on DVD in the US, only finally getting a digital release in 2017, and with that the franchise ended.
  • The commercial failure of The Mr. Men Show when it aired on Cartoon Network in the US, including its scant promotion, its awkward timeslot and a Denser and Wackier tone that bore little to no resemblance to the source material (some characters even being In Name Only interpretations of their namesakes, including two existing characters that were gender-swapped), essentially killed off further attempts at adapting the Mr. Men franchise to television, although the books themselves are still going strong to this day. All Mr. Men animations released since have been television commercials or short Internet videos, which have more or less kept the art style and designs of the original books.
  • The critical failure of Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain was this not just to Pinky and the Brain, but to Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs as a whole. The show was created as a result of Executive Meddling, which was even pointed out in its theme song ("It's what the network wants, why bother to complain?"). In 2020, Pinky and the Brain would make a triumphant return in the Hulu exclusive Animaniacs (2020), along with the Warner Siblings themselves, the first episode of which retconned PE&tB from existence. On October 28, 2020, a Tiny Toon Adventures reboot called Tiny Toons Looniversity was announced for HBO Max and Cartoon Network, and on November 1, 2020, Cree Summer confirmed that Elmyra will be dropped from the reboot.
  • The critical and ratings bomb that was Planet Sheen killed off all interest in the Jimmy Neutron franchise for the foreseeable future, despite the original show continuing to enjoy sporadic reruns on sister channel Nicktoons to this very day.
  • The box office failure of The Powerpuff Girls Movie led to the scrapping of all plans for future theatrical films based on Cartoon Network properties, with the channel's film output for the rest of the 2000's being exclusively made-for-TV. It would take sixteen years, with the release of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, for another Cartoon Network series to see a theatrical wide-release - and even then, the show it's based on is a DC Comics/Warner Bros. property. While that film performed far better than Powerpuff Girls, it just wasn’t the box office smash hit Warner Bros. expected (not helped by a surprisingly small marketing campaign for the movie), grossing $52 million against a $10 million budget;note any plans for an actual Teen Titans continuation are now in doubt. Following Cartoon Network shows would continue to see television premieres or direct-to-video or streaming releases for their long-form adventures, including the second TTG film, Teen Titans Go! vs. Teen Titans.
  • The abrupt cancellation of Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" put the series on the kibosh for well over a decade. The lackluster sales of the DVD sets didn't help this. It also helped put an early end to the entirety of the then-new Spike TV's animation block, thus taking down Stripperella (which was also hampered by a lawsuit) and Gary the Rat along with it, although the former was at least popular enough once it hit DVD... only to see more negative reception pile on over the years. It would be 17 years before Viacom would try again with reviving or rebooting Ren and Stimpy, when a revival was announced for Comedy Central in August.
  • The Rugrats: Tales From the Crib series was a direct-to-DVD series of Fractured Fairy Tale-esque movies, which attempted to make the original series popular again after it ended. However, there were only two entries in the series; "Snow White" and "Three Jacks and a Beanstalk", as the latter failed to impress. This also forced the "Pre-School Daze" spin-off (which had its episodes included as bonuses on the DVDs) to end at only four episodes. The Rugrats franchise would later be revived in 2017 through a comic book. A live-action/CGI hybrid film was announced in 2018, but was later pulled, though a full CGI reboot of the series has premiered on Paramount+ on May 20th, 2021.
  • The ratings bomb that was Sonic Underground led to DIC Entertainment losing the license to produce Sonic the Hedgehog television series. The West was left without an animated Sonic series for 15 years (barring the Japanese-made anime Sonic X) until Sonic Boom in 2014. Unlike the previous series, however, Sonic Boom was co-produced by Sega in-house. Sadly, even this wasn’t enough, as the tie-in video game was a notorious failure that casted a dark cloud on the whole sub-franchise, leading to Cartoon Network and Boomerang neglecting it, with Sega joining the neglect later on. After the series ended its run, later Sonic animations were made in short-form, released on the Internet, silent, and largely done in-house by Sega’s artists. Sega later gave Sonic another chance with a crossover with Cartoon Network’s own OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, but even then that show too was screwed by CN, with the show’s creator announcing the cancellation shortly after the episode aired. While Sega's Director of Animation Yukio Kusumoto believes the world is ready for a new Sonic TV show, only time will tell if the Blue Blur will return to grace our television screens, seeing that Sega was more focused on the film adaptation at the time. Eventually, a new Sonic cartoon, Sonic Prime, was announced for Netflix, with the involvement of Sega, WildBrain, and Man of Action Studios.
  • The ratings failure of Super Mario World, along with the cancellation of Captain N: The Game Master and the closure of NBC's Saturday morning cartoon block, killed off any further attempts to keep the Super Mario Bros. on television. The only subsequent Super Mario Bros.-related television series made since then was The Super Mario Challenge, a live-action game show from the United Kingdom that aired and ended around the same time as World (although one could also count the Donkey Kong Country CGI cartoon, if they considered the Donkey Kong franchise to be part of the Mario franchise). However, Super Mario World may be one of the rarest examples of a cartoon being Vindicated by YouTube Poop, having been a staple of said videos for years.
  • The overall negative reception to Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory did this to the Tom and Jerry Direct-to-Video Film Series as no new installments have been announced since then while Warner Bros. turned its attention to producing the long-stalled live-action/animated film instead. It also caused the Roald Dahl Estate to revoke Warner Bros' film rights to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the later having commissioned the movie just to keep the film rights) and instead handed it over to Netflix, along with all the other stories he created, including its sequel in which Dahl himself wrote it in his will that it it may never be adapted in any form.
  • Transformers:
    • After Beast Machines there was supposed to be a sequel series (complete with prototype toys made) called Transtech and it would have continued even further into the series timeline. While Beast Machines still had solid ratings, the reception was mediocre and the toys themselves were subpar and didn't sell. Recognizing they had taken the Beast era franchise as far as it could go, Hasbro scrapped Transtech and imported Transformers: Robots in Disguise while they worked on a complete Continuity Reboot with Transformers Armada. This did have the interesting effect of splitting Transformers into many Alternate Universes rather than just Alternate Continuities.
    • The franchise in japan as a whole experienced multiple franchise killers over the years before 2007:
      • By 1990 the popularity of the franchise was at its lowest, with Zone marking the final animated entry in the japanese G1 franchise (it was so bad the series was represented by a single OVA instead of a full season like earlier entries), mirroring what happened to the G1 in the west during the 90s, with Operation Combination as the last toyline in 1992, followed by a 3 years hiatus until Generation 2 (which didn't do much better either).
      • After Beast Wars renewed interest in the brand, Beast Wars II and Beast Wars Neo were created to buy time in order to complete the dub of the second and third seasons of beast wars. Unfortunately, the Neo toyline suffered from fiddly designs, weird beast modes, and overcomplicated transformations that weren't at all popular with kids, which led to it mostly crashing and burning. By the time Beast Wars Metals (Re-brand of the 2nd and 3rd season of the show) aired, the damage was done and its toyline was a flop that lasted barely four months in retail(for context, a Transformers toyline in japan usually lasts a full year at least). This motivated Takara to do a Soft Reboot in the form of the Car Robots anime rather than import Beast Machines... which would then be dubbed as Robots in Disguise.
      • And even THAT toyline flopped in retails (same problems as with Neo, with the Transformers getting comparisons with origami due to how difficult they were to transform), resulting in its show getting reduced to 39 episodes from a planned 52. Afterwards, Takara wouldn't release another Transformers toyline or show until 2003.
      • The series got hit by another with the final entry in the Unicron trilogy, whose toyline sales in Japan were abysmal, resulting in the toyline getting a unceremonial conclusion barely 9 months instead of a full year as planned (the show at least managed to air all its 52 episodes... but the manga adaptation wasn't so lucky, getting an abrupt conclusion at 9 issues out of the 12 planned). What followed afterwards was a smaller toyline and fiction called Transformers: Kiss Players (aimed at 14 years and up), widely considered the worst entry ever released in Transformers by both sides of the Pacific. The series wouldn't recover until the Michael Bay movies made the franchise big again.
  • For Yogi Bear and the Funny Animals of Hanna Barbera, Yo Yogi! effectively killed off their careers for decades, as well as killing off NBC's Saturday Morning cartoons. While Yogi and Magilla Gorilla did appear in Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights, that special served as Magilla's last animated appearance. After an Easter Special that didn't perform well either, Yogi's only further appearances were in a handful of obscure cartoons by John Kricfalusi, along with a live-action/CGI film in 2010 that was financially successful, but critically ravaged. In 2019, the HBO Max series Jellystone! was announced; it would officially debut in 2021, a full three decades after the failure of Yo Yogi!

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