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Saturday Morning Kids’ Show

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The types of hybrid shows that were done in both the US and UK for years — the UK variation is essentially a Variety Show aimed at kids. Broadcast US television used to have a milder variety of this kind of program — and some were actually run five times a week, on weekdays — but they have almost entirely been phased out in favor of shows that are cheaper to produce and which have higher profit margins. (And most US networks have actually phased out all Saturday-morning children's fare entirely.) The genre seemed to be dead in the UK, Toonattik was the last real example and it dumped its presenters and become just a cartoon block before being axed at the end of 2010. However, The BBC brought back the format as Saturday Mash-Up! in 2017.

They frequently include the following elements:

  • Cartoons, often recycled theatrical shorts.
  • Two or three noticeable presenters/hosts.
    • On UK television, at least one of these will be a puppet character.
  • Satires of popular TV shows (especially common with the UK variation — Taggart appears to have been done once, Doctor Who has been done far too many times to count).
  • Celebrities being interviewed and/or singing.
  • A live audience of young and old kids.
  • Phone-in competitions (often involving things that require you to watch the cartoons).
  • People getting Covered in Gunge.
  • Childish humour.
  • Parent Service.

For Saturday Morning cartoons as shown in the US, rather than variety shows, see Saturday-Morning Cartoon. Compare and contrast Sunday Evening Drama Series, an unobjectionable, family-friendly series meant to air on Sunday night.

Notable examples:

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  • Dibujuegos, hosted by musician Manuel Wirtz and Sesame Street's Big Bird. No, seriously, Big Bird was a co-host. Ran in 1991, was full of late 80s cartoon goodness.

  • Australia also has a lot of these, the longest running being Saturday Disney.

  • An infamous example from the nineteen-eighties is Xuxa, hosted by an oversexed (and not very smart) former model that inspired the wrath of Moral Guardians and produced a few short-lived imitators. Xuxa is also infamous for the fire on the set of her later show Xuxa Park.


  • You Can't Do That on Television started out as one of these (with live-action sketches instead of cartoons); the call-in segments were dropped as soon as the show was repackaged for sale to markets outside Ottawa and the music segments phased out after the first couple years while the Show Within a Show aspects of the link segments were played up, until what was left was a Sketch Comedy.

  • The 1990s Club Dorothée show is the quintessential example in the history of French TV. For better or worse, this show more-or-less introduced France to Anime (and Super Sentai years before Power Rangers). It ran for nearly a decade ('87-'97) before its somewhat speculated-aboutnote  cancellation.
  • Hanna Barbera Dingue Dong (1990-1996), was just a collection of HB cartoons (Scooby-Doo, Wacky Races, etc.) interspersed with the live-action host's antics. Based on the American The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.
  • La Planète de Donkey Kong (1996-2001), which featured cartoons interspersed with skits featuring the Donkey Kong Country cast's antics (in the show's earlier days, they were joined by the TV presenter Mélanie Angélie). Spun off the more well-known Donkey Kong Country.
  • Televisator 2 (1993-1994) was a show about video games and cartoons (Tiny Toon Adventures, etc.)
  • In fact, France had a quite bunch of such shows which alternate cartoons and inane jokes involving live-action hosts. This may have had some legal causes (laws requiring homeland-produced original content, etc.)

  • Two famous examples: Chabelo, which was actually aired on Sunday mornings, and Caritele, which was a Saturday morning show interspersed with other shows and mostly shounen anime.

    United Kingdom 
  • On The BBC: (Multi Coloured) Swap Shop (1976-1982), Saturday Superstore (1982-1987), Going Live (1987-1993), Live And Kickingnote  (1993-2001) - which were all essentially variations of the same format.note 
    • Dick & Dom in da Bungalow (2002-2006)
    • During the summer months the regular Saturday morning show took a break. Replacements (usually from the BBC Regions, unlike the London-based main show) included On the Waterfront, UP2U, 8:15 from Manchester, Parallel 9 (set on a alien planet of the same name), and Fully Booked (set in a fictional Scottish hotel). Fully Booked would initially air on Saturdays, but then move for a spell over to Sundays, with the Saturday strand taken over by The Saturday Aardvark, which was more of a generic studio-based CBBC programming strand hosted by Kristian O'Brian and the puppet Otis The Aardvark. It nevertheless still achieved something of a cult following.
    • 2017's Saturday Mash-Up! saw the format return over a decade after Dick and Dom.
    • Arguably the Ur-Example for the BBC was Crackerjack, a children's variety show that aired from 1955 to 1984 (most prominently on Friday nights), which typically featured a mixture of music performances, game segments, and sketch comedy by a cast of regulars (though by its final years on-air, its prominence had degraded in favour of the aforementioned Saturday shows at the peak of their popularity, and the focus on comedy sketches steadily decreased).
  • On ITV: Tiswas (1974-1982, starting as a regional series in The Midlands before it went nationwide by its final series)
    • No. 73 (1982-1988), notable for its Sitcom elements; it was supposedly set in an ordinary suburban house, where the residents just happened to be showing cartoons, interviewing celebrities, and organising The Sandwich Quiz.
    • Get Fresh (1986-1988), a road show where the location was different every week. Notable for launching the career of future How 2 presenter Gareth Jones and also contributed to a short high profile career for the puppet Gilbert the Alien, who had a habit of Getting Crap Past the Radar. A pre-recorded version of the show aired on Sundays.
    • Motormouth (1988-1992): Notable for it's live-action adaptation of the famous board game Mouse Trap. Started off as an informal variety show but delved more and more into sketches and eventually comedy drama not unlike No.73.
    • What's Up Doc? (1992-1995) which as its title implies had a lot of Warner Bros.-related content along with the usual ingredients. Notable for introducing UK audiences to Animaniacs and Batman: The Animated Series as well as two memorable puppet wolves in Bro and Bro, who would receive their own spin-off programme Wolf It, before their pupeteers defected to BBC's Live & Kicking to perform as the Leprechauns.
    • SM:TV Live (1998-2003), notable for launching the mainstream careers of Ant and Dec and Cat Deeley, and for having an extremely high amount of Parental Bonuses.
    • Ministry Of Mayhem and Holly and Stephen's Saturday Showdown (2004-2006)
    • Toonattik (2005 to 2011) - broadcast as part of the breakfast service GMTV, it fired its presenters in May 2010. Ended completely on New Years Day 2011, as part of the changeover from GMTV to Daybreak.
    • Scrambled! (2014 to 2021)- Simulcast on both ITV during it's breakfast hours and the CITV Channel. It also would air on Sundays. Unlike most other shows on the list, the programme was pre-recorded for both days of the weekend. Only two of the original presenting line-up stayed for the duration of the programme.

    United States 
  • In 2003, Cartoon Network turned their all animated Cartoon Cartoon Fridays block into a block hosted by Tommy and Nzinga (later replaced by Tara) called "Fridays". In addition to cartoons, there were two puppet characters, celebrity interviews, and musical guest performances. It ended in 2007, and was replaced by Friday Night Premiere Thunder.
  • Late lamented examples include Wonderama, Gene London, and Captain Kangaroo. (None of which were literally speaking Saturday fare, but it's the format, not the broadcast time that counts.) Also, Pee-wee's Playhouse was equal parts straight and subvertive of the genre. And then there's all the regional variations of The Bozo Show.
  • Probably one of the originators of the genre was The Howdy Doody Show (1947-1960).
  • Jim Varney, as his Ernest P. Worrell character, briefly revived the genre with Hey Vern, It's Ernest! in 1988.
  • CBS attempted a plethora of these types of shows in the '80s and '90s, including both Pee-wee's Playhouse, Pryor's Place and Hey Vern It's Ernest! along with The Weird Al Show and the acquisition of Beakman's World from TLC.
  • The Aqua Bats Super Show is a sort of half-Homage, half-parody of these types of kids' shows.
  • MeTV added Toon In With Me, a weekday morning variant with a puppet co-host, on the first weekday of 2021.

  • Thanks to deals RCTV had with Disney, they had Club Disney during the 80's and 90's, while its rival Venevisión had El Club de Los Tigritos. Both shows were phased out around early 00's, though Venevisión still has cartoon hosts presenting cartoon hosts, but nothing else.