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Useful Notes / Block Programming

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

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

The Kids Block is a common example of TV blocks with the focus being on child-friendly programming. Many blocks in the past were dedicated to Saturday Morning Cartoons though, particularly in the United States, they have largely been set aside in The New '10s and replaced with Edutainment Show blocks (many of which are produced by Litton Entertainment). Otaku O'Clock refers to the late-night/early morning programming block, where programming such as Anime that might might be more suitable for teens or young adults than children, can air.

Not to be confused with a type of visual programming language which uses blocks as script components, popularized by Scratch.


  • Various
    • Hearst Media Production Group (formerly Litton Entertainment) is a company that has produced blocks on ABC (since 2011), CBS (since 2013), The CW (since 2014) and NBC (since 2016) along with a couple of other networks, having an almost-near monopoly on whatever's left of the Saturday morning children's programming market (it helps that its parent company is Hearst Television, who owns several of ABC and NBC's affiliates and two CBS affiliates). These tended to replace Kids Blocks that used to air on those networks. The Litton blocks tend to be three hours long and primarily consist of educational programming like documentaries and lifestyle-type shows, often containing Product Placement (ironically going against the Children's Television Act's core values). The blocks provide the minimal number amount of educational programming that major American TV networks must air according to the Children's Television Act.
      • As of 2023, FOX is the only major broadcast network not carrying a block by Hearst Media by default, instead opting for a STEM-focused block called Xploration Station, which is produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions. However, some MyNetworkTV affiliates air the syndicated Go Time block. ABC also doesn't include their Litton block as part of their network schedule because it's syndicated to various ABC stations.
    • Right up through the Turn of the Millennium, the major TV networks all had their early afternoon periods dedicated to soap operas. As most of the soaps ended (except for Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, The Young and the Restless, and The Bold and the Beautiful), that timeslot has often been filled with talk shows and various other local or syndicated programs.
  • Cartoon Network
    • [adult swim]: Beginning on September 2, 2001, this late-night block airs on Cartoon Network. It has been primarily dedicated to adult animation shows (some produced in-house by William Street Productions, others syndicated from Fox), though some live-action programs have aired on this block as well. The brand has been licensed to a channel in Canada which began in 2019.
    • Cartoon Planet: Essentially, it was an hour-long variety show hosted by Space Ghost, Zorak and Brak who are characters from Space Ghost Coast to Coast who provided skits and music as well as introducing clips from older cartoons in the Turner Library. That format ran from 1995 to 1997. When it was revived in 2012 though, it changed in format. Space Ghost no longer appeared and instead of old cartoons, the block consisted of segments from more recent Cartoon Network programming from the mid-90s to the late 2000s. The block ended in 2014.
    • Boomerang: Began as a programming block in December 1992 and focused on classic animated programs such as Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and Scooby-Doo. It started as a 4 hour block but was later reduced to 3 hours. It consistently aired on weekends though the specific time kept changing. It ultimately got its own TV channel in April 2000 while the block itself ended in 2004. The channel itself has had numerous blocks, often being holiday based or based on a particular program. It would often air the block for a few months, remove it, and sometimes bring it back a few months later. The only current one though is the Boomerang Theater which airs movies.
    • Toonami: Like Cartoon Planet, this was originally a spinoff from Space Ghost Coast to Coast, with Moltar broadcasting action cartoons from the Ghost Planet, but later switched its mascot to TOM, a Robot Buddy broadcasting from the spaceship Absolution. Toonami also did several shorts, promos, and tie-ins of its own, becoming a multimedia franchise in its own right. It became wildly popular and pretty much single-handedly launched The Japanese Invasion of the early 2000s, featuring a ton of anime now recognized as classics of the medium. Cancelled in 2008, but brought back in 2012 after the success of an April Fools' Day special.
    • Miguzi: A Lighter and Softer successor to Toonami, put in its place after Toonami moved to Saturday nights and made to draw in younger viewers instead of the primarily teenage audience of Toonami. It starred a girl who hung out with a bunch of robots Under the Sea and lacked Toonami's production values and tie-ins in favor of a more traditional programming block. Originally had a reputation as a Replacement Scrappy, but viewers warmed up to it and many of its shows attracted a strong Periphery Demographic. Lasted from 2004 to 2007.
  • The CW (formerly The WB)
    • Kids' WB!: Ran from 1995 to 2008 and focused on child-related programs that aired on Saturday mornings and on weekday mornings (until 2001) and afternoons (until 2005). Content included shows made by Warner Brother Animation (some being animated adaptations of characters from DC Comics), dubbed Anime series and other animated programs. It was replaced by The CW4Kids though a website for the block was launched in 2008 which allowed people to stream live-action and animated shows. The website shut down in 2015.
    • The CW4Kids, later Toonzai: Began in 2008, taking over from Kids' WB. It changed its named to Toonzai in 2010 after entering a joint venture with Saban Brands. The Block originally carried programs from Kids' WB and 4Kids TV, which ended in late 2008, but dropped most of the WB programming once Saban got involved. From that point on, the block aired similar programming that 4Kids TV aired. Saban bought out the block in 2012 after 4Kids Entertainment faced bankruptcy due to a Yu-Gi-Oh–related lawsuit which also terminated their rights to the show. Saban than replaced the block shorty after with Vortexx.
    • Vortexx: Saturday morning cartoon block that replaced CW4Kids in 2012. In addition to a few of the programs that 4Kids used to air, the block also featured a number of action related cartoons as well as WWE Saturday Morning Slam. It was discontinued in 2014 in favor of Litton Entertainment's One Magnificent Morning. The end of Vortexx marked the end of the last Saturday-morning block featuring non-educational programming aimed at kids.
  • Disney owned networks (ABC, Disney Channel)
    • TGiF: ABC prime time comedy block, typically consisted of sitcoms, that ran on Fridays from 1989 to 2000 and from 2003 to 2005. The name stood for "Thank Goodness it's Friday". It was considered among the first time from a major network to brand a block rather than focus on marketing shows individually. The block was notable for attracting older teens and young adults in addition to a general family audience with the programming being more focused towards the former demo as time went on. Change in viewing habits though caused ratings to drop and the block initially ended in 2000 and the space was often used for reality shows. It was brought back in 2003 but faced many of same issues as before and ended in 2005. Recent years have seen a comedy hour on the channel on Friday nights though the TGIF brand isn't used.
    • The Disney Afternoon: Began in 1990, this was an block of made for syndication animated programs that aired in the afternoons. The block contained four 30-minute animated programs that was accompanied with unique segments and "wrappers" around those shows and was distributed by Buena Vista Television. The block ended in 1997 and was replaced with a 90-minute block that did not contain any official name but still featured Disney programming.
    • One Saturday Morning and ABC Kids: Running under the former name from 1997 to 2002 and the latter name from 2002 to 2011, this Saturday morning block initially consisted of 5 hours of programming, most of which came from Disney. The first 3 hours were dedicated to cartoons while an additional 2 and a half hours were dedicated to a live-action show of the same name which featured skits and segments interpreted through 4 other cartoon series. The live show though ended in 2000. While it played some exclusive shows in its first few years, it spent its last five years as a block that mostly only played repeats of Disney Channel shows including ones that had ceased making new episodes. The block ended in 2011 and was replaced with the educational-based programming block Weekend Adventure (the first of a number Litton/Hearst produced blocks).
    • Marvel Universe: Began in 2012, this block airs on Disney XD and consists of animated programs produced by Marvel Animation. It runs on Sundays 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
    • Radio Disney used to have the hour-long blocks Playhouse Disney on Radio Disney and Radio Disney Junior. Both focused on music and other content that were aimed at preschoolers.
  • Fox
    • Fox Kids: Ran from 1990 to 2002 and aired on Fox during weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings. The block saw a mix of animated programs including those from Warner Bros. and Marvel in addition to a couple of live-action programs like Power Rangers and the short-lived Galidor. Was replaced in 2002 by "Fox Box", which was renamed 4Kids TV in 2005, after Fox Kids' parent, Fox Family Worldwide, was bought by The Walt Disney Company.
    • 4Kids TV: Aired on Saturday mornings on Fox which began as Fox Box in 2002 and changed its name in 2005. Its programming consisted of imported shows like dubbed anime (Pokémon: The Series, Yu-Gi-Oh! and One Piece) and non-Japanese shows (Winx Club from Italy, Cubix from South Korea and The Adrenaline Project from Canada), as well as more original animated programming like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Chaotic. The changes made with the anime dubs have been quite controversial with anime fans. Conflicts between 4Kids Entertainment and Fox caused the block to end in 2008, though much of its programming moved to the CW4Kids block.
    • Animation Domination: An animated-based block that aired on Fox from 2005 to 2014. It also aired on the Canadian channel Global as "Animation Rules". The block aired on Sunday evenings. American Dad! was the first show to originate on the block and the rest of the block was initially filled with Family Guy, The Simpsons and King of the Hill. King was canceled in 2009 and was replaced by The Cleveland Show, giving Seth MacFarlane his third show on the block after Family Guy and American Dad!, and lasted until 2013. Bob's Burgers also originated on the block in 2011. A few other shows originated on the block but most were either canceled after one season or were moved to FXX. The block ended in 2014 and was replaced with Sunday Funday which airs most of the Animation Domination shows still airing at that time (minus American Dad!, which moved to TBS) mixed with some live-action programming. It was announced that it would be discontinued in 2014 after not getting the demographics Fox wanted (though some stations continued to air it until 2016). The "Animation Domination" brand returned in the fall of 2019 with new animated shows like Bless the Harts, Duncanville, and The Great North after almost 5 years of bad luck airing live-action sitcoms on Sunday nights.
      • It had a sister block called Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) that launched in 2013 on FXX. It also focused on adult animation but aired on Saturday Nights to compete against [adult swim] and Saturday Night Live and aired for 90 minutes. The block ended in 2016.
    • Sunday Funday: This block replaced Animation Domination in 2014 and airs at the same timeslot. While it carries over some of Domination's programs (Family Guy, The Simpsons and Bob's Burgers), it now includes an hour of non-animated programming. Most of the live-action shows, however, tend to last for only a season before being cancelled while the 3 animated programs are still producing new episodes.
  • NBC
    • TNBC (Teen NBC): This block aired Saturday mornings from September 1992 to September 2002. Followed by the success of Saved by the Bell, NBC replaced their Saturday morning animated programs surrounding it to a make a 3 hour block of scripted teen oriented shows, typically sitcoms executive produced by showrunner Peter Engel, with Saved By The Bell as it's centerpiece. It officially began using the TNBC name in 1993. These shows often incorporated Very Special Episodes so that the block met the law mandated educational programming requirements. By 2001, viewership declined and the median age of viewers for the block was 41. It was replaced in September 2002 with Discovery Kids on NBC.
    • NBC All Night: This block aired seven nights a week at 2:00am from September 1998 to December 2006. It focused on reruns of The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live episodes from throughout the show's run (the 90 minute versions) under the title Classic SNL, and Meet the Press, which still airs Monday mornings at 2:00am; in September 2014, the Classic SNL episodes were rebroadcast into 60 minute versions titled SNL Vintage Saturdays at 10:00pm ET.
    • Discovery Kids on NBC: This block aired on Saturday mornings from September 2002 to September 2006. This block leased shows that came from Discovery Kids (now Discovery Family) and included a mix of live-action and animated shows. This block fulfilled NBC educational programming requirements as enforced by the Children's Television Act. Discovery declined to renew the block in 2006 as they wanted to focus on the Discovery Kids channel. The block was then replaced by Qubo.
    • Qubo: This block premiered in 2006 and was owned by Ion Media Networks (NBC had a 32 percent stake in the company at the time). Like the Discovery Kids block, it focused on education based programs for young kids. By 2007, a full channel was created for Qubo though the NBC blocked remained until 2012. It was replaced by NBC Kids
  • Nickelodeon
    • SNICK: Short for Saturday Night Nickelodeon, was a 2 hours block that aired at 8:00pm to 10:00pm ET on Saturdays from 1992 to 2004. The block aimed at preteen to teen audiences and had broadcasted a mix of animated and live action programming. The block was revamped as a Saturday night edition of Teen Nick in 2004. A Saturday night block still technically runs to this day but hasn't been given an actual name since 2009.
    • Nick Studio 10: A short-lived afternoon block on Nickelodeon that ran from February 18 to June 17, 2013. The hosts would air skits and viral during commercial breaks and for a time interrupted the main programming though this was reduced due to viewer complaints. The block went on hiatus for the summer season and has not returned since, leaving the afternoon programs unhosted.
    • TeenNick: Started out as programming block in 2000 that aired on Nickelodeon during Sunday evenings. It had a focus on teen-oriented programming. The block was discontinued in 2008 but exists today as its own TV channel.
  • PBS Kids: This block serves as a brand for most of the children based Edutainment Show programs on PBS. Launched in 1994 as PTV (with a sister block for older kids called The Game launched in 1996), it changed its name to PBS Kids in 1999 and still runs today. From 2004 to 2013, it also had a sister block called PBS Kids Go! that focused on similar programming for 6- to 8-year-old children, a slightly older intended audience than the original block.
  • PBS Kids Sprout:
    • Sprout's Wiggly Waffle: Early Morning block hosted by characters of The Wiggles.
    • The Sunny Side Up Show: Hosted by a random human host with Chica the Chicken. Aired in the late mornings. In 2012, the block received a successor called The Chica Show, starring Chica, her parents, and one of the block's hosts.
    • The Sprout Sharing Show: Hosted by Patty the Pig, Ricky the Rabbit and Curtis E. Owl. Aired in late afternoons.
    • The Lets Go Show: Hosted by Miles and Banjo the Dog. Aired on weekend mornings.
    • The Good Night Show: Originally hosted by Melanie and Star with Lucy the firefly and Hush the Goldfish. Aired during primetime. On June 20, 2006, Melanie Martinez was fired from PBS because they found out she was in an NC-17 rated movie in 1999. The block was on hiatus until they hired a new host. She was replaced with Nina in November 2006. In 2015 (Sprout's 10th anniversary), the block received a successor called "Nina's World," about Nina's animated childhood.
    • Snoozathon: Just a 3 minute montage of characters sleeping which aired on Christmas Eve from 2007 to 2015, from 6:00pm to 6:00am ET.
  • Teletoon
    • Camp Teletoon: This block aired annually on weekdays in July and August, which is when most kids are out of school for summer vacation. The block aired in the morning until noon and typically featured the most popular programs currently airing on the channel.
    • Teletoon at Night: Formed in 2002 as The Detour, this was a late-night block that is rather similar to Adult Swim's format in terms of programming, mostly adult animated shows. It aired every night of the week. A French-language version of the block "Télétoon la nuit" airs on Teletoon's French-language channel, and was also originally called "Le Détour". In 2019, Teletoon at Night was dropped due to the launch of a 24/7 Adult Swim channel, though Télétoon la nuit continues to run to this day.
  • YTV
    • The Zone: The flagship block of the channel. It began in 1991 and airs on weekday afternoons, and also has a weekend morning edition (which was formerly known as "The Alley" from 1991 to 1996, "Brainwash" from 1996 to 1998, "Snit Station" from 1998 to 2001, "Vortex" from 2001 to 2006 and "Crunch" from 2006 to 2013). While the exact format has changed throughout the years, the block tends to consist of imported animated programming, mostly those from Nickelodeon, with occasional Canadian programs and live-action shows being added in. During commercial breaks, as well as a show's end credits (via Credits Pushback), there are segments featuring hosts called "PJs" (program jockeys), some of which involve audience participation such as showcasing fanart and doing challenges requested by viewers.
    • Treehouse: Before it became a television channel in 1997, it was a block on YTV called "The Treehouse". Like the channel today, Treehouse focused on programming for preschoolers. Like The Zone, it was hosted by "PJs" (program jockeys) and also featured puppets named The Fuzzpaws, which were carried over to the Treehouse channel. It was replaced by a block called "YTV Jr.", which was not hosted, though it was short lived as the Treehouse channel became widely available across Canada and made the block obsolete.
    • Bionix: A late night Anime block that began in 2004. While YTV tended to have a weird style that aimed at younger viewers, Bionix had a technology theme and was aimed at teenagers. While anime was the main focus (particularly Naruto and Bleach), other animated programs and even a couple of live-action programs were added, particularly Canadian shows so as to meet Canadian content requirements. It originally ran 2 hours on Friday nights, but was later shortened to one hour on Saturdays in 2008 before being quietly cancelled in 2010. While YTV occasionally continues to air some Anime programming, they tend to be aimed at younger audiences compared to what this block aimed at.