The CW has announced it will shut down the Kids’ WB! franchise a the end of the season and turn everything over to 4Kids Entertainment.

Under the five-year pact, 4Kids will program five hours of children’s programming between 7 a.m. and noon on Saturdays on the CW starting September 2008. 4Kids will handle all national commercial advertising, and will share in ad revenue with the CW. The CW’s share will be applied against a guarantee 4Kids will pay the net.

One of the biggest reasons for the drop? It’s too hard to compete with 24-hour cable networks, and selling advertising for kids programming is pretty tough too – all those laws prohibiting television shows like Transformers and He-Man to be remade solely to market a toy are a bitch.

With 4Kids Entertainment picking up the programming duties, CW can focus on the online market.

Rosenblum added that the move does not signify a retreat from the kids space by Warner Bros. Animation, which he said would continue to produce for cable, direct-to-DVD, broadband and wireless. The company recently announced the launch next spring of T-Works, an online animation platform.

via Variety

UPDATE (12:55pm): Some of you have posted concerns over the possible cancellation of Batman! and the Legion of Super-Heroes. I fired off an e-mail to Paul McGuire CW’s Media Contact to ask what the dealio was, and he quickly responded with “TBD”. So it looks like no one knows at this moment the fate of those two shows, but as soon as I find out something, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, take the jump for the official press release from CW.

Kids Entertainment Signs Five-Year Deal with The CW Network To Partner with The CW and Program Its Saturday Morning Kids Block
Deal Starts in the 2008 — 2009 Broadcast Season
NEW YORK, October 3, 2007 – 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE), a global provider of children’s entertainment and merchandise licensing, announced today that it has partnered with The CW Network to program its Saturday morning kids block for five years beginning with the 2008-2009 broadcast season. 4Kids will be supplying five hours of children’s programming per week to The CW Network for the block, which is broadcast on The CW on Saturday mornings between 7 a.m. and 12 p.m. 4Kids will also sell the national commercial advertising in The CW Network’s kids block.

“We are delighted to be in business with The CW and secure distribution of 4Kids’content for the next five broadcast seasons,” said Alfred R. Kahn, 4Kids Entertainment’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We have had tremendous success over the years collaborating with CW Network partner Warner Bros., to whom we licensed 4Kids’ hit TV series and movies such as Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! We think The CW’s outstanding affiliate lineup and young target demographic make the network a perfect fit for our programming and business initiatives,” said Kahn.

“The last number of years have seen significant consolidation in the world of kids’ programming,” said John Maatta, Chief Operating Officer, The CW. “It is important to us to continue to present young viewers with quality entertainment choices on free-over-the-air television. This is a great transaction for both The CW and 4Kids Entertainment. It is especially gratifying to work again with 4Kids, a recognized leader in children’s programming, with whom we have shared so much past success. The agreement with 4Kids with its substantial resources and laser-focus in this arena, will position The CW to continue as a leading supplier of kids programming on broadcast television.”

Under the terms of the deal, The CW and 4Kids will share in national ad revenue from the block, with the network’s share of revenue to be applied against a guarantee to be paid by 4Kids to The CW. 4Kids and The CW will work closely to maximize the ratings and economic success of the block.

“We have tremendous faith in Saturday morning kids television, and with this deal we’ve renewed our commitment to remain a major player in children’s entertainment,” said Norman Grossfeld, President of 4Kids’ subsidiary 4Kids Productions. “We look forward to embracing the fans of Kids’ WB! and we welcome the opportunity to work with all the production companies, program distributors and advertisers that share our passion for the kids business. We also continue to value our relationship with the Fox Network and its affiliates. Fox recently exercised its option to extend the term of our deal with them through the end of the 2008-2009 broadcast season.”

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  1. Maximus Rift
    October 3, 2007 at 10:35 am — Reply

    You’d think those laws would make it so studios would have to make better shows instead of 30-min commercials, wouldn’t you?

  2. Adam
    October 3, 2007 at 11:24 am — Reply

    Ugh! More anime on Sat. mornings. But the real question is what is going to happen to The Goddamn Batman and the Legion?

  3. Lou
    October 3, 2007 at 12:35 pm — Reply

    Exactly!!! I do not care who runs the Saturday morning line-up as long as The Batman & Legion of Superheroes continue to air on TV!!! Any ideas on how to find out if they will still air those shows???

  4. Mark I.
    October 3, 2007 at 1:29 pm — Reply

    I’m guessing they’ll be cancelled, given a couple of DVD releases, then new rebooted cartoons will come out when the Justice League movie finally gets made.

    Hey, Batman: TAS is showing regularly on Toon Disney now for anyone who didn’t buy the series discs.

  5. Adam
    October 3, 2007 at 1:32 pm — Reply

    Steven, thank you for being our avatar of information on not only this ‘interesting’ turn of events, but for the entire comic realm.

  6. October 3, 2007 at 1:39 pm — Reply

    Argh! Batman & LSH? Sad times. Sad. Thanks for the crappy news.

  7. Juan, the Ninja Charro
    October 3, 2007 at 1:59 pm — Reply

    Just because I always post ninja on my name it means I like anime. I used to remember the golden times when Marvel Animation ruled the earth, and then, the Bruce Timm and Paul Dini make their master pieces, but, suddenly, the animation that was not based on comic franchises, like Fox, CBS, and NBC started to fail, Fox got those stupid animes where violence and sexuality is forbidden, at least in America, here in Mexiland we can see the gallons of blood that are thrown in any battle, and we see any single part of the Magic gals’ naked body, but, the animes that are shown in Amerika suck; and, if there is other animation, is made only for girls: Sabrina, Horseland, Strawberry Shortcake, and that nasty stuff. Im very sad we cannot have decent animation like we used to have.

  8. J'osh
    October 3, 2007 at 10:09 pm — Reply

    So is the new Spiderman dead already too? Man they need an action animation channel or something. Cartoon Net for fart jokes and stuff. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. And like a whole Toonami station that has original stuff like LOSH and The Batman. And eventually a GLC cartoon. Fingers crossed…..yea I know.

  9. Maximus Rift
    October 4, 2007 at 9:04 am — Reply

    I’m also a fan of anime, but it’s crap when it’s on American TV. Seriously, in Puerto Rico, Mexico and other Latin American countries, we get to see the uncut stuff on TV.

    I really hope LoSH and The Batman survive since I don’t see anywhere for them to go.

  10. Mark I.
    October 4, 2007 at 11:17 am — Reply

    Well, I mean, there’s always Cartoon Network. They’re about to lose Futurama in two months, The Batman and Legion could be a nice 10-11pm lead-in for Adult Swim.

  11. Maximus Rift
    October 4, 2007 at 12:27 pm — Reply

    Yeah, but CN is also the network thqat decided to cancel Teen Titans and JLU because they wern’t getting enough $$$$ for it.

  12. Mark I.
    October 4, 2007 at 1:14 pm — Reply

    True, but at least T. Batman and Legion already have pre-made episodes. They’d only have to pay for 1 or 2 new seasons and they’d have an extended run to show for a year or two before they canceled it to make way for scintillating intellectual fare like “Ed, Edd, & Eddy” and “My Gym Partner’s A Monkey.”

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Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

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