An Era Has Ended: The Quiet Death of Saturday Morning Cartoons


X-Men from Fox, a staple of Saturday’s in the 90’s

This past Saturday morning (Sept 27th), Saturday Morning Cartoons quietly – and fittingly with little notice – died with most not even knowing. For the first time in almost 40 years, this coming Saturday (Oct 4th) will be the first Saturday since the 60’s to not have a network station airing a block of cartoon, non educational, content aimed specifically for children.  The big networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX) have quietly been phasing out cartoons from Saturdays since the 2000’s with CBS being the holdout until 2013 when they swapped to “teen-centric” reality news/informative programming instead of cartoons. The CW was the last of all broadcast network brands showing Saturday Morning Cartoons in the form of a block of Japanese anime inspired programming with shows like Cubix, Sonic X, Dragon Ball Z and Kai, Digimon Fusion, and Yu-Gi-Oh!. As of the upcoming Saturday, no cartoons will be on broadcast networks.

Would you know who Slimer was without the cartoons?

Kids aren’t hurting to find cartoons of course with the advent of Cartoon Network, Disney XD, Boomerang and many other outlets. The notable difference is that they are all cable networks. Of course, there is also the Netflix option meaning that there is a nearly endless availability of programming available to kids (and parents… and enthusiasts) of which to partake in at will.  The quiet and unnoticed death of cartoons on Saturday morning ends a long era of television that the current generation may not be affected by, but just a couple of years before them (think Gen X, Y) will probably have fond memories of cartoons from the 80’s and 90’s that were a big deal to kids growing up.

RainbowBrite It’s hard to say just what was the cause of death in this case. Some would argue that it was the arrival of cable networks dedicated to cartoons. Some would say it’s the arrival of Netflix. I can remember though far enough back to the early 90’s when NBC swapped to T-NBC and started showing live action shows geared towards teenagers however. I also remember the campaign from “Moms with Gigantic Sticks Up Their Butts” (Note: that’s my term for them, not the official name) who were arguing that cartoon programming was horrible for children and should be removed.  That led to the Children’s Television Act of 1990 which signaled pretty loudly that cartoons as they were known would have to change. Ironically, there is still a loud push against modern cartoons as it pertains to decency (they were “too violent” and now they are “too disturbing”).

I learned more about leadership from Prime than I have any politician I’ve ever known.

Personally, I play cartoons on Netflix for my daughter for a few hours every Saturday ever since she became interested. She is currently addicted to Digimon Fusion. I used to look forward to the fall lineup changes every year.  It was my small piece of television time that was solely for me and my brother (before our Dad would get up and kick us off the TV in other words).  I am very sad to see it go. If you think about it, movies like Transformers and G.I. Joe and even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were inspired by Saturday morning cartoons.

So, way to go Moms with a Stick Up Their Butts... you finally killed off Saturday Morning Cartoons.  


What were some of your favorites? I had a few:

Captain N: The Game Master:


The Transformers:

Muppet Babies:

[button type=”link” link=”” variation=”btn-danger” target=”blank”]Source: Cinema Blend[/button]

Last Updated on January 12, 2019.


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