Kids WB! goes the way of the Frog

The CW will the close the curtains on the Kids WB! Saturday cartoons in '08, but Warner says they shall return.
The CW TV network continues its massive overhaul of the programming it inherited from the former WB and UPN networks, by shutting down its Kids WB! Saturday morning animation block at the end of the '07-'08 season.

As of September '08, the 7:00 am – 12:00 pm timeslot will be filled by the preschool-oriented 4Kids Entertainment.

"This is a great transaction for both the CW and 4Kids Entertainment," CW chief operating officer John Maatta told Variety.

Ratings and ad revenue were the primary motivators for the switch, as Kids WB! has steadily lost viewers to Nickelodeon, Disney and Cartoon Network.

"Clearly, this was an issue that we examined closely with our partners at CBS," said Warner Bros. TV Group President Bruce Rosenblum in a media statement. "We fully believe it makes the most business sense for The CW in this broadcast marketplace."

But Variety's WB source doesn't want fans to worry too much. "We are exploring a number of other avenues to direct this programming, from other networks to direct-to-DVD options."

The field of possibilities include Toon Disney; T-Works, the Warner's upcoming animation-focused website; and the aforementioned direct-to-DVD market, through which the recent Superman: Doomsday surprised even Warner insiders with its success.

"Warner Bros. has a long, successful track record in the animation business," said Rosenblum, "and we absolutely intend to stay true to our heritage by producing world-class animated entertainment for the children's market."

Meanwhile, the 4Kids folks are locked and loaded for the near future, with an extension on their current Fox TV contract til '09, on top of the new five-year CW deal.

[Original article by Steve Fritz and Matt Brady @Newsarama.]
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