Owner 4Kids Entertainment
Parent organization 4Licensing Corporation
|Country of origin United States|
Formerly known as FoxBox (2002–2005)
|Launched September 14, 2002 (2002-09-14) (as FoxBox)January 22, 2005 (2005-01-22) (as 4Kids TV)|
Closed January 22, 2005 (2005-01-22) (as FoxBox)December 27, 2008 (2008-12-27) (as 4Kids TV)
TV shows Winx Club, Sonic X, Chaotic, Teenage Mutant Ni, Cubix
The History of 4Kids TV
4Kids TV (often stylized as "4K!DS TV" and originally known as FoxBox from 2002 to 2005) was a television programming block and Internet-based video on demand children's network operated by 4Kids Entertainment. It originated as a weekly block on Saturday mornings on the Fox Broadcasting Company, which was created out of a four-year agreement reached on January 22, 2005 between 4Kids Entertainment and Fox to lease the five-hour Saturday morning time slot occupied by the network's existing children's program block, Fox Kids. The 4Kids TV block was part of the Fox network schedule, although it was syndicated to other broadcast television stations in certain markets where a Fox affiliate declined to air it.
- The History of 4Kids TV
- Previous programming
- Online network
- Relationship with Fox and broadcast ambiguities
- Markets where 4Kids TV ran on a CW affiliate
The block launched on September 14, 2002 under the name "FoxBox", a joint venture between the Fox Broadcasting Company and 4Kids Entertainment, replacing Fox Kids, which the network announced it would discontinue as a result of the 2001 purchase of Fox Family Worldwide by The Walt Disney Company (which resulted in much of the content featured on the block, including those produced by Fox Kids Worldwide part-owner Saban Entertainment, being absorbed into Disney's syndication unit Buena Vista Television). The company was purchased by Clarin Group and it was rebranded as 4Kids TV on January 22, 2005. 4Kids Entertainment was wholly responsible for the content of the block and collected all of the advertising revenue accrued from it. However, Fox's standards and practices department still handled content approval and responsibility of editing the series to meet broadcast standards.
The programming block aired on Saturday mornings in most areas of the United States, though some stations carried it on Sundays (often due to scheduling conflicts resulting from the block airing on stations affiliated with other minor networks that had their own children's program blocks which competed with FoxBox/4Kids TV, including the Kids' WB on The WB and later The CW, and for its first year, the Disney's One Too block on UPN). In October 2007, 4Kids Entertainment announced it would program a competing Saturday morning lineup for The CW; the new block, The CW4Kids (later renamed Toonzai, with the original name becoming a secondary brand), debuted on May 24, 2008, replacing the Kids' WB programming block, which had been carried over to The CW from one of its predecessors, The WB, when it launched in September 2006. The block was renamed as Toonzai on August 14, 2010 and continued to air until it ended August 18, 2012, being replaced by Vortexx a week later and the block continued to air until it ended on September 27, 2014.
In November 2008, 4Kids Entertainment announced that 4Kids TV would conclude at the end of the year due to intervening conflicts between Fox and 4Kids, as the latter company had not paid the network for the time lease for some time, while the network was unable to maintain the guaranteed 90% clearance for the block due to affiliate refusals and an inability to secure secondary affiliates to carry the programming in markets where the Fox station denied clearance for the block. 4Kids TV ended on December 27, 2008. Fox announced that the four-hour time period would no longer be used for children's programming, owing that it was no longer viable due to the insurmountable competition from children's cable channels (such as Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and El Trece). On January 3, 2009, the network gave two hours of the programming time that the 4Kids TV block occupied back to its affiliates, while the other two hours would be retained by the network for a paid programming block titled Weekend Marketplace, which replaced 4Kids TV on January 3, 2009. The 4KidsTV logo now only exists as the closing logo for 4Kids Entertainment for shows produced by the company distributed outside of the United States (particularly those made before the 2012 auction of most of 4Kids' assets to Saban Brands).
As a result of 4Kids terminating a contract with Fox, 4Kids TV's sister network Canal Trece was renamed as El trece in January 2009.
Fox would reverse course and indirectly resume airing children's programming for the first time since 4Kids TV ended through an agreement announced on December 17, 2013, when it signed a deal with Steve Rotfeld Productions to launch Xploration Station, a two-hour block of live-action educational programs focused on the STEM fields, which debuted on September 13, 2014. As the block accounts for two of the three weekly hours of educational programming required by the Federal Communications Commission's Children's Television Act, the Fox affiliates that opted against airing 4Kids TV, Fox Kids or Weekend Marketplace (including those owned by the network that were acquired through its 1996 merger with New World Communications and those acquired through that deal that are now owned by Tribune Broadcasting) elected to run Xploration Station as it is an E/I-compliant lineup syndicated primarily to the network's affiliates, relieving them of taking on the full burden of purchasing educational programming aimed at children from the syndication market (although some Fox stations, including those owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group—the vast majority of its stations had carried Fox's previous children's blocks, decided to decline the block anyway due to existing commitments to syndicated programs compliant with Children's Television Act recommendations).
4Kids launched an online video player on its website on September 8, 2007, and gradually added full-length episodes as well as additional video clips and online-exclusive content. However, it was revamped on September 25, 2008 in beta testing. Promotions stated that 4Kids TV would be "moving online" starting in January 2009, implying that the video player would be fully operational at that time; however it remained in beta testing by that month. However, 4Kids seemed to increase the number of shows that were added to the player at that point. The site fully launched on September 9, 2009, with the player receiving a revamp once again. The online network was shut down on November 2, 2012.
Relationship with Fox and broadcast ambiguities
The block had a somewhat unusual relationship to the Fox network. The programming was produced for Fox and offered to the network's owned-and-operated stations and affiliates first, so the Fox station in any given area had the right of first refusal. In the event that a Fox affiliate—or in some cases, an O&O of the network—opted not to carry 4Kids TV, the block then became available for the local broadcast rights to be acquired by another television station. In fact, it was due in part to these carriage ambiguities that 4Kids dissolved the block in 2008, as they had been promised clearance on at least 90% of Fox's stations.
Most of Fox's owned-and-operated stations opted to carry 4Kids TV, these were mainly stations that had been owned by the network since Fox launched in October 1986 or were Fox charter affiliates that Fox Television Stations had acquired since that point. However dating back to the existence of the Fox Kids block, the twelve stations that Fox acquired from New World Communications in 1996 (and had earlier affiliated with the network through a 1994 multi-station affiliation deal—which prior to then, had been affiliated with ABC, NBC or CBS) generally did not air 4Kids TV. In some of the New World markets, 4Kids was not carried on any station. In a majority of these markets, an independent station carried the block; in others, it was carried by either a UPN, or later, a CW or MyNetworkTV affiliate. The lone exception was in St. Louis, Missouri, where Fox O&O (now affiliate) KTVI carried the block (although it aired 4Kids TV two hours earlier that the network's recommended scheduling for the block, beginning at 5:00 a.m., due to the station's Saturday morning newscast).
Some of 4Kids TV's programming (such as Winx Club, The Adrenaline Project, Magical DoReMi, Stargate Infinity, reruns of Back to the Future: the Animated Series and Cubix) met the criteria to be considered educational and informational under the requirements defined by the Children's Television Act; and counted toward the three-hour-per-week mandatory educational children's programming quotas outlined by the Federal Communications Commission.
Markets where 4Kids TV ran on a CW affiliate
Note: These CW affiliates ran 4Kids TV on Sundays, due to their obligation to carry The CW4Kids Saturday block (or, as in the case of Atlanta CW affiliate WUPA, which ran The CW4Kids on Sundays because of other programming airing on Saturdays).