Friday, March 24, 2017

Fox Kids After 1996: How it Should Have Been Scheduled

There is a promo for Fox Kids from 1995 that I really love.  I was too young to be watching Fox Kids at that time, but I know all of those shows very well (except for Masked Rider).  Just a dream line-up of kids entertainment with plenty of hits to spare.  However a year later Fox Kids started to decline.  Part of that had to do with the inability to use shows from Warner Bros. Animation anymore but Fox Kids just didn't have their finger on the zeitgeist anymore.  So I started thinking, what could they have done to keep the good times rolling on Fox?  After that I went into a weeks-long rabbit hole of researching cartoon and schedules to create my own fantasy retcon schedule (did something similar about Fox Kids' successor).

The following is how I would have scheduled Fox Kids (I know they rotated shows a lot more, but just sharing a skeleton of the schedule for simplicity's sake).  I tried to be realistic in this.  Like I didn't just put SpongeBob SquarePants on the schedule, these are all shows that Fox could have made happen.

So I hope you enjoy my alternate history TV schedules (a project I am fully aware has limited appeal).
1996-1997 Season
Fox Kids still had plenty of hits, but they were running their course.  Power Rangers Zeo wasn't as popular as Mighty Morphin Power RangersCarmen Sandiego, Eek!, Batman and The Tick all entered their final seasons.  With only Beetleborgs and Casper as any new shows resembling some success.  For new shows I would have continued the relationship with Saban and launched Incredible Hulk and Samurai Pizza Cats on Fox.  The network had plenty of success with its other Marvel shows that were still running and Samurai Pizza Cats would fit the network's irreverent humor.

The big show I would add I went back and forth on, but I decided to build the schedule around it: Dragon Ball Z.  Sure it would have been edited more but Jeff Harris already argued for this alternate history years ago.  DBZ was a show that Saban had that Fox Kids should have taken a chance on.  An edgy, unique show with loads of episodes that could run for years.  Sharing a cultural origin with Power Rangers should have convinced Fox to give it a chance.

           Mondays-Thursdays                                 Fridays
6:00    Bobby's World                                          Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?
6:30    Life with Louie                                         Eek! Stravaganza

2:00     Mighty Morphin Power Rangers             Power Rangers Zeo
2:30     Big Bad Beetleborgs                               Goosebumps
3:00     Batman and Robin                                   Batman and Robin
3:30     Dragon Ball Z                                          Dragon Ball Z

7:00     Casper
7:30     Power Rangers Zeo (Turbo midseason)
8:00     Spider-Man
8:30     Incredible Hulk
9:00     X-Men
9:30     The Tick
10:00   Samurai Pizza Cats
10:30   Dragon Ball Z

1997-1998 Season
 The three new additions from last season would still be going strong.  On Saturdays I would add Extreme Ghostbusters (Fox would later air a lot of shows from Sony, Fox Family would later air Real Ghostbusters).  X-Men would continue airing favorite episodes until Silver Surfer took over in midseason (tying in with the galactic themed Power Rangers in Space).  Would strengthen the weekday lineup by repackaging Bart themed episodes of The Simpsons into a new program called The Bart Chronicles.  The Simpsons had been around for close to a decade at this point and had become an institution so it wouldn't be too controversial.  This move would keep Bart as a kid's icon and be a segue into Fox primetime for younger audiences.  The Bart Chronicles would complement the older skewing Dragon Ball Z in the afternoons.  The Bart Chronicles would in turn be complemented by reruns of Garfield and Friends, which had just finished its run on the Turner networks (Fox Kids Video released some Garfield cartoons, Fox later made the live-action movies).  The combination of Power Rangers, Garfield, Bart Simpson and DBZ would keep weekday afternoons a popular destination for action and comedy for kids and adults.

             Mondays-Thursdays                                  Fridays
6:00     Bobby's World                                            Casper
6:30     Life with Louie                                           Samurai Pizza Cats

2:00     Power Rangers Turbo                                 Power Rangers Zeo (in Space midseason)
2:30     Garfield and Friends                                Beetleborgs Metallix
3:00     The Bart Chronicles                                 The Bart Chronicles
3:30     Dragon Ball Z                                             Dragon Ball Z

7:00      Casper (Goosebumps midseason)
7:30      Power Rangers Turbo (in Space midseason)
8:00      Spider-Man
8:30      The Incredible Hulk
9:00      X-Men (Silver Surfer midseason)
9:30      Extreme Ghostbusters
10:00    Samurai Pizza Cats
10:30    Dragon Ball Z

1998-1999 Season
This would be the final season for Life with Louie and Bobby's World reruns, would keep Magic School Bus as the e/i friendly show but also pick up the recently ended CBS show Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat for Friday mornings.  With the shows airing on Fox Extreme Ghostbusters and Incredible Hulk could have survived for additional seasons (the latter show airing in a green monster power hour with Godzilla).  Would give Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog a chance but the other shows I've been omitting would go to Fox Family which premiered this season (and is honestly where Fox Kids really went wrong).

            Mondays-Thursdays                                     Fridays
6:00     Magic School Bus                                       Bobby's World
6:30     Life with Louie                                            Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat

2:00     Power Rangers in Space                              Power Rangers Turbo (Lost Galaxy midseason)
2:30     Garfield and Friends                                     Spider-Man
3:00     The Bart Chronicles                                     The Bart Chronicles
3:30     Dragon Ball Z                                               Dragon Ball Z

7:00     Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog
7:30     Power Rangers in Space (Lost Galaxy midseason)
8:00     Godzilla
8:30     Incredible Hulk
9:00     Ultimate Goosebumps
9:30     Extreme Ghostbusters
10:00   Samurai Pizza Cats
10:30   Dragon Ball Z

1999-2000 Season
This would still be a big transition season for Fox Kids with Digimon making its premiere.   With Fox's relationship with Sony, Dragon Tales would premiere on mornings as a big, merchandisable hit.  With the success of DBZ on Fox, Dragon Ball would air a season earlier than it did on Toonami.  The three new D-shows would have bolstered the other new shows and would have put Fox on top of Kids' WB's Poke-Ratings.

            Mondays-Thursdays                                     Fridays
6:00     Magic School Bus                                         Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat
6:30     Dragon Tales                                                Dragon Tales

2:00     Power Rangers Lost Galaxy                         PR in Space (Lightspeed midseason)
2:30     Garfield and Friends (Digimon midseason)  Digimon Adventure
3:00     The Bart Chronicles                                      The Bart Chronicles
3:30     Dragon Ball Z                                                Dragon Ball Z

7:00     NASCAR Racers
7:30     Power Rangers in Lost Galaxy (Lightspeed Rescue midseason)
8:00     Godzilla
8:30     Spider-Man Unlimited (Avengers: United They Stand midseason)
9:00     Digimon Adventure
9:30     Big Guy and Rusty
10:00   Beast Machines: Transformers
10:30   Dragon Ball

Fox Kids would continue its great previous season with the premiere of X-Men: Evolution (with Fox distributing the movie this year and the entire network owing its success to X-Men: The Animated Series, how did they not have their finger on this one?).  In addition to the other new shows I would also pick up the Canadian Hoze Houndz because the network needed a better comedy than Woody Woodpecker.  Would have shared Muppet Babies with The Odyssey Network (run by former Fox Kids head, Margaret Loesch) after its run on Nickelodeon to give mornings an extra jolt.  Surprised that Fox Kids never did anything with The Muppets franchise before Disney bought them.

            Mondays-Thursdays                                     Fridays
6:00     Magic School Bus                                        Muppet Babies
6:30     Dragon Tales                                                Muppet Babies

2:00     PR Lightspeed Rescue                                  PR Lost Galaxy (Time Force midseason)
2:30     Digimon Adventure                                      Digimon Adventure 02
3:00     Bart Chronicles (Dragon Ball midseason)    Dragon Ball
3:30     Dragon Ball Z                                               Dragon Ball Z

7:00     Hoze Houndz
7:30     Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue (Time Force midseason)
8:00     Monster Rancher
8:30     X-Men: Evolution
9:00     Digimon Adventure 02
9:30     Big Guy and Rusty (Flint the Time Detective midseason)
10:00   Beast Machines: Transformers (NASCAR Racers midseason)
10:30   Dragon Ball

Totally Spies would have premiered here instead of Fox Family with Rescue Heroes running alongside Dragon Tales on mornings.

            Mondays-Thursdays                                     Fridays
6:00     Rescue Heroes                                             Hoze Houndz
6:30     Dragon Tales                                                Digimon Adventure

2:00     Power Rangers Time Force                          PR Lightspeed Rescue (Wild Force midseason)
2:30     Digimon Adventure 02                                 X-Men: Evolution
3:00     Dragon Ball                                                  Medabots
3:30     Dragon Ball Z                                               Dragon Ball Z

7:00     Totally Spies
7:30     Power Rangers Time Force (Wild Force midseason)
8:00     Los Luchadores (Galidor midseason)
8:30     X-Men: Evolution
9:00     Digimon Tamers
9:30     Flint the Time Detective (Mon Colle Knights midseason)
10:00   Medabots
10:30   Transformers: Robots in Disguise

This would be the last hurrah for mornings with affiliates ending any morning cartoons, but afternoon would continue to be strong with old favorites and 4Kids' Kirby, Right Back at Ya! and Ultimate Muscle airing as Friday exclusives.  Saturdays would stand against the competition with premieres of Beyblade, Transformers Armada and Dragon Ball GT (the first two were shows Fox would have had if it continued).  Midseason would be powered by ninjitsu with the premieres of Power Rangers Ninja Storm and the much anticipated relaunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

            Mondays-Thursdays                                     Fridays
6:00     Rescue Heroes                                             Rescue Heroes
6:30     Dragon Tales                                                Dragon Tales

2:00     Power Rangers Wild Force                           PR Time Force (Ninja Storm midseason)
2:30     Galidor                                                          Kirby, Right Back at Ya!
3:00     Digimon Tamers                                           Ultimate Muscle
3:30     Dragon Ball Z                                               Dragon Ball Z (Medabots midseason)

7:00     Totally Spies
7:30     Power Rangers Wild Force (Ninja Storm midseason)
8:00     Beyblade
8:30     X-Men: Evolution
9:00     Digimon Frontier
9:30     Dragon Ball GT
10:00   Medabots (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles midseason)
10:30  Transformers Armada

The final season I am going to do for this post, but in all honesty Fox Kids really could have lasted until at least 2009 with better decisions.  The network would have done well to create their own original content or adapt popular kids properties (Captain Underpants, Mario, continued pushing the Marvel craze that cinemas were craving).  This season would premiere Sonic X and Daigunder but Fox had enough hits with X-Men: Evolution, Digimon, Dragon Ball and Medabots dying down and Ninja Turtles, Totally Spies and Beyblade hitting up to keep going for a long time.

            Mondays-Thursdays                                     Fridays
2:00     Power Rangers Ninja Storm                         PR Wild Force (DinoThunder midseason)
2:30     X-Men: Evolution                                         Kirby, Right Back at Ya!
3:00     Digimon Frontier                                          Ultimate Muscle (Totally Spies midseason)
3:30     Dragon Ball GT                                             Medabots

7:00     Totally Spies
7:30     Power Rangers Ninja Storm (DinoThunder midseason)
8:00     Beyblade VForce
8:30     X-Men: Evolution
9:00     Sonic X
9:30     Daigunder
10:00   Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
10:30  Trasnformers Armada (Ultimate Muscle midseason)

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Please share.  I had a lot fun doing this and I know that if this was a true alternate history about saving Fox Kids I would also have to do an alternate history of Fox Family... 

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