Gephyrophillia | Watch This Space #159

Originally Posted onn 11/13/2007 by Jeff Harris

Before I begin, I suppose you want to know why I haven't really addressed what's going on with the Toonami block lately. Considering the state of Toonami hasn't really changed that much, neither has my general attitude. It's not that I don't care about Toonami because I do. Just not as much as I used to just as I stated way back before the relaunch in March. I refuse to grow frustrated with the direction of Cartoon Network and Toonami in particular. They, the network that is, know exactly what they're doing, which is turning the network into a sopping mess of a station that tries (and fails) to capture the hearts and minds of the Nickelodeon and Disney Channel audiences. And Toonami, which only has three shows on air and has become a vacant shell of a block with no soul, is going down with them. Notice how glorified faceless types are jumping ship because they know CN has hit an iceburg. Hell, Time Warner itself is about to become even more of a mess in the coming months with the introduction of a new President/CEO who believes synergy, cooperation between separate units within a large company, is bullscat.

It's why Kids' WB is going to be managed by a company that capitalizes on fads rather than quality products and who's current block is getting trounced by what's on The CW week by week. It's why the company's stock is way undervalued (you do know that Warner Bros. owns Batman, Bugs Bunny, Harry Potter, right?).

But I've digressed long enough. I'm supporting the Writers Guild of America's current strike. I already stated my reasons why I do at Thoughtnami. I'm probably one of the few entertainment news and information sites not created by a screenwriter to publicly support them, because I know that the mothership hasn't (and won't) make an official stance. But you want to know another reason why I'm supporting the strike?

It could possibly help reenergize the animation industry. Emphasis on the word "possibly."

With nearly every live-action project on hold at Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network (two years later, and it still doesn't feel right), animation has pretty much come back to the forefront. Cartoon Network has publicly stated to the mothership that all of their animated shows aren't affected by the WGA strike. Normally, the word "animated shows" wouldn't be used in such statements, but we've come to an era when Cartoon Network doesn't show just animation. All of their live-action properties, including Out of Jimmy's Head, have been shut down, and all live-action shows in development have been put on infinite hiatus for now, meaning they may or may not resume. But most animated properties aren't affected at all since the Writers Guild doesn't cover animated productions, and Cartoon Network animated productions don't fall under their jurisdiction. That's not to say some animation writers won't join their fellow screenwriters on the picket lines (a lot of big names like Craig Daniels and Seth MacFarlane have already joined them, and Patric Verrone, WGAw's President, developed Class of 3000 and wrote for shows like Rugrats, The Simpsons, The Critic, and Futurama, including serving as that show's producer and producer of the new cycle of episodes coming to Comedy Central). That said, some writers might want to enter the animation field to develop new properties. Would they want to? That's the big question.

Live-action content is going to be put on hold for the time being, so, animation could be up front along with "reality" programming and foreign programming which could come stateside in a matter of months. I would really hope Cartoon Network uses this strike to reevaluate their core mission. They need to realize that live-action programming isn't the way to go and that animation is still a strong business for them. Did you know that the recent premiere of Chowder was Cartoon Network's most watched premiere of 2007? Of course not, the network didn't publicize that, but they made damn sure every media outlet knew that Out of Jimmy's Head achieved that milestone when it premiered a few months ago. I guess when you're trying to set an agenda, you want to publicize when you're agenda is working and ignore things when it isn't. Chowder doesn't fit the current agenda, but it's working for them.


*end transmission*

Jeff Harris,
The X Bridge Creator/Webmaster
November 13, 2007


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