More Specialization, As ABC Leaves Kids' TV Education To Other Programmers

TV is increasingly a business of specialization.

Yet you might scratch your head wondering why ABC has decided to let someone other than Disney-ABC program its Saturday morning network kids block.

In a continuing effort to focus on its bigger cable networks and programming areas, ABC struck a deal with Litton Entertainment to program its Saturday morning block, now called "ABC Weekend Adventure."

Previously, the network had used different variations for the time period, mostly from Walt Disney, under the umbrella names "ABC Kids" and "Disney One Saturday Morning."

But ABC Kids had lately been airing mostly leftover Disney Channel stuff -- "That's So Raven" and "Hannah Montana." Many stations wound up pre-empting this programming, or moving it to earlier morning Saturday hours, so they could run other kids programming, or, more importantly, FCC-required educational kids fare.

That's where ABC's deal with Litton comes in. It will appease stations by programming six half-hours -- which meets the FCC-required three-our minimum for educational kids programming.

NBC and CBS are already in the FCC-educational programming game. NBC's Qubo kids programming block, started some five years ago, is also part of the ION network. Before that, NBC had a similar FCC-educational programming deal with Discovery Kids. CBS has a deal with Cookie Jar Entertainment for its FCC-friendly educational programming.

For years, the big money to be made with kids has been on cable. Viacom's Nickelodeon now controls about half of this advertising marketplace, with Time Warner's Cartoon Network the next biggest advertising player. Disney-ABC Television, of course, has its own roster of cable networks, including the high-rated The Disney Channel, which doesn't sell regular TV commercials, and Disney XD, its mostly boy-focused network which does.

Give the ABC broadcast network credit for figuring out this is not something it does well -- or that there aren't big profits for it to gain in this area. Specialization will probably continue to grow among the big TV companies as profits get harder to uncover. ABC, for example, has already cut loose some big daytime soaps.

What's next?

Correction: Yesterday's TV Watch, "No Surprise: Facebook Wants TV's Ad Money Right Now" incorrectly noted that, CBS's aggregated monthly time from its TV viewers is 210 million minutes. The right number is  210 billion minutes.

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2 comments about "More Specialization, As ABC Leaves Kids' TV Education To Other Programmers ".
  1. Aaron B. from AnimationInsider.net , May 25, 2011 at 4:28 p.m.

    I don't mind the specializing of early morning children's programming in that Saturday mornings have been so poorly rated (broadcast TV) over the past five years, any change or adjustment in variety or content sourcing is welcome (The other broadcast networks have struggled with their allotment of Sat. morning kid's material, no doubt.). However, if ABC isn't satisfied with the results of handing over these early hours to someone else, they'll go in another direction, and another direction, and another... and if there's anything worse than outdated and poorly rated content, then I'd wager it's inconsistently programmed, outdated, and poorly rated content.

    On a related note, if this move from ABC tanks, does it (again) raise questions about why (not merely whether) it's time to make some significant changes to the Children's Television Act (1990)?

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , May 25, 2011 at 7 p.m.

    What's worse than doing nothing? Nothing. Let's give ABC some credit for doing the right thing even if is in its own best interest. Next.