Fox Saturday Morning: Cartoons Out, Infomercials In

adults watching tvFollowing the acrimonious divorce between Fox and 4Kids Entertainment, the network has signed up veteran infomercial producer WorldLink to fill up Saturday morning time periods as a replacement for kids' cartoons.

WorldLink will begin a two-hour block from 10 p.m. to noon called "Weekend Marketplace" on Jan. 3, 2009. It is the first time any broadcast network has committed to regularly scheduled infomercials during any of its time periods. Local TV stations and cable networks have regularly scheduled infomercials, especially in overnight time periods, for years.

Fox had a time-buying deal with 4Kids that amounted to $20 million a year for the network.

WorldLink has worked with Fox cable networks in the past: Fox Sports Net and its regional sports networks, as well as Fox Soccer, Fox College Sports, Fox Sports en Espanol, and some of Fox's international channels. WorldLink represents more than 200 national, regional and international cable networks, broadcast stations and program distributors, as well as Web sites, radio networks and print media outlets.



Fox and 4Kids Entertainment abandoned their kids' programming agreement earlier this year--a relationship that 4Kids has had since 2002. Fox claimed that 4Kids missed a payment as part of its time-buying agreement for programming a four-hour Saturday morning slot.

The kids' TV producer claimed that Fox stations were preempting its kids' programming, thus dropping overall U.S. household coverage for 4Kids, making it less desirable for national TV kids' advertisers.

4Kids continues to have a time-buying agreement on the CW, where it programs kids' TV shows on Saturday morning.

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