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Cartoon Network Fall 2010 Kristoffer Falcones, Anna Mackey, Brendan Mahoney,


Cartoon Network, created by Turner Broadcasting, is a cable television channel dedicated to animated programming. In 1986, before Cartoon Network was created, Ted Turner’s cable-conglomerate acquired the existing MGM film and television library.[1] Two years later, cable channel Turner Network Television (TNT) gained an audience with this film library, and lead Turner to purchase the animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1991.[2] This acquisition provided Turner with an even larger library, and in October of 1922, Cartoon Network was created as an outlet for Turner’s library of animation.

Initially, programming consisted of reruns of classic Warner Bros. cartoons along with some Hanna-Barbera time-fillers. In 1994, Cartoon Network created its first two original series: The Moxy Show and Space Ghost Coast to Coast. In 1995, The What-A-Cartoon! Show, a series of creator-driven short cartoons, premiered with the objective to steer away from repetitive programming and really expand the channel’s exclusive content. The show spun-off six highly successful original series: Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, The Powerpuff Girls, Mike, Lu, & Og, and Courage the Cowardly Dog.[3]

In 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner. This merger consolidated ownership of all Warner Bros. cartoons.[4] Time Warner changed the direction of Cartoon Network, focusing the studio exclusively on creating new material for the channel. Currently, nearly all of Cartoon Network’s classic cartoon programming has been relocated to its sister network Boomerang[5], creating even more space for new programming. In 2001, Adult Swim premiered as a “spin-off” programming block targeting adults. In 2005, Turner Broadcasting split Adult Swim from Cartoon Network so it could be treated as a separate channel for rating purposes. Though it is treated as a separate channel, it still shares channel space with Cartoon Network, allotted the hours of 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM EST.[6] The introduction of Adult Swim really expanded Cartoon Network’s audience, as it began appealing not only to children, but to the 18+ demographic as well.

In February of 2007 Jim Samples, general manager of Cartoon Network for thirteen years, resigned because of the Boston bomb scare.[7] Stuart Snyder was named successor, and under his leadership Cartoon Network underwent a number of changes, including in 2009 a new block of live-action reality shows promoted as CN Real.

Ownership and Conglomeration

Cartoon Network is run by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company. In addition to Cartoon Network, TBS, Inc. also runs the CNN network, as well as the entertainment networks TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, Adult Swim, Boomerang, truTV, Peachtree TV, and many additional international channels.

Before TBS, Inc. began, R.E. Turner purchased WJRJ-Atlanta, a small UHF station, and renamed it WTCG for parent company Turner Communications Group. In 1976, after successful guidance from Turner, WTCG originated the “superstation” concept, transmitting programming via satellite to cable systems. In 1976, the company changed its name to Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. In 1980, the company launched CNN, the first 24-hour all-news network and a groundbreaking step in how the world viewed breaking news. Today, TBS Inc. is a leading provider of programming for the basic cable industry, with networks all over the world.[8]



While Cartoon Network started as a channel to broadcast cartoons from the MGM and Hanna Barbera libraries, as the channel matured and started to produce original content, however, these programs were shown less and less frequently.  To remedy this, Turner Broadcasting created Boomerang in April of 2000.  Boomerang, a sister channel of Cartoon Network, is a continuation of the channel's original mission and a home for classic cartoons like Tom and Jerry, The Jetsons, and The Flintstones. [9]

Adult Swim

Cartoon Network's edgy late night block, Adult Swim, begins at 10 p.m. and ends at 6 a.m. Like Cartoon Network, almost all of the programs are cartoons, but many purposefully avoid the mainstream. Adult Swim has carved out a niche for itself in late night cable with cult cartoons like Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Bros, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast (a parody of late night talk shows), and Robot Chicken.[10]  Adult Swim is also partially also responsible for resurrecting the popular show Family Guy, which became extremely successful in syndication after it had been cancelled by FOX.[11]

Aqua Teen Hunger Force, one of Adult Swim's signature programs and also it's longest running, gained significant press surrounding a guerrilla marketing campaign. The campaign, which involved LED light up placards of an ATHF minor character giving the finger, was misconstrued as a bomb threat in Boston and led to the arrest of two men. Turner Broadcasting was forced to apologize for the stunt and paid a $2 Million restitution. Jim Samples, the general manager of Cartoon Network who authorized the campaign resigned in light of the event.[12]

Production, Distribution, Transmission


Branding Strategies

Signature Programming

As one would expect, Cartoon Network's signature programming is animation, which has been true since the channel's formation and remains true today.  Cartoon Network started showing older classics in the Hanna-Barbera library, but in 1995, with Space Ghost, Coast to Coast and The Moxy Show, Cartoon Network began its evolution toward more original programming.  The new crop of shows, which included Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and Johnny Bravo, became the channel's staples.  These shows have since ended and been replaced by newer cartoons, like Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and Teen Titans.  Cartoon Network also broadcasts several Japanese manga programs in its current schedule, such as Bakugan Gundalian Invaders and Beyblade Metal Fusion.  While cartoons continue to be the channels primary identity, more recently the channel has begun to experiment with other forms of television.

CN Real

In 2009, Cartoon Network launched a sub-brand called CN Real, an umbrella term for its new, original live action programming, which includes both scripted and reality show programs aimed to appeal at the younger audience of Cartoon Network. Unnatural History and Tower Prep are two scripted, hour long dramas, while Destroy Build Destroy and Dude, What Would Happen are structured similarly to popular American reality shows like Junkyard Wars and Mythbusters.[13] CN Real's newest show, Hole in the Wall is based off the Japanese Game show Nōkabe.[14]    


  1. Delugach, Al. “Way Cleared for Turner’s MGM Deal.” Los Angeles Times. March 04, 1986. Date accessed: October 6, 2010.
  2. Lippman, John. “Turner is Buying Hanna-Barbera Film Library.” Los Angeles Times. October 30, 1991. Date accessed: October 6, 2010.
  3. Harris, Jeff and Kavalos, Jonathan. “What is Cartoon Cartoon?” Nick and More. Date accessed: October 6, 2010.
  4. Lander, Mark. “Turner to Merge Into Time Warner; A $7.5 Billion Deal.” The New York Times. September 23, 1995. Date accessed: October 6, 2010.
  5. Bortz, Peter. “Cartoon Network History.” Animation Sensations. Date accessed: October 6, 2010.
  6. “Adult Swim/CN Split Cements Straegy.” March 3, 2005. Date accessed: October 6, 2010.
  7. Ryan, Andrew. “Cartoon Network head resigns after Boston bomb scares.” Date accessed: October 7, 2010.
  8. “Corporate History.” Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. A Time Warner Company. Date accessed: October 7, 2010.
  9. King, Susan. "Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Return on New Boomerang." Los Angeles Times. April 01, 2000.>. Date Accessed : 7 October 2010.
  10. "Shows." Adult Swim. 2009. Turner Sports & Entertainment Digital Network. 7 October 2010. <>.
  11. Lowry, Brian. "Family Guy Review." Variety. 27 April 2005. Reed Business Information. Web. <>. Date Accessed : 7 October 2010.
  12. Boston Globe City and Region Desk. "Community service for defendants in Cartoon Network case." The Boston Globe, 11 May 2007. Web. <>. Date Accessed: 7 Oct 2010.
  13. Lloyd, Robert. "Cartoon Network's new reality shows, kid style." Los Angeles Times, 17 Jun 2009. Web. <>. Date Accessed: 7 Oct 2010.
  14. Schneider, Michael. "Cartoon digs a 'Hole'." Variety 20 Jul. 2010. Web. <>. Date Accessed: 7 Oct 2010.