×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fox outgrows kids programs

Net abandons weekday p'gramming

Fox is getting out of the weekday kids business and will hand the two-hour afternoon block back to affiliates.

Fox Kids will still exist as a four-hour block on Saturdays. But affils will be allowed to start programming the 2-4 p.m. time period themselves starting Dec. 31.

The net retains the right to take back and program the afternoon block as long as it informs affiliates six months ahead of time. But network distribution prexy Robert Quicksilver said Fox won’t reclaim the two hours before next fall.

As the kids advertising marketplace continues to suffer, affiliates have been pressuring Fox for some time to drop the money-losing afternoon kids’ block. Quicksilver said the decision was “just a response to the difficult ad climate the stations are finding themselves in.”

Time was ripe

And now that ABC has completed its acquisition of Fox Family, which programmed the Fox Kids block, insiders said the timing made sense.

Quicksilver said the net would spend the next few months figuring out how to program the weekday afternoon slot. Affils are only three years into a 10-year deal with Fox that gives the network the right to program the 3-5 p.m. time period. As a sign of good faith, the net agreed to push that slot back by an hour in January.

Quicksilver said the move came with no quid pro quo attached.

“We’ve obviously taken a hard look at the kids time period for many years,” he said. “Revenues have declined in those periods. We’re doing this in the spirit of partnership with our affiliates.”

Fox will continue to feed affiliates episodes of “The Magic School Bus” to meet the FCC’s three-hour educational programming rule; they may slot the show at their discretion.

Meanwhile, Fox syndication arm Twentieth Television has been ramping up its program development at least since last year in anticipation of Fox’s acquisition of the Chris-Craft television stations and the possibility of the Fox Kids block going away.

In some cities, such as Gotham and Los Angeles, the Fox Kids block has moved from the Fox-affiliated owned station to the newly acquired Chris-Craft station.

Since joining Twentieth last year, company prexy-chief operations officer Bob Cook has been a proponent of testing programs regionally on Fox O&Os. His group has several projects in the hopper that could help fill time periods being vacated on Fox stations and affils.

(Melissa Grego contributed to this report.)

More TV

  • Jimmy Kimmel government shutdown

    Jimmy Kimmel Sets Live Classic Sitcom Special for May on ABC

    Jimmy Kimmel’s long-gestating live sitcom special is finally coming to fruition. Kimmel announced Thursday night on his ABC late-night show that the special, which was first announced in May 2017, will air Wednesday, May 22, from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. The special will see a cast of celebrity guests recreating two classic episodes of the sitcoms [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92 Percent of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92 percent of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of [...]

  • The Village

    NBC Swaps Timeslots of Freshman Drama 'The Village,' 'The Voice' on Tuesdays

    NBC is changing the timeslots of Tuesday shows “The Voice” and “The Village.” Up to this point, freshman scripted drama “The Village” has aired at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays immediately after “The Voice” at 8 p.m. Beginning April 23, “The Village” will air at 8 followed by “The Voice” at 9. The schedule will remain [...]

  • Donald Trump

    HBO Fires Back at Trump's 'Game of Thrones'-Inspired 'No Collusion' Tweet

    HBO is firing back at President Donald Trump after he sent another “Game of Thrones”-inspired tweet in response to the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for ‘Game of Thrones’ now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer [...]

  • Joel Edgerton Headshot

    Joel Edgerton Joins Barry Jenkins' 'Underground Railroad' Amazon Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joel Edgerton has signed on for a role in the Barry Jenkins’ Amazon series “The Underground Railroad,” Variety has learned exclusively. Edgerton will play the part of Ridgeway, a slavecatcher. He joins previously announced cast members Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon, and Aaron Pierre. The role will mark Edgerton’s first regular TV role in some time. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content