4Kids fills ‘Fox Box’ with five new imports

'Stargate,' 'Kirby' among slate; skeins to be exclusive to block

4Kids Entertainment, which agreed in January to pay $25.3 million per year to license Fox Kids’ Saturday morning kids block, has set the sked for what’s now dubbed the “Fox Box.”

Starting Sept. 14, the four-hour block will feature U.S. series debuts of: “Stargate Infinity,” an animated series based on MGM’s sci-fi movie and TV franchise; “Ultraman Tiga,” an action-hero series that has aired in Japan for 30 years; “Kirby,” based on the Nintendo character; wrestling-themed “Kinnikuman: Ultimate Muscle”; and “Food Feud,” in which foods transform into monsters.

Starting in January, new episodes of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” will join the lineup. “Turtles” is the only franchise in the lineup that’s been exposed to U.S. auds. Everything else has had its success in other territories.

All skedded episodes of these series are exclusive to the Fox Box in the U.S. market, and no more than one repeat of each episode will appear on the block in a year, 4Kids Entertainment chairman-CEO Al Kahn told Daily Variety.

“The idea is to create a situation where kids have to come back on Saturday,” Kahn said.

“What happens in kids television is — because of kids cable networks and a lot of weekday shows on (broadcast) networks — kids realize that if they miss something, they can see it some time in the future, often in a repeat later in the week,” he added. “This way, if they miss something on Fox Box, they’ve really missed something, and if they like a series, they have to come back every single Saturday.”

“Stargate” starts off the block at 8 a.m., followed by “Tiga” at 8:30, “Kirby” at 9, “Kinnikuman” at 9:30, “Turtles” (starting in January) at 10, then a fresh episode of “Kinnikuman,” a fresh “Kirby” and “Food Feud” at 11:30.

The 10 a.m. slot this fall likely will be occupied by either “Tiga” or “Kirby” until “Turtles” kicks in.