I’ve been hearing a lot of requests and thoughts from fans on the message boards about a 24 hour Adult Swim channel. AS should become it’s own channel. Why doesn’t AS just become it’s own channel?, etc. I’ve heard similar requests for a 24 hour 4KidsTV channel.
Listen, I don’t want to sound like a jerk here, but I have to chuckle a little when people say “Why doesn’t so-and-so program block just become it’s own channel?”, as if launching a 24 hour channel is as easy as buying airspace at the entertainment section of your local Walmart. Launching a 24 hour channel is a more costly and involved process than most fans believe it to be. There are a number of things working against Williams Street splitting from Cartoon Network and launching Adult Swim into it’s own separate channel. Before I start, I’d like to clear up a little misconception that a few fans seem to believe in as gospel: Adult Swim is not a separate entity from Cartoon Network; AS is part of Toon. AS is a 4 hour program block that airs nightly on Cartoon Network which due to the fact that it’s considered to be a separate entity for ratings and commercial purposes, has successfully fooled everyone into thinking that it’s a separate channel, when it is in fact, merely a program block. Toon and AS are not “sister” networks, the way that TBS and TNT are. It’s much more like Nickelodeon and Nick@Nite. Cartoon Network owns Adult Swim, lock stock and barrel.
That said, here are some reasons why an Adult Swim channel will likely never come to pass:
– Adult Swim doesn’t have enough programming to run 24/7.
Many of the outside acquisitions that used to run on AS Williams Street no longer has the broadcasting rights to. You wouldn’t want AS running 24/7, unless you wouldn’t mind seeing reruns of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast running about 10 times a day, Robot Chicken running about 9 times a day and Aqua Teen Hunger Force running another 10 times in a day. What’s that you say? “Then why doesn’t WS just make a bunch of new shows?” Because that’s easier said then done, that’s why. New programming costs money, and who’s going to give WS the mucho dinero they would need to produce a bunch of new programs? Turner? Don’t think so. If Turner is too cheap to produce a general kids’ entertainment channel to air it’s crappy live action shows on, then they’re sure as shootin’ not going to finance a 24/7 AS channel.
– Adult only programming can only air during certain hours of the day
Adult Swim isn’t HBO or Showtime, which are both pay stations. Programs like The Boondocks, for example, are rated TV-MA, which means that AS wouldn’t be able to air them during the daytime hours. Imagine what would happen if a stay-at-home mom caught her toddler channel surfing during a commercial break of Blue’s Clues and landing on an episode of The Boondocks or Squdbillies or Tim & Eric and you’ll have some idea why this idea could simply not fly. WS would have to air kid-friendly programming during the daylight hours in order to appease the concerned parents at home, which would defeat the purpose of having an AS channel in the 1st place.
-Neither Williams Street nor Turner have any desire to make an AS channel
Representatives from WS have stated repeatedly that they don’t want to break off and program an AS channel, and Turner doesn’t want AS to separate from Toon because AS is currently getting higher ratings than anything else on Toon. To throw away a program block that’s the highest rated thing on their channel right now would be more insane than wearing a suit made of aluminum foil, pour gravy on your head running around screaming “Look at me! I’m Baked Potato Man!”. Meanwhile, Boomerang is continuing to languish on it’s never ending hamster wheel and getting the red-headed stepchild treatment from Turner, with only the occasional shuffling of it’s lineup in order to create the illusion that the channel isn’t dead (My personal theory is that the programming on the Boomerang channel is being run on a single tape that’s run repeatedly in a small room within the Cartoon Network studio and some guy looks in occasionally to check if the tape is still playing). Turner needs to make better use of the 2 animation channels that it has now before they even entertain the thought of making a 3rd cartoon channel.
However, it appears as if Cartoon Network is going to allow Adult Swim to begin airing at 9pm (EST) in the near future (whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen. I have mixed emotions about this move myself, but that’s for another time), so for the folks longing for an AS channel, this is probably the closest thing we’re going to get to actually having one.