As some of you may or may not know, the digital tier bonus channel Boomerang will be receiving a makeover this year.
“Boomerang, voted the most beloved network by parents in the 2013 Harris Poll, will be programmed and marketed globally to present a line-up of classic and contemporary cartoons for consistent programming appeal to family co-viewing across all of its 13 international feeds.”
Basically, this means that Boomerang will be transformed from an ad-free bonus tier channel which shows only Cartoon Network’s leftovers into an ad-supported kids and family channel akin to Hub Network. No official date has been cited as to when this re-branding will occur, but it’s most likely to happen on, by or around March 31st, since this is also the date that Boomerang Latin America will change its’ format and roster as well as the date when Cartoon Network US will lose its’ 8 PM-9PM prime time hour to Adult Swim (which I’ve already squawked about in Night of the Living Snyder). Coincidentally, or perhaps not so coincidentally, April 1st is also Boomerang’s 14th anniversary. (Wait, April 1st? I hope it doesn’t turn out that this is all an elaborate prank and we’re not all just getting punk’d.) UPDATE: It’s recently been announced that the re-brand will occur sometime during the 4th quarter of 2014, not in March or April. Dang. Upfronts are typically released during the last of week of March, so we’ll know for certain what to expect then, but in the meantime…..
Here’s a brief run-through of what this will or could mean for Joe TV Viewer, as well as what I and other fans would like to see happen on this new Boomerang.
1. NEW LOGO
As stated in the article, Boomerang US will be syncing up its’ look to coincide with the channel’s other international feeds, so in all likelihood this means that Da Boom will be switching from this logo….
Now some folks on Toon Zone have complained that these bumps (especially the UK ones) are “too childish” and don’t accurately reflect the “classic” feel of the Boomerang channel the way the current toy bumps do. To that I have 2 things to say: One, keep in mind that Boomerang isn’t going to be just a classic cartoon channel anymore (but more on that later) and Two, so what? We’ve been subjected to those same old toy bumpers for 4 years straight without an iota of a change; at this point I’ll take ANYTHING besides those smegging toy bumps. A tap-dancing test pattern would be preferable to just getting more toy bumpers. A fellow poster suggested that Da Boom just re-use some of Cartoon Network’s old idents, like from the Powerhouse and City Era; now I’m definitely against that idea. The ‘childish’ nature of those above bumps doesn’t bother me personally, since they’re for a family network. They’re innocuous, but harmless, and I’d still rather get these wraparounds as opposed to Boom just getting Cartoon Network’s hand-me-downs. Just re-using old CN promos would make it look like the people in charge really don’t care about this channel, and that Boomerang would have no identity of its’ own and couldn’t stand on its’ own merits.
To me, the toy bumpers represent a bygone era of stagnancy that’s (hopefully) finally coming to a close.
Now, if you watched the entirety of the Boom UK bumps, you undoubtedly noticed that several of the shows advertised there weren’t exactly ‘classic’. Keep in mind that the re-branded Boomerang is said to “present a line-up of classic and contemporary cartoons”. Emphasis on “and contemporary”. Basically this means that Boomerang will no longer be a strictly nostalgia channel. I realize this doesn’t sit well with several viewers; there are some who don’t want to see Boomerang go beyond airing former CN shows from the 1992-2004 era, and there are even some who think that Boom airing the likes of Cartoon-Cartoons such as Johnny Bravo and Powerpuff Girls is too much, and that they should “go back to their roots” and only air theatrical cartoons from the 40’s and Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 60’s.
4. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE CLASSICS?
With the advent of newer shows and acquisitions, this inevitably means that the classics will have to give way to the newer shows. I just hope that this means the classics will be thrust off the network entirely. Hopefully, the classics can stay a part of Boomerang’s lineup, even if it’s only during non-peak viewing hours.
5. BLOCKS AND ACQUISITIONS
Now that Boomerang will be ad-supported, that means the Powers That Be will have some more cash to throw around, and that means they’ll be able to spend more on 3rd party acquisitions and even–gasp!–original programming. We all have our personal choices as to which orphan shows we hope Boomerang will adopt (I’d personally like to see Super Friends come back, and maybe Freakazoid! or Beetlejuice be added, and maybe get some Tara Duncan, Bananaman, The Why Why Family, Oban Star Racers, Code LYOKO, Arthur and the Square Knights of the Round Table and the like in there as well, but that’s just me), but which shows actually end up coming to Da Boom remain to be seen. This will also hopefully mean that there will be programming blocks, so Boom’s schedule won’t seem so random anymore. A fellow TZ-er suggested a classic Toonami block; such a thing would really depend on which audience they’re aiming for and which shows they can/could acquire for it. Most of the shows which aired on Toonami were licensed 3rd party acquisitions, meaning that Cartoon Network had to pay licensees’ fees for the rights to air the shows which aired on the block, and Turner has since let the broadcasting rights to most of Toonami’s signature shows expire, so Boom can’t have a Toonami that runs every show that used to air on Cartoon Network’s Toonami, because CN has since lost the broadcasting rights to most of those shows or their US ditributors have since expired or they’re languishing in Licensing Hell. There’s also the matter of which viewership the channel is trying to attract; I don’t see Turner re-acquiring the likes of Yu Yu Hakusho for a channel that’s supposed to be aimed at families, in fact, shounen in general seems like a leap. Turner/CN just doesn’t seem to have any interest in acquiring non toy-based anime outside of Toonami, which is firmly lodged in Adult Swim territory. I don’t doubt we’ll get something action-oriented on this channel, but I don’t know about a return of classic Toonami. Maybe a souped-up Boomeraction could happen, featuring the likes of Swat Kats, Teen Titans, Samurai Jack, The Secret Saturdays, Sym-Bionic Titan and maybe some of the WB DC comics shows like Batman: TAS, Superman: TAS and Batman Beyond, since those shows have recently vacated The Hub. That’s about as close to Toonami as I see Boomerang getting.
A fellow poster at TZ, CartoonRuler, had a pretty good suggestion:
“Since Freakazoid! was popular more with adults, it would be a good idea if Boom got its hands on it, it would air around 11PM or so in a block along with the likes of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, ToonHeads, Cartoon Planet, Time Squad, uncut Looney Tunes, etc. Sorta like an Adult Swim lite, but way less edgier.
In fact, I would like it if the new revamp Boomerang’s schedule would be like how Teletoon did it in its early days: preschoolers in the early morning, big kids in the afternoon, families in the evening and adults in the late night.”
-Now I think that’s a neat idea. I’ve been saying that there should be a lighter, less stoner-y version of Adult Swim for years now. I’d watch a block like that, wouldn’t you? I really hope the Powers That Be go with an idea like this.
ORIGINAL PROGRAMMING, AND LIVE-ACTION?
Yes, it’s a safe bet that the revamped Boomerang will feature some original programming.
Now, I can understand why some people are resistant to the notion of Boomerang airing new shows, but If Boomerang is going to survive as a commercial network and a ratings earner, it needs new shows. Advertisers aren’t interested in running spots on a channel which doesn’t show anything new. Audiences’ attention spans are fleeting, and nostalgia alone loses its’ appeal after a while. The channel either rebrands, or it continues running the same treadmill it’s been running on for over a decade, looping the same 10-20 episodes of the same 4-5 shows with the same old toy bumps sandwiched between them.
As long as the Boomerang classics still have a place on the channel and they’re not just tossed into the vaults to collect dust, then I’m fine with newer content on Da Boom, as long as said programming isn’t going to just be a rehash of what’s airing on Cartoon Network right now, and that includes live-action shows. Yes, I said I’d be OK with live-action shows airing on Boomerang, as long as they’re not just the same melange of “dumb boy comedies” that are on CN. Maybe here shows like Tower Prep and Unnatural History can finally be given the chance that they never got on CN under Stuart Snyder’s regime (CN’s top brass ordered TP and UH axed because they were gaining sizable amounts of female viewers, and the current CN is only interested in targeting boys), and live-action shows are fine as long as they represent the cartoony nature of Boom’s genre, like The Banana Splits, The Skatebirds or Korg: 70,000 B..C., or even live-action acquisitions like the Adam West Batman series or Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp. That would rule. As long as it’s not the same kind of crap that we got on CN Real, I’m fine with live-action on Da Boom.
Now I’m sure some people are wondering: just why is Turner doing this? Well, as previously stated, the official press reason is that Turner wants Boomerang to be unified with its’ international feeds, but there’s also another reason. A simple but obvious reason, and that reason is that Boomerang wasn’t cutting the mustard as an ad-free nostalgia channel, and it had to start pulling its’ weight. In other words……