Cartoon Network

Last updated

Cartoon Network
Cartoon Network 2010 logo.svg
Logo used since May 29, 2010
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
Headquarters Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Spanish (with SAP, a Spanish language simulcast of the channel is also available)
Picture format
Owner Warner Bros. Discovery Networks
Parent The Cartoon Network, Inc.
Sister channels
LaunchedOctober 1, 1992;31 years ago (1992-10-01)
Founder Ted Turner
Betty Cohen
Website Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network, often abbreviated as CN, is an American cable television channel owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. It is a part of The Cartoon Network, Inc., a division that also has the broadcasting and production activities of Boomerang, Cartoonito, Discovery Family, Adult Swim, and Toonami under its purview. The channel is headquartered at 1050 Techwood Drive NW in Atlanta, Georgia.


Founded by Betty Cohen (who was also appointed by Ted Turner as the first president of the network), [1] the channel was launched on October 1, 1992, and primarily broadcasts animated television series, mostly children's programming, ranging from action to animated comedy. It currently runs from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET/PT daily (the sign-off time varies with holidays and special programming). Cartoon Network primarily targets children aged 6 to 12, [2] while its early morning block Cartoonito is aimed at preschool-aged children, [3] and evening block Adult Swim targets older teenagers and young adults aged 18 to 34. [4]

Cartoon Network offers an alternate Spanish-language audio feed, either via a separate channel with the English audio track removed as part of a package of Spanish-language television networks sold by subscription providers, or a separate audio track accessible through the SAP option, depending on the provider.

As of March 2021, Cartoon Network is available to approximately 94 million paid television households in the United States. [5]


On August 9, 1986, Turner Broadcasting System acquired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/United Artists. On October 18, Turner forcibly sold back MGM. However, Turner kept much of the film and television library made before May 1986 (including some of the UA library) and formed Turner Entertainment Co. [6] On October 8, 1988, its cable channel Turner Network Television was launched and gained an audience with its extensive film library. [7] In 1991, Turner also purchased the library of animation studio Hanna-Barbera. [8] [9] Ted Turner selected Betty Cohen (then-Senior Vice President of TNT) to devise a network to house these programs. [1] On February 18, 1992, Turner Broadcasting announced its plans to launch Cartoon Network as an outlet for an animation library. [10] On March 12, 1992, its namesake parent company was founded one month after Turner's plan was announced. [11] On October 1, 1992, the network officially launched as the first 24-hour single-genre cable channel with animation as its main theme.

In 1994, Hanna-Barbera's new division Cartoon Network Studios was founded and started production on What a Cartoon! . This show debuted in 1995, offering original animated shorts. In 1996, Cartoon Network aired two preschool programs: Big Bag , a live-action/puppet television program with animated short series produced by Children's Television Workshop, and Small World, which featured animated series aimed at preschoolers imported from foreign countries. Turner Broadcasting System merged with Time Warner, [12] which consolidated/reverted ownership of all the Warner Bros. cartoons. The network could then continue more original productions.


Cartoon Network's current original programming includes such shows as The Amazing World of Gumball , Craig of the Creek , and We Baby Bears . The network's original programming is produced at Cartoon Network Studios, while other shows have either been co-produced with or acquired from other studios, including the affiliated Warner Bros. Animation. In the past, Cartoon Network has also produced and aired live-action and animated hybrid programming.

Over the years, Cartoon Network has aired various Looney Tunes , Merrie Melodies , Tom and Jerry , and Droopy shorts in constant rotation, dating back to the network's launch in 1992 until 2017. In its early days, Cartoon Network benefited from having access to a large collection of animated programming, including the libraries of Warner Bros. ( Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies ), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ( Tom and Jerry ), Hanna-Barbera ( The Flintstones , Scooby-Doo , Snorks ), and DC Comics ( Superman , Batman , Wonder Woman , Justice League and Teen Titans ). Turner's ownership of Hanna-Barbera gave the network access to an established animation studio, something its rivals didn't have. [13] Most of these series were removed by 1999 and moved to Boomerang in 2000.

Original series

Much of Cartoon Network's original programming originates from the network's in-house studio, Cartoon Network Studios. Beginning as a division of Hanna-Barbera, this studio would produce some of the network's earliest original series, including Dexter's Laboratory , Cow and Chicken , I Am Weasel , Johnny Bravo , and The Powerpuff Girls . Cartoon Cartoons was once the branding for Cartoon Network's original animated television series, but it was seldom used by the network by 2003. The name was eventually discontinued in 2008. Additionally, several of the Cartoon Network's original series have been produced by studios other than the network's own in-house studio. Notable examples are Ed, Edd n Eddy , Courage the Cowardly Dog , and Codename: Kids Next Door . The name was resurrected by the network in 2021, for a new animated shorts program. [14] [15]

Programming blocks

From 1999 to 2003, Cartoon Cartoon Fridays served as the channel's flagship block, featuring premieres of Cartoon Network original series that fell under the Cartoon Cartoons branding; from 2003 to 2007, the block was renamed "Fridays" after Cartoon Network began to phase out the Cartoon Cartoons branding. The Toonami block, which originally ran from 1997 to 2008, primarily carried action-oriented series aimed towards an older youth and teen audience, including imported anime series; it was later re-launched under the auspices of Adult Swim in 2012. 2009 saw the introduction of CN Real, a block that featured live-action reality television series aimed towards a youth audience. [16] In 2011, the channel introduced DC Nation, a block that would be focused on series adapted from DC Comics properties. [17]

In September 2021, Cartoon Network introduced two new blocks oriented towards preschool and family viewing respectively, [18] [19] including the preschool block Cartoonito, [19] [20] and the new Sunday-evening block ACME Night–which primarily carries family films and library content, as well as other original series, specials, and television films from Warner Bros. Animation, as well as some programming from Adult Swim. [21] They were introduced as part of an effort by new head Tom Ascheim to broaden Cartoon Network's demographic reach. [22] ACME Night moved to Adult Swim on September 3, 2023, due to Adult Swim moving its daily sign-on time to 5 p.m. ET/PT. [23]

Editing of theatrical cartoon shorts

Cartoon Network has, during its history, broadcast most of the Warner Bros. animated shorts originally created between the 1920s and the 1960s, but the network edited out scenes depicting discharge of gunfire, alcohol ingestion, cowboys and Indians gags, tobacco, and politically incorrect humor. The unedited versions were kept from both broadcasting and wide release on the video market. Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs (1943), a politically incorrect but critically well-regarded short, was notably omitted entirely, while The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950) and Feed the Kitty (1952), both well-regarded, had their finales heavily edited due to violence. [24]

There was media attention in June 2001 over a network decision concerning further omissions from broadcast. Cartoon Network formerly scheduled a 49-hour-long marathon annually known as June Bugs, promising to broadcast every Bugs Bunny animated short in chronological order.

The network originally intended to include 12 shorts for its 2001 airing of the marathon (one of them part of the Censored Eleven list of Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoons effectively shelved from distribution) that had become controversial for using ethnic and national stereotypes, albeit broadcasting them past midnight to ensure few children were watching, with introductions concerning their historic value as representatives of another time.


Cartoonito is a preschool programming brand owned by Warner Bros.; the brand was first launched in 2006 for use in international markets. In February 2021, it was announced that Cartoonito would make its U.S. debut as a block on Cartoon Network and as a content brand on HBO Max; the Cartoon Network block launched on September 13, 2021. [25] [18]

Adult Swim

Adult Swim (often stylized as [adult swim] or [as]) is the adult-oriented programming brand of Cartoon Network. The programs featured on Adult Swim are geared toward a mature audience, in contrast to the all-ages, preteen daytime programming of Cartoon Network. As a result, Adult Swim is treated by Nielsen as a separate channel in its ratings reports (similar to Nickelodeon's Nick at Nite block) and marketed as such because of its differing target demographics. [4] The block broadcasts both animated and live-action shows (including original programming, reruns of animated sitcoms, and other action and anime series) generally with minimal or no editing for content.

As of September 2023, Adult Swim broadcasts daily from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. ET/PT. Initially airing in the late-night hours, it has since expanded into prime time, moving its start time to 10 p.m. in 2009, [26] 9 p.m. in 2010, and 8 p.m. in March 2014 (although the hour was given back to Cartoon Network for programming events and premieres, such as Steven Universe Future , in the fall-to-early-winter period). [27] [28] [29]

Due to Cartoon Network's viewership shifting almost exclusively towards teenagers and young adults in the evening hours, Adult Swim's sign-on was moved to 7 p.m. ET/PT on weekdays and Saturdays on May 1, 2023. This expansion led to an increase in the 18-34 demographic, making Cartoon Network 6th place in ad-supported networks during prime time during the month after. Due to the immediate ratings boost, the network announced a second expansion on June 7 with the block sign-on initially scheduled for 6 p.m. ET/PT on August 28 (later expanded further to 5 p.m. as confirmed on August 8). [30] [31]

The 5 and 6 p.m. weekday hours airs a nostalgia-oriented sub-block titled "Checkered Past". The block airs reruns of Cartoon Network original series, with a focus on Cartoon Cartoons such as Dexter's Laboratory , Ed, Edd n Eddy , Courage the Cowardly Dog and The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy . [32] [33]


Toonami (a portmanteau of "cartoon" and "tsunami", suggesting a "tidal wave" of animated cartoons) is a brand used for action-oriented programming blocks and television channels worldwide. The original program block launched on Cartoon Network in the United States on March 17, 1997, and primarily aired both American cartoons and Japanese anime. The block would end its original run on September 20, 2008, before it was later revived on May 26, 2012, as a relaunch of Adult Swim's Saturday night anime block. Toonami's current incarnation is similar to that of the "Midnight Run", a special version of the block that originally ran on Saturday nights and was the forerunner for Adult Swim. The block is best known for its branding and aesthetic, including its animated host, a robot named TOM, that was later voiced by Steven Blum.

The Toonami brand was also used internationally for dedicated networks in the United Kingdom (replacing CNX), Asia (in December 2012), India (in February 2015), and France (in February 2016). [34]


Boomerang is a brand dedicated to classic and theatrical cartoons aimed towards children and families. It was originally a weekend programming block that aired on Cartoon Network from December 8, 1992, until October 3, 2004. On April 1, 2000, Boomerang received a new look and was spun off into its own cable channel. [35] In 2017, an online Boomerang video-on-demand service was launched, which includes classic series along with new episodes of original series like Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? , New Looney Tunes , and The Tom and Jerry Show . [36]

Other services

Cartoon Network HD logo.svg
Cartoon Network HD
Cartoon Network HD is the high-definition simulcast of Cartoon Network that is available on nearly all providers, which launched on October 15, 2007. The high definition feed broadcasts in 1080i high-definition. Like all Warner Bros. Discovery networks, 4:3 sourced content was stretched on the high definition feed to fill the 16:9 aspect ratio, but it changed to cropping unrestored 4:3 sourced content to 14:9 from September 25, 2023 - October 17, 2023 before pillarboxing all 4:3 sourced content beginning October 18, 2023. Starting September 26, 2009, all original shows were unstretched on the high definition feed in which were presented in their original 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The network's HD content airs with letterboxing on the standard definition channel, and since May 2013, many subscription providers carry the high definition feed and downscale it for the standard definition feed, broadcasting in 16:9 letterboxed to fit the 4:3 ratio.
Cartoon Network on DemandCartoon Network on Demand is a video on demand service on cable and satellite providers which launched in 2002.
Move It MovementMove It Movement (formerly Get Animated until 2010) is a campaign of the channel, encouraging children to get active, more importantly in outdoor areas. [37] The program is designed "to provide support and encouragement in the ongoing battle against childhood obesity." [38] The Get Animated campaign was launched on February 28, 2005. [39]
Max Max (launched May 2023) is a subscription video-on-demand service of Warner Bros. Discovery. Cartoon Network content makes up one of the 'hubs' on the Max service.

Production studios

Cartoon Network Studios

Cartoon Network Studios is a production studio located in the network's West Coast headquarters of Burbank, California, which serves as the network's first animation studio division to provide original programs for the network, succeeding Hanna-Barbera. While the studio makes original programs for the network, original Cartoon Network and Cartoonito shows like Big Bag , Ed, Edd n Eddy , Mike, Lu & Og , Courage the Cowardly Dog , Sheep in the Big City , Codename: Kids Next Door , The Secret Saturdays , and Sunday Pants were all produced without Cartoon Network Studios' involvement. Starting from 2014, it starts producing shows for Adult Swim alongside its sister company Williams Street, following botched attempts to launch pilots on the block. It also produces live-action shows under the pseudonyms Alive and Kicking, Inc., Rent Now Productions and Factual Productions, formerly for Cartoon Network and currently for Adult Swim.

Williams Street

Williams Street Productions is the adult production studio division that provides original program to the network's late-night programming block Adult Swim that is located in Atlanta, Georgia, along with the main headquarters of the network. Prior to Adult Swim, the company produced Space Ghost: Coast to Coast for Cartoon Network.

Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe

Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe (formerly known as Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe until 2012 and Cartoon Network Studios Europe until 2021) is the network's European production studio division that is located in London, England, which provides other original programs but from the United Kingdom.

Cartoon Network Productions

Cartoon Network Productions is the global distribution arm for shows, pilots, and movies through various international Cartoon Network channels since December 5, 1993.

Cartoon Network Latin America Original Productions

Cartoon Network Latin America Original Productions (abbreviated as CN LA) is a production studio division of the network's Latin American station, formed in May 26, 2019.


Cartoon Network Games

Cartoon Network Games
FormerlyCartoon Network Interactive
Company type Subsidiary
Industry Video games
Founded2000;24 years ago (2000)

Cartoon Network Games (formerly Cartoon Network Interactive) is the video game developer and publisher of video games based on Cartoon Network shows since 2000.

Cartoon Network Enterprises

Cartoon Network Enterprises is the network's global licensing and merchandising arm established in 2001. It distributes merchandises of various Cartoon Network brands.

Mobile app

Cartoon Network has a mobile app that provides the latest full episodes, a live stream from the East and West coast, games, and the network's schedule.

Book licensing

Cartoon Network Books is the book licensor established in 2015. It licenses books based on various Cartoon Network franchises.

Video games

In 2011, Cartoon Network characters were featured in a four-player mascot brawler fighting game similar to Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. video game series called Cartoon Network: Punch Time Explosion for the Nintendo 3DS. The game was later released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the Wii as Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion XL. Several video games based on the cartoon series Ben 10 were released by Cartoon Network as well. The Cartoon Network website also features various browser games incorporating characters from various Cartoon Network franchises. One such game was FusionFall, a massive multiplayer game released on January 14, 2009, and shut down on August 29, 2013.


Cartoon Network has produced various films, most of them being television films; the only films from Cartoon Network that had a theatrical release are The Powerpuff Girls Movie (Cartoon Network Studios), Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (Williams Street), Regular Show: The Movie (Cartoon Network Studios) and Teen Titans Go! To The Movies (Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment).


Cartoon Network registered its official website,, on January 9, 1996. It officially launched on July 27, 1998. [40] Sam Register served as the site's Senior Vice President and Creative Director from 1997 to 2001. [41] In its early years, small studios partnered with the network to produce exclusive "Web Premiere Toons", short cartoons made specifically for [42] More about animation was included in the "Department of Cartoons", which featured storyboards, episode guides, backgrounds, sound and video files, model sheets, production notes, and other information about shows on the network. In January 1999, the Department of Cartoons showcased the "MGM Golden Age Collection", most of which had not been published or even seen in more than 50 years. [43] Cartoon Network launched Cartoon Orbit, an online gaming network characterized by digital trading cards called "cToons", in October 2000. [44] The game officially ended on October 16, 2006.

In October 2000, outdid its rival Nickelodeon's website in terms of unique users, scoring 2.12 million compared to's 1.95 million. [45] In July 2007, Nielsen ratings data showed visitors spent an average of 77 minutes on the site, surpassing the previous record of 71 minutes set in 2004, and the site ranked 26th in terms of time spent for all US domains. [46] [47]


Cartoon Network shows with established fan followings, such as Dexter's Laboratory , allowed the network to pursue licensing agreements with companies interested in selling series-related merchandise. For example, agreements with Kraft Foods led to widespread in-store advertising for Cartoon Network-related products. The network also worked on cross-promotion campaigns with both Kraft and Tower Records. In product development and marketing, the network has benefited from its relation to corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery, allowing for mutually beneficial relationships with various subsidiary companies. [48]

Time Warner Cable, the former cable television subsidiary of the corporate parent (which was spun off from Time Warner in 2009), distributes Cartoon Network as part of its packages. Turner Broadcasting System, the subsidiary overseeing various Warner Bros. Discovery-owned networks, helped cross-promote Cartoon Network shows and at times arranged for swapping certain shows between the networks. For example, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends , one of CN's original shows, was at times seen at Kids' WB (which was discontinued on May 24, 2008), while Xiaolin Showdown and ¡Mucha Lucha! , two of Kids' WB's original shows, were seen at Cartoon Network. In each case, the swap intended to cultivate a shared audience for the two networks. Time Inc., the former subsidiary overseeing the magazines of the corporate parent, ensured favorable coverage of Cartoon Network and advertising space across its publications. Printed advertisements for CN shows could appear in magazines such as Time , Entertainment Weekly and Sports Illustrated Kids until Time Inc. was spun off from WarnerMedia on June 9, 2014. AOL, a now-former sibling company to WarnerMedia covering Internet services, helped promote Cartoon Network shows online by offering exclusive content for certain animated series, online sweepstakes and display advertising for CN. [48]

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, the home video subsidiary, distributes VHS tapes, DVDs and Blu-ray discs featuring Cartoon Network shows. Select Warner Bros. Family Entertainment VHS releases came with bonus cartoons from Cartoon Network. Rhino Entertainment, the former record label subsidiary of the corporate parent (which was spun off from Warner Bros. Discovery in 2004), distributed cassette tapes and CDs with Cartoon Network-related music. These products were also available through the Warner Bros. Studio Store. DC Comics, the comic book subsidiary, published a series featuring the Powerpuff Girls, indicating it could handle other CN-related characters. Warner Bros., the film studio subsidiary, released The Powerpuff Girls Movie in 2002. Kevin Sandler considered it likely that this film would find its way to HBO or Cinemax, two television network subsidiaries which regularly broadcast feature films. Sandler also viewed book tie-ins through Warner Books as likely, since it was the only area of marketing not covered yet by 2001. [48]

Cartoon Network also licensed its original series out for food promotions. Nestlé was granted a licensing agreement that resulted in a Wonder Ball chocolate candy tie-in with Cartoon Network characters and logos beginning in 2003. [49] A new Wonder Ball promotion began in 2004 with characters from Ed, Edd n Eddy and exclusive Wonderball prizes and cToons on the Cartoon Orbit website. [50]


Since its inception, Cartoon Network and its sister channels have set up various national and regional feeds. Since the early 1990s and 2000s, the network has expanded to countries including Canada, Mexico, Latin America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Africa, and several Asia-Pacific regions. [51] [52]

See also

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