Guest Post: Renewed or Cancelled? Speculating the Fate of Cartoon Network’s Newest Shows

Posted: September 12, 2010 by realscratchpad in Animation, Animation Editorials, Guest Writer, Kieran Pertnav Najita
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Image taken from TV by the Numbers

Hello, I’m Kieran Pertnav, the newest guest writer here on the Scratch Pad. I believe that the renewal and cancellation of shows are one of the most intense parts of television, and also one of the most interesting. Today, I’m going to take a look at several of Cartoon Network’s current shows, and have a guess as to whether they’ll be renewed or canceled.

Why it would be renewed? – Cartoon Network seems to really be riding on the show right now — they promote it heavily, and they air it often. It’s a good quality show, and the second season is about to air. With 26 episodes ordered, there’s still plenty of room before it reaches the usual cancellation mark of 52 or 65. Plus, the show is popular. Overall, this one seems like a no-brainer.
Why it would be cancelled? – Cartoon Network is fickle about their shows, and is easily disappointed by even perfectly acceptable ratings. They’re quick to turn on their shows- promoting them one minute and ignoring them the next. This could easily happen to Adventure Time.
My verdictRenewal. Too many people like “Adventure Time” for it to end so soon, I predict that a third season will be ordered sometime after the season two premiere.

Why it would be renewed? – The “Ben 10” franchise is a real cash cow, and with Ben Tennyson in the prime of his edgy, actiony adolescence, there’s no reason why Cartoon Network would want to launch the series into “Ben 10: The Midlife Crisis”, or “Ben 10: Retirement Home Hero.”
Why it would be canceled? – The series has already been ordered for 52 episodes, which seems to indicate that Cartoon Network already has a plan for what they want to do with the series. Since none of the previous installments have passed 52 episodes, it is possible that they could indeed have a fourth series, a movie, or a spinoff in development, meaning that while this show is fairly new, its lifespan is already set. Based on the history of the series (and of CN in general), it seems unlikely that the show will pass the 52 episode mark.
My verdict?Cancellation. While I’m pretty sure that CN has something more in store for Ben, I’m sure it’s not more of this.

Why it would be renewed? – Cartoon Network seems to heavily favor action these days when it comes to episode orders. The show has already been ordered for 40 episodes, despite having only aired about 10. The ratings have been good so far, and the show has gathered quite a following. Plus, Cartoon Network is on good terms with Man of Action, a veritable hit factory for them that churns out lots of successful merchandise fodder with the “Ben 10” franchise. Since Ben has already had 3 series, its time may soon be up, and CN would probably want a successor to it, putting Generator Rex in a great position. With a DVD on the way, and its led-in being Genndy Tartakovsky’s upcoming “Sym-Bionic Titan”, things seem to be lining up quite well for Rex.
Why it would be canceled? – “Generator Rex” had a very lengthy hiatus shortly after its premiere. We have yet to see how the series will fare when it returns, and whether or not its viewers will still be interested. As “The Secret Saturdays” showed, CN is quick to abandon shows it once supported heavily, and the same could easily happen to Rex, especially since it follows a very similar style to TSS.
My verdict? Renewal, but I don’t know for how long. It’s possible that the show would have a shortened third season to bring it to the magic 52 episodes, before pulling a Ben 10 and jumping ahead to a new series.

Why it would be renewed? – “MAD” had a very successful debut, close to the ratings “Adventure Time” received on its premiere. It also was the highest scoring show in the block in the teen demographic that CN is very interested in. It helps bridge the gap between them to Adult Swim in terms of content. Plus, MAD Magazine is timeless and forever ingrained in pop culture.
Why it would be canceled? – The show is very polarizing among its audience, leading to a love/hate thing. It also can’t avoid comparisons to the popular and more established “Robot Chicken”. Its ratings were the also the lowest of all the shows on the Monday night comedy block.
My verdict? – Too early to call. CN isn’t likely to let this one go too easily, given how unique it is among their lineup and the kind of appeal it provides. Nevertheless, its very different nature may cause it to not fit with the rest of their programming, and its style could backfire. If I had to guess, I would say cancellation, since the show was the lowest rated of the Monday night shows on its premiere, and that seems like enough to get a show canceled on CN these days.

Why it would be renewed? – Similar to “MAD”, “Regular Show” had a strong debut. Not as strong as “Adventure Time”, but still strong. The show also has the  more “mature” humor style they’ve been coveting. Plus, CN usually gives their shows at least 2 seasons to prove themselves.
Why it would be canceled? – The humor might go over the heads of their audience, and it may not last. Also, the show has been ordered for 40 segments, according to creator J.G. Quintel, which means that there are still a lot of premiers to go. It’s possible that by the time these initial episodes are aired, the show could have already gone out of production. They could also be airing these segments as two separate seasons, thus discounting the two season argument.
My verdict? – Too early to tell, but my guess is renewal. We’ll see how the show does in reruns and in more premiers. A renewal will probably happen, but perhaps not as early as with Adventure Time.

Why it would be renewed? – Scooby has been a staple of Cartoon Network and Hannah-Barbera for years. The show is doing well in the ratings, and it’s got brand name appeal. With another Scooby-Doo movie in the works, it’s doubtful that this show is going anywhere.
Why it would be canceled? – Cartoon Network has been known to make stupid decisions.
My verdict?Renewal, since it’s the highest rated show on the Monday night comedy block and “Scooby-Doo” is a huge brand name.

Why it would be renewed? – CN seems hellbent on making live action successful, and they’re too proud to let it leave the channel without a fight. Plus, “UnNatural History” has been slowly but steadily improving in the ratings week-by-week, and is gradually gaining more and more fans. The fact that the network has pushed back its remaining 2 episodes seems to indicate that they could be trying to see if it makes any more ratings gains, and if they’re significant enough to warrant renewal. Plus, as I’ve said before, CN generally gives its shows two seasons to test the waters.
Why it would be canceled? – Despite its ratings gains, the show still isn’t particularly successful, and it’s hated by hardcore CN fans for being live action. Also, the show only has 2 episodes left in the season, and if they don’t do well, the show is out of luck. CN tends to announce its renewals early on: “Adventure Time” and “Generator Rex” were both renewed after their premiers, while UH has gone for 11 episodes with no word on whether or not it’s in or out.
My verdict? – As of right now, the show will probably face cancellation and be replaced by “Tower Prep” in its Tuesday slot, thus satisfying CN’s need for live action programming. However, the next month could change things for the show if it can get its ratings up.

Disagree with me? Did I get something wrong? Please let me know with a comment. I’ll see you around, and if you liked this post, maybe I’ll make more.

  1. chdr says:

    A couple notes: AT is already getting a third season, and the producers behind UH say that renewal is likely (oh, and Tower Prep is taking Tuesdays at 9pm).

    I guess it’s a testament on how short CN’s attention span is these days that we’re speculating cancellation for shows less than a year old.

  2. When did AT’s third season get announced? The last time they mentioned it on the blog they said that they had wrapped up storyboards for season 2 and that they were hoping for a renewal for season 3.

  3. Sketch says:

    Welcome to the fold Kieran. Great job on your first editorial on The Scratch Pad.

    I’m kind of surprised you even brought up Regular Show and MAD given they’ve both only aired one episode but I agree with your points on both along with the others.

  4. b-six says:

    Unnatual History:

    1) the network did not ‘push back’ the remaining two episodes — labor day did (this is very typical in the tv world)

    2) imho, cn’s plan was never to replace one live-action show with another but to run them back-to-back (Tower Prep and Unnatural History, the two hour live-action block)

    3) ‘the show still isn’t particularly successful’ — this statement is inaccurate — Unnatural History has been killing key demos week to week and it’s audience continues to grow (Thor’s Slammer, the latest premier, saw the show’s biggest turnout)

    All of this aside, I do dig the site — opinions are always important (especially when they differ) — keep up the good work 😉

    • Jeff Harris says:

      Clarification to your points, b-six:

      1) Labor Day was on a Monday. Unnatural History comes on a Tuesday. New episodes of Scooby-Doo, Johnny Test, Adventure Time, Regular Show, MAD, and Total Drama World Tour aired on Monday. Unnatural History was a repeat the next day. Ergo, Cartoon Network pushed back the remaining two episodes.

      2) I don’t think that Cartoon Network wanted to air a two-hour block of live-action considering the lack of success of the last live-action two-hour block they had, CN Real. And it does seem that when UH is over, Tower Prep will take its place on the lineup. They don’t run together. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are Cartoon Network’s lowest-rated nights. That’s a fact. And look at what headlines the 8 PM (7 Central) hour on both nights.

      3) It depends how you measure success. Ratingswise, it is on the lower end of the spectrum. Yeah, it’s “killing” key demos, but on a night where they have no real competition. When it began, it had ratings for kids 6-11 average delivery (416,000), kids 2-11 delivery (599,000), and kids 9-14 delivery (317,000). However, they really don’t advertise the Kids 6-11 and Kids 2-11 ratings too much, only the kids 9-14. The latest, most available Kids 9-14 rating is an average of 408,000 viewers. In the most recent ratings, Cartoon Network pointed out a few shows’ Kids 9-14 ratings. The same week UH got an average of 408,000 viewers 9-14, Scooby-Doo had 455,000 viewers 9-14, Adventure Time had 500,000 viewers 9-14 for a repeat, and Total Drama World Tour had 599,000 viewers 9-14. Even the Saturday Night Flicks franchise had 437,000 viewers 9-14. Last week (Labor Day Week), Adventure Time had a Kids 9-14 rating of 707,000 viewers, Regular Show had 716,000 viewers 9-14, and MAD had 706,000 viewers 9-14. When it comes down to it, is Unnatural History successful? For a time slot where there’s no competition, absolutely (since history is fuzzy for some people, you know why Unnatural History was moved from Sunday nights to Tuesday nights? No competition on Tuesday night in the summer).

      In the grand scheme of Cartoon Network, as much advertisement they gave Unnatural History, as much as they keep promoting the series while other series languish and get buried with little to n promotion and others get shafted to poor time slots, Unnatural History isn’t doing as well as they want it to.

  5. Well, as Ukari just tweeted, Tower Prep is officially taking UH’s slot. This seems like another nail in the coffin.

  6. cheymarie says:

    Really? UH is canceled! aw,ever1 kept sayin season 2 would cme bck in the summer!! aw,i lovd the show i hope CN renews it!!

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