In-Depth / Let's Discuss

We Need to Talk About the Scheduling Problem with Nickelodeon & Cartoon Network

spongebob squarepants teen titans go

Courtesy of Nickeloden                                                          Courtesy of Cartoon Network

There is a serious issue going on right now with animated series on TV networks and we aren’t talking about it enough. Well, it’s at least serious to the common animation enthusiasts like you & me. If I would’ve told you 15 years ago that the variety in animation lineups on networks like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network would decrease greatly, you would probably think I’m a bit of a nut. In fact, if this was 15 years ago, we wouldn’t be having this discussion would we know? But it’s 2017, and that means SpongeBob Squarepants has taken over Nickelodeon & Teen Titans Go has taken over Cartoon Network. I mean, of course, we aren’t bashing these shows or the networks whatsoever, because the shows aren’t exactly the problem. It’s the lack of animated TV variety on their TV schedules. What happened to the glorious concept of variety and keeping things less-repetitive? I mean this issue has been made into a meme for crying out loud. YouTube videos like Modern Nickelodeon In a Nutshell or Cartoon Network in a Nutshell will help you grasp what exactly we are dealing with here. One of the things that made Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network great were the variety of both their animated series & how they incorporated it into their daily schedules. Let’s get a deeper look into the outrage.

There’s a reason why 90’s & early 2000’s nostalgia is such a huge phenomenon. There was a wide variety of cartoons on networks like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Kids who loved cartoons always knew what channels to turn to, and they knew those channels would never disappoint them. 90’s Nick or CN fans aren’t trying to be edgy by bashing the modern lineup of these networks, but they just miss these networks not playing the same shows over and over again. I mean compared to now, there were a ton of cartoons on Nickelodeon that were popular and loved, so much that the network eventually branded their animated shows. Nicktoons was born and it had a wide variety of shows to keep the youngins (and even the adults) happy such as Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Hey Arnold, Kablam, Rocko’s Modern Life, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Angry Beavers, Oh Yeah! Cartoons, Rocket Power, The Wild Thornberrys, As Told by Ginger, Invader Zim… shall I go on or do you get how powerful this network was? Not only did Nickelodeon have a wide variety of cartoons, but the daily lineup wasn’t repetitive whatsoever.

Here’s a TV schedule for Nickelodeon from May 1999. Your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you, there were actually more than one or two shows that played that day.

nickelodeon tv schedule may 1999

Source: rugratonline.free.fr

Now, for comparison purposes, here’s a TV schedule from just recently on September 22, 2017. I am just… speechless. Of course for diehard fans of SpongeBob this may not even be an issue, but for those who also want to see other shows along with SpongeBob on the lineup, hopefully, you can understand the frustration.

nickelodeon lineup spongebob squarepants

Source: tvlistings.zap2it.com

It’s no secret that SpongeBob Squarepants has been a top priority at Nickelodeon since it first emerged, so much that other shows were seemingly pushed out of the limelight. Besides SpongeBob, there are only seven other animated series that are currently on Nick’s lineup today, and one of those might just be going head-to-head with the world’s famous yellow sponge. The Loud House came to the network at it’s lowest animation drought in history, and it just might be here to stay. The show has already been renewed for a third season and a feature film that is set to be released in 2020. Plus it has some good ratings, an overall positive reaction from the general public & it’s pretty much proof that not all modern cartoons suck. Nickelodeon has a handful of upcoming animated series in the next few years, so maybe that’ll turn things around for the better.

Cartoon Network luckily has a somewhat wider variety of shows that are currently airing, but Teen Titans Go seems to be the majority of the lineup. When I say majority I mean that they actually aired the show 300 TIMES IN ONE WEEK back in July 2017. That has to be the worst TV schedule I have ever seen in awhile. This is a major issue on account of Cartoon Network having some of the most brilliant shows on their lineup today. Lately, shows like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, We Bare Bears & OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes have been having either a lack of appearance or no appearance at all on CN’s TV schedule.

cartoon network lineup teen titans go

Source: tvlistings.zap2it.com

Cartoon Network was once the home of many great originals and acquired series that actually had a place on the network’s TV schedule every day. Once again, for comparison purposes, here’s a TV schedule from August 2, 2002:

Cartoon network tv schedule august 2 2002

Source: archive.org

When and how did it all go wrong? Will we ever see a resolution? Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network have always dominated in the animated television industry. It will be unfortunate to see anyone’s ratings go down because of the lack of variety in their scheduling. A non-repetitive TV schedule is what kept their networks exciting and entertaining for so long. One can only hope that there’s something done about this soon.

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