Cartoon Network pulls DC Nation for 2012 … and I’m not happy

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I wasn’t expecting to devote a whole CartoonClack post to DC Nation this week. Of course, I was also expecting there to BE a DC Nation this week, so shows what do I know, right? To paraphrase the late great Marvin Gaye … what’s going on, Cartoon Network?

 

Dear Cartoon Network,

Considering this is a cartoon column, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m a fan of your work. I was a huge fan of Dexter’s Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends and your other mid-to-late 90s work. I think Regular Show and Adventure Time are both fantastic. And more importantly, I’ve been completely smitten with pretty much all your content on Saturday morning’s DC Nation — Green Lantern, Young Justice, the various shorts … all of it really, with my absolute favorite of the line-up being the fantastic story and characters you have in Young Justice.

So imagine my surprise when I wake up this morning to catch the hour-long superhero block full of all new episodes and … nothing. You gave us Johnny Test and Riders of Berk reruns instead. And as I was writing this carefully polite letter, you cheerfully announce that DC Nation will be back! … in January.

Mount Justice was blown up. This is not the time for you to surprise us with another three month hiatus!

Today would have marked only the third episode back for both shows in your line-up after a grueling three month summer hiatus. Might I remind you of what happened on these shows last week? On Green Lantern: The Animated Series, our hero Hal Jordon has apparently been disintegrated by a giant Manhunter. On Young Justice, the Dick/Wally friendship is splintering and the Light has captured Jaime, Bart and Garfield. Oh yeah, and Mount Justice was blown up. This is not the time for you to surprise us with another three month hiatus!

Why replace two brand-new shows in your superhero showcase with reruns of the two shows that usually come on right after it anyway? Why pull the programs just hours before airtime? And an even better question: why another hiatus after only two episodes?

We (and apparently the show runners) didn’t expect you to pull the whole line-up without explanation.

Worse still, apparently even the show creators had no idea. GL:TAS creator Giancarlo Volpe was passionately doing press this week for today’s episode, YJ creator Greg Weisman wrote a little about the next episode on his website (even mentioning that he’d be out of town today but was excited to watch it and Green Lantern on his DVR when he got back) and a shocked YJ co-creator Brandon Vietti simply tweeted this morning “I hate waking up to bad news.” Sure, the fact that you didn’t release any preview videos this week should have been a clue to your fans, but we just figured it was a matter of spoilers. We (and apparently the show runners) didn’t expect you to pull the whole line-up without explanation.

And I guess that’s what I’m looking for … an explanation. Because I understand that television programming is a business and that your decisions are focused on making a profit even if it goes against the fandom. I’m a Community fan … this is not my first disappointment rodeo. But despite how much I hate that Community fans are getting the short end of the stick, at least NBC’s decisions in the last few months make some semblance of sense from a bureaucratic and financial point of view. But pulling your two new episodes (both of which ended last week with major cliffhangers) just hours before airing and replacing the whole block — including new shorts, which have been very popular with fans — with reruns of the shows that normally follow it? And then happily announcing that fans can watch their favorite shows next year instead of this morning like they expected? As a fan and a reviewer, I just don’t get it.

While other programs move their schedules around at the drop of a hat, kids can tune in every Saturday morning on the nose to watch their favorite DC heroes save the day.

When DC Nation first premiered, I praised it for being a return to Saturday morning cartoon viewing and a clever way to get viewers to tune in to live television — while other programs move their schedules around at the drop of a hat, kids can tune in every Saturday morning on the nose to watch their favorite DC heroes save the day. The shorts during the commercial breaks even motivate viewers to stay on the channel in between the shows, for crying out loud! If the days are numbered for GL:TLA and YJ (as a fan of both I realize that is a possibility), you still have new DC Nation shows in the works and removing the block altogether from Saturday mornings is a stupid move if you want people to tune in week after week when you do have new content.

Now, despite what some fans have concluded, you haven’t cancelled DC Nation … and that’s a good sign. But you have a pretty dedicated fanbase, as you have probably already noticed from the numerous Facebook and Twitter messages I’ve seen coming your way in the last few hours. I know some of my friends who love these shows have sent you emails and messages, so I guess this is mine — DC Nation is one of the best things the entire DC brand has going for it right now. It’s solid programming with a fanbase that spans kids and adults alike. Just this week a friend of mine checked out the pilot of Young Justice on my suggestion and sped through both seasons in just a few days — he’s absolutely hooked. You have an devoted, growing audience … we just want to keep watching.

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Photo Credit: Cartoon Network

19 Comments on “Cartoon Network pulls DC Nation for 2012 … and I’m not happy

  1. *in my best Charlton Heston* You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn YOU! Damn you all to Hell!

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  2. Well said! I’ve been following this mess all day. As a massive DC fan, I’m furious with how this was all handled. As a publicist, I can’t even begin to understand what CN as thinking with this move, and can’t imagine how pissed their PR folks are about having to have to clean this mess up. Unreal…

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  3. OK — I think I found the reason for the postponement:
    http://carl-carlscomics.blogspot.com/2012/10/dc-loses-rights-to-milestone-characters.html

    Basically, it looks like DC just lost the rights to Dwayne McDuffie’s Milestone characters, including Rocket and Icon, who were featured heavily in last week’s episode of YJ, and have been playing more prominent roles overall recently.

    So my guess is that legally they wouldn’t be able to show their new eps of YJ until they get this hashed out. And without new eps of YJ, why air new eps of GL? So they must have decided to just put the whole shebang on hold.

    Sucks, but it’s the only reason I can think of…

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    • That actually makes some sense. I’m not sure if he’s included in the Milestone characters, but Static Shock was also supposed to be officially introduced this episode. I wonder what this means for the tie-in comic series.

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      • Heh — just read your “Predictions” post from a couple of weeks ago. Too bad you didn’t predict the “bear” would return to hibernation after two weeks. You’d have looked like Nostradamus.

        Great stuff here, by the way — I’ve definitely added you to my RSS feed.

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    • Seems reasonable, but you would think that if this was a DC Comics issue, and not having the rights, DC comics would have known about it before this morning. Same for Greg and all the producers on DC Nation. The in the middle of the night takedown smells more of something happened over at CN that they want changed.

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      • If the rights expired Thursday, they probably thought they’d be able to work out the new contract Friday before Sat AM came around. And yeah, Static is a Milestone character, so that’d made three Milestone characters. CN/Turner/WB legal would never want to play with that kind of fire…

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  4. I am more curious than anything.

    The thing that makes me chuckle is how many of you folks act like the president was on TV and he got shot. In fact, I have the feeling that if your favourite president had been murdered by death rays from mars that some of you wouldn’t have commented about it online.

    The fact that it seems so odd makes me believe that it is either publicity for DC Nation, or some last minute scheme for them to perpetuate their own stuff, or both. …the fact that Chowder was a happy surprise leads me to believe that it is some self-promotion.

    Oh well, I guess some of us will have to watch something else, or better; get a life.

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    • I’m actually a publicist. Rule of thumb, you don’t gain “publicity” by royally pissing off your customers (viewers). You only get pissed off customers doing that.

      And just an unrelated note about courtesy, it’s pretty trolly to search out a blog post about a topic you’re “curious” about, snark on the blog’s author and readers, and then imply they should all “get a life.”

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      • I hate trolls.

        Yes, I did search the subject I was interested in. It was how I found this post.

        Shock and awe are time honoured ways to not only raise curiosity, but to also raise interest through levels of mystery. The fact that it drew me is proof. If you need more, think to the repeated “War of the Worlds” broadcasts.

        As for courtesy and trolling, I give courtesy where I feel it due and I hate trolls.

        I have seen a lot of people that seem almost afraid because a show got interrupted and others got put on temporary hiatus. ‘A show.

        What I did do was voice my opinion on a behaviour that I considered a little overboard. Does that sound familiar?

        Just as I commented on on multiple comments I was a little displeased with, you did the same to me. Does it make you a troll? No. ‘A hypocrite? Quite possibly.’

        At least my rebuke had the air and suggestion of jest and playful teasing. Yours had all the self righteousness of a finger wagging arm chair general and Sunday Christian that thinks he/she is scolding a godless child.

        But enough of that. You actually tempted me into trolling, well, old school trolling that is, when you use higher forms of logic and reason to expose and eviscerate the arguments of people so sure of the purity of their beliefs that they forget the reasons for them or why they should respect those of others.

        Ciao Lewdy!

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        • That is certainly an awful lot of verbal acrobatics to say “I know you are, but what am I?” But, I guess you got what you wanted — which was attention, rather than furthering discussion of the topic at hand — so good on ya.

          Maybe tomorrow you can find a good book club to interrupt, so you can (with “an air of jest and playful teasing”) ask “Why are all you people taking Jane Eyre so seriously? It’s just a book!” Would probably make as much sense there as it does here.

          Oh, and just a heads-up, I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I wouldn’t be surprised if your initial comment pinged an NSA search. You might want to be a little more careful with your hyperbolic analogies in the future.

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          • Naw, Lewd, I was just messin’ with you while making a point at the same time.

            Take it easy. It’s just cartoons, which was my original point in the first place.

            If you can learn to not to get worked up by cartoons and what people say on, or off, the internet, then you might live without a heart attack.

            Be well, Lewdy!

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  5. Publicity by randomly taking DC Nation off the air with no explanation or warning? I don’t think so. They’ve had Chowder and the gang lined up all month for the birthday celebration. Between Chowder, PPG, and other oldies but goodies, CN has anything it wants at its fingertips to replace DC Nation without looking desperate for a fill in. What bothers me is pulling the entire DC block instead of just running re-runs like it could have. Re-runs, albeit annoying, seem more acceptable than acting as though the anticipated superhero cartoon block never existed.

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    • Really?

      I guess the confusion might come from the fact that some channel guides actually had the DC Nation shows showing on their interfaces by the cable providers. I have Comcast Xfinity, and that was the case for me.

      SMH

      What provider do you have? What schedule did you look at that had the changes in advance?

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      • They didn’t show in advance for me, either. I was saying it wouldn’t be weird to fill the spot with the older cartoons because they’re already showing them every morning in October for their birthday. Cartoon Network made changes to their website schedule but I haven’t heard anyone say they saw the changes in the channel guide.

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        • No changes in my guide this AM (DirecTV), and my DVR recorded the replacement shows thinking it was still DC Nation. From what I saw this AM from the online reactions (yes, Jeff, lots of people were both confused and frustrated by what happened), very few people were aware of this before this morning.

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  6. You fairly accurately summed up my feeling about Cartoon Network. My only additional gripe would be that they are absolutely terrible when it comes to DVD/Blu-ray releases. Most of the shows never even make it to Blu-ray and the ones on DVD seem to never get full season releases. I want to give them my money but they make it hard for me to do so.

    If they are going to air shows in HD then it would be nice to be able to own them in HD.

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  7. Apparently Cartoon Network and NCSoft hail from the same school of management. NCSoft did the exact same thing to City of Heroes on 8/31: Abruptly cancelled an 8.5 year old MMO with a stable and profitable audience to “refocus on other things”. It’s like a war on quality superhero fictions, in every facet of our life.

    To hell with the communities. To hell with logic. BY JOVE WE MUST HAVE JOHNNY TEST 24/7!!

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  8. it be nice if they fix the guilds so I quit getting reminders for shows not on. Btw I remember them doing this with justice league and it sequel back when was new.

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