Both have abandoned their names and programming goals.
I swore off AMC years ago when their change happened. Slowly and without publicity. Perhaps the gradualness kept the network alive. Believe it or not, AMC used to be as good as TCM for classic films. But then AMC added commercials. Then they started bringing in more and more recent movies. Now, apparently “George of the Jungle” with Brendan Fraser is an American Movie Classic. I think not. And then they started doing television shows. No movies. No classics. It’s just A.
Well, Cartoon Network has started to go down that same road. In the beginning, they were the TV Land of cartoons. All the old ones: Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera, Underdog, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Batman. It was fantastic. Then they started adding their own, which was fine. Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Lab. Not great, but they were cartoons. Then came Adult Swim, with some very odd shows. The strange shows kept coming and seeping into normal programming. But again, that’s fine. They’re cartoons. As long as it’s appropriate for any ages during the day, you know what to expect.
But now you’re likely to turn on Cartoon Network and see real people. Live-action shows with no connection to cartoons. It doesn’t make any sense. CN proudly boasted at its upfront about six new live-action programs, plus a full length movie, plus two other live-action pilots. That’s almost as much as their new animated content.
After watching parts of Wednesday’s premieres (I couldn’t sit through either of Bobb’e Says or Dude, What Would Happen?), I realized Cartoon Network’s goal with this. To further it’s branding as Spike Jr. Remember Spike TV’s launch? TV for men. Well, CN is now TV for adolescent males. Probably along the age range of 8 to 14 or so. The cartoons have been going that route since Ed, Edd and Eddy. But these live-action shows are solely for that group. Bobb’e Says just featured videos of people hurting themselves and Tony Hawk. Dude spent the entire show watching three not-to-bright teenage boys as they tried to ridiculous things. For example, fill a car with water and drive around in it. The latter was especially painful because of how “unscripted”-scripted it was, like one of those modern dating shows. Mindless and definitely not animated.
If Cartoon Network wants to keep changing its target audience and programming goals, that’s fine. But a name change is in order. As are better programs. Kid shows can have good dialogue, fun plots, and be well-filmed. Look at Disney and Nickelodeon. CN’s clearly not going for those kids; they’re trying to appeal to the non-Disney watchers. But even so, the shows can’t be inane and poorly crafted. Right now they’re going after the lowest common denominator. And we definitely don’t need more shows like that.
So what should Cartoon Network be renamed? A new use of CN? What about AMC?