Programmer and product-licensing company 4Kids Entertainment Inc. has
unveiled the name -- 'Fox Box' -- and lineup for its new Saturday-morning
children's block on Fox stations.
The programmer paid $100 million for a four-year shot at programming Fox's
Saturday-morning block after the network sold off its children's programming to
The Walt Disney Co. as part of its $5 billion sale of Fox Family Entertainment
4Kids joins Nickelodeon, which programs co-owned CBS' Saturday morning, and
Discovery Communications Inc., which has dibs on NBC, in the growing ranks of
4Kids is arguably best known for producing The WB Television Network's
Pokémon series, which, as expected, remains on that network.
But it has a well-thought-out strategy for capturing the hearts, minds,
eyeballs and, eventually, parents' pocketbooks of its young viewers with a
lineup of shows including another Nintendo spinoff, Kirby.
Fox Box debuts Sept. 14. Inside (subject to some fine-tuning of the times)
will be: Stargate Infinity (8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.); Ultraman Tiga
(8:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.); Kirby (9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.); Kinnikuman:
Ultimate Muscle (9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.); a new Teenage Mutant Ninja
Turtles (beginning first-quarter 2003, with a second Ultraman until
then, 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.); more Ultimate Muscle and Kirby from
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (they will be different episodes, as well); and a
heaping helping of Food Feud, featuring the 'secret art of culinary
combat,' at 11:30 a.m.
The lineup features predominately Japanese imports with strong track records
in that country.
Per its contract with Fox, there is one Federal Communications
Commission-friendly show, Stargate Infinity from DIC Entertainment.
4Kids CEO Al Kahn said his company's goal is to get kids 'invested' in Fox
Box, adding that his company is investing 'millions and millions' in marketing
dollars to achieve that goal.
Kahn said Fox has given the company some spots to promote the lineup in shows
that skew younger, including The Simpsons and Malcolm in the
Middle, but 4Kids has also made 52-week buys on competing networks to
promote the block.
Kahn has also lined up some partners for an in-store summer promotion in
which 4Kids will give away 'Fox Boxes' containing video or DVD samplings of the
shows, plus tchotchkes.
In addition, Fox will run a prime time special promoting the block sometime
in late August or early September, according to Kahn.
While 4Kids clearly hopes to cash in on the block -- and help defray some of
that $100 million price tag -- through lucrative product-licensing deals, Kahn
said the shows will have to prove themselves first.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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