THE FOX KIDS NETWORK

There was nothing random about the fact that X-MEN:TAS was successful on the Fox Kids Network (or “Fox Children’s Network,” or FCN).  First, no one else would program it.  Margaret Loesch tried pitching it for nearly ten years — sorry lady, no way.  CBS, NBC, and ABC were 99% of the television market, and if they didn’t want you, tough.  I remember “pitching” shows to the three networks in the late 1980s.  You had three chances, period.  There was a week in early February when they all decided what would be shown in the fall.  If you didn’t make a sale, it was wait until next year.  Then this upstart, half-network called Fox Television got thrown together.  They were risk-takers enough to hire Margaret, who was brave enough to hire Sidney Iwanter, and the golden age of animated TV was born.  First they grabbed Beetlejuice from ABC and made it more intense.  Then they added Batman: TAS and X-MEN:TAS and The Tick and Spider-Man and the rest of kids’ television didn’t know what hit them.  In those days the network’s decisions were everything.  If the executives didn’t like or get your show, it didn’t happen.  If they bought it and then didn’t get what about it would make it great, it wasn’t allowed to be great.  They had absolute creative control; it was “their money.”  I have seen more potentially good television hobbled or destroyed by a lack of executive understanding than any single factor.  There are oceans of creative production talent out here.  But business people who know how to navigate the terrifying waters of our demanding industry and that have a clue about the creative side are rare.  X-MEN:TAS simply wouldn’t have worked for other executives at other networks at another time.  We all did our part, but FCN, through Margaret and Sidney and others, made it possible.  (Below see pages from the quarterly “Fox Kids Club” magazine that they sent out to make younger fans feel part of it all.)

fox-kids-xmen-pull-out-posterx-promo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s