Networks Finally Abandon Saturday Morning Children’s Programming
By Tom Snyder, Editor
It’s been a while coming, but the five broadcast networks have finally abandoned Saturday morning children’s programming.
The last holdout, NBC, recently announced it will exit the Saturday morning market for children under 13 in October. At that time, the network will switch to Saturday morning shows for children aged 13-16.
Fox began the exodus in 2008, followed by ABC in 2011, CBS in 2013, and the CW in 2014.
How did this happen?
One of the reasons was an FCC regulation in its interpretation of the Children’s Television Act of 1990, advocated by conservative and liberal do-gooders, to limit commercial advertising on programming for children under 13 to 10.5 minutes per hour on weekends and 12 minutes per hour on weekdays.
Currently under the regulations, NBC stations can only air 5.25 minutes of commercials per half hour of programming aimed at children under 13 on Saturday morning, but they can air at least 8 minutes of ads per half hour for programming aimed at children aged 13-16.
Either way, a lot of the programming is “educational.” In other words, no more Loony Tunes or Penguins of Madagascar, but lots of programs like ABC’s SEA RESCUE and THE WILDLIFE DOCS.
“She’s probably rolling over in her grave right now,” says Claudia Moquin about her mother, the late Peggy Charren, founder of the group Action for Children’s Television, which, beginning in 1968, lobbied the government to force the networks to run fewer commercials, or even none, and at least 14 hours of educational children’s programs each as part of their programming.
Daughter Debbie Charren added, “All the work my mother did has vanished. Now it’s like the Children’s Television Act doesn’t exist anymore.”
Charren died in January 2015 at the age of 86.
– Sources: Deadline Hollywood, 06/20/16.