The WB Television Network is scrapping its weekday 3-5:00 pm Kids' WB block and replacing it with syndicated series aimed at an older demographic. The Kids' WB after school block is nearly a decade old and it played a major role in creating such phenomena as the Pokemon craze and the recent success of the Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game. The loss of the Kids' WB afternoon block is a blow to potential mass-market anime series, which will have to seek venues on cable channels with less penetration than the broadcast networks.
In addition to Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, the afternoon block currently also includes Megaman NT Warrior, Xiaolin Showdown and The Batman. The Kids' WB will expand its popular Saturday morning block, which has won 15 consecutive sweeps races among broadcast networks, from four hours to five by starting its kids' programming at 7 am instead of 8 am.
The WB Network reacted to the demands of its affiliates who feel that syndicated general entertainment programming can increase revenues and ratings while providing strong lead-ins for their dinner hour offerings and in turn have a positive effect on primetime ratings. The WB feels that the growth of children's programming on cable outlets such as the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and the various Disney channels can fulfill the demand for after school programming for youngsters.