In a move that fits in perfectly with its long tradition of public service and quality broadcasting, the Fox TV Network has decided to replace its Saturday morning childrens’ programming with two hours of infomercials. Opting for infomercials is the network’s response to the dissolution of its deal with 4Kids Entertainment (see “Chaotic Sales Boost 4Kids Revenue”). 4Kids had been paying Fox some $20 million a year for the Saturday morning block, but under the terms of the settlement with Fox, 4Kids will stop programming for the Fox network on January 1st, 2009, and will not have to pay the remaining $15 million on its contract with Fox that ran through September of 2009.
Faced with the challenge of replacing the hefty 4Kids revenue in what is, according to Variety, a very depressed market for advertising to children, Fox turned to infomercials. This is the first time in TV history that a broadcast network (rather than a local TV station) has scheduled long form ads as part of its regular weekly programming. “Weekend Marketplace” as the new block is called, will air from 10am to noon (ET,PT) on Saturdays and has been cleared by 95% of the Fox affiliates (a significantly higher percentage than was carrying the 4Kids block of kids’ cartoons--a worrisome indication that Fox's affiliates may even be less evolved than the network itself).