Well, this piece of news isn’t entirely unexpected, except at this rate, Cartoon Network won’t be running in prime-time at all. The New York Times is reporting that Adult Swim will be taking over the 8 p.m. slotstarting March 31st.
With this move, Cartoon Network’s precarious foothold on the prime time hours shrink to just a single hour, and the 7/6 p.m. CST hour is not exactly the most in-demand slot in prime-time either. 8-10 are the ideal prime-time slots in television, and Adult Swim has them all on Cartoon Network with this move. Mike Lazzo’s brainchild has certainly come a long way since its humble origins as a few hours on Sunday night that encored on Thursdays, hasn’t it? Now, it’s almost taken over the network.
While Adult Swim shares its channel space with Cartoon Network, it is considered, for ratings purposes, to be its own channel, even though Cartoon Network and Adult Swim staff co-mingle and bounce between the two networks at will, as Williams Street, who owns and programs Adult Swim, does a lot of work for Cartoon Network proper.
Adult Swim seems to have acquired another animated hit with the increasing success of “Rick and Morty”, who acquired 1.746 million viewers with its most recent broadcast, and it is also home to the perennially popular “Robot Chicken”, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “The Venture Bros.”. Its main ratings breadwinners remain reruns/encores of “Family Guy”, “American Dad”, “The Cleveland Show”, and “King of the Hill”. Adult Swim has also increased its Saturday night ratings presence by rebooting the venerable action-animation “Toonami” block in May 2012, which now hosts world premieres of the new anime “Space Dandy”, as well as perennials “Bleach”, “Naruto Shippuden”, and “Soul Eater”.
Expansion is well-earned. As shown in the NYTimes article, the channel is beating the likes of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert among younger adults. But can Adult Swim hold its own against the heaviest weights of prime-time? We’ll soon find out starting March 31st.
Adult Swim has become a game-changer.