Fox announces line-up of Saturday night cartoon shorts to start in January 2013

By Daniel S Levine,
The block will be run by a former Adult Swim executive

Fox took its turn to make its headlining announcements at the Television Critics Association press tour Sunday. One of the major pieces of news was the announcement that the News Corp.-owned network would begin airing a block of cartoon shorts on Saturday nights that could provide NBC’s Saturday Night Live with some real competition.

According to Bloomberg, Kevin Reilly, president of Fox Entertainment, made the announcement at the press conference, noting that the cartoon block would not begin until January 2013.

Reilly seemed confident that animation “is incredibly resilient.” Fox is, after all, the only major broadcast network that airs animated shows during prime time with its ‘Animation Domination’ block on Sunday nights, featuring shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy. Reilly added that the new block will be a way to get more animation on television, saying, “We’re looking for the next generation.”

The Washington Post reports that the block will be run by Nick Weidenfeld, the former head of program development at Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, the home of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken and other animated programs targeted to adults. Weidenfeld is credited with helping Adult Swim to become the top-rated cable entertainment channel among young male viewers.

The late-night block will air between 11 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. and will be supplemented by a digital channel that will start sometime this year.

In other Fox animated news, the network also announced that the low-rated Allen Gregory, which featured the voice of Jonah Hill, has been cancelled.

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