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New Interest in an Old Hit

Mar 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Fox Box, the four-hour Saturday morning kids block programmed by 4Kids Entertainment, is bringing back a classic and adding pirates to its lineup, which runs on Fox affiliates.
Starting March 15, the Fox Box will kick off its mornings at 8 a.m. with an animated “Back to the Future” series. The Universal-produced series first aired a decade ago, but Fox Box President Norman Grossfeld said Fox Box executives felt there was new life in the franchise.
“We looked at the numbers that Universal Home Video had done with the trilogy they released over the holiday season in home video and there’s great interest in the whole `Back to the Future’ franchise,” Mr. Grossfeld said. “For our Fox affiliates we saw a double bonus with this animated series because the show also has educational content and qualifies as an FCC core educational show.”
Fox Box acquired 26 episodes of “Back to the Future,” and Mr. Grossfeld said if it is successful Fox Box will consider talking to Universal about producing more episodes.
Fox Box also acquired 26 episodes of live-action show “Pirate Island” to add to its lineup on March 8. The show is about kids who get sucked into a video game they were playing, called Pirate Island. The kids have to find out how to win the game before they run out of lives. With the popularity of video games these days, “It’s something every kid around the world can relate to,” Mr. Grossfeld said.
Also on March 8, Fox Box will get a boost with “Malcolm in the Middle” star Frankie Muniz hosting the morning. Mr. Muniz will interact with characters from the Fox Box shows throughout the morning.
With these new additions, “Ultraman Tiga” will sit out from the lineup as a half-hour show but will still have a presence as one-minute vignettes throughout the morning. “We have eight half-hours in the morning,” Mr. Grossfeld said. “We’re kind of stuffing nine TV shows worth of action in the eight half-hours.”
“Back to the Future” and “Pirate Island” join a schedule that has seen a boost from the Feb. 8 edition of an all-new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
In Fox Box’s target demographics, boys 6 to 11 and boys 9 to 14, the Fox Box is No. 3 season to date behind Kids’ WB and Nickelodeon. Since “Ninja Turtles” premiered, Fox Box ratings have grown 15 percent to a 2.3 rating in boys 6 to 11 and 10 percent to a 2.3 in boys 9 to 14.