4Kids Shuffling Fox Block

May 19, 2003  •  Post A Comment

After scrambling last season to assemble the lucrative kids block on the Fox affiliates, 4Kids is looking to build on early successes next season with a lineup that includes new series Sonic X and Shaman King.
“We were proud of what we were able to accomplish the first year even though we were put into a position to double run some of our shows,” said Norman Grossfield, president of 4Kids Productions. “This year we are going to be able to jump-start interest in shows such as Sonic X and Mutant Turtles, and that’s going to make a big difference this time around.”
The four-hour block, which 4Kids obtained from the Fox Network early in 2002, will open with Cubix in the 8 a.m. slot and Funky Cops rounding out the hour at 8:30 a.m. The next hour will be filled with Ultimate Muscle: The Kinnikuman Legacy and the incoming Sonic X. 4Kids’ most popular series, Kirby, will air at 10 a.m. with Turtles at 10:30 a.m. The final hour will be taken by Shaman King and The Cramp Twins.
Gone from the schedule will be Pirate Islands, Fighting Foodons and Back to the Future.
4Kids and Sega confirmed Sonic’s famous hedgehog will star as part of the Fox Box package this fall, with 52 episodes set to air during the season. Promotion of the show will be full force, including a McDonald’s Happy Meal promotion this summer for the video game star.
“Sega is thrilled to be bringing Sonic to another generation of fans,” said Mike Fischer, VP of marketing, Sega of America. “Our speedy blue hedgehog is a video game icon, and Sonic X captures all the excitement and thrills of his interactive adventures. Fox Box is the perfect place for this great new series.”
Joining Sonic as a new series this fall will be Shaman King, the Japanese anime series based on Hiroyuki Takei’s multimillion-selling graphic novels. 4Kids will produce 26 episodes for a September debut. The series follows a 13-year-old who has the ability to see the spirit world and teams with a samurai warrior spirit to fight evil spirits and misguided shamans.
Despite fierce competition in the kids industry, Mr. Grossfield expects ratings growth for the entire block this season, thanks to increased awareness of series, upgraded clearances and new markets.