Is Cartoon Network in Danger After Studio Merger with Warner Bros?

(Image via www.deviantart.com)

Staff Writer: Kelsey Wink 

Email: kwink@umassd.edu 

On October 11th, it was announced that Cartoon Network Studios would be merging with Warner Bros. Animation to form a single animation department. 

While Cartoon Network was acquired by Warner Bros. in 2001, their animation studios have traditionally remained separate in the past.

But with this new change, it seems that Cartoon Network is going to change significantly; the cable channel/animation studio responsible for decades of renowned original programs could cease to exist as we knew it.

Almost every 90s and early 2000s kid grew up watching shows like “The Powerpuff Girls,” “Scooby-Doo,” and “Dexter’s Laboratory” on Cartoon Network Studios (CNS). So naturally, after hearing the news that their beloved Cartoon Network would be merging with Warner Bros Animation (WBA), several internet users across the globe flocked to Twitter to pay tribute to the original channel which was founded on October 1, 1992. 

Cartoon Network fans fear that this merger will restrict its iconic shows and the network to just memories. 

What’s worse is that media reports claim that Warner Bros is laying off around 125 employees and has already laid off 82 animators and is planning to cut down 26 percent of its workforce. 

While some thanked Cartoon Network for 30 years of wonderful storytelling and characters, others simply went down memory lane and recalled the iconic shows they watched on the channel. 

“It’s the end of an era. End of our childhood days. Don’t know why but this makes me a little emotional. Thank you Cartoon Network for bringing smiles and joy back in the days,” wrote one user.

The future of Cartoon Network has been thrown into question as the cable channel gets gutted by corporate parent Warner Bros. Discovery, whose CEO David Zaslav is looking to trim at least $3 billion from the sprawling media giant.

Regardless, the memo states that Cartoon Network will continue on as a label but will lose its autonomy. Development and production at WBA and CNS will be combined, costing Cartoon Network a say in the creative and operations it enjoyed until now.

Warner Bros. TV CEO, Channing Dungey, told staffers at the time that Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Animation will share “development and main production teams,” which may not bode well for the future of Cartoon Network.

It will most likely be difficult for the once independent production branches (who had their own separate budgets) to maintain control of their output when they now have to share resources.

A source close to the situation said that it is “BS” to fear that Cartoon Network may end and is driven by changes at Warner Bros TV.

Cartoon Network Studios has moved under the leadership of WBTV and will continue to create great content for the network, as well as Warner Bros Animation and beyond. 

In 2023, Cartoon Network is slated to premiere more new and returning originals than at any other time in its history. Much of that content will also be available to audiences on HBO Max.

Regardless of the partnership with Warner Bros., Cartoon Network is not disappearing and has many projects in development.

Still, media outlets point to steep cuts in production at Cartoon Network in the past, whose hit shows “Adventure Time” and “Steven Universe,”  had their season episode orders cut back by as much as 50%, which may indicate the network is suffering a slow death.

Cartoon Network has responded to the messages of grief with a clarification that the studio is not going anywhere, just undergoing dramatic changes. 

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