Earlier this week, news came down that Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) that Warner Bros. Animation & Cartoon Network Studios would combine its creative and programming teams (with Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe kept separate), leaving a lot of folks to worry about not just the future of Cartoon Network Studios but also of Cartoon Network itself. Considering the actions that have been taken against the animation industry over the early days of WBD's attempts to wipe nearly $3B off of its books, the reaction was understandable. But contrary to whatever might be going on out there on social media, the folks over at Cartoon Network want you to know one thing: "We're not going anywhere."
"Y'all, we're not dead, we're just turning 30,' was the beginning of the message sent out by the network's social media account this afternoon. "To our fans: We're not going anywhere. We have been and will always be your home for beloved, innovative cartoons… More to come soon!" At the end of the tweets were the hashtags #CartoonNetwork #CN30 #30andthriving #CartoonNetworkStudios #FridayFeeling, and #FridayVibes. Here's a look at the original tweet, followed by a follow-up twisting the knife on the online rumors that Cartoon Network was shutting down (though as we'll get into below, there's still an important question that needs to be answered):
With WBD head David Zaslav going on record early on about the company needing to take more advantage of its IPs across various media, concerns are that the more WBD properties-friendly Warner Bros. Animation (Harley Quinn, Teen Titans GO!, etc.) would receive preferential treatment over the more original animation-leaning Cartoon Network Studios (Steven Universe, Infinity Train, etc.). So if both WBA and CNS are competing for the same resources, the fear is that the decision will tend to go to the project that ticks the most marketability boxes. Meaning that an animated series with a unique vision would be at a disadvantage competing against a "Batman" or "Harry Potter" project. Essentially, we could end up with a Cartoon Network-Adult Swim that focuses more on familiarity over originality. The question that still remains to be answered is what the percentages will be when it comes to IP-themed content as opposed to any original content.