Many fans will remember Cartoon Network's late night block Adult Swim (and subsequently Toonami) as their first exposure to a more mature brand of animation that goes beyond Pokemon and Spongebob. Such fans will get to enjoy Adult Swim an hour earlier as the block will be expanding from 9 PM to 8 PM starting March 31st. Considering the block is a ratings giant with viewers from the 18-34 and 18-49 demographics, the expansion makes perfect sense. For the Parents Television Council, however, the adult block's sudden expansion could be a danger to unsuspecting children everywhere.
“Parents beware: not all cartoons are created equal." said said PTC President Tim Winter in the organization's February 5th press release, "And what’s particularly dangerous about Cartoon Network and ‘Adult Swim’ is that the content changes from being kid-friendly to adult-oriented not with the click of a remote, but with the tick of the clock,”
He continues by stating that "Cartoon Network’s ‘Adult Swim’ has a long history of marketing explicit animation to children. The network’s announcement that it is moving this programming block to an even earlier hour when children are more likely to be in the audience is disturbing on a number of levels. The network claims that they’re targeting adult males by moving ‘Adult Swim’ to an earlier hour, but in the process children are being thrown under the bus."
Citing their research which documents the amount of sexual content in recent cartoons, the message of the PTC is clear: “The cable industry must be exposed for their contemptible bundling scheme that forces families to underwrite explicit content. And until the system is fixed, parents must be on high alert.”
Given the common perception of Cartoon Network as a kid's channel, it's only natural some parents would be concerned. Of course, said parents can heed the warning that Adult Swim gives at the start of the block and in-between commercials and change the channel if they feel their kids shouldn't be watching.
Amazing what a remote control can do.
- Richard "Rikun" Jao
Sources: New York Daily News, PRWeb, New York Times