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Adult Swim


Original Air Date:
Cartoon Network
Prod. Co.:
Cartoon Network Production

Characters & Voices
Various -
Adult Swim is Cartoon Network's late-night programming block targeted at adults. The lineup is frequently changing and the look is likewise quite flexible, but there are some things worth mentioning that are specific to the programming block itself and not the individual shows on it.

- Most importantly, Adult Swim made television history when its ratings during re-runs of Family Guy (combined with the high DVD sales) convinced FOX to become the first-ever network to re-launch a series it cancelled -- there have been shows resurrected by networks other than the one that cancelled them, but for a network to commission more episodes of a show it cancelled was unprecedented. The high ratings of Futurama (and high DVD sales, though nowhere near as impressive as Family Guy's) has sparked rumors of, if not a Futurama relaunch, TV movies. FOX was good enough to give them broadcast rights to the new season of Family Guy, as well as creator Seth McFarlane's second show, American Dad.

- Adult Swim is, in a sense, a show in its own right because of the cohesiveness it lends the programming block with its specialized bumpers. Before and after commercial breaks, the viewer is treated to the Adult Swim bumps, which, at the outset, was merely blurry video footage of a public swimming pool (during adult swim), but has since been altered to the bumper card comments the Adult Swim staff use to communicate with the viewer; they advertise relevant products, present upcoming schedules, congratulate the creators of their shows for jobs well done, comment on various things of interest at the time, answer emails and show the previous week's ratings, occasionally chiding the viewer for not watching certain shows. These bumps were satirized by National Lampoon, to which Adult Swim responded with bumps mocking National Lampoon (having seen both, I have to say Adult Swim's rebuttal was far funnier than the original satire).

- The block is broken up into two segments; action anime and comedy. The comedy has proven the more popular of the two, with Futurama, Family Guy and the AS original Robot Chicken performing extremely well in the ratings, while action anime (save for Cowboy Bebop, which as of this writing [October 2005] has run irregularly throughout the existence of Adult Swim [September 2001] despite only having had one season) has not proven as popular.

- Cartoon Network's original contracted production house, Williams Street, created some of Adult Swim's most popular shows, including Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and their original hit, Space Ghost: Coast 2 Coast (which Cartoon Network cancelled and later brought back not terribly long after FOX brought back Family Guy).

- Michael Albright

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