In news first reported Thursday evening by Broadcasting & Cable, Fox has decided to pull the plug on its Animation Domination High Def (ADHD) Saturday night block, with the last airing scheduled for June 28. Despite the cancellation, the Fox ADHD programming initiative will continue, creating programs for digital platforms and incubating shows for primetime. In fact, Fox is bringing two animated series from the initiative into primetime, with the yet-unnamed shows scheduled to debut in June 2015.
The block was meant to be an answer to Turner Broadcasting’s long-running Adult Swim franchise, which attracts a large male audience.
Fox has no plans to give the late Saturday night hour back to affiliates; it has programmed the 10 p.m. (CT) hour since 1989, when it began airing Comic Strip Live! Repeats of various shows would air in the time slot in the interim.
Launched on July 27 of last year, ADHD began with two series: Axe Cop and High School, USA! Other series later joining the block included The Lucas Bros. and Golan.
Ratings for the block, targeted to men 18-34, were not available, but it was understood ADHD was performing poorly.
Fox’s attempt to compete with the edginess of cable got the network in hot water with not only with its own affiliates, but with decency groups. The Parents Television Council (PTC) released a statement late Thursday praising the move:
“We are pleased that Fox has canceled the broadcast component of ADHD, said Parents Television Council President Tim Winter in a statement. “This decision, albeit just a big first step, is a clear victory for parents and families. We will continue to hold Fox Broadcasting, and its advertisers, publicly accountable for any continued breach of the public trust.”
Meanwhile, the B&C article noted some affiliates fielded angry phone calls from irate viewers about ADHD‘s often-raunchy content, and the inability to attract decent advertising, especially in smaller, conservative markets.
College football overruns were also a major factor in the decision. ADHD was often delayed not only from pigskin, but also from affiliates’ local newscasts.
Locally, WFLD-TV never did pair Mancow Mashup with ADHD once Fox gave the 11 p.m. time slot back to affiliates to program, despite being compatible with one another. The empty slot was filled with a syndicated travel show instead. Mashup, which consists of best-of (if you can call it that) segments of Mancow Mueller’s WPWR morning show (and is on the fence for renewal), still airs at 11:30 p.m.