Weigel launches MeTV Toons

New digital subchannel and streamer to feature Bugs, Daffy, Scooby, and more 

Your favorite cartoon characters are returning to broadcast television.

Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting announced Thursday it is launching a new, 24/7 classic animation channel in conjunction with Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns the classic Warner Bros. Loony Tunes and Hanna-Barbera libraries.

“We are honored to work with the amazing team at Warner Bros. Discovery and others on this network and bring together a truly incredible collection of the world’s best known and most loved classic cartoons, creating a new destination for everyone to discover or rediscover the sheer joy of watching cartoons on TV,” said Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting. “MeTV Toons will be dedicated 24/7 to showcasing the biggest names and most beloved classic cartoons and animated characters. Everyone has a favorite cartoon; it is a universally loved art form. We are thrilled to bring those smiles and memories back to TV with MeTV Toons.”

Signature programming on MeTV Toons includes some of the most iconic cartoon characters in history – Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Scooby-Doo, and Tom and Jerry, plus Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Jonny Quest, and Quick Draw McGraw.

MeTV Toons also plans to showcase animated series from other libraries, including Bullwinkle, Woody Woodpecker, Betty Boop, and Casper The Friendly Ghost. MeTV Toons launches June 25 on over-the-air partners and as a FAST (free advertising supported television) streaming channel, including all of Weigel’s stations.

According to RabbitEars.Info, MeTV Toons is tentatively launching in Chicago on WCIU Channel 26.7  Weigel plans to work with other broadcasters to clear markets. Weigel is also heading to San Diego Conic-Con this summer to promote the channel complete with a panel.

MeTV Toons’ launch is similar to Cartoon Network’s when Ted Turner purchased the Hanna-Barbera library from Great American Entertainment (formerly Taft) in 1991 to launch a 24-hour animation channel. When Waner Bros. bought Turner Entertainment in 1996, Cartoon Network added original content (such as Dexter’s Laboratory) to its lineup. As a result, Boomerang was created to showcase the Hanna-Barbara and Warner Bros. libraries.

But Boomerang later added more original Cartoon Network repeats to the schedule, pushing most classic fare out. The future of Boomerang is uncertain as several distributors have stopped carrying the channel in recent years.

The creation of MeTV Toons is no doubt thanks to the success of MeTV’s weekday morning strip Toon In With Me, which shows classic animation from Warner Bros. and other studios with live-action sketches in between, hosted by Chicago personality Bill Leff and Toony The Tuna. According to Sabin, MeTV’s Saturday Morning Cartoons block – harkening back to when the three major networks filled their Saturday morning schedules with animated fare – outperformed Friends, Law & Order, and The Office’s cable TV airings in the 25-54 demo in the fourth quarter (last fall) of 2023.

Doing voice-over work for the new channel are Bob Bergen, who voiced Porky Pig, Tweety, and Marvin the Martian in recent productions, and animation historian Jerry Beck.

This is the second brand extension using the MeTV name, originally launching in Chicago in 2005 and went national in December 2010. In 2021, Weigel added MeTV Plus, a second classic TV channel featuring mainly programming the regular MeTV no longer had room for. The announcement is timely given this past week, local sister station WCIU parted ways with The CW after five years in an expected move.


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