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Cartoon Network is a television network dedicated to showing nothing but cartoons nonstop, 24/7, 365 days per year, until your eyes burst. Many of their shows were sent by the Comedy Gods, only to be foolishly canceled after a mere one or two seasons.
In its glory days, CN was known for shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Ed, Edd n Eddy, The Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, and Courage the Cowardly Dog. However, these were ousted by faster, stronger shows like Adventure Time, Regular Show, and Uncle Grandpa via the magic of natural selection.
edit 1992–95: The Oncoming Storm
In 1992, Ted Turner acquired Hanna-Barbera during a game of Texas Hold 'Em. Like Majin Buu, by this time he had already absorbed the complete works of MGM, Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, and Popeye into his corporate being. But still Ted Turner hungered for more media might for his cartoon kingdom.
Cartoon Network started with a bang on October 1, 1992. During these first few years, the network was still in its larval state, mostly because they showed nothing but classic cartoons, like Late Night Black and White which showed early black-and-white Fleischer Studios and Walter Lantz shorts. This drew audience away from Turner's other twenty-hour single-genre channel, CNN. Older audiences, especially those with death living just down the hall, would rather watch a cartoon cat and mouse from their childhood shoot at each other than listen to another slow news cycle eat up their twilight years. As if a flock of Daffy Ducks in a V formation, Turner's other networks TNT and TBS carried the fledgling CN with their updraft, passing cartoons like SWAT Kats, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest and 2 Stupid Dogs along to the others like an avian flu.
Everything changed in 1994 when cartoon network dug up Space Ghost out of Turner's animation graveyard and bound his spirit to celluloid to serve them as a hip late night talk show host; however the mind behind Captain Planet insisted they recycle old animation cells as much as possible.
edit 1995–2004: Ages of Animated Empire
In 1995, Turner set up the What a Cartoon! animation showcase to serve as an explosives testing site, and to get some fresh young talent on the scene. The shorts program was a success, causing a chain reaction that produced the famed "Cartoon Cartoons": Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel, The Powerpuff Girls, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and Mike, Lu & Og, yielding a megaton of viewers. In 1996, Turner Broadcasting System preformed the fusion dance with Time Warner, resulting in a gestalt entity with access to all of Warner's animation archives, and paving the way for new DC properties like The Justice League and the Teen Titans.
In 1997, Cartoon Network launched Toonami, in what proved to be one of their most popular blocks. Hosted by Space Ghost villain Moltar (voiced by C. Martin Croker), the block specialized in anime and action cartoons, including Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Gundam Wing, Outlaw Star, Pokemon, Naruto, Samurai Jack, and Mr. Rogers's Action-Packed Neighborhood. Moltar was later replaced by the robot TOM (voiced by Steve Blum and some other guy before him) and his mistress SARA. A Midnight Run was added so that shows like Gundam Wing could be aired uncut or with minimal edits compared to the butchered, kid-friendly daytime airings.
2000 was a quiet year as Ted Turner lay low on his 2 million acre ranch, herding Sheep in the Big City. That year, Cartoon Network also became old enough to branch off into Boomerang. In 2001, Turner was briefly assassinated by Disney before being resurrected due to a combination of time travel and beating death at Baccarat, bringing with him Time Squad, Samurai Jack, and Grim & Evil. Turner also brought Adult Swim, a small cable anomaly located deep within the crusty recesses of CN's nighttime schedule, which specialized in surreal adult-oriented cartoons.
Having seen the future, in 2002 Turner invented Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? and Codename: Kids Next Door inside his deep underground research facilities, and launched the network's first ever feature film, The Powerpuff Girls Movie. In 2003, Turner's deal with death expired, requiring renewal and resulting in the separation of Grim and Evil into The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy and Evil Con Carne.
edit 2004–07: Rise of the Robots
In 2004, Cartoon Network debuted an updated version of its original logo (with the distinct 14-letter original logo being compressed into a mere two letters) and a conspicuous new slogan, "This is Cartoon Network!" Gone were the simplistic, blue-background 2D bumpers of yore; in their place came 2D characters from the network's shows humorously interacting in a vast, interconnected CGI city that likely blew out the network's budget. By now, nearly all of CN's classic programming had been relocated to Boomerang, and that channel had completed its goal of being a shrine to CN's eldest of animation.
By 2004, Cartoon Network had aired enough anime that they could reverse engineer their own, resulting in Megas XLR and Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi. Craig McCracken had already ridden the anime wave, however, and went deeper into the Dreamtime, bringing back Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. For years, Turner had been working on an animation supercomputer that could churn out cartoons without any human input; thus, CN became self-aware and the digital animation bomb finally fell on Ed, Edd n Eddy's cul de sac, ending the age of traditional animation in favor of cheap Adobe Flash and soulless CGI.
In 2005, Turner yearned for yet more forms from atop his corporate Skyhook, engineering the Omnitrix from a UFO that crashed into his office, whiles he gazed down upon the pale blue dot; thus he obtained the shapes of The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Camp Lazlo, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, and Ben 10. Turner also brought back the concept of an animation proving grounds with Sunday Pants; however, like the shorts it showcased, its time on this earth was brief. While successful with the preteen demographic, CN was less successful with the preschool demographic, as their new block Tickle U quickly sank.
In 2006, Cartoon Network conjured up two new series from its summoning circle: Squirrel Boy and Class of 3000. As with nearly every other series the network churned out in the mid-2000s, they were utterly unremarkable and sank like a stone. That year, CN also unleashed Re-Animated upon the earth after reading from a tomb of eldritch lore reaching into the live action plane. It is with this film that they began to suffer from a case of MTV syndrome, losing sight of their original "Cartoons 24/7 until your eyes explode!" intent.
edit 2007–10: The Great Live-Action Deluge
Turner resigned from his post on February 9, 2007, following a scare in Boston caused by Aqua Teen Hunger Force Lite-Brites that citizens mistook for bombs, merely because they were duct-taped to bridge abutments to garner publicity by looking like bombs. In an attempt to compete with Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, the network continued succumbing to the effects of the live-action virus; firstly by revamping their look, with bumpers and station IDs themed to live-action kids preppily dancing to garage rock, and secondly by debuting Out of Jimmy's Head, the Re-Animated spinoff that nobody asked for. In addition, the network began importing cheaply-made Canadian programs, such as 6teen, Total Drama Island, and Johnny Test.
2008 saw the downward trend continue as Toonami was cancelled, since the Internet had made it easier for otakus to download uncut anime and the block was basically obsolete. Holding the network together during these years were Chowder and Flapjack, who set sea across the airwaves until the digital television transition of 2009 flooded the world. The network's decline culminated in 2009 when they introduced CN Real, a block of live-action reality shows which were basically just poor man's clones of already-poor MTV programs. As a result of these tumultuous changes, millions of viewers turned their backs on Cartoon Network — even children found their new direction to be puzzling. Their ratings tanked, and it looked like the network was on its death throes.
edit 2010–present: Rebirth on a Dying Earth
But then, in 2010, wandering the post apocalyptic animation wastelands with his faithful shape shifting mutant buffalo, Ted Turner had a stroke of luck with a pair of shows: Adventure Time and Regular Show, along with 12 other radioactive elements with shorter animated half lives: The Problem Solverz, The Looney Tunes Show, Secret Mountain Fort Awesome, Level Up, Tower Prep, Green Lantern, Dragons: Riders of Berk, The Amazing World of Gumball, Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, ThunderCats, Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu and Ben 10: Omniverse. These shows arrived like guardian angels, and by the end of 2011 Cartoon Network finally got out of the live-action business and back into the cartoon industry, (with the exception the hybrid live action show The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange and The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange from refugee Nickelodeon ex patriot Nick Canon.
Toonami was briefly revived on April 1, 2012 on Adult Swim, in honor of April Fool's Day. The joke was on Adult Swim, as fans demanded that the network #BringBackToonami permanently. President Barack Obama even did an anti bullying special, but only if they agreed to bring back Toonami; because the world would always need Shonen anime characters to be The Guy like Goku, and teach them the difference between strength and sadism. On May 16, Adult Swim announced that #ToonamisBackBitches and would return May 26, 2012 @ Midnight ET.
2013 saw the release of Teen Titans Go!, Uncle Grandpa, Steven Universe, I Heart Tuesdays, Clarence, Total Drama: All-Stars, Grojband, Beware the Batman, The Tom and Jerry Show, and Legends of Chima from cryostasis. Many of these were older properties whose diseases could now be treated and their terminal lifespans lengthened through the use of highly advanced future medicines.
edit Censorship and historical revisionism
Over the years, in it's Cabinet of Curiosities of celluloid; Cartoon Network had acquired a number of cursed and haunted animated artifacts from a blood stained past. Still wishing to display these items to the public the network hoped that they might showcase some of the Sins of the Father during a Bugs Bunny oeuvre, in an attempt to prevent history from repeating itself and to try to break free from humanity's seemingly endless cycles of violence, drinking, smoking, gunplay and racial intolerance. Though the Turner museum planned to air them at the height of the dark sacred night on, away from the youngest and most impressionable of eyes; they feared repulsion and reprieve, much to the disappointment of historian Whoopi Goldberg, who saw the exhibitions removal as equivalent to robbing others of the knowledge that the atrocious events ever even happened.
edit Programming blocks
edit Adult Swim
A block that showcased classic cartoons your parents and grandparents loved. It is now a separate channel.