Confirming what Fox Broadcasting president Tony Vinciquerra previously told
the network's affiliate board, 4Kids Entertainment Inc. announced
Tuesday that it will program Fox's Saturday-morning block starting in September.
Sources confirmed that 4Kids will pay Fox close to $25 million per year to
program the four-hour block, which runs from 8 a.m. to noon.
Affiliates appeared inclined to give it their blessing: "I think we all felt better
after Tony briefed us on the main points of the deal," said Mark
Higgins, vice president and general manager, WOFL-TV Orlando, Fla.
For one thing, 4Kids has committed to programming at least three hours of
"Federal Communications Commission-friendly" programming within the four-hour block, at least for the first
Affiliates will also get 20 30-second spots to sell in
the block under the new arrangement, four more than they get currently. The deal
with 4Kids is for an initial four-year term, with options to extend it.
"The selection process was arduous, with many fine companies expressing
interest," Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow said in a
press release. "However, 4Kids Entertainment's considerable talent for finding
successful franchises in children's programming, coupled with their proven track
record in the key young boys' demo, will make it possible for the
Saturday-morning block to maintain a competitive edge."
"This agreement is a major milestone for our company," 4Kids chairman and CEO
Al Kahn said in the release. "Fox Broadcasting reaches more than 90 percent
of television homes in the United States."