Sunday, October 2, 2011

Weasel of the Week: Stuart Snyder

To hardcore cartoon fans, Stuart Snyder, programming director at Cartoon Network and Boomerang, is public enemy #1. Over the course of the last 4 years, Snyder has experimented with placing live-action programming on CN in an effort to compete with Disney Channel and its sister network, DisneyXD, as well as industry leader Nickelodeon. The biggest difference is that Disney Channel & Nickelodeon have always been a mixture of animated and live-action programming from the very start! Snyder's misguided thinking is that he feels the need to jumpstart his channel's ratings by copycatting what the other guys have been doing, and, well, he's failing!

Nickelodeon has been around for more than 30 years. Disney Channel came into existence in the 80's. Cartoon Network arrived in 1992, followed by Boomerang in 2000. Snyder doesn't care that he continues to alienate his audience with the continuing intrusion of live-action programming. Some series, such as Dude, What Would Happen? & Destroy, Build, Destroy, have been successful. The first live-action, ongoing series, Out of Jimmy's Head, which had cartoon elements, fell victim to the 2007-8 writer's strike, and was flopping, anyway. The Othersiders, which amounted to a cross-section of The X-Files and Scooby-Doo, was a dismal failure. Their 1-hour dramas, Tower Prep & Unnatural History, bombed. The message was sent, loud & clear, but the only one not listening is Snyder, who stubbornly presses on.

Now, he takes his campaign to Boomerang. It's not enough that the 1992 animated Addams Family is on the schedule, starting tomorrow. While the 1973 series languishes in the vaults, Snyder has decided to add the original live-action series with John Astin (who reprised his role as Gomez Addams for the 1992 cartoon) to the line-up, along with that other spook-com, The Munsters, which didn't have a cartoon follow-up or any prior toon connection. Munsters will air twice daily at 2 & 7 pm (ET) for this month, and this is only because TBS, which has previously been home to both sitcoms, doesn't have room for them now. That can be blamed on TBS' programmers insisting on airing more contemporary series in double-play (back-to-back) blocks and not breaking from that format beyond the baseball playoffs.

The bottom line is, Snyder doesn't give a rat's butt what we old school toon fans want or think. That puts him in a class with business weasels like Vince McMahon & Knicks/Rangers owner James Dolan, whose selfishness gets in the way of business. It also gets Snyder the dreaded double whammy of a dunce cap and a pair of weasel ears for being insensitive to viewer concerns. Screw the ratings. When it comes to Boomerang and Cartoon Network, as the viewers have already proven, what they say goes. It's just too bad Snyder doesn't get the message.


magicdog said...

They're also likely going with live programming because it is cheaper to produce (why else would reality shows be so popular?) and they figure viewers are too dumb to object.

There are truly a lot of classic toons just languishing in the vaults that should have been put into rotation; many of which aren't on DVD either. I know Boomerang has to be concerned about how often they should run cartoons that are out of production to keep viewers interested, but I keep seeing the same toons go in and out of rotation about every six months!

"Space Stars" hasn't been on Boomerang in years! What about "Superfriends"? "Battle of the Planets"? Heaven knows there are plenty more I can't think of right now!

hobbyfan said...

I feel your pain, Magicdog. Who'd ever think a major corporation like Time Warner would go el scrimpo and screw over the audience of two of their cable channels?

Part of the reason Super Friends isn't on Boomerang anymore isn't so much the fact that most of the franchise is on DVD, but rather that WB wants Da Boom to pony up some extra cheddar to renew licensing fees, something that shouldn't be happening laterally within the framework of that conglomerate.

magicdog said...

That is insane!

Boomerang is a spinoff of CN which is owned by Time Warner. So the corporation wants more money from itself?

Apparently business school has changed since I went to college!

Don't get me started with adding The Munsters to the lineup! That was a good show for Nick or [the old] Nick @ Nite. Or perhaps a superstation. Sure it's cartooney but....not what I signed up for when I had the channel added.

hobbyfan said...

The only thing that will reverse the tide is if Time Warner, once they see that CN/Boomerang are starting to lose not only viewers and ratings but also all-important ad revenues, will finally get a clue and dump Snyder and his sidekick, Rob Sorcher. The two of them know nothing about programming an all-animation channel, nor do they care to learn. Instead of letting CN/Boomerang stand out, they're forcing the two channels to fall back into the pack, if you will.

JoseRA said...

Just this past November I started to think why Cartoon Network has not been putting these cartoons such as the PPG, Teen Titans, etc. Being very curious, I researched about this cause and found out that Jim Samples, the ex-president of Cartoon Network and a perfect fit to make entertainment on the program, quit cause of this boston bomb thing, and then Stuart Snyder came along. Now that I clicked on this link, Stuart Snyder is nothing but a real stubborn leader. I just hope that if these "Problem Solverz" find out REALLY soon that Stuart Snyder is definately not, you know, "like Jim Samples".

hobbyfan said...

"The Boston bomb thing" Jose refers to is a publicity stunt tied to a movie based on Aqua Teen Hunger Force that was released a few years back. Jim Samples lost his job so the network could save face, but they actually lost it because his replacement is a tool.