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Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs
AnimaniacsLogo
Abbreviation A!
Creator(s) Tom Ruegger
Executive producer Steven Spielberg
Run 1993-98
Episodes 99 (plus 1 movie)
Original network Fox Kids (1993-95)
Kids' WB! (1995-2000)


Steven Spielberg presents Animaniacs is an American animated series, distributed by Warner Bros. and produced by Amblin Entertainment. The cartoon was the second animated series produced by the collaboration of Steven Spielberg and Warner Bros. Animation during the animation renaissance of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The studio's first series, Tiny Toon Adventures, was a success among younger viewers, and attracted a sizable number of adult viewers. The comedy of Animaniacs was a broad mix of old-fashioned wit, slapstick, pop culture references, and cartoon violence and wackiness. The show also featured a number of educational segments that covered subjects such as history, mathematics, geography, science, and social studies. Animaniacs first aired on FOX Kids from 1993 until 1995 and later appeared on The WB from 1995 to 2000 as part of its Kids' WB! afternoon programming block. The series had a total of 99 episodes and one direct-to-VHS film, titled Wakko's Wish.

Origin

WarnerDucks

The original planned stars for Animaniacs.

Animaniacs was already in production while the crew was still focused on Tiny Toon Adventures. WB planned the new animated series as early as 1991. Many ideas were planned for the new show, then junked. One idea from Tom Ruegger was to have Rita and Runt do the host segments. Buttons and Mindy came from Spielberg's daughter Jessica. When someone came up with the Warner Brothers, they were originally to have been ducks. However, with Daffy Duck, Plucky Duck, and so many other ducks on TV (such as those from Disney), the crew decided that ducks had been "done to death", so they came up with completely new designs for the main trio.

Protowarners

The original Warner Brothers: Yakky, Smakky, Wakky, and "Proto-Dot".

Initially, there were three Warner brothers, named Yakky, Smakky, and Wakky, who would be accompanied by an unnamed girl had a crush on Yakky. Eventually, the Smakky and Wakky characters were combined into one, and the characters were renamed Yakko, Wakko, and Dot.

History on the air

The show was picked up by the FOX network, who ordered 65 episodes, and placed in a very important ratings slot on weekday afternoons -- between Tiny Toon Adventures, another show made by Spielberg and Ruegger and a very popular show with kids and adults, and the critically acclaimed Batman: The Animated Series. During its first season, the show attracted even more people of all ages, and, with Tiny Toons, Batman, and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, frequently won its timeslot against competing shows from the Disney Afternoon, Goof Troop and Darkwing Duck. With its insane popularity, WB ordered a theatrical short, titled "I'm Mad." However, FOX decided not to order any more episodes of Animaniacs, so the second "season" was made up of rejected scripts and holdovers from season one. The series was popular enough for Warner Bros. Animation to invest in additional episodes of Animaniacs past the traditional 65-episode marker for syndication.[1] Animaniacs premiered on the new "Kids' WB" line-up on September 9, 1995,[2] with a new season of 13 episodes.[3] At this time, the show's popular cartoon characters, Pinky and the Brain, were spun-off from Animaniacs into their own TV series.[4] While on "Kids' WB", Animaniacs gathered over one million children viewers every week.[5] However, Animaniacs was only successful in an unintended way, bringing in adult viewers and viewers outside the "Kids' WB" target demographic of very small children.[3] This unintended result of adult viewers and not enough very young viewers put pressure on the WB Network from advertisers and caused dissatisfaction from the WB network towards Animaniacs.[3] Slowly, orders from the WB for more Animaniacs episodes dwindled and Animaniacs made it through a couple more short seasons, relying on leftover scripts and storyboards.[6][3] The fourth season had eight episodes, which was reduced from 18 because of the WB's dissatisfaction with Animaniacs.[3] Finally, in 1998, Animaniacs was cancelled by the WB, led by executive Jamie Kellner, who has also been held responsible for the cancellations of Freakazoid! and Pinky and the Brain.[7] The 99th and final Animaniacs episode was aired on November 14, 1998.[8] Afterwards, Animaniacs segments were being shown along with segments from other cartoons as part of The Cat&Birdy Warneroonie PinkyBrainy Big Cartoonie Show.[9] On December 21, 1999, a direct-to-video movie starring the Warners, titled Wakko's Wish, was released.[5] After Animaniacs, Spielberg collaborated with Warner Bros. Animation again to produce the short-lived series Freakazoid, along with the Animaniacs spin-off series Pinky and the Brain, from which Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain was later spun off. Warner Bros. also produced three other series in the later half of the decade titled Histeria!, Toonsylvania, and Detention. Later, Warner Bros. cut back the size of its animation studio because the show Histeria! went over its budget,[10] and most production on further Warner Bros. animated comedy series ceased.[9] Animaniacs, along with Tiny Toon Adventures, continued to rerun in syndication through the 1990s into the early 2000s (decade) after production of new episodes ceased. Animaniacs aired in syndication on the WB's sister network, Cartoon Network, from January 24, 1997[2] until Nickelodeon bought the rights to air the series for spring 2001.[11][12] Animaniacs does not currently air on Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, or its sister network, Nicktoons, nor does it (or any other 1990s Warner Bros. show) air on Boomerang, the usual "dumping ground" for Warner Bros.' animated reruns. Although the series was scheduled to re-run on Warner Bros and AOL's new broadband internet channel Toontopia TV,[13] Animaniacs is no longer a featured show on the site. The show aired on the Australian digital channel GO! from August 2011 to October 2011 but has now returned to the channel on November 2011. The theme song is presented unaltered.[14]

Broadcast history

USA


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