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Archive for May, 2011

Freakazoid Schedule Archive
Kids’ WB! 1995-96

Kids’ WB! Year One 1995-96

WEEK ONE

SHOW #1
Five Day Forecast
Dance of Doom
Hand Man
9-9-95

WEEK TWO

SHOW #2
Candle Jack
Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet
The Lobe
9-16-95

WEEK THREE

SHOW #3
Mo-Ron
The Sewer Rescue
The Big Question
The Legends Who Lunch
9-23-95

WEEK FOUR

SHOW #4
And Fan Boy is his Name
Lawn Gnomes: Ch. IV – Fun in the Sun
Freak’s French Lesson
9-30-95

WEEK FIVE

SHOW #1
Five Day Forecast
Dance of Doom
Hand Man
10-7-95

WEEK SIX

SHOW #5
Foamy the Freakadog
Office Visit
Ode to Leonard Nimoy
Emergency Broadcast System
10-14-95

WEEK SEVEN

SHOW #3
Mo-Ron
The Sewer Rescue
The Big Question
The Legends Who Lunch
10-21-95

WEEK EIGHT

SHOW #2A
The Cloud
Candle Jack
10-28-95

WEEK NINE

SHOW #6
The Chip (ACTS I – III)
11-4-95

WEEK TEN

SHOW #7
The Chip – Act IV
Freakazoid is History
11-11-95

WEEK ELEVEN

SHOW #8
Hot Rods from Heck
A Time for Evil
11-18-95

WEEK TWELVE

SHOW #9
Relax-O-Vision
Fatman and Boy Blubber
Limbo Lock-up
Terror Palace
11-25-95

WEEK THIRTEEN

SHOW #5
Foamy the Freakadog
Office Visit
Ode to Leonard Nimoy
Emergency Broadcast System
12-2-95

WEEK FOURTEEN

SHOW #4A
And Fan Boy is his Name
Freak’s French Lesson
Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet
12-9-95

WEEK FIFTEEN

SHOW #10
In Arms Way
The Cloud
12-16-95

WEEK SIXTEEN

SHOW #6
The Chip – Acts I-III
12-23-95

WEEK SEVENTEEN

SHOW #7
The Chip – Act IV
Freakazoid is History
12-30-95
Special
Nerdator
12-31-95

WEEK EIGHTEEN

SHOW #8
Hot Rods from Heck
A Time for Evil
1-6-96

WEEK NINETEEN

SHOW #9
Relax-O-Vision
Fatman and Boy Blubber
Limbo Lock-up
Terror Palace (Huntsman #2)
1-13-96

WEEK TWENTY

SHOW #1
Five Day Forecast
Dance of Doom
Hand Man
1-20-96

WEEK TWENTY-ONE

SHOW #2
Candle Jack
Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet
The Lobe
1-27-96

WEEK TWENTY-TWO

SHOW #11
Next Time, Phone Ahead
Nerdator
2-3-96

WEEK TWENTY-THREE

SHOW #12
House of Freakazoid
Sewer or Later
2-10-96

WEEK TWENTY-FOUR

SHOW #13
The Wrath of Guitierrez
2-17-96

WEEK TWENTY-FIVE

SHOW #4
And Fan Boy is His Name
Lawn Gnomes: Ch. IV – Fun in the Sun
Freak’s French Lesson
2-24-96

WEEK TWENTY-SIX

SHOW #3
Mo-Ron
The Sewer Rescue
The Big Question
The Legends Who Lunch
3-2-96

WEEK TWENTY-SEVEN

SHOW #10
In Arms Way
The Cloud
3-9-96

WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT

SHOW #5
Foamy the Freakadog
Office Visit
Ode to Leonard Nimoy
Emergency Broadcast System
3-16-96

WEEK TWENTY-NINE

SHOW #6
The Chip – Acts I-III
3-23-96

WEEK THIRTY

SHOW #7
The Chip – Act IV
Freakazoid is History
3-30-96

WEEK THIRTY-ONE

SHOW #8
Hot Rods From Heck
A Time For Evil
4-6-96

WEEK THIRTY-TWO

SHOW #9
Relax-O-Vision
Fatman and Boy Blubber
Limbo Lock-up
Terror Palace (Huntsman #2)
4-13-96

WEEK THIRTY-THREE

SHOW #3
Mo-Ron
The Sewer Rescue
The Big Question
4-20-96

WEEK THIRTY-FOUR

SHOW #1
Five Day Forecast
Dance of Doom
Hand Man
4-27-96

WEEK THIRTY-FIVE

SHOW #11
Next Time, Phone Ahead
Nerdator
5-4-96

WEEK THIRTY-SIX

SHOW #12
House of Freakazoid
Sewer or Later
5-11-96

WEEK THIRTY-SEVEN

SHOW #2
Candle Jack
Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet
The Lobe
5-18-96

WEEK THIRTY-EIGHT

SHOW #4
And Fan Boy is His Name
Lawn Gnomes: Ch. IV – Fun in the Sun
Freak’s French Lesson
5-25-96

WEEK THIRTY-NINE

SHOW #10
In Arms Way
The Cloud
6-1-96

WEEK FORTY

SHOW #6
The Chip – Acts I-III
6-8-96

WEEK FORTY-ONE

SHOW #7
The Chip – Act IV
Freakazoid is History
6-15-96

SHOW #5A
Five Day Forecast
Candle Jack
Foamy the Freakadog
6-16-96

WEEK FORTY-TWO

SHOW #13
The Wrath of Guiterrez
6-22-96

SHOW #8A
Emergency Broadcast System
Hot Rods from Heck
The Lobe
6-23-96

WEEK FORTY-THREE

SHOW #9
Relax-O-Vision
Fatman and Boy Blubber
Limbo Lock-up
Terror Palace (Huntsman #2)
6-29-96

WEEK FORTY-FOUR

SHOW #3
Mo-Ron
The Sewer Rescue
The Big Question
The Legends Who Lunch
7-6-96

WEEK FORTY-FIVE

SHOW #10
In Arms Way
The Cloud
7-13-96

WEEK FORTY-SIX

SHOW #11
Next Time, Phone Ahead
Nerdator
7-20-96

WEEK FORTY-SEVEN

SHOW #12
House of Freakazoid
Sewer or Later
7-27-96

WEEK FORTY-EIGHT

SHOW #4A
Freak’s French Lesson
And Fan Boy is His Name
Toby Danger in Doomsday Bet
8-3-96

WEEK FORTY-NINE

SHOW #1
Five Day Forecast
Dance of Doom
Hand Man
8-10-96

WEEK FIFTY

SHOW #6
The Chip – Acts I-III
8-17-96

WEEK FIFTY-ONE

SHOW #7
The Chip – Act-IV
Freakazoid is History
8-24-96

WEEK FIFTY-TWO

SHOW #13
The Wrath of Guitierrez
8-31-96

Freakazoid Schedule Archive
Kids’ WB! 1996-97

Kids’ WB! Year Two 1996-97

WEEK ONE

SHOW #14
Dexter’s Date
9-7-96

WEEK TWO

SHOW #15
The Freakazoid
9-14-96

WEEK THREE

SHOW #5A
Five Day Forecast
Candle Jack
Foamy the Freakadog
9-21-96

WEEK FOUR

SHOW #16
Mission: Freakazoid
9-28-96

WEEK FIVE

SHOW #8
Hot Rods from Heck
A Time for Evil
10-5-96

WEEK SIX

SHOW #11
Next Time Phone Ahead
Nerdator
10-12-96

WEEK SEVEN

SHOW #15
The Freakazoid
10-19-96

WEEK EIGHT

SHOW #12
House of Freakazoid
Sewer or Later
10-26-96

WEEK NINE

SHOW #18
Virtual Freak
11-2-96

WEEK TEN

SHOW #19
Hero Boy
11-9-96

WEEK ELEVEN

SHOW #17
A Matter of Love
11-16-96

SHOW #14
Dexter’s Date
11-22-96

WEEK TWELVE

SHOW #22A
Statuesque
11-29-96

WEEK THIRTEEN

SHOW #16
Mission: Freakazoid
12-6-96

WEEK FOURTEEN

SHOW #10A
In Arms Way
The Cloud
12-13-96

WEEK FIFTEEN

SHOW #6A
The Chip: Acts I-III
12-20-96

WEEK SIXTEEN

SHOW #7A
The Chip: Act IV
Freakazoid is History
12-27-96

WEEK SEVENTEEN

SHOW #13
The Wrath of Guitierrez
1-3-97

WEEK EIGHTEEN

SHOW #18
Virtual Freak
1-10-97

WEEK NINETEEN

SHOW #9
Relax-O-Vision
Fatman and Boy Blubber
Limbo Lock-up
Terror Palace (Huntsman #2)
1-17-97

WEEK TWENTY

SHOW #17
A Matter of Love
1-24-97

WEEK TWENTY-ONE

SHOW #3
Mo-Ron
The Sewer Rescue
The Big Question
The Legends Who Lunch
1-31-97

WEEK TWENTY-TWO

SHOW #21
Island of Dr. Mystico
2-7-97

WEEK TWENTY-THREE

SHOW #23
Two Against Freak
2-14-97

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The following is an article about Kids’ WB!. It is posted without permission.

The new face in toontown. (Kids WB chief Jamie Kellner)(Special Report: Kids TV)

April 17, 1995

-By Eric Schmuckle

It’s not often that a major institution is created in the television business. In kids programming, two serious entities have come to power in the last decade – the Disney Afternoon and Fox Children’s Network. On Saturday, Sept. 9, the fledgling Warner Bros. Network will launch Kids WB. The goal, says network chief Jamie Kellner, “is to be the most important player in kids. In the next decade, we can beat FCN.” Kellner has gone so far as to predict that WB will quickly knock one of the established networks out of the Saturday morning kidvid race: “Do we have both ABC and CBS in Saturday morning in our business plan three years out? Absolutely not. They’ll look for ways to protect the programming categories they want to remain strong in, like news and sports. Kids is such a marginal business for them. It’s their business, not mine, but I just don’t think it makes any sense for them.”
Pretty brave talk from a guy whose network barely musters a 3 share in prime time, and whose broadcast coverage reaches a scant 60 percent of the country. But Kellner has good reason to be cocky. As the prime corporate architect of kids colossus FCN, he’s been down this road before. WB will program on both Saturdays and weekdays, which affords the kind of cross-promotional punch that makes FCN so formidable. `FCN showed that multiple dayparts and cross-promotion works,’ he says. `The only company that can structurally compete with Fox is Warners.’
The Warner studio’s heritage in animation is second only to Disney’s. It runs from the classic Looney Tunes to current hits such as Animaniacs and Batman, with a pipeline to golden boy Steven Spielberg. Compared to freshman Fox flops Peter Pan and Piggstown Pigs, Kellner launches Kids WB with a huge head start in programming.
The WB Network `shows its greatest promise in kids,’ says Jeff Segal, president of the Universal Cartoon Studio, who sold a show to WB. `(Warner) goes into kids with a huge advantage and with momentum. They were instrumental in revving FCN up to the high sheen it’s in today.’
WB’s kids gambit is not a sure thing. Its weak station lineup is its Achilles heel. While Warner has so far produced great kids programs for others, this ambitious expansion could stretch its creative resources too thin–or Warner could go back to the same well too often. There are more and stronger kids competitors today than ever. And the kids venture ultimately depends on the long-term survival of the WB Network–no sure thing either.
Success in kids is crucial to Kellner. For one thing, the network has taken a shellacking in prime and could use a little good news. It is gambling big bucks in production money–the Kids WB slate is the most expensive per-minute in kidvid, hands down. And Kellner is counting on kids to help build the parent network. `That’s why it starts in our first season,’ he says. `It’s planting our flag ten feet in front of us.’
Says Jed Petrick, WB’s head of sales, `By September, we’ll have 12 hours on a week–four in prime and eight in kids (three hours on Saturday plus an hour each weekday). We’ll use kids aggressively to promote prime time, where appropriate, and be a little more in control of our promotional destiny. It’ll give us more places to make noise.’
Kids could provide a new programming tack for WB in prime. Although WB made much of having `edgier’ shows that pushed the limit on content (and sometimes suffered with advertisers as a result), it is not lost on Kellner that the gentle family comedy Parent ‘Hood is one of the weblet’s best performers in prime. `We’ll see more of those type shows,’ he says. `We don’t know what our demo is yet. One of our opportunities is the kids business, and it may drive us in a different direction.’ Kellner failed in his full-court press last month to pick up kiddiecom Full House after ABC dropped it.
Nobody expects WB to score a TKO in its maiden season. `I’d expect us to start small and, over the course of the year, to grow,’ says Jean MacCurdy, who wears two hats, president of Warner Bros. Animation and head of programming for Kids WB. `I’d not expect us to be competitive with CBS or ABC this year.’ FCN dominates on Saturdays, with a 6.4 rating/25 share in children 2-11 this season; ABC has a 4.0/16, CBS a 3.6/14. WB guaranteed advertisers a 2 rating for its rookie season, which most buyers consider in the ballpark.
Execs at ABC and CBS scoff at Kellner’s bravado. ABC runs second on Saturday, a spokesperson notes, and in 1993 the company bought DIC, a children’s production house, signalling it intends to stay in the game. CBS kids vp Judy Price calls Kellner’s comments `irresponsible. If you care about the business, why would you want to knock anyone out? As he’s gone too far in matters of taste in prime time, so has he gone too far in his predictions. It’s not good business to be smug.’ That said, another CBS executive notes that after years of kids ratings declines, `This is an important year for us, no question.’
One competitor sure to suffer is Disney, which has the flagship clearance for its syndicated weekday shows on the Tribune Broadcasting stations. Tribune, a partner in the WB network, is contracted to carry the Disney Afternoon for another two seasons, but as of September ’97 that once-mighty block is officially homeless and Kids WB moves in. Disney officials decline comment on their plans beyond a `wait-and-see’ posture. There’s a small chance Disney could gain carriage on UPN’s kids block, but more likely the shows will shift over to the Disney Channel–whether it continues as a pay channel or converts to ad-supported basic, as has been rumored.
WB’s fifth network rival, UPN, is playing a different game in kids. It has only a one-hour block on Sundays, with two shows from Power Rangers svengali Haim Saban, with whom its has a production co-venture. Says Ellen Levy-Sarnoff, UPN’s newly-minted vp of children’s programs, `People do things based on the hottest book or toy or movie. Saban’s success is in bringing out new properties. That’ll be very much our philosophy–the new, the different, the fresh and the best.’
ABC and CBS may be more vulnerable, but the main event is between WB and Fox. FCN president Margaret Loesch certainly considers WB a real threat. `Who thinks it isn’t?’ she asks. `I take them seriously this September.’ The connections between the companies are complex and highly charged. Kids WB is run by Loesch’s former boss (Kellner) and former protege (MacCurdy, who worked for her at NBC, Hanna-Barbera and Marvel Productions). `I liked it better when they were my partners, not my competitors,’ she says.
Warner supplied FCN’s first hits, Tiny Toons and Batman, through a long-term programming deal signed in 1990. Many at Warners feel Fox built its network on the studio’s back. Now Warner will keep its choicest shows for itself, though Loesch says Warner owes her two more shows. Warner’s position: It wants to produce more for FCN but is obligated only to pitch it a certain number of projects. Says Loesch, `If we do buy shows from them, the issue is to make sure they’re strong concepts and not just concepts Warner Bros. doesn’t want.’
Fox and Warner tussled a year ago over Fox’s option on Animaniacs. Fox couldn’t find room on its weekday schedule for the show because of other commitments, so the show will become WB’s flagship after this season. Last month, Fox moved the Saturday edition of Animaniacs to the low-rated 8 a.m. slot. MacCurdy believes Fox wouldn’t have done that if it had the show next season.
For MacCurdy, the Kids WB is a chance to build an asset, as Loesch has done, and to expand her production scope. She came to Warner Bros. Animation in 1988 (her second stint there) and helped return it to preeminence. Now her unit will produce four of the six half-hours on Saturday.The distinctive Warner stamp is an asset, but can there be too much of a good thing?
`In the first year, the big push we wanted to have was comedy,’ she says. `There’s a lot of action out there, so this is good counterprogramming. I think we’ll be the place for laughs. Our schedule needs to have some diversity in look and concept, and if we’re producing all of it, that won’t happen.’
With only one show produced by an outside supplier, it’s no wonder kids producers have grumbled that Kids WB seemed like a closed shop this year. `Pinky and the Brain was the wild card,’ MacCurdy explains, referring to the Animaniacs spinoff. `The potential for that show’s success was pretty high, as opposed to going with something brand new. Seeing what I saw on the outside, I have real faith in Pinky.’
There’s no argument that WB has the creative firepower. Animaniacs is a proven hit, the top cartoon on Saturday mornings. Half of its Saturday lineup is executive produced by Steven Spielberg–the new Freakazoid, Pinky and the Brain and fresh episodes of Animaniacs.
Spielberg does little more than collect checks for such prime time shows as E.R. and seaQuest, but he is deeply involved in his cartoons with Warner. `He was just over here, looking at character designs, storyboards,’ reports MacCurdy. And he’s not above an in-joke. When one Animaniacs episode called for an image of a heartless, driven studio exec, the animators drew in a caricature of Jeffrey Katzenberg, Spielberg’s DreamWorks partner and buddy.
Spielberg’s input is not cheap, and whatever Steven wants, Steven gets. He was the one who suggested creating an original music score for every episode of Animaniacs–very expensive, but `the sound sets us apart from everything else in animation,’ says MacCurdy. The Spielberg shows cost well over $500,000 per episode to produce–perhaps $150,000 more than the average network cartoon. And rest assured that Spielberg’s personal take is substantial.
At those prices, it’s tough for Warner to recoup its investment. It needs big ratings–and it needs to sell toys and videotapes and albums and maybe get a theme park attraction out of it. MacCurdy expects Animaniacs to turn a profit next season, its third, but only because the show is a hit. `Animaniacs is as close to a classic as we’ve done,’ she says. `I don’t know if you can plan on creating a hit, but we do everything we can to ensure it.’
MacCurdy bought only two shows from outsiders: Earthworm Jim from Universal and Adventure Man from Indigo Entertainment. Indigo is a subsidiary of Grey Advertising, which happens to be the biggest spender in kids TV and is Warner’s agency-of-record for movie advertising to boot.
Indigo president Rob Sorcher says Jon Mandel, Grey’s TV supremo, introduced him to Kellner and MacCurdy, but the show sold on its own merits. `We’ve got ideas and we know the kids business,’ Sorcher says, `but we need to draw that line.’ The live-action show, produced by Warner Bros. Television, will carry a Warner copyright.
That leaves Earthworm Jim as the only non-Warner show. `They’ve bent over backward to be hospitable–making us feel part of the schedule, including us in promotion,’ says Universal’s Segal. `They’re trying to prove they’re creator-friendly.’ WB is paying Universal a license fee `on the low side compared to the broadcast nets,’ he says, probably around $225,000 an episode.
The money WB is spending is impressive to advertisers, who supported the new network with $23 million in the February kids upfront. `I think they’ve got a future in kids,’ says Julie Friedlander of Ogilvy & Mather. `They’re definitely worth taking a risk on.’
`They’re making a helluva commitment,’ says Mandel. `Six shows is $3 million a week; for 13 episodes, that’s $40 million for programming. After commission, call it $19 million in ads. They’re knowingly doing that. If it helps make the network, it’s part of the start-up cost.’ Mandel is not such a booster that he believes WB’s guarantee of a 2 rating: `They’ll do between a 1.5 and a 2, and they’ll be fine.’
Even WB’s weak station lineup is not insurmountable, says Mandel, `because it’s kids. Kids are the first discoverers–as long as the coolest kid in the schoolyard says he saw this cool show on channel 78, everyone in the schoolyard will be watching.’
Tom Horner, media director on the Tyco account at Bozell, says clearance is `the whole issue. If you don’t have a good clearance, you can’t get a good rating.’ He notes that fewer than half a dozen weekly shows in syndication do a 2 rating, so how can WB do that as an average with only 60 percent broadcast clearance? Still, Horner says, `When they take the Disney time periods, then it’s a home run.’
WB’s clearance list has its share of kinks. It uses Tribune’s WGN superstation for coverage where there’s no broadcast affiliate, but that has proved a pretty flimsy crutch in prime. Since WGN has a single national feed, the Saturday lineup will start at 6 a.m. on the West Coast. And Tribune will not carry Kids WB in Chicago–the kids shows will run there on WCIU/Channel 26, the former Univision station that recently went indie. In a handful of markets, including Dallas and Atlanta, the WB affiliate is also the FCN affiliate, so the WB shows will likely run out of pattern. WB could benefit in those markets, though, from less competition and more effective promotion.
`We think it’s going to be real important,’ says Dennis FitzSimons, executive vp of Tribune Broadcasting. `One of the reasons we got into partnership with Warners is that their animation is so good.’
Altogether, Warner’s prospects in kids are so bright, perhaps the biggest question mark is the network’s status overall. Put another way, can WB survive long enough in prime to become a top player in kids?
That largely depends on how long Tribune hangs in there. `We’d like the ratings to be higher, but we never thought this would be an overnight smash success,’ says FitzSimons. `Jamie’s got a good creative and promotion team. We continue to be enthused, and are very hopeful and confident that ultimately this will work out.’
Ever the cool salesman, Kellner chuckles at the question of his network’s survival. `This takes many years to do and it’s very hard to do. And comedy is harder–we’ve invested our time in comedy, though it’s easier to get a base in action. A number of our shows are doing well or growing nicely. We’ve had a good year in putting the seeds together. And we haven’t even broke a sweat.’

Copyright ASM Communications, Inc. (1995)

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The following is part of an article written by Greg Spring on December 9, 1996. It is posted without permission.

Name-droppers: What’s in a name? Ask Fox’s children’s television division. The service started out in 1990 as Fox Children’s Network, or FCN. Gradually, it became known as Fox Kids Network-but retained the initials FCN. Later, it began calling itself FKN on second reference, but perhaps a few at Fox realized that the acronym could also be shorthand for a rather, um, not child-friendly term. Now Fox Kids Network has banished ”FKN” in favor of the abbreviated reference ”Fox Kids” but is still using ”FCN” as well. A Fox Kids spokesperson said the ”Fox Kids” abbreviation is permanent.

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The following are posts that John Semper wrote in Usenet discussion groups in the late 1990’s. They are copied here without his permission.

[03/22/98]
Actually, “Dog City” began as a live-action, one-hour muppet comedy special that appeared on the anthology series “The Jim Henson Hour” which aired on NBC in prime time.

Even further back than that, the original genesis of “Dog City” was as a one-hour musical special called “Puppy Love” which I wrote for the Henson company. “Puppy Love” was originally planned as a made-for-video “Jim Henson Story Book” release, but when Jim sold the “Henson Hour” to NBC, he decided to re-work the story to make the humor more sophisticated for a prime time audience.

So “Puppy Love” was never filmed. But since the puppets had been constructed, they were all used for “Dog City.” Although I started work on “Dog City,” I had to drop out of the project because of the Writer’s Guild strike, and the Henson Company got a Canadian writer to complete it.

I subsequently am still, however, considered a co-creator of the original “Dog City” and the characters are based on the puppets that were created for “Puppy Love.”

How’s that for obscure, useless trivia?

John Semper
Producer/Story Editor
“Spider-Man”

[02/08/97]
>What I find strange is that Y-tv in Canada hasn’t run any repeats of Spiderman. In fact for most of this season Y-tv has been running episodes a week in advance of FOX.

From the start, the “Spider-Man” production schedule was geared toward producing more episodes each season than were actually needed for airing on Fox Children’s Network. New World (the entity producing the series) sold the series in overseas syndication and foreign territories very aggressively and promised those markets many more episodes per year than FCN needed.

As of this writing, most of Spider-Man’s 65 episode production order had been completed, and those episodes will be sent out into syndication ouside [sic] of the U.S. as quickly as possible. Fox has the option of airing as many of these new episodes this season as they want, or holding some back for next season.

I personally hope they air them all this season!

John Semper

Producer “Spider-Man”

[02/14/97]
>Er…does this mean that Spider-Man is near the end of its run, or will episodes beyond the 65 needed for syndication be produced?

Fox doesn’t want to continue Spider-Man. It has nothing to do with ratings, since Spidey has been very successful. It’s personal. Fox now wants to do all its Marvel animation with Saban, period. They dedicated themselves to shutting down Marvel Films Animation (the company that produced Spider-Man) and they have. End of story. If they were to pick up Spider-Man for more episodes, they’d probably have to do so under an existing contract that would exclude Saban, so they just won’t continue the series. Seems silly doesn’t it?

But it’s okay with me. By episode 65 I wrapped up the “saga” that I wanted to tell, so I feel like my work had a beginning, middle and end. The last episode is entitled “Farewell Spider-Man” and I meant it.

>The last few years, it seems Saturday morning has been the only place to find the characters I remember so fondly from my
>youth. They certainly haven’t been seen at Marvel comics lately!

From the beginning I wanted to make watching Spider-Man “feel” like reading a comic from his heyday in the sixties and seventies. Back then the Spidey stories were good adventure and good, complicated soap-opera. I was fortunate enough not to have to answer to anybody at Marvel Comics (all of whom have been fired by now — ha!) so I was able to keep my Spidey universe free from all of the weak writing that was destroying the comics. So you are the kind of viewer that I especially wanted to reach with the series.

John Semper

Producer:  Spider-Man

[02/22/97]
>>>Now my question: The first three arcs are 40 episodes in total.
>>How long is “Partners in Danger,” and what comes after that?

Partners in Danger is eleven “chapters” (episodes). Then there’s a single episode in between. The next arc is “Six Forgotten Warriors”, followed by a two-part “Return of Hydro-Man”. Then three chapters of “Secret Wars” (yes, we did a version of that!) are followed by a two part finale entitled “Spider-Wars”.

Actually, “Six Forgotten Warriors” isn’t an “arc” as it is a “movie”. I figured that the powers-that-be at Marvel would never officially let me write a Spider-Man movie, so I used five episodes of the series to write my own. Unlike the other arcs which were all plotted as single episodes, “Six Forgotten Warriors” was plotted and paced like a movie. The idea is that when it airs, you can tape it, string the episodes together on your own, delete the recaps, and voila, instant Spidey Animated Feature!

Also, the concept of “arcs” was something that Marvel Films Animation NEVER wanted me to do, and something that Fox, although they allowed it and deserve credit for that, was never too keen on (in the end I was expressely told not to have cliffhangers any more). But I always pushed for it because I felt that a continuing story arc was the only way to go for “Spider-Man”. After all, wasn’t that really the main charm of the comic book when it was good?

John Semper

Producer:Spider-Man

>Well said, Mr. Semper!  I want to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed watching your version of Spider-Man, and you certainly
>have a creation to be proud of.  Hats off on an extremely well-written, well-drawn cartoon that I think appeals to Spidey
>fans of all ages.  I know I’ve enjoyed seeing the “classic” stories re-told in a slightly different way.  I hope I will be
>able to see Season # 5.
>Thanks for bringing us Spidey!!

Thanks for being such a supportive fan, Mike. I must say, the fans of Spidey are a classy, well-spoken, intelligent group of folks, and that suits me just fine. Thanks to you all for making it a joy to have been associated with the show.

By the way, I can’t take any credit for the appearance and animation of the show. That was in the hands of Bob Richardson who supervised all the animation and post production. (There is some evidence that Bob occasionally tried to supervise me, but he can’t be blamed for failing at what is essentially an impossible task. I have a nasty habit of grinning like an idiot and agreeing with authority figures, only to turn around and do what I want anyway 😉

Semp.

>>> Thank you for putting the time and effort into what can be now called the best Spider-Man tv show ever..

Thanks for the high praise, Panch. We tried….Heaven knows, we tried……

Semp.

[02/25/97]
>So the official word, I take it, is that these final episodes will be different from the other 52 in that they’ll be *GOOD*?  If this final run manages less infantile scripts and more coherent editing, I’ll be glad to see it come around.

Nope, sorry Terence. Same old stuff that reflects what I like on TV. You better not watch anymore.  😉

>But the regular readers may know the
>reasons behind Spiderman’s demise, for producer
>John Semper himself posted them…..

etc., etc.

Your paraphrasing of me is more convoluted than one of my scripts, but even though I stylistically approve of it, I’m not sure I actually said all of that. You go on about how monopolistic the cartoon market is today.
But Saturday morning animation has always been monopolistic in all of the 17 years that I’ve been working in it (heck, when I started, Hanna-Barbera did EVERYTHING!), so monopolies are nothing new. Nor is competition, limited markets, or erratic behavior on the part of networks. The game is what it is, and nothing new is happening here.

Wait. I take that back. Never have the goofy actions of the major players in Sat. AM been so carefully scrutinized by outsiders before as they are now by our audiences, which I think is healthy overall (whether those audiences share my narrative tastes or not).

All that I was addressing in my earlier messages was the unfortunate situation for myself and the (MANY) fans of the “Spider-Man” series that we’re ending after 65 <<highly-rated>> episodes. The end. I am not waging war against Fox, which has every right to do what it wants, nor TV networks, nor production companies, nor the U.S. Government, nor God.

You are obviously not a fan of the show, so this doesn’t really affect you. That’s fine with me. You can insult the series, criticize the scripts, and do it all in the nude at your keyboard. Just don’t misquote me.

We do agree on one thing, though — that never before has there been so much interesting animated activity on the airwaves, which allows for the kind of experimentation that we fostered in “Spider-Man.”  And that’s good for all of us animation lovers.

>The point, you ask?  Semper’s not alone in losing out for not being one of the crowd at Fox, and we have better shows to complain about 🙂

I don’t like to “complain” about “better” shows, but obviously you do.
Does that mean that if you’re downright insulting, as you are toward “Spider-Man”, that you really think it’s great? I’ll sleep better tonight just thinking so. 😉

By the way, all those “good” writers that you mentioned were chosen by me to work on the show because I think they’re the best and I only wanted the best. And many of them felt that they did some of their finest work on “Spider-Man.” Just ask ’em. More importantly, many of them had fun, ’cause I’m so lovable to work with (and when you do this stuff for a living, that’s sometimes more important than everything else, sorry to say). I think their work was stellar and I look forward to working with them all again soon.

>Peace to you, and good luck on your next project, Mr. Semper.

Peace to you too, Terence. And, really, I like criticism. It keeps me from getting a swelled head, and I like to see if others catch the flaws that bug me. (But you are, of course, wrong. “Spider-Man” is the greatest animated show on TV. How can I think otherwise?)  😉

John Semper

Producer:Spider-Man

[07/13/97]
Nate,
Here’s the answer to your query. Everything is in the correct order.

The ‘Partners in Danger’ Arc:

“Guilty”
“The Cat”
“The Black Cat”
“The Return of Kraven”
“Partners”
“The Awakening”
“The Vampire Queen”
“The Return of the Green Goblin”
“The Haunting of Mary Jane Watson”
“The Lizard King”
“The Prowler”

“The Wedding”

The ‘Six Forgotten Warriors’ Arc:
“The Six Forgotten Warriors”
“Unclaimed Legacy”
“Secrets of the Six”
“The Six Fight Again”
“The Price of Heroism”

“The Return of Hydro Man Part 1”
“The Return of Hydro Man Part 2”

The ‘Secret Wars’ Arc:
“Arrival”
“The Gauntlet of the Red Skull”
“Doom”

The ‘Spider Wars’ Arc:
“I Really, Really Hate Clones”
“Farewell, Spiderman”

>Am I missing any?

Nope.

>Also, does anyone know if “Farewell, Spiderman” is the final episode? It’s a great episode but I hope they don’t end the series with Mary Jane and the original Green Goblin still missing.

“Farewell Spider-Man” was <my> last episode as producer/head-writer. I have a two-parter plotted for how Peter links back up with Mary Jane, but it’ll probably never see the light of day.

The original order was for 65 episodes. We thought they’d continue and go on to 100, (which was why I plotted the two-parter), but they fooled us and shut down the show at the height of its popularity. Clever them.

I think they think “Silver Surfer” is going to be a bigger hit, so we’ll see if they’re right.

As for me, I’m busy right now doing other stuff. But thanks for watching. I really am proud of the Spider-Man show and the work that <all> of the writing staff did..

John Semper

Producer/Writer

“Spider-Man”

P.S. This message is suitable for posting on network executives’ doors.

[10/03/99]
<<That alone is a telltale symptom of creative impotence on the part of animation writers, Scooby-Doo suffered from the same fate.>>

Comments like this are ignorant of the realities of animation production during that decade. In the eighties, cartoon writers had nothing to do with decisions that led to the creation of characters like Scrappy Doo. Those decisions were made exclusively by cartoon company executives and network executives. The writers were hemmed in by all sorts of stupid restrictions dictated by executive-types who didn’t have a clue how to write a grocery list, let alone a cartoon. Every word written was gone over by the network powers that be. As a cartoon writer of the eighties, I always take offense at the idea that we writers had control over anything. We had none, whatsoever. Period. We were constantly under the authority of an endless parade of genuinely stupid network executives who found themselves (sometimes rather inexplicably) in the position of telling us what to do, and many of them were learning the job as they were doing it. We knew more about cartoons than they did, but they were still in charge. Frequently, network execs would openly express great disdain for cartoons, which many of them had never watched or liked as kids. And they were all putting in their time working in the kids TV departments while hoping to “move up” to the more “prestigious” prime-time TV. ( In fact, the few that are still around are all now working for studios as live-action executives).

Look at the evidence. Many of the so-called “animation gods” of today that you all worship worked during that decade on a lot of that crap that you all hate so much. Just as they do today, they knew back then what a good cartoon was. So why weren’t they making them? Simple. They weren’t allowed the freedom to make one back then, because they had no control. None.

So don’t ever blame writers for that eighties crap. The writers all knew it was crap at the time, but it was what the executives wanted. Simply put, if you wanted to write cartoons back then, you had to do it the way they wanted.

John Semper
Producer: “Spider-Man”
Survivor of the eighties

[09/24/95]
To all Marvel, Spider-Man and X-Men fans:

Marvel animation history will be made on two consecutive Saturday mornings when the animated X-Men characters  will be appearing on the animated SPIDER-MAN TV series on Fox. The dates are 9/30 and 10/7. This two-parter is actually chapters four and five of an ongoing fourteen part mini-series currently airing on the Spider-Man series entitled “NEOGENIC NIGHTMARE”.

This TEAM UP is not a brief cameo or small appearance. It is a full-blown team up between Spidey and the X-guys as they help Spidey solve one of the biggest challenges of his (animated) life.

Creative talents from X-MEN TAS joined with the creative staff of “Spider-Man” to make this event true to the spirit of both series. Don’t miss it! It’s only on SPIDER-MAN. It’s only on FOX! You have been warned!

John Semper

Producer/Writer: Spider-Man

Just a note to all you animated Spider-Man and animated X-Men fans out there. Over the next two Saturdays (9/30 and 10/7) the X-Men will be guest-starring on the Spider-Man TV series on Fox. The two-parter is actually chapters four and five of the ongoing fourteen part mini-series entitled “Neogenic Nightmare” that is currently airing on Spider-Man this season. It’s TV’s X-Men, exactly as they appear on their own hit series, joining Spidey in his. Hope you can make it. See ya!

John Semper

Producer/Writer: Spider-Man

[09/26/95]
>Isn’t this, like, the entire season?  Why not go “all the way” and plan a Gargoyles/Exo-Squad/Babylon 5-like continuous flow of story?

We have gone “all the way”. The Spider-Man episodes are all continuous from this point on, even beyond “Neogenic Nightmare”. Actually, I wanted to start that way but production realities wouldn’t allow it.

>This line comes across, to me, like an ad for FOX.  Is that your intent? [I think it’s the word “only”.]

Nah, I have no vested interest in advertising Fox. It is merely a point of clarification. I don’t want people looking for this on “Marvel Action Hour” which is a syndicated show across the nation. Some misinformed souls get Spidey confused with MAH, which is different.

[11/03/95]
: These may be the production numbers and not the order in which they should be viewed.
: Does anyone know for sure??

The production numbers for the episodes of the first season of “Spider-Man” are not in any way related to the order in which they should be viewed. The list in Marvel Age was in the correct order.

All episodes after season #1 have chapter headings and numbers to avoid this confusion. From season #2 on, the episodes are chapters in one continuous story which must be aired in correct order, like a giant mini-series.

Again, the production numbers were for internal use only and have no bearing on the order in which the episodes should be viewed.

John Semper

Producer “Spider-Man”

[10/04/01]
It’s pretty much a network Broadcast Standards and Practices rule that in TV animation for kids nobody is allowed to punch anyone. How those Batman guys got away with it, I’ll never know.

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