Having experienced a ratings growth of 30% since the debut of last fall’s all-Nelvana-produced Saturday morning KidShow, CBS has decided to refocus the block, but stay with the Canadian studio. Three younger-skewing shows will be replaced with new series on October 2, in an effort to zero in on boys ages seven to 11. The new shows include New Tales from the Cryptkeeper (a Nelvana series that previously aired on ABC, for which new episodes have been created), Blaster’s Universe (based on an interactive game) and Rescue Heroes (the only show in the lineup that Nelvana did not retain merchandising rights to). The new lineup is designed to skew similarly to ABC’s Disney’s One Saturday Morning block, but slightly more boy-oriented, says Toper Taylor, president of Nelvana Communications. ‘It’s definitely softer than Fox Kids and Kids’ WB!,’ he says. ‘Hopefully not only children but parents will guide kids to CBS, because of its educational aspect.’
Of the new shows, Rescue Heroes will be the most heavily promoted, thanks to the simultaneous launch of a new Rescue Heroes toy line from Mattel, which has merchandising rights to the series. Cross-promotions include ad spots, an as-yet-unannounced fast-food promotion in 2000, plus a ‘local hero’ campaign at retail with achievers entered to win an appearance in a spotlight segment at the end of each show, says Brian O’Neal, VP children’s programming at CBS. The show concerns heroic characters who promote preparation and ‘safety first’ during daring rescue missions.
Blaster’s Universe is based on the educational CD-ROM series from Knowledge Adventure. A million coupon inserts to the game will highlight the CBS series, as will retail promotional tie-ins, says Taylor. The toon revolves around central characters who try to save the universe from intergalactic villains.
New Tales from the Cryptkeeper is co-produced with Belgium-based production company Neurones. Each week, new tales are presented by the ghoulish Cryptkeeper host, teaching kids valuable life lessons. On-air promotions produced by CBS feature live-action kids against a CGI background, and will tout New Tales from the Cryptkeeper and all the other CBS KidShow offerings, including returning series Anatole, Flying Rhino Junior High and Mythic Warriors: Guardians of the Legend. VR