The news hit Hollywood hard today. Despite a slate of new summer series, it was a disappointing summer for the TV networks, with household viewing down 6% compared to last year.
Some cable networks are scrambling for new viewers. This morning, the Cartoon Network started a two hour block of programming for preschoolers, even children under a year old.
To tailor the cartoon block to make it more appropriate for young kids, the "Tickle U" block contains no shows longer than 11 minutes (most are closer to five minutes). Commercials are shown only on the half-hour, not between every cartoon.
Advertisers are also very keen on getting their products to this new demographic.
"This is a great advance for all of us in the advertising industry," said Morton Phonyperson, president of the Baby Advertising Council. "I look forward to the day when babies across America say "Sugar Frosted Flakes" as their first words rather than "Mama, mama."
FOX, seeing potential in this new area of programming, has gone one step further by ordering 13 episodes of "Prenatal P.I.," a procedural drama about a 3 month old fetus who helps her police detective mother solve crimes at a Los Angeles C.S.I. crime lab.