Kids have been watching Saturday morning cartoons on TV since the dawn of the television age. No more -- at least not on the CBS and NBC local network affiliates, which are dropping Saturday cartoons for expanded news coverage.
This is part of a larger trend toward local weekend newscasts. Cable and independent operators have been chipping away at network audiences to the point where only top-rated shows make money for affiliates. Some shows being dropped, such as "Garfield," "Ninja Turtles" and "Muppet Babies," are big hits in their category -- but they still can't cut it in today's competitive market. They may reappear on cable or on one of the independent stations that drove them off the network schedule.
The move is one example of the dramatically changing face of television. Another may be the appearance of new types of kids' shows. "Foxes Den," a locally produced show slated for later this year, harks back to an earlier, more innocent era of Howdy Doody and Miss Frances of Ding Dong School. Bye, bye, Garfield; welcome Ranger Trish!