Adult Swim
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
Network
Headquarters
Programming
Language(s)
  • English
  • Spanish (with SAP)
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
Ownership
OwnerThe Cartoon Network, Inc.
(Warner Bros. Entertainment)
Sister channels
History
LaunchedSeptember 2, 2001; 19 years ago (2001-09-02)
Links
WebcastLive Simulcast (Available nightly during block's duration as listed above; U.S. pay-TV subscribers only)
Websitewww.adultswim.com
Availability
(nighttime programming block of Cartoon Network)
Cable
Available on most cable providersConsult local listings
Satellite
Dish NetworkChannel 176 (East)
Channel 177 (West)
DirecTVChannel 296 (East)
Channel 297 (West)
Channel 1886 (VOD)
C band
IPTV
CenturyLink Prism
  • Channel 325 (East; SD)
  • Channel 326 (West; SD)
  • Channel 1326 (East HD)
  • Channel 1327 (West HD)
  • Channel 3054 (Spanish feed; SD)
Google FiberChannel 351
Verizon FiOS
  • Channel 257 (SD)
  • Channel 757 (HD)
  • Channel 1726 (SD) (Spanish feed)
AT&T U-verse
  • Channel 325 (East; SD)
  • Channel 326 (West; SD)
  • Channel 1325 (East HD)
  • Channel 1326 (West HD)
Streaming media
YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku

Adult Swim (stylized as [adult swim] or shortened to [as]) is an American adult-oriented nighttime programming block of the basic cable network Cartoon Network that is programmed by its in-house production studio, Williams Street. Marketed as a separate network for ratings purposes, Adult Swim broadcasts nightly from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. ET/PT.

Debuting in 2001, Adult Swim serves as the nighttime identity of Cartoon Network, and it was established as alternative programming during late night hours when Cartoon Network's primary target audience, children between the ages of 7 and 13, would normally be sleeping. By 2005, Adult Swim would be granted its own separate Nielsen ratings report from Cartoon Network due to it targeting a different audience. The block features stylistically varied animated and live-action shows, including original programming, syndicated series, anime, original video animations, and short films with generally minimal or no editing for content.

Adult Swim has frequently aired adult animation features, mockumentaries, sketch comedy, and pilots. The block's shows are known for their sexual themes, frank sexual discussion, nudity, strong language, and graphic violence. Many of its programs are aesthetically experimental, transgressive, improvised, and surrealist in nature. Adult Swim has contracted with various studios known for their productions in absurd and shock comedy.[1]

As with Cartoon Network, Adult Swim's reach through various services totals 94 million American households as of March 2021.[2]

History

Creation and development

See also: Space Ghost Coast to Coast

Cartoon Network's original head programmer, Mike Lazzo, conceived Adult Swim.[3] The block grew out of Cartoon Network's previous attempts at airing content appropriate for teenagers and young adults who might be watching the channel after 11 pm (ET/PT). The network began experimenting with its late night programming by airing anthology shows that presented uncensored classic cartoon shorts, such as ToonHeads, The Bob Clampett Show, The Tex Avery Show, Late Night Black and White, and O Canada. Another block, Toonami's "Midnight Run", aired the network's action programming uncut with minimal edits. At that time, one third of Cartoon Network's audience were adults.[4][5]

During the 1990s, prime time animation geared toward adults started growing popular due to the success of Fox's hit show The Simpsons.[6][7][8] This was followed by a trend of other adult-oriented animated shows throughout the decade, as well as more general-oriented animated series that garnered strong adult followings.

Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Cartoon Network's first foray into original programming, was created in 1994 specifically for late-night adult audiences. The series was created by Mike Lazzo's Ghost Planet Industries, which eventually became Williams Street Studios, the producers and programmers of Adult Swim.[citation needed]

Between 4:00 am and 5:00 am on December 21, and December 30, 2000 (while Space Ghost Coast to Coast was on hiatus), several new Williams Street series made unannounced "stealth" premieres. Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and The Brak Show all premiered unannounced;[9] the official schedules listed the shows as "Special Programming".[10] Prior to that, in Entertainment Weekly, it was stated that Michael Ouweleen's next project was working on the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law Pilot with J.J. Sedelmaier.[11] In a 1999 interview, the indie pop rock band Calamine stated they had recorded the theme song for Sealab 2021.[12] While entertaining pitches for a variety of adult cartoons, Lazzo realized the potential for packaging them as a complete adult-focused block. Different names were considered, including "ibiso", which was said to be Spanish for "stop", and “Parental Warning", "Parental Block" but he eventually settled on "Adult Swim".

Cartoon Network intended to launch the adult animation block on April 1, 2001 but was delayed five months.[13] In June 2001, TV Guide had recorded an interview with Cartoon Network's former president, Betty Cohen. She stated there was a new programming block coming out in September that was aimed for an adult audience.[14][15] During this month at the Cartoon Network Confidential, "Cartoon Network's best originals and outrageous animated shorts for discriminating adults" in New York City, an upcoming episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast titled "Kentucky Nightmare", the stealth pilots from December, Captain Linger, and an episode of Home Movies were screened for free. The screening was part of the Toyota Comedy Festival.[16] On Saturday, July 21, 2001, the Space Ghost Coast to Coast panel at San Diego Comic Con had a trivia game in which the winners won a promotional CD that had the theme songs to the upcoming Adult Swim Shows.[17][18] Everybody who attended got a free Adult Swim t-shirt that was packaged to look like a roll of bandages that a lifeguard might carry.[19]

At the Comic Con, audiences got to see clips of the upcoming shows and vote for what show they wanted to see as a sneak peek. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law was the winner and the pilot was screened. The Leave It to Brak episode "War Next Door" and Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "The Justice Hole" were also screened, as well as clips to the episode "Sweet for Brak".[17] In an interview on creativemac.com on July 25, 2001, J.J. Sedelmaier talked about working on the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law pilot.[20] On August 12, the first commercial advertising the new block aired on Cartoon Network.[21] Around this time a press kit came out that featured towels and a promotional CD.[22][23][24][25] Another press kit that was designed as a first aid kit came with a promo VHS with info on all the shows.[26][27] Access Hollywood also highlighted the upcoming premieres.[28] Print ads were shown in an August issue of Entertainment Weekly. On August 31, adultswim.com officially launched.[citation needed]

2001–2003

The first Adult Swim logo, used from September 2, 2001, to February 23, 2002.
The first Adult Swim logo, used from September 2, 2001, to February 23, 2002.

Adult Swim officially launched on September 2, 2001, at 10 pm (EST), with the original debut airing of the Home Movies episode "Director's Cut",[29] which had been shelved before airing on its original network, UPN. According to Linda Simensky, "We had a bunch of episodes to screen for Mike Lazzo and by only the second episode, he yelled, Buy it!" Cartoon Network bought the original five UPN episodes and ordered eight more to complete the season.[30][31] The series' first season was animated in Squigglevision; later seasons were done in flash animation. The first anime broadcast on the block also aired on the night of its launch, Cowboy Bebop.[32][33] Aqua Teen Hunger Force debuted on the block on September 9, with the episode "Escape from Leprechaupolis". The block initially aired on Sunday nights from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET, with a repeat of the same block on Thursday nights.

Adult Swim had a disclaimer that read "Parents strongly cautioned—the following programs are intended for mature audiences over the age of 18. These programs may contain some material that many parents would not find suitable for children and may include intense violence, sexual situations, coarse language and suggestive dialog."[34]

Adult Swim's original bumpers shown in-between the shows featured footage of elderly people swimming in public pools, eating, exercising, and doing other pool-related activities. It would show signs all around the pool saying things like "Warning Potential Violence", "Warning Strong Language in use", "Caution Sexual Innuendo", "Caution Limited Animation", "No Diving", "No Kids", "Warning Adult Situations",[35] and more. Some of these bumpers were narrated by a lifeguard who spoke through a megaphone. Most notably he would shout "All kids out of the pool". The logo was the words "Adult Swim" in all capital letters (or a alternate version of the logo featured the block's name rendered in red and a black circle background with a yellow penumbra, which also became the official logo from 2002 until 2003), shown after a freeze frame of the footage.[36] Sometimes they were even shown in reverse. The block's original theme music, titled "D-Code," was a remix of "Mambo Gallego" done by the Melbourne musician Dust Devil, originally played by Latin jazz musician Tito Puente, Sr.[37] When the programs were shown on TV, in the right corner of the screen big red letters would say Adult Swim. Two months later, the lettering was changed to white letters.[38]

Some of the bumps on the block included Aquaman Dance Party that featured a cartoon Aquaman dancing in front of live action landfill footage,[39] Captain Linger, a series of shorts created by J. J. Sedelmaier,[40] Watering Hole, a series of shorts about animals talking in a bar created by Soup2Nuts,[41] 1960s Hanna-Barbera action cartoons dubbed with the voices of children,[42] a series of shorts called Not for Air that had the speech of Hanna-Barbera characters bleeped to make it seem like the characters were swearing,[43] The New Adventures of The Wonder Twins,[44] What They're Really Thinking, which had a voice narrate a character's thoughts in a comedic way, and Brak Puppet Party, a puppet show featuring classic Hanna-Barbera characters.[45][46]

Commercials starring characters from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law, and Sealab 2021 started to appear as well, such as 1-800-CALL-ATT,[47] Nestea,[48] Dr Pepper,[49] Coca-Cola,[50] Dodge Ram,[51] Quizno's Sub,[52] Maximum Hair Dye, Verizon Wireless,[53] and movie promos for Austin Powers in Goldmember,[54] Kung Pow Enter the Fist, Eight Legged Freaks,[55] and The Powerpuff Girls Movie.[56] Brak would also host a segment called Adult Swim News.[57] Due to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, episodes of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Cowboy Bebop, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force were delayed.[58][59][60] In the winter of 2001 another Adult Swim CD was made available for free to anyone who purchased issue 28 of Hitch Magazine and the same CD came with issue 29.[61][62]

When the Saturday night block debuted on February 23, 2002, it was known as Adult Swim Action, with various anime programs displayed on the block from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am ET. Thus, programming on the block was divided between Adult Swim Action and Adult Swim Comedy.[63] Adult Swim Comedy was Sunday nights and ran from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. Two days prior, on February 21, Adult Swim stopped airing on Thursday nights. The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and The Popeye Show took Cowboy Bebop's place for 12:00 am and 12:30 am ET. On June 15, 2002, Adult Swim had their first contest called "Adult Swim Happiness Sweepstakes" where winners could win a Master Shake air freshener.[64]

Second logo of Adult Swim, used from February 23, 2002, to May 25, 2003.
Second logo of Adult Swim, used from February 23, 2002, to May 25, 2003.

It became increasingly common for Adult Swim to act as a home for reruns of animated series that had been canceled prematurely, such as Home Movies, Baby Blues, Mission Hill, The Oblongs, The Ripping Friends, Futurama, Family Guy, and God, the Devil and Bob, as well as burn off remaining episodes of said shows that never aired on their original networks, as a result of their premature cancellation. The block obtained Futurama's exclusive pay-TV syndication rights in September 2001 for a reported $10 million,[65] and the series first aired on the network on January 12, 2003.[66][67] Family Guy made its debut on April 20 of that year with the episode "Brian in Love", and immediately became the block's top-rated program, dominating late night viewing in its time period vs. pay-television and free-to-air competition and boosting viewership of both the block, and Cartoon Network itself, by 239 percent.[68][69] (Seth MacFarlane had previously created Larry and Steve, a cartoon predecessor to Family Guy, that was aired on Cartoon Network's What a Cartoon! Show in 1997. MacFarlane had also worked on several Cartoon Network shows, such as Johnny Bravo and Dexter's Laboratory).

On New Year's Eve 2002, Brak from The Brak Show and Carl Brutananadilewski from Aqua Teen Hunger Force hosted a New Year's Eve special from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am.[70][71] This was the first time Adult Swim aired on a Tuesday night.

Beginning on January 13, 2003, Adult Swim was airing five nights a week, Sundays through Thursdays from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am. Saturday Nights were dropped. On February 9, 2003, after the NBA All-Star game, Adult Swim aired on the TNT Network on a block called "Adult Swim All Star Extravaganza" as a one time special from 11:00 pm to 12:15 am ET.[72][73][74]

2003–2014

Several creators and writers of Adult Swim shows at the San Diego Comic Con 2006 Adult Swim panel. From left to right: Keith Crofford, Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Scott Adsit, Dino Stamatopoulos, Tommy Blacha, Brendon Small, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer.
Several creators and writers of Adult Swim shows at the San Diego Comic Con 2006 Adult Swim panel. From left to right: Keith Crofford, Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, Scott Adsit, Dino Stamatopoulos, Tommy Blacha, Brendon Small, Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer.

On October 5, 2003 Adult Swim was on from 11:00 pm to 5:00 am ET. On October 26, 2003, Brak's Dad from The Brak Show hosted Halloween-themed bumps.[75] That same night, Adult Swim hosted a live webcam show on its website, featuring the Adult Swim staff having a party. The Big O series finale episode "The Show Must Go On", was supposed to premiere that night at 11:00 pm; however, Adult Swim had to reschedule the episode for the next week, on Sunday, November 2, taking the place of the scheduled previously unaired episode of Family Guy, "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein", to air on November 9.[76] When Big O premiered on November 2, a rerun episode, "Stripes" was airing but then Adult Swim said it was just a joke and they finally aired the correct episode.

Adult Swim had another New Year's Eve special, this time featuring some of the Adult Swim characters having a party at Brak's house celebrating New Year's Eve. It was on this night where The Brak Show was officially canceled.[77] On June 15, 2004, Adult Swim launched a Video on Demand. On July 19, 2004, Adult Swim had a publicity stunt telling viewers that they needed 1,000,000 people to go to their website so they could "Free Hockey Chicken". An employee was dressed as a chicken in front of a webcam being watched by viewers, and he could not leave the studio until they reached their goal.[78] That same year Adult Swim hyped viewers by asking them to vote which would win in a fight: a "Flying Shark or a Flying Crocodile".[79]

In the fall of 2004, Adult Swim started a course at Kent State University with lessons by film professor Ron Russo, author of the book "Adult Swim and Comedy".[80][81][82][83] On Halloween night in 2004, Phantasm actor Angus Scrimm hosted an Aqua Teen Hunger Force marathon.[84][85] On November 2, 2004, Adult Swim ran a marathon of the Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode "Guitar Control" all through the night, until 5 a.m.. The episode replayed 24 times to celebrate Election Day.[86][87] On November 28, Adult Swim had a week showing off classic bumps from previous years. On March 28, 2005, Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting System began recording Adult Swim Nielsen ratings separately from Cartoon Network for demographic purposes.[88] Promotions for Adult Swim are targeted towards the college age and those in their 20s and 30s, constituting the majority of their viewers. According to a September 1, 2004 article in Promo magazine, representatives travel to 30 universities across the U.S. to promote the Adult Swim lineup, including handing out posters for students' dorm rooms.[89] On April 17, 2004, Adult Swim regained Saturday nights, making Friday the only night where Adult Swim did not air. On March 28, 2005, Adult Swim gained an extra hour, now ending at 6 a.m.. On October 2, 2005, Adult Swim regained the 10 p.m. hour on Sundays, continuing to start at 11 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Adult Swim had a direct and important role in the revival of an aforementioned popular animated series, Family Guy. Due to the series' popularity in reruns, the block burned off "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein", an episode of the series that had been banned from airing on Fox, in 2003.[90] On September 21, 2003, Seth MacFarlane guest voiced on the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Super Trivia". In 2004, from July 26 through July 29 Adult Swim had a week dedicated to Seth MacFarlane where It had him host a Family Guy marathon showing select episodes.[91][92] On March 29, 2004, less than one year after beginning reruns on Adult Swim, Fox announced it would be renewing Family Guy for a fourth season and reviving it from cancellation.[68] Shortly after the announcement, Jim Samples, then-general manager and executive vice president of Cartoon Network, commented, "Bringing Family Guy to the Adult Swim lineup last April really helped turn the block into a cultural phenomenon with young adults."[69]

Futurama was also revived in 2007 by Comedy Central for similar reasons: impressive viewership in syndication as well as high DVD sales.[93] In 2006, 20th Century Fox struck a deal to produce four direct-to-video animated features based on Futurama, and, in 2009, the series was revived in normal half-hour installments beginning in 2010 on Comedy Central.[93] In a 2006 interview, Futurama creator Matt Groening explained "There's a long, regal history of misunderstood TV shows, and to Fox's credit, the studio looked at the ratings on the Cartoon Network and how the show does overseas, and saw that there was more money to be made."[94] Before Adult Swim lost the rights to Futurama reruns, they aired an all-night marathon from December 26–30, 2007, with the final reruns airing on December 31, thus, marking Futurama's end on the block. On New Year's Eve 2005, Adult Swim had a countdown for the new year featuring characters from their shows.[95][96] Beginning on March 27, 2006 Adult Swim's time began at 10:30 pm ET weekdays.[97]

On January 31, 2007, Adult Swim attracted national media attention as part of the 2007 Boston Mooninite panic. Both the Boston Police Department and the Boston Fire Department mistakenly identified battery-powered LED placards resembling The Mooninites, characters from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, as improvised explosive devices. These devices were in fact part of a guerrilla marketing campaign for the Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters. The next day, Boston authorities arrested two men involved with the incident. Peter Berdovsky, 27, a freelance video artist from Arlington, Massachusetts, and Sean Stevens, 28, were facing charges of placing a hoax device to incite panic, as well as one count of disorderly conduct, according to CNN[98] (which is also owned by Turner Broadcasting System).

On February 5, Turner Broadcasting and marketer Interference, Inc. announced that they would pay $2 million in amends: one million to the city of Boston, and one million in goodwill funds.[99] Four days later, on February 9, Jim Samples, general manager and Executive Vice President of Cartoon Network since 2001, resigned.[100] Turner Broadcasting later issued an apology for the ad campaign that caused the bomb scares. A statement emailed to The Boston Globe from Turner Broadcasting said:

"The 'packages' in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim's animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They had been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Parent company Turner Broadcasting is in contact with local and federal law enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger."

In 2007, Adult Swim announced it would expand to seven nights a week starting that July. Up until then, it was only on Saturdays-Thursdays, with Cartoon Network airing 24 hours on Friday. On July 6 of that year, Adult Swim had its first broadcast on a Friday with an all-night marathon of Family Guy, with one episode, Peter's Two Dads, rerunning the April Fools gag of that year, running the first half-hour of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters in a small square on the bottom left hand corner.

In October 2007, Adult Swim launched a video on demand service available on DirecTV channel 1886.[101]

On January 1, 2009, Adult Swim began airing reruns of King of the Hill and its sign-on time was expanded back from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET.[102] On December 27, 2010, Adult Swim moved its start time from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. ET, extending the network's daily schedule to nine hours.[103]

On April 1, 2012, as part of their annual April Fools' Day stunt, Adult Swim revived Toonami, the defunct Cartoon Network programming block that primarily aired anime and action cartoons.[104] Following positive reception, Toonami would return full-time as a rebrand of Adult Swim's Saturday night action block on May 26, 2012.[105][106]

2014–present

On March 31, 2014, Adult Swim's sign-on time moved up to 8:00 p.m. ET, further extending the network's daily schedule to ten hours (and effectively matching the airtime of most nights that Nick at Nite has).[107]

Adult Swim had a disclaimer that read "[adult swim] may contain mature material some viewers may not find suitable".

Adult Swim headquarters
Adult Swim headquarters

Cartoon Network still airs programming in the 8:00 p.m. ET hour on occasion.

In 2015, Adult Swim launched The Virtual Brainload, the first animated VR experience from a TV network.[108]

On May 7, 2015, it was announced that Adult Swim had ordered an untitled pilot by Million Dollar Extreme described as a "sketch show in an almost present day post apocalyptic nightmare world".[109] Based on that pilot, it was announced on March 3, 2016, that it would go to series with the group presenting it under the additional subtitle World Peace, and the first season consisting of six episodes under the network's traditional eleven-minute episode structure.[110] Adult Swim announced on December 5, 2016 that it would not be renewed for a second season; the network faced internal opposition to its continuation, mainly regarding accusations of MDE's documented connections to the alt-right and accusations that the show promoted racism, sexism and bigotry. While the show did not predominantly deal with political themes, Sam Hyde's Twitter feed containing political references and his other controversies like crashing a TEDx talk, added to the suspicion.[111] Buzzfeed writer, Joseph Bernstein, was active in criticizing the show after a heated interview with the creator, Sam Hyde. He wrote that a source told him the network's standards departments repeatedly discovered and removed coded racist messages, including hidden swastikas.[112] When asked, Hyde explained that despite Adult Swim executives' interest to pick up the show for a second season, Turner Broadcasting ultimately decided to cancel the show.[113]

Starting in 2018, Adult Swim would begin losing the syndication rights to various 20th Television animated series, with King of the Hill and The Cleveland Show leaving in 2018 as Comedy Central acquired the syndication rights to both series.[114] On April 8, 2019, it was announced that FXX would acquire the rights to Family Guy (season 16 and beyond, sharing it with sister network Freeform) and Bob's Burgers (season 9 and beyond), with the seasons currently airing on Adult Swim and TBS set to transfer over to the Disney-owned networks starting in the fall of 2021.[115] This will leave American Dad!, which sister network TBS produces new episodes of, as the only 20th Television series left on Adult Swim.

On March 4, 2019, AT&T announced a major reorganization of WarnerMedia's Turner Broadcasting division, which involves Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Turner Classic Movies being transferred to Warner Bros. Entertainment under a new Kids, Young Adults, and Classics division. Although AT&T did not specify any timetable for the changes to take effect, WarnerMedia had begun to remove all Turner references in corporate communications and press releases, referring to that unit's networks as "divisions of WarnerMedia".[116][117][118][119]

In December 2019, Mike Lazzo retired from the company, which was announced by a bumper that aired on the network that month.[120] On April 29, 2020, Michael Ouweleen, previously the Chief marketing officer of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Boomerang and the co-creator of Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, was named the President of Adult Swim, a new position that gives Ouweleen responsibility for all aspects of the network and its properties.[121] In December 2020, Keith Crofford retired from the company, which was seen on two bumpers featuring Meatwad from Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Seth Green and Matthew Senreich from Robot Chicken.[122]

Special events

April Fools' Day stunts

The heavily promoted April 1, 2007 airing of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters on Adult Swim muted and featured in a small picture-in-picture screen in the bottom left hand corner during a simultaneous airing of the Family Guy episode "Peter's Two Dads", while a large and noisy on-screen graphic of Master Shake promotes the movie's airing.
The heavily promoted April 1, 2007 airing of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters on Adult Swim muted and featured in a small picture-in-picture screen in the bottom left hand corner during a simultaneous airing of the Family Guy episode "Peter's Two Dads", while a large and noisy on-screen graphic of Master Shake promotes the movie's airing.

Adult Swim has an annual tradition of celebrating April Fools' Day by tricking and fooling their audience by altering programs or airing different and obscure programs. The pranks generally start at 12 a.m. ET on April 1, technically considered part of the March 31st schedule, with an additional prank on the April 1st schedule rarely.

Alternate reality games

This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (October 2020)
Image from part of the ARG transmission that aired on August 27, 2017. All subsequent transmissions have followed the same basic format.
Image from part of the ARG transmission that aired on August 27, 2017. All subsequent transmissions have followed the same basic format.

Adult Swim began an ARG campaign on August 27, 2017 by airing a cryptic bump "transmission" during a new episode of Rick and Morty.[140] The bump referred viewers to a Twitter account. Players were told that they were trying to rescue a stolen AI named Delilah. Weekly bumps provided puzzles to be solved by viewers with solutions submitted via Twitter. The solutions were then confirmed by both the Twitter account and subsequent bumps.[141] Later in the game, Delilah was forced to self-destruct to prevent a security breach.[142] The Twitter account then rebranded itself as a marketing company and claimed that the entire game was an experiment.[143][144] Soon after this, a new Twitter account followed all the previous account's existing followers. This new account informed everyone that they were searching for their missing sister named Amelia. The bump transmissions then started referring viewers to this new Twitter account as well as several new Instagram accounts, continuing to provide puzzles that required solving. Some players have used Discord to work together as a team in a dedicated server to solve the puzzles and share theories about the game.[145] The ARG has been consistently broadcasting new messages and puzzles every Sunday since the initial August 2017 broadcast, with only a short hiatus during the 2017 holiday break. On March 25, 2018 it was revealed that Amelia was safe and had been for quite some time. Players learned that Amelia's messages asking for help were actually sent 3 years prior and that their delay in being received was caused by time dilation. This revelation effectively completed the second chapter of the ARG, it also alluded to the next phase which has just started as of June 2018.

Programming

Main articles: List of programs broadcast by Adult Swim and List of programs broadcast by Toonami

Original shows currently in-production and seen on Adult Swim include Robot Chicken, Squidbillies, The Eric Andre Show, and Rick and Morty. Adult Swim is best known for its inaugural slate of programming, which were mainly parodies and remakes based on Hanna-Barbera cartoons (including Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law and Sealab 2021).

Adult Swim also airs syndicated programs from 20th Television (Family Guy and Bob's Burgers), original series produced for sister network TBS (American Dad!), and have acquired and co-produced various anime series. Adult Swim is currently one of the only networks in the United States that airs anime (besides Disney XD) and the only network that airs such programming aimed at young adults and teens rather than children.

Currently, anime and most action-genre programming air on Saturday nights as part of Toonami, a former Cartoon Network programming block that was relaunched by Adult Swim on May 26, 2012 as a "block-within-a-block".[131] Cartoon Network shows that have gained a following among older viewers have also aired on Toonami; in particular, Samurai Jack proved popular enough in reruns to warrant a revival in 2017.

Merchandise and media offerings

Official website

Adult Swim's official website features full episodes of shows,[146] online video games,[147] online streams and podcasts,[148][149] music streaming,[150] comics,[151] a programming schedule,[152] and a section dedicated to its Toonami programming block.[153]

User accounts could once be made on the site, initially for the site's messaging boards, which launched in May 2003 and shut down in October 2016. By 2018, the only main functionality for user accounts left was for creating profiles and participating in the chats on the Adult Swim streams. User accounts were permanently disabled in January 2021, following the removal of the chat function.

A store was available on the site, although initially only through the main Cartoon Network store from 2001 to 2004. The store later spun-off into its own website, the Adult Swim Shop, in 2004, and ran until 2012. Another store, As Seen on Adult Swim, launched in 2013 and only sold a single item at a time until 2017, when a QVC-like show was launched with the same name on the Adult Swim streams.[154] The site later shut down in January 2021, following the end of the series in November.

Online video streaming

Beginning in 2006, Adult Swim Video (originally named Adult Swim Fix upon launch) offered a free online video on demand service for recent and older episodes of a selection of its shows. In June 2010, they began delaying episode availability on Adult Swim Video by one week after original television broadcast. Previously, episodes had appeared 1–3 days after broadcast. In late 2012, the service was rebranded as "adultswimtv.com".

In August 2011, Adult Swim introduced Adult Swim Gold, a paywall available for subscription-television subscribers with TV Everywhere authentication to see full episodes of Adult Swim programs. The selection of full episodes available on Adult Swim Video for public viewing without using Adult Swim Gold was greatly reduced from the prior offering.[155] As of June 2014, the service has been combined with the Adult Swim mobile app (formerly known as "Watch [adult swim]"), with the latest episodes available only to subscribers.[156]

As of July 2020, over 30 online-exclusive shows are available on the website, including the long-running web series On Cinema and its spin-off Decker, which later became a TV series for Adult Swim, as well as on-demand replays of streaming shows like FishCenter Live and Bloodfeast.

In 2014, Adult Swim began posting every episode of select shows online for permanent free viewing. However, some of the shows that had all their episodes available for free (such as Sealab 2021, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, and Moral Orel) have been removed as Hulu gained the rights to the shows.[157] Around the same time, Adult Swim added a 24/7 live stream to their official website that airs marathons of different shows all day long on a loop, something that has expanded to around a dozen streams (see "Live streams").[citation needed]

As of 2020, several Adult Swim original programs have been made available to stream on the sibling streaming service HBO Max.

Video on demand

In mid-2004, Adult Swim launched a video on demand service on subscription-television providers, formerly branded as "Adult Swim Video".[158] The comedy section features several episodes from various Adult Swim original series, while the Toonami section shows anime series licensed by Funimation, Viz Media, Sentai Filmworks, and Aniplex. The anime series s-CRY-ed initially premiered on demand before debuting on the regular block in May 2005.

Several Adult Swim shows are also available for purchase on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Microsoft Movies & TV, and PlayStation Video.

Video games

Main article: Adult Swim Games

Starting in 2005, Adult Swim began publishing mobile games, including those based on Adult Swim franchises and original content.[159] In 2011, the division Adult Swim Games was created to publish original indie game content, largely focusing on the hardcore gamer market.[160]

Music

See also: Williams Street Records

Adult Swim has partnerships with several independent music labels, and has co-produced and released compilation albums with Stones Throw Records,[161] Ghostly International, Definitive Jux, and Chocolate Industries through their own label, Williams Street Records. Many of Adult Swim's bumps and packaging make use of instrumental and electronic music. Various music is also often borrowed from artists signed onto a wide array of different labels, including Warp Records and Ninja Tune Records.

Podcast

Adult Swim offered a video podcast on iTunes from March 21 to September 19, 2006. The podcasts featured behind-the-scenes segments of shows and exclusive content; such as an interview with Saved by the Bell's Dennis Haskins and a look at Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha's Metalocalypse. The podcast reached number two in iTunes' ranking of most downloaded podcasts.

A new audio-only podcast, called the Adult Swim Podcast, was launched on July 11, 2019, hosted by Matt Harrigan. In regular episodes, Harrigan interviews different Adult Swim contributors, show creators, and actors. Max Simonet was later added as a co-host for the intros, outros, and advertisements only, as the interviews were still done solo by Harrigan.

Starting with the premiere of the fourth season of Rick and Morty, the Rick and Morty Companion Podcast was launched as a spin-off of the Adult Swim Podcast, with Harrigan interviewing some of the crew of each episode after it had aired. With the second half of season four, the companion podcast began to be recorded live on the Adult Swim streams, with Harrigan and Simonet hosting and taking in questions from the stream chat.

Another spin-off of the Adult Swim Podcast, Adult Swim Summer Showdown, ran from June to July 2020, recorded live on the Adult Swim streams with Harrigan and Simonet hosting again. A tournament bracket of 64 Adult Swim shows (excluding action series, specials, syndicated series, Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace, and series with licensing problems like Childrens Hospital and The Jack and Triumph Show) was done, with voting done on Instagram. Ultimately, Rick and Morty beat Aqua Teen Hunger Force and was rewarded with a four-hour marathon on television. This was followed up by the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket, hosted by Simonet alone, which ran from October to November 2020. This tournament bracket focused on 64 shows that had aired on the Adult Swim version of Toonami. Ultimately, Cowboy Bebop beat Dragon Ball Z and was rewarded with a four-hour marathon in December.

The current status of the Adult Swim Podcast is unknown following the shutdown of the Adult Swim streams and the resulting layoffs, which included main host Matt Harrigan. The last new episode of the podcast was released on November 9, 2020, an audio version of the Toonami Audience Takeover Bracket finale.

Live streams

On September 25, 2013, Adult Swim began simulcasting their channel through the Adult Swim mobile app[162][163] and website,[164] for pay-television subscribers only. Both the East and West Coast feeds are available. Currently the live simulcasts are available to subscribers of approximately 100 different subscription-television providers, including AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Comcast Xfinity, Cox, DirecTV, Spectrum, Suddenlink and Verizon FiOS.

From 2014 to 2020, Adult Swim also had a free live stream consisting of several online-exclusive originals, usually broadcast live with a chatroom, similar to that of Twitch. This service was removed in January 2021, following layoffs at WarnerMedia that severely affected Adult Swim and led to the end of live stream programming on November 25, 2020. The shows that aired included:

The website also contains several free live streams consisting of marathons of specific Adult Swim programming, including Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken, Metalocalypse, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Samurai Jack, The Venture Bros., The Eric Andre Show, Off the Air, Black Jesus, Dream Corp LLC, and Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell. The mobile and OTT apps include more streams, including Eagleheart and Mr. Pickles. Some of the marathon streams had chatrooms similar to the live stream, though these were removed along with the live stream chatroom in January 2021.

Other notable streams from the site have included:

Mobile and OTT applications

Since its premiere in 2001 Adult Swim executives have worked extensively to extend the network's reach to viewers in venues outside of the normal pay-television services. This includes the launch of the adultswim.com website and the release of apps for various mobile and over-the-top platforms providing access to current and past Adult Swim programming, live marathons, live and pre-recorded original programs and the nightly online simulcast of the Adult Swim broadcast. Currently apps are available in the U.S. only for Amazon Fire TV, Android (including Google Cast on Android TV), Apple TV, iOS, Chromecast, Roku and Xbox One. Due to licensing agreements certain parts of the apps including access to the network's live simulcast and most episodes of their shows require the viewer to use their subscription-television provider or OTT-platform username and password to authenticate their right to access such content. A downside to these apps is the fact that, unlike free-to-air television, they are not currently compliant with U.S. closed captioning requirements.

International

Adult Swim's international channel availability.
Adult Swim's international channel availability.

Adult Swim has been actively expanding its reach across the world since 2005. Localized versions have aired in Australia, Russia, Brazil and the rest of Latin America. Adult Swim is usually not paired with Cartoon Network due to local market conditions or government content restrictions and regulations – such as Ofcom in the United Kingdom. In such markets, Adult Swim programming is licensed to other broadcasters instead.[165][166]

Australia and New Zealand

Main article: Adult Swim (Australian TV programming block)

The Australian and New Zealand version of Adult Swim was broadcast on Cartoon Network until December 31, 2007. Shows aired at that time were Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law (which also aired on SBS), Tom Goes to the Mayor, Home Movies, The Venture Bros., and before its closure, Squidbillies. The comedy block aired every Friday and Saturday and an action block aired during the week, including mature anime like Cowboy Bebop, InuYasha, Bleach, Air Gear, Black Cat and Ghost in the Shell.

Presently, original comedies have premiered on The Comedy Channel in Australia.[167] The block would return on The Comedy Channel in March 2008, with Aqua Teen Hunger Force joining the lineup on July 1.[168] The channel has also aired The Boondocks, but not under the Adult Swim banner. To date, Adult Swim has grown considerably with the block now airing every Saturday from 12 to 2 am AEST and 6:30 to 7:30 pm AEST to keep with the late night tradition of the former block.[169]

Adult Swim's programming has been released to Region 4 DVD by Madman Entertainment, including shows that have never been shown in Australia. Madman Entertainment has also released R4 exclusive DVDs not available in the United States, including Volume 2 and 3 of Moral Orel and complete collections of Minoriteam and Assy McGee.

The Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters has also been quietly released to DVD.[170] After moving to The Comedy Channel, Adult Swim does not currently air in New Zealand.[citation needed]

In October 2013, Turner Broadcasting in partnership with MCM Media and Movideo launched an Adult Swim video on demand service.[171]

In June 2016, Channel 9 signed a two-year deal with Turner Broadcasting to air a block of Adult Swim shows on 9Go!.[172] After the deal expired, 9Go! did not renew with Turner Broadcasting, and thus the block was shut down.

Canada

Main articles: Adult Swim (Canadian TV network), Teletoon at Night, and Télétoon la nuit

Teletoon's English and French-language service previously offered adult-oriented blocks that carried Adult Swim programming and aired similar shows: Teletoon at Night and Télétoon la nuit. On February 2, 2012, then-parent company TELETOON Canada Inc. announced that it would be launching a Canadian version of Adult Swim, sharing channel space with the Canadian version of Cartoon Network as one specialty channel just as its American counterpart does. The block launched on July 4, 2012.[173] From September 2015 – September 2017, all of Adult Swim's original series was aired exclusively on the block.

Meanwhile, YTV has aired anime series that premiered on Adult Swim in its Bionix block.[174] G4's Anime Current block, Razer's (now MTV2) Kamikaze block, the defunct Scream (later Dusk), and Super Channel have also aired various anime titles that were broadcast on Adult Swim. In June 2009, G4 Canada launched Adult Digital Distraction, programming that featured many Adult Swim shows. In late 2011, the block was discontinued due to pressure from the CRTC on account of the channel deviating from its original format (which was to air technology-related programming). The block would be briefly relaunched before being dropped again in 2012.

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! aired on Bell Media's CTV Comedy Channel (formerly The Comedy Network). In December 2013, sibling network Much began airing Childrens Hospital and, later, its spinoff, Newsreaders. They also aired the short-lived series The Jack and Triumph Show.

In October 2014, Netflix began streaming Mike Tyson Mysteries the day after its U.S. television premiere.

On February 25, 2016, Williams Street launched a Canada-specific subscription video-on-demand service for iOS and Android devices.[175][176] The app contains the majority of Adult Swim produced content, including programming not seen on Canadian television.[176] New premieres are added soon after their U.S. broadcast, with the exception of new episodes of Robot Chicken and, initially, Rick and Morty, which are added the day after its premiere on the Canadian block.[177] The app was discontinued in November 2018.[178]

On March 4, 2019, Teletoon and YTV's current parent company, Corus Entertainment, announced the launch of a full-time 24/7 Adult Swim network on April 1, 2019, as a rebrand of Action. This marks the first time an international version of Adult Swim was launched as its own television channel. With the channel's launch, the Canadian block, as well as Teletoon at Night, were both discontinued as both channels would now focus exclusively on age-appropriate programming.[179] The Canadian Adult Swim block was dropped on March 3, 2019 and Teletoon at Night closed on March 31, 2019.[180]

France

The block was launched on March 4, 2011, and airs nightly from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Cartoon Network France. It has aired Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, Metalocalypse, Moral Orel, Robot Chicken and Squidbillies.[181] Like most international Adult Swim blocks, it does not air Fox and action shows. Most of the block's programming is not dubbed and airs with English audio and French subtitles.

In the early 2000s, there was a late-night block called "DZAQC" (pronounced "Désaxé"), which carried the 2001 Adult Swim look, but did not have any adult shows, except for Home Movies and Captain Linger. Case Closed was aired on Cartoon Network and Toonami. DZAQC aired random Cartoon Network shows and old promos in English with French subtitles.

A new Adult Swim block launched in March 2015 on L'Enôrme TV. The block stopped broadcasting in June 2016.[citation needed]

On May 15, 2019, Warner Media France announced through a Twitter post that Season 4 of Rick and Morty would air exclusively on Adult Swim in November. In the same post, they announced that a new Adult Swim block would launch in France in July 2019.[182]

On July 24, 2019, Adult Swim France announced on Twitter that the block would return at 11 p.m. CET on Toonami. From this day on, Adult Swim's French counterpart airs each night on Toonami between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. with on-demand services available on French online TV and on-demand provider Molotov TV.[183]

Germany

The Adult Swim block was launched on January 28, 2009 on TNT Serie. In 2016, TNT Glitz became TNT Comedy and took over Adult Swim. Programs on the block include American Dad, Assy McGee, Lucy, The Daughter of the Devil, Metalocalypse, Moral Orel, Robot Chicken, Rick and Morty, Stroker and Hoop, The Brak Show, Venture Bros., Supernanny and Ren and Stimpy.[184][185]

Italy

In Italy, several Adult Swim series such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, China, IL, NTSF:SD:SUV:: and Mr. Pickles are available on-demand via TIMvision.[186] Rick and Morty and Final Space were also dubbed in Italian for release on Netflix,[187] The Boondocks aired on Comedy Central and MTV,[188] while The Oblongs aired on Italia Teen Television and All Music.[189] On Facebook, Adult Swim Italy has confirmed the possibility of airing on Cartoon Network and Boing.[190] In 2018, Robot Chicken and Rick and Morty were released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Eagle Pictures in that country.[191][192]

Latin America

In Latin America, an Adult Swim block aired during the overnight hours on Cartoon Network beginning on October 7, 2005. It was originally carried on the regional version of the channel, when it was pulled off and picked up by I.Sat on November 19, 2007, another Turner Broadcasting System Latin America-owned-and-operated network, due to the fact that it was received with negative reviews from parents.[vague][citation needed]

On December 1, 2010, I.Sat revealed that it was cutting Adult Swim programming due to low ratings, adding: "No matter if we add new shows, it would not work".[193] Adult Swim once had a SAP audio in early 2007.

In 2014, it was announced that Adult Swim would return to Latin America that same year.[194] Adult Swim premiered on the Brazilian feed of TBS on November 3, 2014.[195] Adult Swim relaunched in Latin America on April 3, 2015, on I.Sat, in English with Spanish subtitles, premiering Rick and Morty and many other shows for the first time on the region.[196]

On January 6, 2018, the block began broadcasting throughout Latin America on TBS. Unlike I.Sat, this block was being broadcast in Spanish.[197]

After ceasing broadcasts on I.Sat and TBS, Warner Channel began airing the block on May 2, 2020 for Latin America and Brazil, now showing the [as] logo and new content, such as Final Space and the rest of Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken series.[198][199]

Russia

2X2, a Russian channel specializing in animation, airs Adult Swim's original series.[200] There was a separate Adult Swim block, and also an English-language block, where shows were broadcast in English without dubbing, both now being defunct.[201] Adult Swim–produced shows that have aired include Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, Moral Orel , Sealab 2021, 12 oz. Mouse, The Venture Bros., The Brak Show, Stroker and Hoop, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Squidbillies, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Frisky Dingo, Perfect Hair Forever, Metalocalypse, Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil and others. 2×2 also broadcast many of the anime that premiered in the U.S. on Adult Swim, although not on 2×2's Adult Swim's schedule. Some shows including The Boondocks and Rick and Morty also premiered outside Adult Swim's block.

On November 1, 2019, 2X2 announced an upcoming launch of the Adult Swim streaming service[202] with library containing selected Adult Swim series broadcast earlier on the channel and also new series, like The Heart, She Holler, Off the Air, The Eric Andre Show, Dream Corp LLC and Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter, premiering directly on the service uncut. Rick and Morty is available on another streaming service, KinoPoisk,[203] although 2x2 still maintains TV broadcast rights and have the last premiered episode available for a small amount of time after the premiere.

United Kingdom and Ireland

Main article: Adult Swim (UK & Ireland)

In 2002, CNX was launched in the United Kingdom as a spin-off of Cartoon Network. It featured much of the content found on Adult Swim and Toonami, anime shows and adult action films, but closed operations after a year in 2003.

A nightly Adult Swim channel was launched on July 8, 2006, on the now defunct Bravo owned by Virgin Media Television, generally starting at midnight. Shows that were previously a part of the UK's Adult Swim block are Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, The Brak Show, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Venture Bros., Moral Orel, and Metalocalypse,[204] Non-Williams Street shows on the block include Stripperella and Kid Notorious. The first "action" series was the anime Afro Samurai, which aired on May 4, 2007, alongside a new UK animated show Modern Toss. On July 7, 2008, Adult Swim ceased to broadcast on Bravo.[205]

Former Sony Pictures Television channel TruTV started airing Adult Swim shows every night from 11 pm to around 3 am in November and December 2016. It broadcast episodes of Rick and Morty, Robot Chicken, Mr. Pickles and Squidbillies.

The UK Adult Swim website offers free access to full episodes of shows including Squidbillies, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Minoriteam, Stroker and Hoop, Moral Orel, 12 oz. Mouse, Perfect Hair Forever, Metalocalypse, and Frisky Dingo. Revolver Entertainment began distributing original Adult Swim series on DVD in the UK and Ireland.[206]

FX aired Robot Chicken, Titan Maximum, Venture Brothers and Metalocalypse. These shows were advertised with [adult swim] branding. They began airing on June 5, 2010, in conjunction with the channel's regular schedule and ended on November 27, 2010. On December 14, 2011, the Robot Chicken: Star Wars trilogy appeared on Syfy at 10 pm.[citation needed] The block began airing on TCM 2 starting on January 4, 2012.[207]

Adult Swim returned to UK and Irish television starting with a new block on the FOX channel on September 4, 2015.[208] This was discontinued in September 2017, and Adult Swim was then not broadcast on television, although Rick and Morty has since moved to Comedy Central and is available to stream on Netflix in the UK and Ireland.

Adult Swim once again returned to the UK with a new block on E4 in February 2019. This block shows Adult Swim shows as well as some other shows being able to stream on All 4 such as Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Rick and Morty and much more.

High definition channels and service

A high definition feed of Adult Swim is available on many subscription-television providers, and is shared with its daytime counterpart Cartoon Network. The high definition feed was launched on October 15, 2007. Like all WarnerMedia networks, 4:3-sourced content is stretched on the high definition feed to fill the 16:9 aspect ratio. Exceptions include 4:3-sourced content that has been remastered to high definition, such as Dragon Ball Z Kai, Cowboy Bebop (since 2015), and Samurai Jack (since 2018), and any recent programmng that intentionally uses the 4:3 aspect ratio for its visual style, such as season 1 of The Eric Andre Show and Jack Stauber's OPAL. Network bumpers and promos were still made in the 4:3 aspect ratio until 2010, and therefore also appeared stretched on the high definition feed. The network's HD content airs with letterboxing on the standard definition channel, and since May 13, 2013, the high definition feed is downscaled by the provider for the standard definition feed, resulting in all programming appearing in a 16:9 ratio with letterboxing. Unlike the other WarnerMedia networks, standard definition advertising is also stretched into 16:9 mode.

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