|Picture format||1080i HDTV|
(downscaled to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
|Owner||Warner Bros. Discovery Networks|
|Parent||The Cartoon Network, Inc.|
|Launched||September 13, 2021|
Cartoonito is an American programming block, which premiered on September 13, 2021 on Cartoon Network, and a dedicated section on the streaming service HBO Max. Cartoonito targets a preschool audience around two to six years old.
In 1996, Cartoon Network created a Sunday morning block of preschool programs. It featured series such as Big Bag, a live-action/puppet television program by the Children's Television Workshop, Small World, and Cave Kids. However, Big Bag ran until 1998, while Small World ran until 2002. Once Big Bag left Cartoon Network's lineup in 2001, Baby Looney Tunes, along with Pecola, Sitting Ducks, and Hamtaro, filled that space in 2003. The block moved to weekday mornings afterward.
Main article: Tickle-U
Tickle-U was Cartoon Network's first attempt at an official weekday-morning preschool programming block, premiering on August 22, 2005, and aired from 9 to 11 a.m. ET/PT. Programs on the line-up included acquired shows such as two Teletoon/Treehouse TV series (Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs and Gerald McBoing-Boing) and British shows (Gordon the Garden Gnome, Peppa Pig, Little Robots, and Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!). Unlike their original counterparts, the British-acquired shows featured an American voice cast. The only original series was Firehouse Tales, produced by Warner Bros. Animation.
The block also featured two CGI characters as hosts: named "Pipoca" and "Henderson." After Tickle-U closed in 2006, some of its programmings still aired on Cartoon Network until 2007 and eventually reran in the UK on Cartoonito.
On February 5, 2021, Tom Ascheim, president of Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics announced in an interview with Kidscreen that Cartoon Network would expand its offerings to include series aimed at family audiences, girls, and preschoolers. The latter audience would pit the network in competition with established preschool brands like Disney Junior, PBS Kids and Nick Jr. He would also announced the acquisition of the broadcast rights to the Thomas & Friends reboot series, Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go. On February 17, it was announced that WarnerMedia's international preschool brand Cartoonito would launch in the United States on Cartoon Network and streaming service HBO Max. Over 20 series were expected to be featured at its 2021 launch. A website for the block was launched in March 2021.
On June 14, 2021, new idents of the block appeared on videos (which includes Esme & Roy, Mush-Mush & the Mushables, Care Bears: Unlock the Magic, and Love Monster) on Cartoonito's YouTube channel, and a newsletter was announced, with a new banner and avatar on the Cartoonito YouTube Channel in July. A trailer for the block was released on July 29, 2021.
On August 16, 2021, the launch date was announced for September 13, 2021; Baby Looney Tunes would be the first show to air on the block. The television block initially ran for 8 hours (6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET/PT) on weekdays and 2 hours (6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. ET/PT) on weekends.
On November 16, 2021, the weekday schedule decreased to 7 hours (ending at 1:00 p.m. ET/PT). It later dropped another hour, ending at noon (12:00 p.m. ET/PT) on December 20, 2021. The block ceased airing on weekends on January 29, 2022, while the weekday schedule dropped yet another hour, ending at 11:00 a.m. ET/PT as of January 31, 2022. In February 2022, Cocomelon was added to the block, while Baby Looney Tunes was dropped.
Main article: List of programs broadcast by Cartoonito
Cartoonito features co-productions and acquired programming, in addition to original series exclusive to the program block on Cartoon Network. Currently, Cartoonito's lineup includes Care Bears: Unlock the Magic, Pocoyo, Love Monster, Bing, Caillou, and Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go; with The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo, Sesame Street, and Little Ellen exclusive to HBO Max.
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