|Launched:||September 2, 2001|
March 28, 2005
|Owned By:||Turner Broadcasting System|
|Picture Format:||480i (2001-present)|
Adult Swim is an adult-oriented cable television network that shares channel space with Cartoon Network from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am PT/ET in the United States, which was granted its own Nielsen ratings report due to differing target demographics, and broadcasts in countries such as Australia and New Zealand. The block features myriad stylistically-variable animated and live-action shows, including original programming, syndicated shows, and Japanese anime, generally with minimal or no editing for content. The programs featured on Adult Swim are geared toward an 18-34 young male audience, in contrast to the originally all-ages daytime programming on Cartoon Network.
Broadcast since 2001, much of the network's general content is known for its risqué, unorthodox and often bizarre presentation, while many of the series' features are developed in stark contrast with traditional American television programs. In the United States, Adult Swim has, over the course of its history, frequently cycled through and aired either recent or older features of adult animation, foreign anime, mockumentaries and sketch comedy, among many other programs consisting of pilots and their subsequent, short-lived series' and numerous spinoffs and shows that has sexual themes, frank sex talk, nudity, strong language and hard violence. While the network features trendy comedies and dramas (in this regard often anime) of all types – many of its programs could be considered aesthetically experimental, "underground", transgressive, improvised, nonlinear or surreal in nature. Adult Swim has, since its inception, contracted with various studios like Williams Street, Augenblick and PFFR, for instance – all of which are notable for their productions in absurd and shock comedy.
Adult Swim grew out of Cartoon Network's previous attempts at airing content appropriate for teenagers and young adults who might be watching the channel after 11pm. The network began experimenting with its late-night programming by airing anthology shows like ToonHeads and Late Night Black and White, which both boasted uncensored classic cartoon shorts. Space Ghost Coast to Coast, one of Cartoon Network's first forays into original programming, was created in 1994 specifically for late-night audiences. The series was created by Ghost Planet Industries, which eventually became Williams Street Studios, the eventual producers and programmers of Adult Swim.
In early mornings of December 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; the official schedules listed the shows as "Special Programming".
Adult Swim officially premiered on September 2, 2001 with the airing of the "Director's Cut" episode of Home Movies, an episode that was shelved before airing on its original network, UPN; in further years, it would become increasingly common for Adult Swim to "finish out" airing episodes of shows that never finished airing on its original network (e.g., the Family Guy episode "When You Upon a Weinstein" and the rest of the first season of Mission Hill). The block initially aired on Sunday nights, with a repeat of the same block on Thursday nights. The name comes from a phrase used by public swimming pools to label designated times when children are restricted from using the facilities in favor of adults - "Adult Swim". On March 28, 2005, Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting split Adult Swim from Cartoon Network so Nielsen Media Research could treat it as a separate channel for ratings purposes. Adult Swim operates similarly to Nick at Nite, as that channel also shares channel space with another cable channel (in their case, Nickelodeon) and is treated as a separate service for ratings purposes by Nielsen Media Research.
The network is programmed by Williams Street Studios, a division of Turner Broadcast Network, which also created Toonami and Miguzi. It plays American animated series and shorts geared towards adults. They also play a wide variety of Japanese anime series, OVAs, and movies. Promotions for Adult Swim are targeted towards the college age and those in their twenties and thirties, 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.
Adult Swim had a direct and important role in the revival of three popular animated series, Family Guy, Futrama, and The Oblongs. Family Guy premiered in reruns on Adult Swim on April 20, 2003, and immediately became the block's top-rated programming, dominating late night viewing in its time period vs. cable and broadcast competition and boosting viewership by 239 percent. On March 29, 2004, less than one year later, FOX announced it would be renewing Family Guy for a fourth season and reviving it from cancellation.
Futurama was also revived in 2007 for Conedy Central for similar reasons: impressive viewership in syndication as well as high DVD sales. In 2006, Twentieth Television struck a deal to produce four direst-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. 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.
Angus Oblong, creator of The Oblongs, said new episodes of the series will return to Adult Swim. Adult Swim stated on July 4, 2010 that they asked studios to produce new episodes and "some said yes, some said no".
On December 27, 2010, Adult Swim's sign-on time was moved an hour earlier, to 9:00 ET/8:00 CT, extending the networks daily schedule to a total of 9 hours.
Stylistic history Edit
Originally, all of the bumps shown in between shows featured footage of senior citizens swimming in public pools, eating, exercising, and doing other pool-related activities, with some featuring audio of a lifeguard shouting through a megaphone. The logo was the words "Adult Swim" in all capital letters, shown after a freeze frame of the footage. When the Saturday night block started on February 23, 2002, it featured clips from the various anime programs displayed on the block. The original theme music for Adult Swim, 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. On January 12, 2003, the senior citizens were replaced by animated safety manuals featuring Adult Swim characters. The logo changed to the words "adult swim" in red and a black circle with a yellow penumbra.
The current bumps debuted on May 25, 2003 and feature black intertitle "cards" in white Helvetica Neue Condensed Bold type. The cards discuss everything from programming news to personal staff opinions on unrelated subjects. In addition, the bumpers for the action shows include tilt-shift miniature and other abstract photos of Japan, often accompanied by clips of various Yesterdays New Quintet songs. The most recent bumper cards have the "[adult swim]" caption somewhere within photographs of places—often with roads or road signs throughout the world. The bumps occasionally pay tribute to a recent death, in which there is no music or sound effects, but only a fade in, showing the person's name, along with the year of his/her birth and the year of his/her death, followed by a fade out. This has been done for many celebrities who they've found worthy of such an honor, including Vincent Schiavelli, Macho Man Randy Savage, Elizabeth Taylor, Alex Toth, Harry Goz and Frank Buckles.
At certain times during the evening, the bumps will give a programming lineup for an upcoming date. When this format is given, certain shows will be colored in a specified color (indicating a premiere), with a caption at the bottom that reads "All Times and Music Eastern." The music in the background has a decidedly Indian flair; this song can be found as a track in The Campfire Headphase, a Boards of Canada album.
In 2009, King of the Hill featured unique bumpers which only air when the program is being shown. They include the fictional restaurants, shops, organizations, and local services seen within the show itself and act as sponsors during the bump followed by an actual sponsor, e.g. "King of the Hill is brought to you by Strickland Propane", and by the United States Air Force. On December 25, 2009, the network began to air "Promos of the Decade", a special bump that showed some of the best promos since Adult Swim's debut in 2001. The air times in many of the promos were crossed out in yellow.
Ad campaign bomb scare Edit
On January 31, 2007, Boston and Massachusetts State Police were dispatched to various places in Boston after reports of suspicious packages were sighted. 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, which is also owned by Turner Broadcasting.
On February 5, Turner Broadcasting and marketer Interference Inc. announced that they would pay two million dollars in amends: one million to the city of Boston, and one million in goodwill funds. Four days later, on February 9, Jim Samples, then-general manager and executive vice president of Cartoon Network, resigned.
Turner Broadcasting issued an apology for an ad campaign causing a series of bomb scares throughout Boston on January 31, 2007. 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, 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."
April Fools' Day stuntsEdit
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.
- Starting in 2004, all of the regularly scheduled episodes were aired with random mustaches drawn on the characters; however, the next night the episodes were aired again this time without the random mustaches.
- In 2005, Adult Swim aired an early, unfinished version of the Squidbillies, instead of Robot Chicken.
- In 2006, Adult Swim aired old re-runs of Mr. T and Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, and then aired episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex with fart-noises added to the dialog.
- In 2007, Adult Swim aired every episode of Perfect Hair Forever in reverse order. The episodes were digitally degraded to look like several generation old videotapes with grammatically incorrect subtitles. At one point, the subtitles shown on screen were actually for an Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode. The following night Adult Swim teased that they would air the entirety of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters before its release in theaters. They made good on their promise, showing the first few minutes fullscreen, then shrinking it down into a small picture-in-picture screen over their regular programing block.
- In 2008, Adult Swim aired a night of unfinished sneak peeks of future upcoming shows in place of their typical programing.
- In 2009, Adult Swim aired The Room, with sex scenes obscured with black boxes.
- In 2010, Adult Swim re-aired The Room for a second year in a row, with bumps featuring Tommy Wiseau being interviewed on Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Sex scenes remained censored, but the parental rating was raised to TV-MA.
- In 2011 The Room was aired once again with the TV-MA rating and was followed by a 15 minute special titled Earth Ghost, a CGI version of the Lowe Country pilot shown on Adult Swim Video in 2007.
- In 2012, Adult Swim replaced its lineup with Toonami, a former programming block from Cartoon Network. After first playing the opening sequence of The Room, the scene switched to the Toonami host T.O.M. noting that it is April Fools' Day before introducing that week's scheduled episode of Bleach. The Toonami bumps and programming would continue throughout the night, featuring Dragon Ball Z, Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, Outlaw Star, The Big O season 1, YuYu Hakusho, Blue Submarine No. 6, Trigun, Astro Boy, and Gigantor. T.O.M. also presented a review of Mass Effect 3 and promoted the recent DVD releases of the series featured. Subsequently, on May 16, 2012, Adult Swim announced via Twitter and later by a press release that Toonami will be returning to Adult Swim beginning May 26, 2012 as a weekly Saturday night programming block.
Adult Swim has a history of unique original shows such as The Venture Bros., Squidbillies, Metalocalypse, Robot Chicken, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1). A few of their shows are remakes or relaunches of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, Sealab 2021, and Space Ghost Coast to Coast, which got its own spinoff, The Brak Show. AS's syndicated programs that are aired are mostly from Fox and the BBC, such as Family Guy, King of the Hill, American Dad!, The PJs, The Mighty Boosh and The Office. The channel also has a history of showing anime series, now relegated to its Saturday night schedule, which currently consists of Bleach, Deadman Wonderland, Casshern Sins, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG, and Cowboy Bebop.
Merchandise and media offerings Edit
Adult Swim's official website features Adult Swim Video, forum message boards, online video games, music downloads, shopping (until April 16, 2012), mobile phone downloads, adult swim show sites, and the programming schedule for adult swim.
Adult Swim VideoEdit
Beginning in 2006 Adult Swim Video offered a free online video on demand service for recent and older episodes of a selection of their 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.
Adult Swim GoldEdit
In August 2011, Adult Swim Video launched Adult Swim Gold, a wide selection of full length episodes of various shows featured on Adult Swim, only available for cable subscribers. The selection episodes available on Adult Swim Video was also reduced.
Video games Edit
Adult Swim partnered with Midway Games in 2005 to begin development on video games based on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Brak Show, and Sealab 2021. The game based on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am, was released on November 5, 2007 for PlayStation 2. The game is a golf game with fighting and racing levels. A video game based on Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law has been released by Capcom for PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii.
Various third-party, Macromedia Flash-based games, such as Robot Unicorn Attack and the Five Minutes to Kill (Yourself) series are also available for free play on the Adult Swim website.
Adult Swim has a partnership with independent music label Stones Throw Records. Many of Adult Swim's bumps and packaging have used music from artists such as J Dilla, Madlib, Oh No, MPC Geek, and Psyche Origami. In 2006, both Stones Throw and Adult Swim co-produced the album Chrome Children. When the "black card" bump format was first introduced in mid-2003, block first switched to its now 5 year standing text-bump format, the bumps would often be accompanied by the instrumental music of producers like Ayatey Shabazz,, Fat Jon, J Dilla, and Madlib. Various electronic music is also often borrowed from artists on the label Warp Records, such as Boards of Canada, Broadcast, Flying Lotus and Prefuse 73. Additionally, music is often featured from artists of the label Ninja Tune Records, including Amon Tobin, Bonobo, Coldcut, and Mr. Scruff.
Video on demand Edit
In mid-2004, Adult Swim launched a video on demand channel, on cable TV providers, branded as 'Adult Swim Video'. The comedy section features several episodes from various Adult Swim original series, while the action section shows anime series and movies licensed by Bandai Entertainment, Geneon Entertainment, and Viz Media, some of which were never broadcast. 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. Furthermore, as of November 22, 2006, some Adult Swim shows can be bought and accessed from the Xbox Live Video Marketplace and the PlayStation Video Store.
Podcast and Adult Swim Mobile Edit
Adult Swim offered a video podcast on Apple's iTunes from March 21, 2006, 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.
Build Your Own DVDEdit
In 2009 a special feature on the Adult Swim shop called the "Build a Custom DVD" was introduced. This feature allowed buyers to create their own personalized recordable DVD consisting of any episode of almost every Adult Swim original they would choose. Buyers also chose from three different title screens and the design of the disc.
Since March 20, 2012, because of the Adult Swim shop's sudden and unexplained closure, this feature is no longer available.
Adult Swim has been actively expanding its reach across the world since 2005. Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Latin America air the block, just like in the United States. Other Cartoon Network markets choose not to air it due to local market conditions, licensing programs to other broadcasters or government content restrictions or regulations. In those markets, the block is licensed to other networks or television stations instead—such as Ofcom in the United Kingdom—where regulation issues arise.
Australia and New Zealand Edit
The Australia and New Zealand Adult Swim broadcast on Cartoon Network until December 31, 2007. Shows that aired at that time were Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, Space Ghost Coast To Coast, Harvey Birdman (was 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.
The block is no longer on Cartoon Network, but the comedy shows are now airing on The Comedy Channel. The block returned on The Comedy Channel with Robot Chicken and Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, in March 2008, with Aqua Teen Hunger Force joining the programming on July 1. The Boondocks also airs on the same channel although it is not under the Adult Swim banner and instead airs separately.
To date, the Adult Swim lineup on the Comedy Channel has grown considerably with the block now airing every Saturday from 12am-2am AEST and 6:30pm-7:30pm AEST to keep with the late night tradition of the former block. The new incarnation also premiered a lot of other Adult Swim shows including Moral Orel, Titan Maximum, Robot Chicken: Star Wars, Frisky Dingo, Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job, Childrens Hospital broadcasted uncensored with profanity intact, along with the latest additions but aired at a different time, Metalocalypse and The Venture Bros, the latter making it the third show with Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman to have been aired on both the old and the new block.
Some series that aired on Adult Swim have been released to Region 4 DVD by Madman Entertainment, including shows that have never been shown on Australian television before. Madman Entertainment has also released R4 exclusive DVDs not available in the USA, 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.
Adult Swim does not currently air in New Zealand.
United Kingdom and Ireland Edit
Launched on July 8, 2006, the UK network Bravo used to air an Adult Swim block nightly, generally starting at midnight each night. The UK's Bravo channel is owned by Virgin Media Television, although in other parts of the world. 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, 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, and its future remains uncertain.
The UK Adult Swim website, like its American counterpart, 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 recently began distributing some original Adult Swim series on DVD in the UK and Ireland.
FX (UK) aired Robot Chicken, Titan Maximum, Venture Brothers and "Metalocalypse". These shows were advertised with [adult swim] branding. They began airing on 5 June 2010 in conjunction with their regular schedule and ended on 27 November 2010.
On December 14, 2011, the Robot Chicken Star Wars trilogy appeared on on the Uk's SyFy Channel at 10pm.
The block currently airs on TCM 2 at 10pm, starting on January 4, 2012.
Teletoon's English-language service in Canada has an adult-oriented block called "Teletoon at Night" (previously known as "The Detour") that airs programming similar to Adult Swim every night. Adult Swim programs that aired on Teletoon at Night include 12 oz. Mouse, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Family Guy, Futurama, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, American Dad!, Metalocalypse, Robot Chicken, Squidbillies, Stroker and Hoop, The Boondocks, The Venture Bros., Home Movies, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Space Ghost Coast to Coast. The show Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is the only Adult Swim original not to air on Teletoon in Canada, and instead airs on CTVglobemedia's The Comedy Network. Since July 2007, seven of the fourteen Adult Swim programs airing on The Detour were canceled and replaced by Canadian-produced adult cartoon shows.
Teletoon's French-language service in Canada also has an adult-oriented block called "Télétoon la Nuit" that airs shows like The Boondocks, Family Guy, Home Movies, South Park, American Dad!, and Futurama. Similarly, YTV airs some anime originally broadcast on Adult Swim in its "Bionix" block. G4techTV Canada's Anime Current block aired several anime that premiered on Adult Swim, such as Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG, Lupin III Part II (First 52 episodes), Paranoia Agent, and Trigun. Razer (Now MTV2) aired Cowboy Bebop, Crayon Shin-Chan, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Samurai Champloo, and Trinity Blood, which have premiered on Adult Swim. SCREAM later aired Death Note in 2008 and Super Channel is currently airing Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
In June 2009, G4 in Canada launched "Adult Digital Distraction", a programing block featuring many Adult Swim shows such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Delocated, Fat Guy Stuck in Internet, Superjail, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Metalocalypse and The Venture Bros. In late 2011, the block has been discontinued due to pressure from the CRTC because of the channel deviating from its original format (which was to air technology-related programming). However, the block has been relaunched and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, Eagleheart, NTSF:SD:SUV::, Delocated, Metalocalypse, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Superjail!, and The Venture Bros. currently air on the block.
On February 2, 2012 Teletoon Canada Inc. announced that it would be bringing a Canadian version of Adult Swim to Canada as part of the Canadian launch of Cartoon Network on July 4, 2012 Cartoon Network Canada.
India and Pakistan Edit
In India and Pakistan, an Adult Swim block is airing on WB Channel, an English General Entertainment channel owned by Turner International India.
Latin America Edit
In Latin America, an Adult Swim block aired during the overnight hours. It was originally carried on the regional version, when it was picked up by I.Sat, another Turner Broadcasting System Latin America/Time Warner-owned network, due to that it was received with negative reviews from parents.
On October 29, 2010, I.Sat revealed that the block was going to end "forever" due low ratings. Also, they added: "No matter if we add new shows, it would not work".
The defunct Latin American cable channel Locomotion, which was known for airing adult series such as South Park, Duckman, Crapston Villas, and The Critic, aired several titles that aired on Adult Swim US, such as Cowboy Bebop, Reign: The Conqueror, Pilot Candidate, Super Milk Chan, and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Bob and Margaret, which has aired on Locomotion, also aired on Adult Swim following its acquisition & shutdown by Sony Pictures Entertainment. The channel's successor, the now-defunct Animax Latin America aired several titles that aired on Adult Swim US, such as Blood+, Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, Pilot Candidate, Bleach, Crayon Shin-Chan, Wolf's Rain, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Trinity Blood, The Boondocks, and s-CRY-ed. The channel's current incarnation, Sony Spin, aired Blood+, Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist, Bleach, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
2×2, a Russian channel specializing in animation, features a prime time Adult Swim programming block featuring Adult Swim's original series. The block begins at 0:00am and shows are aired in Russian. At 2:40am, the shows re-air in English. Adult Swim produced shows that have aired include Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, Sealab 2021, 12 oz. Mouse, The Venture Bros, The Brak Show, Stroker & Hoop, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Squidbillies, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Frisky Dingo, The Boondocks, Perfect Hair Forever, and Metalocalypse. Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil began airing on May 27, 2010. Many of the anime that aired on Adult Swim, such as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Blood+, Bleach, Death Note, Trinity Blood, Trigun, Paranoia Agent and Samurai Champloo, aired on 2x2 although not on Adult Swim's schedule. MTV Russia aired Neon Genesis Evangelion and Samurai Champloo, both of which premiered on Adult Swim.
High definition channels and service Edit
A high definition feed of Adult Swim is available from many cable and all satellite service providers.