MediaWeek reports that Turner plans to shorten Cartoon Network’s day by an hour to extend Adult Swim another hour into primetime by starting it at 9pm beginning in January 2011.
After having shifted its nightly launch time from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. in January 2009, the network that introduced such fractured franchises as Robot Chicken, Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law and Aqua Teen Hunger Force is looking to extend its reach into the highly competitive second hour of prime. In so doing, Adult Swim is positioning itself to pursue a much broader swath of advertisers, although buyers caution that the network will be in for something of a high-wire act if it’s to balance the content restrictions of the earlier hour with the signature lunacy that informs its brand.
The Media Week article doesn’t mention Family Guy anywhere, but Family Guy reruns are Adult Swim’s crown jewel. It’s always among the highest-rated programs with adults 18-34 for the entire cable week, and that’s with episodes at 11p and 11:30p. For the week ending February 1, Family Guy claimed 3 of the top 10 programs on basic cable with adults 18-34 and 17 of the top 50 spots. It also took 3 of the top 10 spots with adults 18-49 that week and 15 of the top 50 spots.
However, a few of those slots were aired on sister network TBS at times ranging from 8:30p-11p.