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Fox Leases Saturday Block to 4 Kids

January 23, 2002|Sallie Hofmeister

News Corp.'s Fox Broadcasting Co. agreed to lease a four-hour Saturday morning block on its network to animation supplier, 4 Kids Entertainment Inc., for $101.2 million over four years.

Although television networks usually pay outside suppliers a license fee to air their programs, Fox is following both CBS and NBC in auctioning off this time period because it has become more difficult to make money on Saturdays as youthful viewers have flocked to cable channels such as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.

Though television executives question whether any company can make money in this time period by paying such high rent, 4 Kids said it was willing to pay Fox $25.3 million a year to guarantee a home for programs that generate ancillary revenue from toys and videos.

4 Kids, which airs three programs on the WB network beat out DIC Entertainment, Nickelodeon and other bidders.

4 Kids is spending three times more than Discovery Communications agreed last month to pay NBC for a three-hour Saturday morning block. 4 Kids Chairman Alfred Kahn said it could afford it because Fox, unlike NBC, is not requiring that all the programs be educational. Many of the networks use Saturday mornings to satisfy federal laws requiring TV stations to run three hours a week of educational children's shows.

Sallie Hofmeister

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