We talk about the Looney Tunes television career quite a bit on this blog... and the characters did have an amazing run on TV from the 1960s all the way to the end of the 1990s. Nowadays it is hard to believe that just a few years back you could turn on your TV and see Warner cartoons on a variety of different channels and just about any time of day (you had showings on ABC, Nickelodeon, TNT, TBS, the WB, Cartoon Network and various local stations).
In what must have sounded like a good idea at the time, in 2000 Warner Bros. Television gave Cartoon Network the exclusive television rights in the United States to the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies for a five year period. Warners ended their longtime contracts with Nickelodeon and ABC and the Turner-owned outlets (TNT, TBS) phased out cartoon broadcasts as well. With much fanfare, CN proudly proclaimed themselves the new home for Bugs and company.
This was the beginning of the end for Looney Tunes on TV...
Things started out fine, but as time went on Looney Tunes showings on Cartoon Network became less and less frequent. By mid-2004 the Warner cartoons were down to a mere half-hour per week (at 6:30am on Saturday mornings). There hasn't been a LT broadcast on Cartoon Network since October 3, 2004. The shorts were then sent off to the obscure Boomerang network.
CN/Boomerang's rights to play the Warner-owned "post-1948" cartoon package expired at the end of 2005 and no new agreement was ever reached. They still have the rights to play the Turner-owned "pre-1948" package, but even those are off the air now on Boomerang (and only show up once in awhile as time filler on Turner Classic Movies).
Bugs, Daffy, Tweety, Porky, Road Runner, Sylvester and the rest are currently in TV limbo... making it impossible for a new generation to be exposed to these characters (unless they are lucky enough to stumble across a DVD).