Saturday, January 24, 2015

Boomerang Rebrand 2015: My Thoughts

Boomerang's New Logo

After using the same bumpers for 15 years, Boomerang has rebranded this past Monday, January 19. I decided to write down my thoughts on it. Get it below.

I'll start by saying that I don't actually have Boomerang at home. I'm hoping this rebrand changes that but I'm not counting on it. So how is it I've been able to watch this channel? My grandparents have a house in Maine they go to weekends during the summer. My brother and I usually go up there with them on holiday weekends (though they'll let us go up more if we ask and they don't have anything planned). Their cable package up there has had Boomerang since 2010 (although I didn't actually watch it until 2013 for some reason.

There were already shows on the network that I liked but once I started watching Boomerang, there were plenty of Hanna-Barbera shows I watched for the first time. I also liked the shorts they aired in between shows that featured Hanna-Barbera characters. This channel basically introduced me to my love of Hanna-Barbera, and subsequently, cartoons as a whole. I already liked cartoons, but I became more passionate about them. I started researching people in animation, both old and new, and now I'm a fan of animation legends like Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, and Friz Freleng. I'd even go after a career in animation if I thought I could draw. Basically, this channel did a lot for me. It quickly became my favorite channel.

Now that I've apparently told you what I thought of the old Boomerang, I'll give you a brief history of the network. Boomerang started out as a programming block on Cartoon Network on December 8, 1992, just over 2 months after CN's launch. It was aimed at baby boomers. Boomerang launched as a spin-off channel on April 1, 2000 (click here for a great article from back then about the network), with about 90% of it's programming being unduplicated by Cartoon Network. After the launch, CN promoted the channel at the end of the Boomerang block to increase visibility for the network. The block ended in 2004.

Boomerang's Original Logo. The U.S. version, which used it until the rebrand, was the last Boomerang to use this logo.
Voiceovers for the network were recorded by actor John O'Hurley. Boomerang originally aired in a looping format. It's broadcast day began at 8 A.M. eastern time repeated programming 3 times a day in 8 hour blocks. This ended on December 26, 2004. In October 2004, most of the older shows airing on Cartoon Network were moved to Boomerang. Boomerang also didn't air traditional ads for many years, instead being funded solely by subscriber fees and product tie-ins.

For many years, Boomerang did not air live action shows, with the exception of The Banana Splits, which aired on and off until 2011, and the Cartoon Network game show Hole in the Wall, which aired from 2010-2011. This changed in October 2011 when they started airing the classic sitcoms The Addams Family and The Munsters. They left at the end of the month, but returned for Halloween in both 2012 and 2013.

Over the years, Boomerang started airing "newer classics." Some examples include Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and The Powerpuff Girls. I really liked this idea. By the time they started airing on Boomerang, these shows were starting to become classics, which is what Boomerang was meant for.

In 2012, they started airing newer programming. On January 1, 2012, they started airing first run episodes of an Italian import called Puppy in My Pocket: Adventures in Pocketville, which was based on the popular toys. It left in February 2013. And on November 17 and 24, they aired new episodes of Ben 10: Omniverse before they aired on Cartoon Network.

On November 23, 2013, Boomerang started airing traditional ads for the first time. It wasn't long before it became ad free again, but this was just the beginning. On February 4, 2014, Boomerang's rebrand was announced. It would give the same look to all versions and it would become ad supported and would seek international distribution.

On June 2, Boomerang started using a new schedule that introduced a lot of Cartoon Network shows and moved out a lot of classics (unfortunately, I'm not counting on most of them coming back). I think this was to prepare for the rebrand. You can read more about it here. Then Boomerang became ad supported again on September 1, and I only know that because I was in Maine for Labor Day weekend. I left for home that afternoon. Then the Amazing World of Gumball and Teen Titans Go! were added to the schedule in December (as if they didn't air enough on Cartoon Network). A promo for holiday programming (which had no mention of the annual Boomerang Christmas Party) had no classics, except for a couple of brief moments of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Just Cartoon Network shows. There were Hanna-Barbera classics that aired, but I don't think Boomerang promoted them. Then on January 5, two weeks before the rebrand, Boomerang adopted a new schedule that featured more current series and first run episodes of Numb Chucks, a Canadian import that was originally announced for Cartoon Network. You can read more about it here.

Boomerang's rebrand was initially announced for the fall, but on October 14, it was announced that it would happen in early 2015, with the international rollout starting in fall 2014. In addition to classics (e.g. Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, The Powerpuff Girls, Scooby-Doo), Boomerang would air new series from studios around the world. Boomerang would also have a new website where younger fans could enjoy age appropriate games and older users could learn more about their favorite characters and series. The website hasn't launched yet, but I'll be sure to check it out when it does. The international rebrand started with the Latin American version on September 29, followed by the Australian version on November 5 and the French version on January 5. It finally hit the American version on January 19. The Hanna-Barbera icons are no longer featured in the bumpers. The "from Cartoon Network" portion of the iconic "Boomerang from Cartoon Network" branding was dropped. And the voiceovers are no longer recorded by John O'Hurley. They are recorded by kids.

So now for my thoughts on the rebrand. I'll start by talking about the schedule. Most shows on the lineup were made this century. There are only 5 classics left on the lineup: Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, and The Smurfs. The Flintstones and The Smurfs are only airing in graveyard slots, so the only ones still airing during the day are also still airing on Cartoon Network in some versions. There are also only 3 out-of-production Cartoon Network shows airing, and only one of them was made before this century. I hate to say this, but it looks like Boomerang is no longer a classic cartoons network. Now, it looks more like a second Cartoon Network. If I ever have kids, I'm going to have to show them some Hanna-Barbera shows. These are shows that have been enjoyed for generations and should be continued to be enjoyed for generations to come. Many Hanna-Barbera shows are available on DVD, and can also be found online, so it shouldn't be too hard.

Below, you'll find a listings grid I found via Nick and More. As you can see, it's very different from what it was just two short years ago. If you want to see any past schedules, click here.

Now for the look. While I stated that I don't have Boomerang, videos of the rebrand have surfaced on YouTube. While I am going to miss the old bumpers, this rebrand was long overdue, and the new bumpers don't look that bad. I especially like the promos because they tell you when you can watch the show they're advertising. The old promos didn't do that. The only 2 exceptions are a Powerpuff Girls promo that said you could watch it weeknights at 10 P.M. and a Pokémon promo that said you could watch it "today at 6 P.M." Both shows eventually left those timeslots. The PPG promo stopped airing completely, while the Pokémon promo still aired, but it no longer said when you could watch it. So overall, this rebrand isn't that bad. I am going to miss the old look, but the rebrand was long overdue.

So is Boomerang still my favorite channel? Well, I can't decide that without actually watching it. The next time I go to Maine is Memorial Day weekend. That will be the next time I watch Boomerang (unless I get it at home before that, but I'm not counting on it). I'll decide then.

The close things out, I put in some videos I found on YouTube. The first 27 are pre-rebrand Boomerang bumpers and promos, with the 26th being my favorite Boomerang promo and the 27th being what I believe to be the last Boomerang promo before the rebrand. The rest are videos of the rebrand. I'll try to add more as they become available. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Just want to say that I don't think this next one is the real Top Cat promo. The footage is right, but I think someone dubbed their voice over it. Unfortunately, it was the best I could find. If anyone has a better one, let me know.

Just want to say that this next one probably said 'New" because of a glitch. The uploader said that the episode it was leading up to (The Authority/The Virus) aired a year earlier on Cartoon Network, and that Boomerang has not yet unveiled their "NEW" variant.

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