Has 24-Hour Kids' TV Killed Saturday Mornings?

When I was a kid, we had a holiday that occurred every single week -- it was called Saturday Morning. Those cartoon-filled hours, from pre-dawn ‘til noon, were a magically special time -- so special, they made my seven-year-old self set an alarm clock for 6 a.m. on what should have been one of my only chances to sleep in. But I wasn’t the only one; the appeal of Saturday Morning was universal. It gave all of us kids, wearied from five straight days of times tables and vocabulary tests, something to look forward to. And then later, when we’d play together on Saturday afternoons, we’d feverishly discuss the animated hijinks we’d seen earlier that day, like the grade-school version of water-cooler talk.

But today, that’s all over. Oh, my kids like Saturdays, but only because they’re days off -- the appeal has nothing to do with television. For them, children’s programming is on whenever they want it. With Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Cartoon Network, Sprout, Disney XD, Boomerang, Discovery Kids, Family Channel (shall I go on?) -- there’s no need to wait. Throw a DVR into the mix and you’ve got an incredibly spoiled viewing audience. I can’t help but feel that my kids -- and the rest of the On Demand Generation -- are missing out on something. There’s a joy in anticipation. As Winnie the Pooh so deftly explained, although eating honey is a great thing to do, the moment before you begin eating it is even better. When it comes to kids’ TV these days, there is no moment before.

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