4Kids Entertainment (Template:Pinksheets) (commonly known as 4Kids) is an American film and television production company. It is known for English-dubbing Japanese anime, specializing in the acquisition, production and licensing of children's entertainment around the United States. The first anime that 4Kids dubbed was the first eight seasons of Pokémon that aired on Kids' WB! in the United States. The company is most well-known for its range of television licenses, which has included the multi-billion dollar Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Japanese anime franchises. They also ran two program blocks: The CW4Kids on The CW and 4Kids TV stations, both aimed at children. As of December 27, 2008, the 4KidsTV block ended on FOX, leaving 4Kids to only broadcast The CW4Kids.
4Kids Entertainment has its world headquarters on Sixth Avenue in New York City, its subsidiary, 4Kids Productions, has its headquarters in a separate building in Manhattan. The New York Stock Exchange delisted 4Kids (NYSE: KDE) on June 1, 2010.
Licenses and productions
4Kids Entertainment licenses a wide variety of media products, ranging from video games and television programs to toy lines featuring the Royal Air Force. 4Kids focuses on licensing content for the children and pre-teen market, including content for both boys and girls. Many of its licenses come from dubs of Japanese anime, including Fighting Foodons, and Shaman King, while others are Western animations or properties like Chaotic, or Back to the Future: The Animated Series. Most programs are either licensed out to local stations, or broadcast on their dedicated programming block 4Kids TV. Typically, 4Kids will retain several properties on hiatus (such as Yu-Gi-Oh! GX), or in production to allow for turnover of their existing products. 4Kids also licenses, and merchandises, a number of non-animation based products, such as calendars like The Dog, and toys like Cabbage Patch Kids.
In late January 2002, 4Kids Entertainment signed a four-year, US$100 million deal with the Fox Broadcasting Company to program its Saturday morning lineup. It premiered September 14, 2002 as "FoxBox" after Fox Kids was dissolved following the purchase of Fox Family Worldwide by The Walt Disney Company. FoxBox rebranded to "4Kids TV" in January 2005. 4Kids Entertainment is wholly responsible for the content of the block and collects all advertising revenues from it. 4Kids Entertainment announced that it would exit its contract with Fox and terminate its Fox programming block by the end of 2008. The final broadcast of 4Kids TV on Fox was on December 27, 2008.
Many of the licenses distributed by 4Kids Entertainment, and presented on 4Kids TV are managed by 4Kids Productions, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of 4Kids Entertainment. First launched in 1992, 4Kids Productions deals primarily with television, film, home video, and music licenses, and currently manages the programming for 4KidsTV.
On October 2, 2007, Warner Bros. and CBS announced that the Kids' WB programming block on their co-owned network, The CW, would be ending in 2008, and no longer be marketed and produced in-house, due to factors including building children's advertising and marketing restrictions, and cable competition. Rights for the five hour Saturday morning block were bought by 4Kids, and they began to program the time with their own programming (mixed in with three former Kids' WB originals) in September 2008. Because of this additional deal, 4Kids provided programming for both The CW and Fox in the 2008–09 season giving 4Kids nine hours of combined children's programming on two broadcast networks, as 4KidsTV ran until December 27, 2008. The new block, The CW4Kids, started May 24, 2008. The CW4Kids was renamed to Toonzai starting on August 14, 2010, featuring Magical Do-Re-Mi!, Cubix: Robots for Everyone, Dinosaur King, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, Sonic X, Viva Piñata, Tai Chi Chasers and Dragon Ball Z Kai.
Toonzai! is a Saturday morning cartoon block on The CW that premiered in August 14, 2010 (originally planned for September 2010) taking the place of The CW4Kids. Even though 4Kids TV was discontinued as it's now online only, this programming block continued to use the CW4Kids name, to reflect to the network it airs on. 4Kids also indicated that it will retain Yu-Gi-Oh! and Sonic X in its lineup. In addition to that, Toonzai also airs Dragon Ball Z Kai. Dragon Ball Z Kai also airs on Nicktoons Network in the US. Toonzai is The CW4Kids's nickname. The "Toonzai" brand name is similar to Cartoon Network's former action animation block "Toonami", which aired briefly on The CW4Kids's predecessor, Kids' WB from July 2001 to June 2002.
Other notable business proceedings
4Sight Licensing Solutions Inc.
On April 18, 2006, 4Kids had announced a new subsidiary entitled 4Sight Licensing Solutions Inc. 4Sight will license and market brands aimed at adults, teenagers and pre-teens. "We have built an impressive roster of captivating and successful children's entertainment properties," said Alfred Kahn. "Given the increased number of brands that we are representing that focus on an older audience, we felt it would be beneficial to organize a new subsidiary primarily devoted to the marketing and licensing of these brands. We believe that we can successfully utilize our marketing and licensing expertise to build brand value for properties targeting an older consumer that are not necessarily media or character driven."
4Kids and Microsoft
On January 17, 2006, 4Kids and Microsoft signed a deal to license children's card games exclusively for the Xbox 360 gaming system, in an effort to put more child-oriented games on the system, whose gaming library is currently dominated by games targeted toward the 13-and-up market. One of the first titles announced was Viva Piñata which would be developed by Rare Ltd.
Editing and localization of anime
The management of 4Kids Entertainment has stated that it seeks to "localize anime so children in English-speaking countries will understand it...", judging that localization is necessary in order for these titles to be profitable. For most titles, the editing 4Kids performs falls into a few broad categories – 4Kids may seek to "Americanize" a program by changing character names, dialog, music, food, or stereotypes which would be unfamiliar or even offensive to an American audience, as in the series, Pokémon, where rice balls are changed into American food such as jelly doughnuts or subs. The company also may remove some materially suggestive objects such as cigarettes or guns with lollipops, water guns, crosses, or content deemed too violent or suggestive for American children. In an interview with Al Kahn, CEO of 4Kids, when asked how the company decides what properties or anime to acquire, his reply was "..if [anime fans] want this programming to come to the United States then they're going to have to accept the fact that it's going to be available in two styles."
A March 2006 study by the Parents Television Council on violence in children's television programs said that the 4Kids dub of Shaman King was still too violent for children. L. Brent Bozell also pointed out the 4Kids-dubbed Shaman King in one of his weekly column as an example of children's media he perceived as having undue "cultural landmines".
- 4Kids Entertainment – Senior Management Team
- "Contact". 4Kids Entertainment. Retrieved on October 13, 2009.
- 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. Common Stock to Move from New York Stock Exchange to OTC Bulletin Board Market http://finance.yahoo.com/news/4Kids-Entertainment-Inc-bw-2031764303.html?x=0&.v=1
- Pennington, Steven. "Alfred R. Kahn". Anime News Network. Accessed April 24, 2005.
- 2004 annual report of 4Kids Entertainment
- McClellan, Steve; Schlosser, Joe (January 28, 2002). "4Kids' win-win deal". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved October 9, 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter
- "The week that was". Broadcasting & Cable. May 20, 2002. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
- 4Kids Entertainment (January 18, 2005). "Fox Box To Be Rebranded 4KIDS TV". Press release. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/press-release/2005-01-18/fox-box-to-be-rebranded-4kids-tv.
- Downey, Kevin (March 1, 2002). "Signs of life for kids television". Media Life Magazine. Retrieved August 3, 2008.
- "4Kids to End Its Fox Programming Block in December". Anime News Network. November 10, 2008. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
- Schneider, Michael (November 23, 2008). "Longform ads replace kid fare on Fox". Variety. Retrieved March 15, 2009.
- "4Kids Entertainment Reports Third Quarter 2008 Results And Settlement of Fox Litigation". QuoteMedia. November 10, 2008. Retrieved March 15, 2009.[dead link]
- Schneider, Michael. CW turns to 4Kids on Saturdays. Variety: Oct. 2, 2007.
- "4Kids Launches 4Sight Licensing Solutions". Anime News Network. Accessed April 18, 2006.
- "Microsoft and 4Kids Entertainment Form Alliance". 4Kids Entertainment.com. Accessed January 17, 2006.
- New PTC Study Finds More Violence on Children's TV than on Adult-Oriented TV. Parents Television Council. March 2, 2006. Retrieved March 15, 2007.
- Bozell, L. Brent III (March 3, 2006). "Poisoning Children, Too?". Creators Syndicate. Retrieved February 18, 2008.