Talkin’ Nerdy: The Power of Three

Can I ask you all a question?

“You just did.”

OK, here’s another one. Have you ever noticed how the magic number for kids’ cable channels and program blocks always seems to be three?

You have the Holy Trinity of kid-vid cable/satellite channels:


 Disney Channel

and Cartoon Network

Every so often, some company or studio tries to turn the Trinity into a Quartet by launching a new kids’ entertainment channel (not including the offshoots of 1 of the existing channels such as Boomerang or Nicktoons), but they never last long and it always reverts back to the original 3. 20th Century Fox tried it with Fox Family, which was launched in 1998, but came to an end in 2001 when the channel was purchased by Disney and was renamed ABC Family. Hasbro and Discovery tried this with The Hub, which was launched in 2010, but came to an end in 2014.

This even seems to be the case with kids’ programming blocks. In the beginning, there were the main broadcast networks, ABC, CBS and NBC (it’s 4 if one counts PBS, but that’s public broadcasting, so I’m not counting it), and each network had it’s own Saturday morning program block. Then the FOX network was launched in 1985 which begat it’s own SatAM block, Fox Kids in 1990, but then NBC dropped out of the Saturday morning race, cancelling it’s all of it’s cartoons in favor of teen oriented programming (TNBC) 2 years later.Then Kids’ WB! was launched in 1995, only for CBS to stop programming it’s own SatAM programming 2 years later.

It seems as though no network, company or studio seems to be able to permanently make the Big 3 into a Big 4 for very long. No matter what, the number always seems to revert to being 3. Could it simply be a case of it being part of some cosmic plan where the number must always be 3?

Or could it be true what was once said that 3 is indeed a magic number?

..or it’s possible that I just don’t have enough to occupy my mind, but still, it’s something to think about.


2 thoughts on “Talkin’ Nerdy: The Power of Three

  1. Well, most competitions are often 2 at worst, 3 at best. Video game consoles, Sodas, movie premieres genre channels. It’s simply a case of a crowded marketplace. For example, Nick gets this specific crowd, Disney gets this specific crowd, Cartoon gets this specific crowd, and then another channel gets the table scraps. Of course adding in a new product in the marketplace is hard. There’s people who already accept one brand, why gravitate towards the other no matter how shiny it is. I think the only trinity that was successfully broken was the broadcast networks. Even when Fox was a success there were dozens of people trying to squeeze in, and CW might be the 5th network, but it’s not even a decade old, so we’ll see if it’ll stick around.


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