Rich has already indulged in one conspiracy theory, but I’ve been trying to find something more solid that will explain why DC Nation has been pulled from Cartoon Network’s schedules and won’t be back until next year.
There have been several people willing to talk, all of them anonymously. Pretty much everything I heard from one person was corroborated by another. So I’ve compiled it all. Even when it seems like overkill, or contradiction, none of this came from just one source.
Here are the theories, all of them posited as fact by sources of various standing. Treat them as rumours, but I know which ones I’d put my stock in.
1. Young Justice is the biggest problem
Young Justice characters like Static and Rocket were created as part of Milestone, the DC imprint designed to reset the balance of ethnic representation in comic books. I’m no expert on the ins and outs of it, but we’re hearing there’s a rights issue here, with extra royalties due for the use of these characters – and particularly in respect of them appearing on merchandise.
2. Nobody is buying any toys
Talking of merch, there are some voices telling us that these shows just weren’t shifting enough of the ancillary tie-ins, and this also had a knock-on effect on the value of advertising slots. If the Green Lantern toys were flying off the shelves, it would make sense to remind the kids they exist before, during and after every episode; seeing as they’re not, the ad would be pretty much a waste of dollars.
This is particularly problematic in the run up to December where Cartoon Network want to offer their gung-ho ‘Holiday’ advertisers the kind of slots they want – and, apparently, they don’t want slots during DC Nation.
3. Production delays
The block was running out of “shorts” and “extras” and was essentially going to turn into just Young Justice and Green Lantern back to back, so the idea of a DC-themed hour that gave space lots of their different properties was waning. By holding fire until January, the whole package will be complete again, maximising its value as overall DC branding.
4. Cartoon Network and WB had a falling out over future shows
Work on Beware the Batman was not pleasing Cartoon Network, and an unannounced Justice League show wasn’t cutting it either, so the partnership started to disagree about future directions. Rather than plough on, they’ve decided to burn off the episodes so far produced, dissolve the block and deal with each future DC-themed show on an ad-hoc, one-by-one basis.
So there’s a lot of chatter going on about DC Nation, but still no official statement about what will happen in January or beyond. We’ll keep digging. Expect to hear more about at least two of the above notions in the coming days.