Cartoon Network Cancels ‘Young Justice’ & ‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’

In a move that comes as a surprise to almost no one who has been closely watching the proceedings, the Cartoon Network confirmed today that two of its fan favorite shows, Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series would end after the completion of their current seasons.

Young Justice_Green Lantern_The Animated Series_Promo

The writing has been on the wall for these shows ever since last October when Cartoon Network, abruptly and with no warning, pulled them both from the air for three months. No word was given as to why this move was made, and rumblings online from the shows’ producers–and from other producers of shows treated similarly by Cartoon Network–didn’t bode well.

Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated series will presumably be replaced on the schedule and in the DC Nation block by Beware The Batman! and the return of Teen Titans Go!. It is unknown at this time when exactly the former shows will end and when the latter shows will premiere.

None of this should come as a complete surprise: short runs of shows is the name of the game in cartoons these days. As we’ve seen from countless examples over the last few years on Cartoon Network and on Disney XD, networks seem to only want a few years out of a show before it’s time to start over with a new show for a new audience.


Comments

  1. Crossing my fingers that a Young Justice complete series Blu-ray hits shelves eventually. I’d buy that in a heartbeat.

    • From your lips to God’s ears. I’d also buy that in a heartbeat, and I already bought all of the episodes off of PSN (in Standard Def).

    • I didn’t stick with Young Justice and only briefly watched Green Lantern, but intrigued about possibly catching those sometime.

    • Dream on. I thought the same thing with the Legion of Super Heroes waiting for a box set. But once the show was cancelled, the company did not care to make anymore DVD sets. Better get what you can of Young Justice on DVD now because in about 6 months it will be a distance memory to the marketing team.

  2. Does anyone else get the feeling that they just sort of hate everything right now? Cause that’s creeping up on me pretty bad right now.

    • You’re not alone. If this isn’t the Darkest Timeline, then this is the Galaxy of THIS SUCKS CAMEL ****!

    • I totally agree. Cartoon Network cancelled Thundercats, and Sym-Bionic Titan after only one season. The shows were excellent and had a lot of potential. I now watch NickToons for Iron-Man Armored Adventures, and DisneyXD for Avengers.

    • I suspect it was more to do with “We have two old shows and two new shows and only one one-hour ‘DC Nation’ block to show them in, so good bye-by old shows.” Conor is right. When it comes to cartoon series, two years is the standard. It sucks, but that’s the way it goes.

    • Truth be told, if I had to choose between these and the new shows, I’d pick GL and YJ to stay. Why can’t we have a 2 hour DC Nation? Plus Cartoon Network couldn’t cancel Annoying Orange and Lego Thundercats? Really? Plus I don’t think another Batman show is a great idea (love the others cept Brave and Bold) , and even tho I would love a continuation of the Teen Titans cartoon I’d settle for more of the shorts.

    • Thundercats is on late night on Saturdays I just watched a great epi this past weekend.

    • That’s true but Cartoon Network is advertising a new Lego show; Chima something or other. It literally looks like the last Thundercats cartoon in Lego form minus Mumm-Ra (in my opinion).

    • I, too, believed that program to be Lego Thundercats. Then I found out it wasn’t. Then I stopped caring about it. Forever.

  3. Yeah, the writing was on the wall… but that doesn’t make any of it easier to swallow. First, “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” and now this.

    Correction, first “The Spectacular Spider-Man,” and now this.

  4. The ONLY cartoons with any ‘Adult’ sensibility and they have to go? Really? Kinda sucks but grateful for the morsels we have. FUCK YOU Cartoon Network.

  5. Sad news; Young Justice was the best glimpse at the depth of the DC Universe in animated form, perhaps ever. It’s second only to the DCAU in quality. It embodied the best aspects of the post-Crisis DCU with maturity, growth, and legacy, which have been all but tossed aside in the New 52 reboot.

  6. This ruined my day. I’ve been loving the return of Young Justice to my Saturdays, enjoying the comic, and was looking forward to the video game. Earth 16 is my favorite DC interpretation by far.

    So so sad…But as you pointed out Conor, not that surprising.

    Does anyone know why DC is cancelling these?

  7. Why can’t we have good things?

  8. This is not the kind of news I wanted on my Birthday. Young Justice rivals teh greatness of Batman: The Animated Series. I look forward to re-watching them all on DVD.

  9. The pisser is they’re replacing Young Justice with a reboot of that obnoxious Teen Titans cartoon. Also, considering they have to replace Clone Wars, I don’t understand why they’d drop two popular shows to do it.

  10. This may not be a surprise, but it’s still a hard pill to shallow. You Do Not Cancel A BRUCE TIMM Cartoon Until He Is Good And Ready!!!!! And YJ, arguably the first show in years on CN that had action, comedy, complexity, and other great things going for it. This day will forever be sullied for me. Unless someone shows me the creator’s of both shows saying this was their idea and they requested it, I’ve got to do something to show my disappointment. Maybe boycotting CN for a year maybe, something. I saw a petition on IGN to save these shows, I guess that’s a good start.

  11. I’m upset about Green Lantern, I have been really enjoying it especially the last couple of episodes. Never got into Young Justice because I don’t care about those characters but I know a lot of people here really liked it and I’m sad for them that it’s being cancelled as well. I really wish good cartoons could get a longer life-span, at least Clone Wars has lasted a while but who knows how much longer that can go on.

  12. This news upsets me I like both shows a lot.

  13. I liked Young Justice too, so it is a bummer to see it go.

    But I think the thing we forget is that we are NOT THE TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC for these shows. If a show is sold to advertisers as being for ages 7-12 (or whatever) and it fails to get enough viewers in that age group, then it doesn’t matter that a bunch of twenty-, thirty- and forty-somethings like it.

    A lot of the comments in this thread (and elsewhere) are basically bemoaning Cartoon Network for NOT behaving like Marvel/DC, who have spent the last 20+ years catering their product to an aging and shrinking audience at the expense of younger demographics.

    I’m all for animation that has sophisticated storytelling, but maybe — as adults — we just need to get over the fact that prime time blocks on cable networks that cater primarily to children aren’t the places we should expect to find it.

    • I watch YJ with my son and daughter every Satruday morning (when they don’t pull it for no good goddamn reason)…I can tell you that show and Avengers EMH made a comics fan out of both of them! And every nephew and neighbor’s kid around comes to our house for access to my DVR with all the episodes on them.

      I think kids loved it! It had depth and stakes…and I think they appreciated the more serious tone of the show.

      They also love Ultimate Spider-Man, so you know, not every show has to be like YJ is, but still…I think it had an audience.

    • @KenOchalek, it shouldn’t matter if the target group isn’t the main viewer, it’s the ratings that should matter. And judging from all the people that talk about this show on this site and IGN, YJ had alot of viewers. If Cartoon Network releases a graph of the data and says “we didn’t have enough viewership to renew YJ” then I’ll accept your premise. But to cancel a show because you can’t market life insurance, home appliances, motorized wheel chairs, and chuck e cheese commercials to 7-12 year olds, is just stupid. That’s the only way I can describe it.

    • I’m in the same boat with bub64882. My kids and I LOVED watching these shows (as well as Avengers EMH) together.

      Like IthoSapien, I’m curious about the ratings (if CN does decide to go the “low ratings” route).

      It’s a damn shame these shows have been canceled. But life goes on, I guess.

      At least, that’s what they say…

    • @bub64882 and @RogueComics: Totally awesome that your kids dig these shows. My point wasn’t that kids didn’t like these shows, just that our disappointment doesn’t matter much.

      I’m sure low ratings are at least part of the reasoning to cancel a show — very few American shows are allowed to end gracefully.

      But @IthoSapien, I think you’re ignoring some basic concepts of television. Even though these are cable shows (so some revenue comes from subscription fees) these shows exist (as far as the network cares) to sell advertising. If a network buys a show like Young Justice and sells ad time to a company that wants to reach a certain age group, that show has to deliver a certain number of viewers in that age group to justify the prices for that ad time.

      And while there are many shortcomings to the Neilsen rating system, it is designed to measure the demographics of everyone watching a show in a house. So it’s not like the network gets ratings numbers that lack demographic information. They “know” (again, it’s a flawed system) who is watching what, and then use statistics to extrapolate a total viewership number.

      And I’m speculating, but I imagine that reaching your target demographic is especially important for a brand like Cartoon Network. I don’t agree with it, but the conventional wisdom is “cartoons are for kids”. So it’s not like the network can just abandon their core advertisers because a particular show does better in a different demographic — their sales departments aren’t that nimble. Some of these advertisers make buys that cover the whole range of programming, so if you’ve got a misfit show, regardless of ratings performance, it’s likely a goner. For better or worse, it’s the business relationships with the advertiser that the network wants to maintain — the programs themselves are replaceable.

      Now, as a fan of good stories, that totally sucks. But it’s a fact of the television business — the product a network uses to make money is viewer’s attention. When a great show gets that attention, all the better for us!

      And using sentiment on this site and IGN to make assumptions about the success of these shows is… dicey, at best.

    • The way I took Ken’s comments was that he was trying to point out some of the likely realities of the situation, while also admitting that he was speculating to some degree. I didn’t see him taking anyone’s side, other than saying that he disagreed with the corporate reasoning. Dayanu makes some relevant counter-points, but the first couple sentences seemed like an unnecessary personal insult.

    • Oh, the comment that I was replying to got nixed. Editorial is on the ball.

    • Was it really because of ratings or not hitting the right demographic? According to their own PR from a couple of weeks ago, it was doing better than last year with the target demo. I know that’s their own PR and it might just be spin, but it kinda makes the decision seem all that more baffling.

      http://www.thefutoncritic.com/ratings/2013/01/08/cartoon-network-ranks-as-televisions-number-1-network-for-total-day-delivery-of-boys-6-11-and-9-14-42015/20130108turner01/

    • @KenOchalek, your response and reasoning are very well said. However I have little sympathy for advertising companies, as far as I’m concerned all they do is brainwash you (opinion) and besides only 50% of advertising works anyway (fact). Yes using anecdotal evidence is always dicey, my point is that these shows have fans (vocal ones too). And so I have a hard time thinking the cause of cancelation is low ratings unless someone says so with evidence. Now, we may not be the intended demographic, fair enough, but those advertisers should be grateful for the extra groups they’re reaching and if they were any good they would adapt to this unexpected viewership (again, I’m assuming these shows maintain good ratings). Once again I point to the commercials they show routinely on CN; life insurance, motorized wheel chairs, home appliances, and occasionally kid putty or glow in the dark stuff you can order at home. I skip thru these all the time, and I’m no marketing major but I’d say these commercials are chosen rather oddly. It’s the ratings themselves that should matter, not “oh, 7-12 year olds aren’t watching this. Maybe something with Batman and revamped shows from 5-6 years ago that were popular then. (Teen Titans GO, and Powerpuff Girls)”. I’m not attacking you, but maybe you can explain to me the thinking behind the choices of commercials, the new show lineup (with revamped older shows) and tell me it’s because of a desire to reach a certain demographic. Oh, I forgot that most commercials shown on tv are old. Really old, as in I’ve seen them from way back when I was a kid (motorized carts, health insurance, coin collections, Zoo Kid subscriptions, etc.).

    • @IthoSapien: Advertising is super-slimy, no doubt. I buy Young Justice on iTunes and avoid the ads altogether, so I can’t speak to or explain how/why the specific ads on Young Justice are placed, but I have a couple theories:

      1. The ads are placed by your cable provider. For a discounted rate, the cable provider guarantees that an ad will play a certain number of times in a given period, but the advertiser has no control over when and where. I suppose a deal like that could be done at the network level as well.

      2. It could be that the show’s ratings are so low that the cable provider and/or network can’t find advertisers willing to buy ad time on the show.

      Again, I can’t say with any certainty that that’s the case, but it might explain why you’re seeing old ads for products that don’t seem pertinent to the intended audience.

      But my larger point was about how outrage from adult fans about the cancellation of a kids show (a very smart and well done kids show of course, but still a kids show) feels maybe a little… misguided.

    • I gotta agree, the ads were…puzzling. It was either Progressive Insurance, or mail-order light up slippers that there was no way in hell I was buying my kid.

      In California, this played at 7:30 AM and 10:30 AM Saturday morning, and I can’t imagine why Cartoon Network is running Progressive Insurance ads at that time.

    • Granted, maybe adults lamenting YJ (why do we keep excluding GL?) cancelation is misguided. Then again, I go into a comic store every month and drop $20 on comics, I’m sure others here who are even older have similar practices. With that in mind, us wishing YJ to continue shouldn’t seem that strange. I haven’t really noticed anything different about the ads (again I skip thru them at high speed), so I guess I assumed everything was fine. Of course, if it’s childish to ask why YJ is canceled, we could theroize why Progressive Insurance (or any car insurance) is being marketed to 7-12 year olds?

  14. I really got to check out this Young Justice everyone is talking about. I’ve been rewatching the JL and JLU series on DVD, so good. When Young Justice comes out on DVD I’ll have to pick it up

  15. I wish I knew why kids didn’t like this cartoon. What really bothers me is Teen Titans Go isn’t very good.

    • The old teen titans show sucks. I love the old Wolfman Titans, so on a pure thematic level Young Justice was a better take on that than the old/new Titans show ever was. The serious stories with truly human characters, young Justice is amazing!

    • Teen Titans was for children, who liked it. Go figure.

  16. Sad face, but I understand. If the shows ain’t gettin’ the viewers they need, they don’t really have much choice.

    Still sad, though.

  17. i think the one thing that gets me is compared to prime time tv shows it seems to be a lot harder to figure out what are the ratings for these shows? what about itunes downloads? or toy sales?

    There has been some shake up this past year at WB that are moving down the line to CN so i wonder what is happening there that affects this?

  18. This sucks

  19. I’m torn because i get that you make cartoons for kids and we aren’t kids.but then i think of japan and they target their animation for any age they want it sucks that dc and marvel refuse to straddle the line but yeah kids shows can only last a few years tops,by the way cant wait for season 18 of adventure time and gumball or whatever its called

    • i feel like generally comics and us animation needs to learn from the business model of manga and anime instead of just Trying to copy art style.

  20. Since their restructuring DC has a known aversion to uniqueness of voice and quality so this isn’t really a surprise.

    How Wonder Woman is surviving I don’t know.

    Both shows were greenlit under the old Pre New52, Pre-DC Entertainment regime. One thing new executives love to do is torpedo with stuff the previous people were shepherding. It could be as simple as that.

  21. Two seasons and out seems to be how cartoons work these days…

  22. In general the new 52 is just terrible!! I would much rather read and watch the adventures of these characters than pretty much anything DC is putting out now. (Batman is the exception) The powers that be at DC better get their act together, or I see DC losing even more fans than they already have.

  23. Tangentially related: Anyone else see the parallels between cancelling cartoon shows after a couple years and replacing them with new ones, and the periodic retelling of origins in the Golden (and Silver?) age for comics? Kinda interesting how you get convergent business models in different entertainment mediums in different eras. I guess kids consumption habits in the end are pretty stable even if the medium fluxes a lot more.

  24. #&^@!!!

  25. I think I’m more affected at losing Green Lantern. It’s come a long way since it’s premiere episode and I would’ve loved to see what could have been done with a second season.

  26. I don’t think they realize how many folks wants this to stick around…I work with teens and alot of them love these two shows…including myself.

  27. To the petitions! They’re not taking the closest thing iv got to the original DCAU without a fight!!!!

  28. Booooooooo! Hisssss! Well, with respect to cancelling Young Justice anyway. The Green Lantern cartoon? Not so much.

    But oh boy! CG Powerpuff Girls without their creator being involved! Doesn’t that sound great? Because everyone knows, things are 100x better when they are done CG!

    (If yous sarcasm-meter was on for that last sentence, it has probably exploded.)

  29. Beware the Batman! Looks terrible.

  30. On a related topic, TDKR part 2 comes out this week.

  31. VERY disappointed to see Young Justice – probably the best super hero cartoon in years – get the axe.

    Not a bash against Teen Titans Go, but … I’d MUCH rather YJ keep going.

    Heck, I’d rather see the Doom Patrol shorts get half-hour treatments instead of Teen Titans Go.

  32. Young Justice was making the DC New 52 comics look bad so it had to go. Now I’m really gonna miss the Dc universe.

    • I’d buy a line of comics based on the YJ-verse much more readily than most of the New 52.

    • @y2kkev &mgriffith: SECONDED!

    • There already is a Young Justice comic you can buy too.

    • @ResurrectionFlan: Only for one more month.

    • The YJ comic is the only DC book I’m buying outside of Snyder’s Batman. So bummed! The Braniac story is loads of fun, and I was looking forward to this book cushion the blow of the show getting cancelled.

      Do you know why DC is scuttling Superman Family Adventures and YJ? Numbers, or is there a new kid-friendly line coming?

      Or…cough if you know but can’t say anything. 🙂

    • @bub64882: I have no special insight on this one. It makes sense that YOUNG JUSTICE would be canceled along with the show.

    • @ Conor…I guess so. I can only hope that there is enough demand that, like Buffy, Firefly, Ghostbusters Animated Series, Star Trek, Cowboy Bebop, Smallville, and a host of others, Earth-16 lives on in Comic Form.

      I do hope DC is planning on a more cohesive all-ages line in the wake of these cancellations!

  33. This sucks! Both of these shows have been very well done, no reason to drop them. Good story line, good artwork. I’m sorry but they can drop the Regular Show and Adventure Time, sorry but I just cannot get into those shows, maybe it’s my age.

  34. That this day was coming was as certain as an attack from Darkseid. I felt it in my bones the weekend the DC Power Hour was dropped last fall. My greatest sorrow is I have no way to travel to the parallel Earth where these shows continue to air weekly …in prime time.

    The REAL shame is that these two wonderful shows and all of those insanely inventive DC Shorts (let’s not forget THEM!) will come to an end without their futures played out. I fear we will never get to see the continued expansion of the GL mythos, with the Anti Monitor plot run to a satisfying conclusion; a third season of YJ successfully realizing the young heroes’ overcoming the Reach, the Light, and the eventual exoneration (and return) of the missing Justice League members OR enough Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld shorts to gain a complete to-DVD release, never mind a for-girls toy line.

    In my DC iFanboy gut, I know I’ll never get to see any of it.

    Sad indeed.

  35. Why not just have GL YJ and BTB TTG on rotation and have one set in the Beginning of the year and the next in the fall?

  36. Hope to see these on Netflix soon.

  37. It may not be a surprise but it still blows dead goats!

  38. This is somehow Loeb’s doing.

  39. Young Justice is legit.

  40. To sum up my feelings , I’ve asked Darth Vader to say a few words:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWaLxFIVX1s

  41. I’m fine with short runs on shows if they’re good. Nothing lasts forever. As long as they’re replaced w/ more good shows i say bring it on.

  42. I was upset when I read this yesterday, and I’m still ticked now. My daughter, 13, loves this show and Adventure Time. Surely there is room on TV both of these shows?! And if not, dump the stupid AT!

  43. Yep, it’s hard to decipher what’s going on in the offices of the people involved in getting these shows done, paid for, aired and then say “well, that didn’t work”, and then not have them renewed. Or whatever else might be happening…. We can only speculate, and that we do. I’m sure it’s a very crazy, weird complicated business that of running a “cartoon network” and having shows that are a licensed property. I find it it actually amazing that these two shows turned up so good. What can you do, this is TV biz.

    My question (to no one in particular I guess); is there a place in the world where these type of shows (licensed characters owned by either DC or Marvel) can be made and have them be profitable (which is the only reason why they would be made in the first place, for profit)? Do having good quality shows like these that we enjoy have a short or long term benefit to the company that owns these characters? I’m sure there’s guys in suits (or shorts), accountants, and other people that work in the “biz” that can plot out and chart the why’s and why not’s of this. Me, I don’t know. I don’t know shit, that I know. Im just a guy that enjoys watching these shows so… whatevs. What I do know is that there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know. That, I am certain of.

  44. Other commenters have gotten it right. I will just add these shows were too good to succeed. American business practices demand the good must be destroyed in the name of the profit.

    Yea, Ef you CN executives.

  45. Let me add my voice to the chorus of the bummed. I’m really liking YJ, it has depth and has been a nice exploration of the DCU. Sucks to see it end. GL is OK, I don’t go out of my way to watch it, but it does not offend me either. I think the failure of the movie might have carried over to the show a little. Not a fan of the CGI – seems like the “cheap” route.

    Dunno if BTB will suck or not until I see it. Hopefully the writing and voice acting will be good and make up for the CGI. Not holding my breath though. I’m fine with Teen Titans Go, but not as a replacement for YJ.

  46. So it’s been reported that they were cancelled due to lower than anticipated toy sales. If that turns out to be true, I suppose it means it’s a Time Warner/ WB/DC decision more so than Cartoon Network and may have nothing to do with ad sales or ratings.

    • I had a feeling that this was the case. Part of the problem with the toy sales logic is that they pulled the toys from the shelf just as the cartoon was getting good. Right about the time that I wanted a Sportsmaster for my toy shelf, they were discontinuing the toy line. I blame it on the start-stop-start nature of how they rolled out the first season. It the timing had been better, toy sales might have followed.

  47. well since this news surfaced a few days ago the petitions hit 14,000 and counting. I know some people might see it as a pointless effort, but even so if anyone here hasn’t signed the petition, or knows people who like the show who might not have signed it (friends or family) you/they should still sign it. It would be nice to have the show for at least two more seasons.

  48. In the words of redubbed Vader, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!”