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Adult Swim

Adult Swim, (usually stylized [adult swim] with its signature square brackets), is an adult-oriented television network sharing channel space with Cartoon Network in the United States. The programming features animated shows, including original programming, syndicated shows, and Japanese anime, generally with minimal or no editing for content. The shows are geared toward a 17+ audience, in contrast to the child and pre-teen daytime programming on Cartoon Network. The shows and commercial breaks are usually interrupted by "bumps", or moments where short jokes or Internet fan feedback (which they sometimes respond to in a sarcastic manner when it is negative) are broadcast in simple white letters over a black screen.


Adult Swim began as a "spin-off" of Cartoon Network, premiering on September 2, 2001 with the airing of Home Movies. The name is derived from public swimming pools often having designated times when children are restricted from using the facilities in favor of adults. These times are often referred to as "adult swim". The first anime broadcast on Adult Swim was Cowboy Bebop. On March 28, 2005, Atlanta-based Turner Broadcasting, split Adult Swim from Cartoon Network so Nielsen Media Research could treat it as a separate channel for ratings purposes. Some Adult Swim programming is available on demand on the Internet via Adult Swim Video, a free, ad-supported streaming video service.

Originally a Sunday-only block with reruns on Thursdays, Adult Swim now airs Monday through Saturday from 11pm-6am Eastern Standard Time, and Sundays from 10pm to 6am.

The network is programmed by Williams Street Studios, who have created Toonami and Miguzi; they play American animated series and shorts geared towards adults, and in the past have played a wide variety of Japanese anime series, OVAs, and movies.

Promotions for Adult Swim are targeted towards the college age and those in their twenties and thirties, constituting the majority of their viewers. According to a September 1, 2004 article in Promo magazine, representatives travel to 30 universities across the U.S. to promote the Adult Swim lineup, including handing out posters for students' dorm rooms.

In the beginning of every hour, Adult Swim would show a Parental Advisory label following a statement such as "Adult Swim programming may be inappropriate to some viewers". Since 2007, the PA label was taken off. However, it was brought back by sister network Cartoon Network as its nightly sign off.

On August 1st, 2008, Adult Swim aired a special "old school lineup" night that went back to the original swimming pool motif and aired episodes of original hits such as Home Movies, The Brak Show, Sealab, Space Ghost, and Cowboy Bebop.

Starting August 22nd, 2008, due to great fan reception of their original old school night, Adult Swim decided to make every Friday "Old School" night, complete with all the old favorites like Sealab 2021; Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law; and Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and the old swimming pool bumps.

On September 13, 2008, due to poor ratings Adult Swim decided to change their traditional anime Saturday night, and replace most of the anime with original Williams Street shows.

Ad campaign bomb scare

Turner Broadcasting issued an apology for an ad campaign causing a series of bomb scares throughout Boston on January 31, 2007. A statement emailed to The Boston Globe from Turner Broadcasting said:
"The 'packages' in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim's animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They had been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Parent company Turner Broadcasting is in contact with local and federal law enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We regret that they were mistakenly thought to pose any danger."

On January 31, Boston and Massachusetts State Police were dispatched to various places in Boston after reports of suspicious packages were sighted. On February 1, 2007, Boston authorities arrested two men involved with the incident. Peter Berdovsky, 27, a freelance video artist from Arlington, Massachusetts, and Sean Stevens, 28, were facing charges of placing a hoax device to incite panic, as well as one count of disorderly conduct, according to CNN

On February 5, Turner Broadcasting and marketer Interference Inc. announced that they will pay two million dollars in amends: one million to the city of Boston, and one million in goodwill funds. Four days later, on February 9, Jim Samples, then-general manager and executive vice president of Cartoon Network, resigned.

Stylistic history

Originally, all of the bumpers shown in between shows featured footage of senior citizens swimming in public pools, eating, exercising, and doing other pool-related activities, with audio of a lifeguard shouting "all kids out of the pool" through a megaphone. The logo was the words "ADULT SWIM" in all capital letters, shown after a freeze frame of the footage. The shows were announced by a computer generated voice on Saturdays.

When the Saturday night block started in 2002, it featured clips from the various anime programs displayed on the block. The original theme music for Adult Swim, titled "Covert Communique from Our Man in Havana," was a remix of "Mambo Gallego" done by the Melbourne musician Dust Devil (aka D-Code), originally played by Latin jazz musician Tito Puente, Sr.

On January 12, 2003, the senior citizens were replaced by animated safety manuals featuring Adult Swim characters. The logo changed to the words "adult swim" in red and a black circle with a yellow penumbra.

The current bumper cards debuted on May 25, 2003 and feature black intertitle "cards" in white Helvetica Neue bold condensed type. The cards discuss everything from programming news to personal staff opinions on unrelated subjects. In addition, the bumpers for the action shows include tilt-shift miniature and other abstract photos of Japan, often accompanied by clips of various Yesterday's New Quintet songs. The most recent bumper cards have been photographs of places, usually something to do with roads or road signs, in and around Atlanta, with the "[adult swim]" caption somewhere therein. Also, some of the bumps pay tribute to a recent death, in which there is no music or sound effects, but only a fade in, showing the person's name, along with the year of his/her birth and the year of his/her death, followed by a fade out. Most recent tributes include Skip Caray, Bernie Mac, and Isaac Hayes.

On August 1, 2008, Adult Swim had a special feature titled "Old School Fridays", where they went back to the original swimming pool motif and the original lineup of Home Movies, The Brak Show, Sealab 2021, Space Ghost: Coast To Coast, and Cowboy Bebop, even going as far as, in the instances of Home Movies, Space Ghost, and Cowboy Bebop showing the episodes that appeared on their debut. At this time, the logo was reverted to the original one.

Adult Swim Video launched a web-based video distribution service, the "Friday Night Fix", on September 16, 2005, as a way for fans to view programming when the programming block did not air. It was originally available only on Fridays during the hours that Adult Swim normally aired on the other weeknights. On March 27, 2006, Adult Swim changed "Friday Night Fix" into the "Adult Swim Fix". On March 11, 2007, it was changed again, to "Adult Swim Video".

Adult Swim Video repeats continuously on the hour, with content ranging from older and current shows to premiere episodes from the comedy block. It is updated every Friday at approximately 6 p.m. Eastern Time, and is available only in the United States.


Adult Swim has repeatedly set and broken viewership records for ad-supported basic cable channels, ranked #1 for delivery of adults 18-34, adults 18-24, men 18-34, and men 18-24. According to Nielsen Media Research, Adult Swim set new viewership records among men over 18 in 2005, 2006, and 2007. As of August, 2008, Adult Swim continues to be one of the most visited standard cable channel for adults 18 - 34.


Merchandise and media offerings

Video games

Adult Swim partnered with Midway Games in 2005 to begin development on video games based on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Brak Show, and Sealab 2021. The game based on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Zombie Ninja Pro-Am, was released on November 5, 2007 for PlayStation 2. The game is a golf game with fighting and racing levels. A video game based on Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law has been released by Capcom for PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, and Wii.


Adult Swim has a partnership with independent music label Stones Throw Records. Many of Adult Swim's bumpers and packaging have used music from artists such as Madlib, Oh No, and J Dilla. In 2006, both Stones Throw and Adult Swim created a co-production album entitled Chrome Children.

Various electronic music is also often borrowed from artists on the label Warp Records, such as Boards of Canada, Chris Clark, Jackson and his Computer Band, and Flying Lotus. Additionally, from the Normrex label in New York is featured music of artist Machinedrum.

In mid-2003, when the block first switched to its now 5 year standing text-bump format, the bumps would often be accompanied by the instrumental music of producers like Fat Jon and J Dilla.

The network was also part of an earlier studio LP with DANGERDOOM, a musical collaboration between music producer Danger Mouse and rapper MF DOOM, entitled The Mouse and the Mask.

In February 2007, Adult Swim and Definitive Jux released a free, online EP entitled Definitive Swim. In 2006, Adult Swim and Chocolate Industries released Chocolate Swim as a free online download. In May of the same year, Adult Swim featured a similarly-styled release called Warm & Scratchy, focusing on indie rock bands from varying labels and sub-genres.

In June 2008, Adult Swim began running commercials sponsored by Sonic for the free downloadable album, Worldwide Renewal Program. The album features hip hop by artists like Hollywood Holt, Kovas, and the Cool Kids, among others; and some experimental beat tracks without vocals. As of this writing, the album is still freely available

Video on demand

In mid-2004, Adult Swim launched a video on demand channel on cable TV providers. The comedy section features several episodes from various Adult Swim original series, while the action section shows anime series and movies licensed by Bandai Entertainment, Geneon Entertainment, and Viz Media, some of which never broadcasted. The anime series s-CRY-ed initially premiered on demand before debuting on the regular block in May 2005.

Select series, including Aqua Teen Hunger Force and The Venture Brothers, are also available for purchase on iTunes. Furthermore, as of November 22, 2006, some Adult Swim shows can be bought and accessed from the Xbox Live Video Marketplace.


Adult Swim offered a video podcast on Apple's iTunes from March 21, 2006, to September 19, 2006. The podcasts featured behind-the-scenes segments of shows and exclusive content; such as an interview with Saved by the Bell's Dennis Haskins and a look at Brendon Small and Tommy Blacha's Metalocalypse. The podcast reached number two in iTunes' ranking of most downloaded podcasts.

Website - []

Adult Swim maintains a web site with news about new shows, clips, and games. The website has an active message board known as the [ASMB]. Williams Street Studios staff frequents the board to answer viewer questions and address comments about Adult Swim programming. Posts made by fans may be aired during the block.


Adult Swim has been actively expanding its reach across the world since 2005. New Zealand, Australia, and Latin America air the block on the Cartoon Network, just like in the United States. However, some international Cartoon Networks do not desire Adult Swim to air on their 24-hour children's network; and the block is licensed to other networks or Television stations instead, such as Ofcom in the United Kingdom, where regulation issues arise. Some networks enter into an agreement giving the rights to the entire block, including branding and all owned programming, whereas others such as Teletoon in Canada sign a first-right-of-refusal deal and do not choose to use the branding.

Adult Swim blocks outside of the United States are not obligated to remain identical in scheduling to the U.S. equivalent. They are permitted to acquire other programs for the block, and even create their own original programming; a move recently exercised by Adult Swim UK.

A common occurrence throughout the world is that of Adult Swim's popular program, The Boondocks, getting separated from the rest of the programming, ending up on another network. While it is an Adult Swim original, Sony Pictures Television owns and operates the show and distribution must be dealt through them instead of Turner Broadcasting. For example, Sony's Animax owns the broadcasting rights to the show throughout Asia.

Australia and New Zealand

In Australia and New Zealand, Adult Swim was broadcast on Cartoon Network from 2002 until December 31, 2007. The block is no longer seen on Cartoon Network, but it came back with two shows, including a premiere, Robot Chicken and Harvey Birdman, on The Comedy Channel in March 2008, with Aqua Teen Hunger Force joining the block on July 1. Other shows (Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Sealab 2021, The Brak Show, etc.) have yet to come back, but are being considered for return. The block is now seen on The Comedy Channel.

It's one of the few adult swim blocks, if not the only, that doesn't start late night, instead starting at 8:30 pm.

Some series that aired on Adult Swim have been released to Region 4 DVD by Madman Entertainment, including shows that have never been shown on Australian television before, such as Metalocalypse, Moral Orel, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, and Frisky Dingo. The Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters has also been quietly released to DVD.

United Kingdom and Ireland

Launched on July 7, 2006, the UK network Bravo used to air an Adult Swim block nightly, generally starting at midnight each night. The UK's Bravo channel is owned by Virgin Media Television, although in other parts of the world Adult Swim is a block on Time Warner-owned Cartoon Network. Shows that were previously a part of the UK's Adult Swim block are Robot Chicken, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, The Brak Show, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Venture Bros., Moral Orel, and Metalocalypse, Non-Williams Street shows on the block include Stripperella and Kid Notorious. The first "action" series was the anime Afro Samurai, which aired on May 4, 2007 alongside a new UK animated show Modern Toss. On July 7, 2008, Adult Swim ceased to broadcast on Bravo, and its future remains uncertain.

The UK Adult Swim website, like its American counterpart, offers free access to full episodes of shows including Squidbillies, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Minoriteam, Stroker and Hoop, Moral Orel, 12 oz. Mouse, Perfect Hair Forever, Metalocalypse, and Frisky Dingo. Unlike Adult Swim on Bravo UK, the website service is owned by Time Warner. Adult Swim programming can also be ordered through various "on demand" and mobile TV services.

Revolver Entertainment recently began distributing original Adult Swim series on DVD in the UK and Éire.

Latin America

In Latin America, Adult Swim aired every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in Spanish and Portuguese. Anime was not part of the lineup; it is instead broadcast on the Toonami block on a Monday-Thursday basis. It was canceled in 2007.

20th Century Fox-produced shows, such as Futurama, Family Guy, and American Dad!, were not seen on Adult Swim, but instead aired on FOX Latin America and FX Latin America in a similarly themed block called "No Molestar!" ("Do Not Disturb!" in English, "Não Perturbe!" in Portuguese). The Latin American block airs the shows Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Harvey Birdman, The Venture Bros., Sealab 2021, Baby Blues, Undergrads, Robot Chicken, and Home Movies, among others. In 2007, the block lost its first two hours in the countries where it started at 11 p.m. Its encore, which ran from 3 a.m. to 5 a.m., was also removed.


In Chile, VTR, Chile's largest cable system, decided to censor Adult Swim, replacing it with a relatively short recording of children's cartoon episodes. For some time, users could pay an extra fee to watch the transmission along with VTR's "premium" channels. In April 2007, the segment was finally aired uncensored and was transmited until its cancellation.


In Argentina, as of January 2008, cable-based channel I-Sat airs an Adult Swim block from Mondays to Thursdays at 10 p.m., including the shows Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Harvey Birdman, among others.


Although Canada does not air Adult Swim, Teletoon's English-language service in Canada has a teen/adult-oriented block called "Teletoon Detour" that airs programming similar to Adult Swim every night. Adult Swim programs that aired on the Detour include 12 oz. Mouse, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Family Guy, Futurama, Harvey Birdman, American Dad!, Metalocalypse, Robot Chicken, Squidbillies, Stroker and Hoop, The Boondocks, The Venture Bros., Home Movies, Tom Goes to the Mayor Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is the only Adult Swim original not to air on Teletoon in Canada, and instead airs on The Comedy Network, owned by CTVglobemedia. Since July 2007, seven of the fourteen Adult Swim programs airing on The Detour were canceled and replaced by Canadian-produced adult cartoon shows.

Teletoon's French-language service in Canada also has an adult-oriented block called "Le Détour sur Télétoon" that airs shows like The Boondocks, Family Guy, Home Movies, American Dad!, and Futurama. Similarly, YTV airs some anime originally broadcast on Adult Swim in its "Bionix" block.

The Philippines

The Philippines was the only country in Asia that aired Adult Swim. It was later removed after airing material deemed subversive by the government and central banks.

South Africa

Adult Swim airs daily on the go channel on the DStv network. The programming originally included Robot Chicken, The Brak Show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Sealab 2021, The Venture Bros., Stroker and Hoop, and Harvey Birdman. The shows aired currently are constantly changed and there seems to be no set schedule for each broadcast.


In Spain the Adult Swim block airs on TNT Spain on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1:00 a.m to 4:00 a.m. The programming includes Robot Chicken, Harvey Birdman, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Space Ghost Coast to Coast.


Adult Swim airs every Wednesday from 8:15 pm till 9:45 pm on the German Pay TV channel Sat.1 Comedy, which belongs to the ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG. The programming includes Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Moral Orel, Robot Chicken, Stroker and Hoop, and The Brak Show.


Adult Swim airs on the newly relaunched Russian 2×2 channel. It is rebranded into the similar logo of "[эдалт свим]", a transliteration, edalt svim. The channel's coverage comprises parts of Moscow, Moscow Oblast, and Saint Petersburg.

The programming includes 12 oz. Mouse, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Brak Show, The Oblongs, The Venture Bros., Robot Chicken, Sealab 2021, Stroker and Hoop, Tom Goes to the Mayor, Squidbillies, Metalocalypse, Perfect Hair Forever, and Harvey Birdman.


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