A curious thing happened on August 25 2012.
A new block appeared on the CW Network – one based on another block that had recently returned.
It is called “Vortexx”. Moreover, its owners – Saban Brands, bought what were the parts of his old nemesis dead company.
The Block however, signaled the true end of the long road to Mediocrity, that now the Vortexx and other co-constituents in what is now called the animation marketplace – now live on and fester in.
How did we get here? It is simple. The business still has not gotten over the issues that have affected them in the past and now it affects everything that deals in animation and in ways people do not understand yet.
This is the second part of a series starting from “Thundercats: Retrospective” – and continuing with the Toonami article, this deals with not only how Saban Brands have become the de-facto “protectors” of a dead and almost dying business model, but how the leader of this brand, Haim Saban, got his revenge over Al Kahn – the man with very little connections – beat him in his own game, came back and now rules over the roost he so destroyed years ago.
Nevertheless, all things have an origin. We must start at the beginning…
Al Kahn as Victor, Haim Saban moves for political gain.
Once the Fox Kids Worldwide deal was done with Disney – with the Power Rangers now in the hands of Michael Eisner – forced out Saban, and Fox went with 4Kids Entertainment and Al Kahn. It was one of the biggest deals in the history of Media and changed animation for the next 10 years. It was going to be up to Al Kahn to make good on his work he did for Kids’ WB.
However, for Haim, it was time to move on. Starting in 2002, Saban worked with the Democratic National Committee in the help for a new building. He created with several other Democratic representatives, the Saban Center of Middle East Policy – allied with the Brookings Institution and has worked with the Clintons on several issues concerning the Middle East. He tried to buy many other media companies but settled on Univision.
The deal however caused much strain between Mr. Saban, his friends, business partners and the US Government itself. Much like the issues concerning Al Kahn once his company was going through money issues, The US Government wanted the taxes on the sale of Fox Kids Worldwide to Disney. The way out of it, and it becomes very important by the time the economic crises rolls around – is the Tax Shelter. But there were issues with this shelter – One of the lawyers working for Saban (his most trusted), worked for much less than the other lawyers. This whole drama wound up to Senate subcommittee –in which Saban testified before Congress in 2006.
As for that deal – while all of this was going on, Saban created the Saban Capital Group. From there he and another business mogul worked on buying the German broadcast network ProSiebenSat.1, but that turned out to be bad news. Then Univision came along – his only major success since the Power Rangers…even Shakira agrees, as he calls her – Little Sister (Onii-Chan??? Sorry little inside baseball joke)
It would have been as simple as that – Part Owner of Univision, a big DNC supporter, friends with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, and the Clintons, and connected to the major players in Hollywood.
All that did however was make his return much easier.
The Once and Future “Tyrant” returns
Once 4Kids entertainment shuttered its doors, Saban Brands made its move. The deal took place along with Konami’s 4K Acquisition group. Konami gained back the rights to Yugi-Oh, while Saban Brands (under Kidsco Ventures now called Vortexx Entertainment Ventures) gets everything else and the CW block. This was the second major deal – the first was the return of the Power Rangers back into Saban Controlled hands in 2010, which later aired on Nicktoons and Nickelodeon with the Samurai series of the Power Rangers.
However, none of this should have taken place.
If one remembers my 4Kids article, concerning how and why the bankruptcy took place. But what I didn’t mention – and even though the evidence is around but hard to find – 4Kids did go to the finance department (of Congress) to get back the money that was owed to the company from the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy – and in which the company ended up not getting any of its money back. That’s one of the reasons why the company went to Chapter 7 and then Chapter 11 protection.
The biggest issue from Saban’s return – was not in entire reality Saban’s fault – but his lost fanbase from the Power Ranger/Digimon/Fox Kids Worldwide years. With almost chthonic praise – forgetting what he did to Escaflowne and the Battle of the Planets/G-Force renaming it Eagle Riders, and yes – Dragon Ball Z; Saban was seen as the new hero who ended the reign of terror that Kahn brought with 4Kids TV/Fox Box and the CW4Kids/Toonzai/Toonzaki.
Nevertheless, be careful what one wishes for, People don’t realize that the more things change – the more things might get worse.
The structure of the Vortexx: Censorship, Governmental Propaganda, and Crash TV (of the worst kind)
So what does the Vortexx have over say, Toonzai or even Toonami? Nothing…except if your a glutton for punishment… How about a bit of a helping of John Cena hero-worship. And well, shows that already aired on Cable in its unedited forms… oh and let’s not forget the “Vortexx Approved” short ads, where our friends in the edutatment media (i.e. the Government) must have a say – because Profit is bad, and Profit towards kids is “even worse”.
This is the major problem the Vortexx has – its leaders are in tune with not only the current administration, but also any possible administration that could be Democratic (remember the V-Chip? How that work?). Not truly a good fit Dragon Ball Z of course – when some people connected with Saban did a hit piece in the Akins/DeMarco years of Cartoon Networks “Toonami” when Dragon Ball Z aired on CN after it was out of Saban’s Syndicated hands. In addition, with Power Rangers censored out of the fear that more crazy people would turn bad and shoot students in the schools (the CW Networks words, i.e. Les Moonves’s words not mine) the block seems more of a placeholder than one that will bring actual change (money, ratings which leads into fans and memories)
But let not the fans tell you otherwise – Digimon is back and ready to take down Pokemon once again! The good old days are back!!!
That is the problem with the North American Fanbase in animation today – they have settled for less when everybody else in what is now being called the “nerd/geek sphere” is begging, and pleading for more.
And as for being Vortexx Approved? Are we kidding ourselves here? What kind of nonsense is being Vortexx Approved? Do I appreciate cows in toilets? While Miss Obama, is talking about the virtues of reading? What kind of nutjob would combine the two and call it cool?
An out of touch “Tyrant” and his coterie of lawyers, “Japanese” translators and their connections to Hollywood and Washington DC, that’s who.
It is almost as if somebody didn’t want Saturday Morning to die its honest and peaceful death.
The wrong kind of Necromancy to satisfy egos.
The Wrong Kind of Saban, to teach Children how to be Adults.
There is however, something amazing happening in Alabama that people – and animation fans show be looking at.
There is another Saban (no relation) that is actually show that hard work and not using connections and what not does produce great results year in and year out.
Say what you will about the history of the school. Nevertheless, Nick Saban needs to be understood as the true change that not only animation needs, but all of college sports also needs now.
Despite his demeanor, his team wins national titles year in and year out. His players go into the NFL ready to play and ready to win. I can’t say the same for the other Saban fans, with their penchant for histrionics makes them look weak.
The Alabama squad reminds me of another such outfit in Adult Swim – the Toonami folks who work hard towards perfection every week…but more on that in the upcoming Toonami Article…
As for the Saban you should trust on Saturdays? Well, he’s the one seen in the other Les Moonves owned operation.
So what have we leaned and can The Vortexx be saved?
We learned that the Vortexx doesn’t have a focus and doesn’t have a true need in a time where everybody else is looking for space. We also realize that the Vortexx came at a time where nobody in the network TV space trust other folks to do the work that 4Kids, and other companies have done before.
The Vortexx is mostly a WWE production with a mix of Warner Brothers works from years gone by along with entertainment that worked when “The Extreme 90’s” were a thing. It feels crass, classless, joyless, and hopeless. It is a boy’s block with no boys watching (their playing call of duty and that is for another written piece). The only shows worth their salt – would see its glory days return on another network, while the other has seen its glory days gone by.
There is no hope for this block. There is truly no need for it. All it does is deaden other voices and make them run towards even darker works.
That all Saban Brands did, created the memes that The North American industry is inherently over xenophobic about other cultures – and along with 4Kids’s troubles with One Piece – created the Crunchyroll model and the final breakup of what should have been the greatest force in marketing – as well sociality we would have seen ever.
This is now the marketplace of rich men who are cash poor and poor in spirit.
Saban can do more outside of animation, as shown above. I care little about his political issues
Nevertheless, he should have stayed away while the getting was good. Sadly – beggars are the choosers in a world where mistrust in the network industry is currency.
I leave this article with a party that took place recently. In this video are the biggest men in the music business.
Along with Haim Saban…
Singing the theme song for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
That’s how he gets his power.
However, while they were out partying…
Another man was finishing a deal that could bring the change that is so desperately needed.
His name is Jason Demarco.
The Block is Toonami.
The Reborn Revolution – Now becomes a movement.
That article is coming soon.