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Bonzai Network
Launched May 27, 2000
Owned by Bonzai Television Network, LLC
(60/40 joint venture between BritCan Communications and Corus Entertainment)
Picture format 1080i (16:9 HDTV)

(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTV)

Slogan Expect the Fun
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters New York City, New York
Formerly called Bonzai (2000-14)
Sister channel(s) Bonzai Network Too
Bonzai Jr.
Timeshift service Bonzai Network East

Bonzai Network West

Website bonzainetwork.com
Availability (channel space shared with Bonzai@fterDark)
Satellite
DirecTV 132 (SD/HD)
832 (HD)
DISH Network Check local listings for Bonzai Network
Cable
Cablevision (Optimum TV) Check local listings for Bonzai Network (SD and HD)
Charter Cable Channel 327 (SD)

Channel 1728 (HD)

Available on many other cable providers Check local listings for Bonzai Network
Comcast/Xfinity 217 (SD)
791 (HD)
IPTV
AT&T U-Verse Check local listings for Bonzai Network

 


Bonzai Network (alternately known on-air as Bonzai) is an American digital cable and satellite television channel that is owned by Bonzai Television Network, LLC; a joint venture between BritCan Communications (which owns a majority 60% stake) and Corus Entertainment (which owns the remaining 40%).

Launched on May 27, 2000 at 6 a.m. EST, the channel currently specializes in original and first-run television series aimed at children and adolescents aged 8-16, along with older teenagers and young adults during its late night daypart Bonzai@fterDark, which runs from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. EST.

The channel offers an alternate Spanish language audio feed, either via a separate channel with the English track removed as part of a package of Spanish television networks sold by cable and satellite providers or a separate audio track accessible through the SAP option, depending on the provider. As of July 2016, approximately 72,237,000 American households (63.25% of households with television) receive Bonzai Network.

History

Beginnings and Development (1997-99)

The channel was licensed in 1997 by media conglomerate BritCan Communications after an application for a basic cable network, Megaton.TV (featuring action, adventure, thriller, and superhero genres) had been denied by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in earlier years.

On April 6, 1999, Canadian telecommunications company Shaw Communications (later spun-off as Corus Entertainment) announced that it would be forming a joint venture with BritCan to create a new, entertainment television channel geared towards children and their families. Under the arrangement, BritCan would be in charge of handling advertising sales and distribution for the new channel, while Corus would be involved in acquiring and producing programming.

Later in June, both companies announced that the new network would be known as Bonzai, which would launch on May 27, 2000. The network would feature programming that would maintain a demographic of 2 to 14 years of age, but also planned to feature programming geared at older audiences in primetime hours.

Launch and early years (2000-05)

Bonzai Network made its debut on May 27, 2000 at 6 a.m. Eastern Time, with the premiere of its first-ever series Bunched Up! My Quintuplet Life, being the network's first program. The schedule at the time of the channel's launch included original productions such as Doughnuts, The Adventures of the Charming Sarah Macdonald, Fantasia, and acquired series such as Pelswick, What About Mimi?, and Eckhart. Alongside the mainstream channel was Weekly Prime, a primetime block geared towards families that relied on syndicated television series to fill up its schedule, such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Blossom, and Candid Camera.

In June, Bonzai launched Bonzai+, a daytime block structured to gear towards younger-skewing children, primarily in the 6-11 demographic. The block was programmed by Nelvana and DreamWorks Classics (known at the time as Classic Media) and ran from 10 a.m. EST before a handover to the 2 p.m. afternoon schedule. Bonzai+ later became a 24-hour standalone television network on October 1, 2001, which is known as Bonzai Network Too as of October 2014.

On September 4, 2002, Bonzai switched from a commercial-free schedule to an advertising-supported one, seeking additional international distribution. Originally, to fill in a half-hour block during its commercial-free lineup, Bonzai aired aired advertisements and promotions as for shows airing on the network and on Bonzai+, advertising for DVD products from BritCan Home Entertainment Distribution, animated shorts under the Toon Bite banner, and occasional public service announcements from the Ad Council.

In August 2004, BritCan Communications announced that there were talks in the company about Bonzai Network shutting down and being replaced by a new channel called the BritCan Family Network (the same brand used for the children's distribution arm of BritCan Home Entertainment Distribution) in 2005. The new network planned to air 65% youth-based programming, 20% family-oriented programming, and 15% adult content. A meeting with the FCC discussing the relaunch was held on April 4, 2005. On November 14, 2006, the FCC announced that it had approved the application to run until June 4, 2012, however, BritCan Communications failed to put the relaunch in place within the required 72-month period.

Change in focus (2006-09)

Starting on April 3, 2006, Bonzai began using a new schedule and modern graphics, albeit to broadening its focus towards family audiences. During its new schedule, the broadcast day began on 6 a.m. Eastern Time with preschool-oriented series in the BonBon block until 12 p.m., where animated and live-action series geared towards grade-school and preteen audiences aired for a majority of airtime until 9 p.m., when a new block, Bonzai Primetime, debuted and aired: a nod to the channel's Weekly Prime block in 2000.

On January 2, 2007, BritCan Communications officially announced that it would increase its ownership in Bonzai Network to 60% by the end of 2008, and the acclaimed 10% stake from Corus was transferred on February 2, 2009. This sudden change in state of the network caused it to scale down the imported programming, along with newer additions to its original slate. Hanshiro Aino, C.E.O. of BritCan's "Kids and Family" division, stated that the increase of ownership "was indeed a tough situation regarding to the original partnership [with Corus], and that in the end, it was ultimately the right decision". Despite this, Corus would continue to retain programming acquisitions and partnerships with Bonzai Network up to this date.

Current era (2010-present)

On September 5, 2011, the long-standing block of primetime programming was finally branded as Bonzai@fterDark. During this period, the block was reformatted to be like similar late night blocks, such as Adult Swim, with a new emphasis on adult animation and black comedy.

On August 28, 2014, Corus announced that it had formed a deal with Anglo-Irish studio Boulder Media and comic book subsidiary KaBOOM! Studios for new program supply agreements in the 2015-2016 season. This was followed by the introduction of an updated logo and a new imaging campaign on October 6, 2014, Surprisingly Entertaining, which was developed by the Los Angeles-based agency Oishii Creative. On that same date, the channel also began to refer itself as Bonzai Network.

On September 1, 2016, Bonzai Network's on-air branding changed to reflect on the 18th anniversary of parent company BritCan Communications (celebrated earlier in January) and the 17th anniversary of Corus Entertainment. The channel's on-air appearance and its website were dramatically changed as well, featuring a brand new graphics package created by Shilo Designs titled #ExpectTheFun. During this particular period, Bonzai Network began to air select programming geared towards families, as well as acquired from most major television networks; these shows included the Tom Bergeron-era of America's Funniest Home Videos, the American version of the game show Wipeout, the American and British version of Masterchef Junior, and the Hasbro game show Family Game Night. Due to copyright issues, most of these shows have been removed as of Spring 2017, however, Bonzai Network stated in a press release that it had gained the rights to air and produce more seasons for FGN.

On May 29, 2017, Bonzai Network began using a different and new promotional campaign for its annual Summer Splash programming block. The branded event was accompanied by world premiere of the newest original animated series Danny Dog, along with new returning seasons of The MEGA Bonzai Network Show, Snark's Wild Adventures, and Sir Chuckleton and Pals.

On June 26, 2017, the network's preschool block, Bonzai Playdate, went off the air, as its previous iterations usually aren't shown during the summer months (to make room for the Summer Splash block). However, three days later on June 30, 2017, Hanshiro Aino of BritCan Communication's "Kids and Family" division reported that Bonzai Playdate will not be returning after the summer months, as Bonzai Network has had a recent expansion of programming along with the fact that the mainstream Bonzai Jr. channel has been the recent home for all of its original preschool series.

At an August 2017 upfront, Bonzai Network announced a new slew of original programming as a part of a partial rebranding (which will still utilize #ExpectTheFun graphics and backgrounds) that will gear towards 8-16 year olds in late 2017/early 2018. This slew of new original series are comprised of reboots of popular network programming, along with some original ideas. Some of these include:

  • Evergreen: The Animated Series (52 11-minute episodes) - a Flash animated revival of the live-action series Evergreen: The Lost Kingdom is set to premiere sometime in 2018. The new series will be co-produced between DHX Media Vancouver and Boulder Media Limited. As described in a press release: "The new Evergreen animated series will be a spiritual continuation of the series, but focused more on the oldest member of the group Zelam, as she continues her search to 'truly find herself' and gain her elemental codex".
  • The Interdimensional Adventures of Doctor Who (108 12-minute episodes) - Word about an animated series based on BBC's Doctor Who had dated back to the 1980s, in which Canadian entertainment company Nelvana had plans for the series to air on CBS. Set to premiere in 2018, with a pilot television movie airing in October 2017, the series will follow the titular character "The Doctor", specifically the Twelfth Doctor, as he goes on adventures with his human companion Clara Oswald while also battling off the numerous Daleks, Cybermen, and the Master. Stephen Byrne, an artist and animator noted for his work in the Serenity comic, has announced his role as lead animator in the series.
  • and Bronze Point: The Great Diamond Caper (five-week event) - a continuation of the original miniseries The Diamond Jubilee Mystery, which aired in 2015. The month-long event will follow lone wolf detective Bryan Henderson (Jeremy Shada) called in to solve the mystery of another disappearance of a diamond--this time at the world renowned Bronze Point Hotel in Great Britain. The series is being co-produced by Bonzai's UK facilities and Studio 100.

On-air identity/bumpers

Bonzai Network's original branding, used during the channel's pre-launch and official launch, was created by Reel FX Creative Studios, featuring hand-drawn and CGI graphics in yellow, orange, green, and purple.

In May 2004, a new post-6 p.m. advertising style was developed for older audiences, which used an alternate logo and much sleeker graphics with barely any computer-generated idents. Later in July, the logo first appeared on Bonzai’s promos and even appeared on credits of newer original programming. In 2006, this look was adapted for the entire channel.

The channel re-branded on October 6, 2014, with a new look created by Oishii Creative (which also worked on the Hub Network 2013/14 rebrand). The new looked featured a revised version of the 2004 logo and used new 2D animation.

On September 1, 2016, Bonzai Network refreshed the channel with a new graphics package called #ExpectTheFun (which also became the new channel's slogan). The new graphics package was created by Shilo Designs, and used a few recycled backgrounds from the Cartoon Network "Fall" branding, complete with new 2D graphics. The color palette consisted of blue, green, orange, yellow, and red. The rebrand was intended to image of rebirth and establishing "the burst of adolescents".

The #ExpectTheFun package received an updated look on March 13, 2017, this time through collaboration with Argentinean animation studio Superestudio. The new look, titled #ExpectTheFun 2.0, combines real-life footage with 2D and 3D animation--utilizing the "photo-puppetry" style of animation--to create imaginative atmospheres based on the ambient look and feel. The new look also introduced a soft pastel color palette featuring magenta, sky blue, purple, and cream, with the font given a rounded balloon-like refresh. A summer palette, with various CYMK colors, was released on May 29, 2017.

Programming

Main article: List of programs broadcast by Bonzai Network

Bonzai's current schedule largely relies on animated and live-action programs geared towards pre-teens and young teenagers, as well as movies and feature presentation specials that gear towards family-friendly audiences. In addition to said series, the channel also airs short series and interstitials alongside commercials, which serve as filler for programs scheduled to end during the half-hour and last usually around one to three minutes. New episodes of animated original series are usually aired on Saturday mornings during its Super Saturdays programming block, while first run episodes of its live-action original series tend to air on Thursdays and Fridays.

One of the channel's most noteworthy productions up to this date is Bunched Up! My Quintuplet Life, the first series aired and ever produced for Bonzai. Bunched Up! has received high acclaim in ratings, being nominated for 8 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards for "Best TV Show". It ran from the channel's launch until October 25, 2014, spawning a total of eight seasons and a TV film, as well as being seen daily in rerun form. Other series that have also had a similar run to Bunched Up! are also reran.

Programming blocks

Main article: List of program blocks broadcast by Bonzai Network

By 2006, Bonzai Network had established programming blocks aimed at different age demographics. The shows broadcast during the early morning had preschoolers as their target audience and mostly had prosocial behavior as a theme, while the afternoon and evening schedule mainly targeted tweens and teenagers. Some of these blocks include Super Saturdays, a Saturday morning timeslot for original and acquired animated series, and Hot n' Fresh Weeknights, a primetime premiere block of network originals.

Special events

  • Happy 10th Bonzai! (May 2010 only) - To commemorate the channel's 10th anniversary on May 27, 2010, Bonzai Network held a month-long event to commemorate, with birthday-themed programming, special presentations, back to back films on weekends, and the month-long event series Birthday Pals. The channel also brought back the 2000 logo and branding, this time more modernized. The Old School Weekend was also used during Memorial Day weekend to air series and specials formerly aired on the channel: these shows included Alcove Mysteries, Asteroid Garden, Bunched Up! My Quintuplet Life, Doughnuts, and Me and Joe.
  • Toontastic Thanksgiving - During Thanksgiving break, Bonzai Network airs a marathon of 5 of its original animated series. Votes are held a week before the event for the shows the will air.
  • Patriotic Pride - a Fourth of July weekend featuring premieres of new episodes and specials.
  • Love Is In The Air - a week-long event commemorating Valentine's Day, featuring premieres specials and movies, as well as brand new episodes of currently-airing programming.

Related services

Bonzai@fterDark

Main article: Bonzai@fterDark

Bonzai After Dark (stylized as Bonzai@fterDark) is Bonzai Network’s nighttime programming service. It debuted on April 3, 2006 as Bonzai Primetime, and runs daily from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. EST, with international versions in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Asia; Bonzai@fterDark is treated as a separate entity for ratings purposes by Nielsen in the United States (similar to the company's ratings treatment of Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, the now-defunct Nickmom, Cartoon Network, and Adult Swim) due to differing target demographics between it and Bonzai Network.

Originally consisting of off-network syndicated series and sitcoms from various countries, programming eventually changed to adult animation, black comedy, and select Japanese animation (until 2012) in September 2011, following a new imaging campaign.

Current sister channels

Bonzai Network Too

Main article: Bonzai Network Too

Bonzai Network Too (more commonly known as Bonzai Too) is a digital cable and satellite television channel originally launched as a programming block on Bonzai Network under the title Bonzai+ in 2000 and as a television channel a year later. Bonzai Network Too specializes in a blend of contemporary animated programming from other producers, as well as series no longer in high demand.

On August 28, 2014, following reports earlier in the year that BritCan Communications would realign all of the channels under the Bonzai brand, the channel was relaunched as Bonzai Network Too on October 13, 2014, featuring a brand new improvisational schedule of programming.

Bonzai Jr.

Main article: Bonzai Jr.

Bonzai Jr. is a digital cable and satellite television network aimed primarily at children between 2 and 6 years of age, featuring a mix of classic contemporary preschool-oriented programs from various producers and original series exclusive to the channel; it originally launched on September 12, 2005 as a joint venture between BritCan Communications, HIT Entertainment, and Sesame Workshop, which later sold their stakes to BritCan in 2010. On September 12, 2014, in an attempt to realign all of the channels under the Bonzai brand, the channel was re-branded as Bonzai Jr.

Other serivices

Bonzai Network HD

On April 18, 2012, Bonzai Network launched Bonzai Network HD, a 1080i high definition simulcast of Bonzai Network's east-coast feed. The network does not operate a separate HD feed for the west coast. Most of the channel's original programs are produced and broadcast in HD, along with feature films.

Bonzai Network on Demand

Bonzai Network on Demand is a video-on-demand channel featuring series from Bonzai Network.

Bonzai Network GO

Bonzai Network GO is a TV Everywhere service available on the App Store and Google Play Store. It is available for all subscribed customers of parent service BritCan To Go, and offers episodes of network programming, as well as a livestream service available.

Bonzai Network GO also lends its name to a separate SD feed of the mainstream television network available in TV-supported vehicles and airplanes, airing popular series from the channel. The only exclusive branding is #ExpectTheFun 2.0 package, with extended next bumpers featuring the rating of the show.

Former sister channels

Bonzai XTRM

Main article: Bonzai XTRM

Bonzai XTRM was a digital cable and satellite television network that featured programs aimed towards children aged 6–12. It originally launched on April 4, 2005 as BNX, which was subdivided into two strands: Kapow! and Vortexx. On May 5, 2014, in an attempt to realign all of the channels under the Bonzai brand, the channel was re-branded as Bonzai XTRM. The channel ceased operations on June 1, 2017, when it was converted to an online-only service.

International availability

Since the inception of Bonzai Network and its respective sister networks, BritCan Communications has set up various international feeds of all networks, such as Australia and New Zealand, France, Japan, Latin America, Nordic, Philippines, Southeast Asia, and United Kingdom and Ireland.

Canada

The Canadian version of Bonzai Network launched on October 1, 2013, owned by Corus Entertainment. The network, while carrying most programming from the U.S. version, along with a version of Bonzai@fterDark, features various series not seen on any international versions of the channel, along with more acquired series from Teletoon.

UK & Ireland

Bonzai Network UK launched in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Malta on June 5, 2000. Due to channel regulations, this version of the channel runs 24-hours a day, allowing more timeslots for older series during primetime.

Presentation

Current presenters/hosts

Bonzai Network HQ

  • Daniel Foster "Danny" Stevens
  • Raphael "Ralph" Mackey
  • Nicholas "Nicky" Barth
  • Brett Porter (substitute host)
  • Stephen "Steve" Bennett (substitute host)

Super Saturdays

  • Mandy Beavis
  • Evan Stagger

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