Friday, January 30, 2015

Boomerang HQ: A Look Before the Big Switch (part 1)

Well then, two other blogs have been talking about BM HQ/CEE prior to the rebrand. I now felt inspired to do this: a look at BM HQ's history since the channel's start in 2005.
Boomerang Europe started on May 2nd, 2005. The channel launched as a result of the removal of classic shows from CN HQ. The channel's first look, used until 2012, with minor changes, had the Boomerang line drawing the head of a cartoon character. This was part of the European branding introduced in 2004 in the UK, and was also rolled out to other feeds: Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and, when it launched in 2008, Scandinavia.
Boomerang HQ was initially available only in English. It quickly added Polish, Romanian, Hungarian and Arabic audio tracks. The shows that were part of the initial schedule included The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines (whose theme song was incorrectly reffered to as "Catch the Pigeon" by Stuart Ashen on his review of a fake Chinese iPhone 5), the Tex Avery MGM shorts, Merrie Melodies, Yogi's Treasure Hunt (which was outsorced to Polish animation studio Studio Filmów Rysunkowych in Bielsko-Biała), Josie and the Pussycats, Snagglepuss and Pixie and Dixie. For a long time, Boomerang Cinema's movies were all movies that CN HQ used to show.
In 2006, the channel premiered some third-party content, some of which already aired on CN HQ: The Mask, Heathcliff, The Raccoons, Count Duckula, and my favorite (ask Michael Bailes): Danger Mouse.
The channel arrived to Portugal in 2007 through AR Telecom and Cabovisão. On May 5th, 2008, the channel launched on ZON (now NOS), thus expanding the channel's availability. This is where I enter the scene: I was so happy and excited about the channel. For months and months, it became my favorite channel and watched it for hours and hours.
Not too long after I got this channel, the NEXT bumpers changed. This remained on the channel for nearly four years.
I'll forever remember the "NEXT" (or was it "LATER") bumper of Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo that had a glitched up video. Speaking of that, that show had the Kino Bez Rodziców intro (it was a block that aired in the late 90s/early 2000s on TVP 2 in Poland). I question to myself: did Turner secretly negotiate with TVP? Plus the intro was in Polish once.
Anyway, in 2009 the channel started airing modern shows that CN HQ stopped airing, like Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, King Arthur's Disasters (why couldn't Turner buy better crap?) and also Duck Dodgers and The Garfield Show. Pink Panther and Pals and the 1989 Paddington show from Central premiered (I've seen the 1997 version on RTP 2 before then).
On April 1st, 2011, Cabovisão replaced Boomerang with KidsCo (which I never got and will never get it because the channel shut down). It was now available on ZON and Vodafone (which got the channel upon launching their TV offer in 2009). Also that year, an abomination called Puppy in my Pocket premiered, made in Italy (another crap show about a girl saving anthropomorphic dogs from something I can't make heads or tails of - ps... If you got annoyed by my vocabulary as posted today on this text, it's OK - you can turn off the page and do something else, like: sleeping, reading, counting to 10, etc...).
The big event arrived on October 12th: BM HQ was split in two feeds: BM HQ lost the Eastern European coverage to a new feed: BM CEE. A Cartoonito block premiered at the same time.
This is where the channel started to go downhill.
A further step happened on April 2nd, 2012. The channel was now starting to become a mere shadow of it's former self.
The classic cartoons were slowly being replaced by more modern shows and the channel started to cater kids in general. The new look finally gave Boomerang the gift of bumpers during shows, officially ending the reign of LATER bumpers the channel had for a long time.
The only downside of the new look was the repetitive theme it had on all bumpers.
2013 was a grim year for the channel. One one side, they premiered Animaniacs. On another, in the middle of the downhill phase, it was announced in November of 2013 that ZON/NOS would remove the channel. Later on, it was announced that Vodafone would remove the channel as well. The reason was finally known: a localized CN meant the end of the chanticleer hegemony of CN HQ.
2014 started out almost the same, but all of a sudden, the channel felt like bringing back classic shows like A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and Top Cat. This was a sign that the channel was improving. 
The rebrand came on January 14th, 2015. Fortunately, it did keep the classic shows it had. The Dutch regions are currently getting BM CEE in readiness for the launch of the new BM NL.
Unfortunately, on the 2nd of February, almost all of the classic shows will be removed, in favor of a clone of BM CEE. We still don't know if the channel went full 16:9, all I know is that BM HQ has rebranded, for the worse.

Coming later this weekend: part 2, which focuses on the shows it had.

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