Cartoon Network is a Turner Entertainment network (a division of Time Warner), and they only have the license for Clone Wars until the end of the 2012-2013 season. Usually Lucasfilm renews with Cartoon Network at the end of the season, but with the Disney deal now active, a change is expected next year.
Both Disney and Time Warner will make a decision once the end of the season looms nearer, but it’s expected that Disney will send Clone Wars over to one of their many networks. Of course, that will only be an issue if the series gets renewed for season 6. Considering the popularity of the Clone Wars – especially with young boys – a renewal is almost guaranteed, but the question is which network would be the new Disney home for Clone Wars?
ABC (owned by Disney) has a good amount of Saturday morning programming, but nothing as expensive or popular as Clone Wars. Meanwhile, ABC Family really doesn’t have any programming like Clone Wars, so it seems unlikely to get the Star Wars animated series. Disney Channel is in the same boat. That leaves Disney XD, which is a cable channel with series tailored mostly to young boys. That’s where Tron: Uprising, Ultimate Spider-Man and
Phineas and Ferb now have a home.
Clone Wars would be a solid addition to Disney’s original programming lineup and might even get Disney XD a few more subscribers in those who don’t have the channel already. The show has already seen other time slots and channels, including stints on TNT and Adult Swim, so switching to Disney likely wouldn’t hurt it. As THR points out:
Clone Wars has been one of the highest-rated shows on Cartoon Network, even with a move to Saturday mornings this season. For the month of October, The Clone Wars ranked No. 1 in its time period among boys 9-14 and posted double-digit gains across kids and boys vs. last year — kids 2-11 grew by 46 percent, kids 6-11 by 34 percent, kids 9-14 by 64 percent, boys 2-11 by 45 percent, boys 6-11 by 36 percent and boys 9-14 by 72 percent.
Clearly, the series isn’t hurting for viewership. However, Disney might run into a problem since Cartoon Network will retain some rerun rights to episodes from the first five seasons through 2013, but that might not last that long if Disney really wants all of the Star Wars goodies.
No matter what, fans will follow Clone Wars anywhere, and Disney is going to do everything they can to make sure everyone knows that everything Star Wars belongs at the Mouse House. Stay tuned for any further updates.