On Tuesday, the Animaniacs creator Tom Ruegger held an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit to celebrate the show’s move on to Netflix US. As the producer, director and animator answered fans’ questions, the decline of Warner Bros. cartoons around the late 90s and early 00s came up, and a user asked what caused the tailing off for shows like Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain and Tiny Toon Adventures. Ruegger, in his response, tied it to the success of Pokémon.
According to his recollection, after Kids WB programming struck their cheap deal to air the anime, followed by the show’s huge boom in popularity, the division was no longer willing to spend significant amounts on programming. He said, “Kids WB was handed Pokémon for free and it pulled down big numbers – so then they wanted everything for free.”
Still, this by no means meant that Ruegger was out of a job. Since his last Kids WB show, the educational show Histeria! which aired from 1998-2000, he’s worked on such cartoons as Cyber Group Studios’ Animalia, PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures and the Disney XD show The 7D.