That's how long broadcasters have wasted time looking for another Spongebob. Of course, missing the fact that the big thing about Spongebob is that it wasn't another anything.
I've been flicking through a little section in Kidscreen magazine that outlines what current broadcasters are looking for. Yes, there's the usual requests for another Spongebob and more Dora, though they don't quite ask for it like that, but things are slightly different this year due to one thing -
The amount of requests for live-action.
It seems animation may well be falling out of favour. Cartoon Brew have had their own personal battle with Cartoon Network showing live-action shows but it looks like Cartoon Network aren't alone. The only mistake Cartoon Network made was putting the word 'cartoon' in their name.
ABC Australia - especially interested in live-action for preschoolers. Cartoon Network US - open to live-action. France Television - live-action for tweens. Nickelodeon UK - live-action sitcoms. There are more but my fingers are getting tired of typing 'live-action'. I really should just copy/paste it.
Not that there's anything wrong with live-action. There isn't at all. I just find the growing trend interesting and it certainly impacts on those of us in cartoon land.
I actually think it is at least better than chasing that elusive next Spongebob. Though it's entirely possible that the calls for live-action are chasing the next something that I don't know about. The next Hannah Montana? I don't know. I'm not well up on the live-action shows. Though I do enjoy Imagination Movers.
Sometimes (and I'm not speaking specifically about the live-action here), I think there is a huge gap between what broadcasters want and what children and parents want.
One quote, however, stood out to me in the Kidscreen pitch guide thing, one that as soon as I read it I thought, "Now these people, I like and would love to make a show for." It's from Jocelyn Hamilton from Corus Kids in Canada, who says she is looking for -
"Fun, character-driven preschool series with heart that make you giggle."
Now that's an aim I can support. That, as someone who works in children's television and, more importantly, a parent, is something I can get behind.
Jocelyn Hamilton, if you ever stumble across this, I hope you get exactly what you're looking for.