FCC chairman Reef Blunt enacts new government legislation
that requires three hours of educational content on every
station in America. Soccer moms jump for joy; TV
"Channel Umptee-3," Kids WB's first educational
TV series, debuts on Saturdays but is quickly buried in a
weekday morning timeslot faster than you can say
"What happened to Brats of the Lost Nebula?"
Tiny Toons and Animaniacs executive producer Tom Ruegger
proposes a new series in the spirit of the previous,
Spielberg-produced programs designed to teach world
history and pacify the E/I monster for another season.
The series has not been announced yet, but if viewers
look closely, a clip of Big Fat Baby appears in an ad
featuring a montage of Kids WB shows. (I don't have the
video of this, but I swear I saw it.)
Promotions for Histeria! begin appearing, advertised as
"the show grownups are afraid you'll see!" and
carrying an emphasis on potty gags. Subway starts packing
H!-themed toys into its kids meals, the only known
Histeria merch ever created. A proposed Big Fat Baby doll
for girls that really poops and spits up, called
"Baby Way Too Alive," is rejected.
Histeria (exclamation point) officially begins airing on
Kids WB as a full 65-episode, weekday-stripped program --
the last time Warner Bros. would debut a series this
ambitiously. The first episode shown is a
"preview" episode consisting of unrelated
sketches from throughout the upcoming season (this is
never aired again, but it didn't need to be). The first
sketch ever broadcast is a parody of the Godzilla
trailer, obviously done before anyone could know how
uninterested America would be with that remake.
As with most shows that are clearly educational no matter
how hard they pretend not to be, initial ratings are less
than envious. To make matters worse, the series goes
behind schedule and over budget, and WB high-ups don't
see themselves making back much of the money they've
invested now. The order of 65 episodes is slashed to 52.
Meanwhile, due to the delays, Histeria! has already gone
into reruns with new episodes appearing sparsely.
The series gets into a bit of
controversy with its "Convert or Die" sketch,
about the Spanish Inquisition. A Catholic Vocal Rights
League Thing is offended by the sketch, believing it
paints Catholicism as evil, and loudly vocalizes their
disgust. In response, WB pulls the episode it appeared in
after one airing and animates a new segment to put in its
place. There are now two different versions of the
episode "Megalomaniacs," one with "Convert
or Die" and one with an alternate sketch involving
Custer and several pies. AOL's In2TV currently has the
original version on its website.
Though new episodes continue to air until 2000 and the
series stays on Kids WB for three years, Histeria! goes
into "cancelled" mode at this point. It's still
promoted by the network during this time, but is moved to
weekday mornings in the summer of 1999, where it stays
until it disappears.
Unlike most of Kids WB's early shows,
Histeria! never reappears on a cable network. Cartoon
Network elects instead to run Captain Planet to fill its