At the risk of inviting an influx of our infrequent guests who get over excited about the expansion of our Animal Show content (my message wall has sentient feelings, you guys), I've put together a sandbox to track each episode's first or first known broadcast date — Sandbox:Animal Show episode dates.
A few more details at the top of that page, but I thought it would be good to try and nail those dates down. It's good to have them anyway, but also as a means of tracking the debut of characters who went on to appear in later productions.
I've tried searching IMDb, TV.com, and other online episode databases with no luck. I'm figuring the best we'll be able to do for seasons 2 and 3 is find them in their original TV Guide listings, or similar fare (newspapers, periodical supplements, etc).
If anyone's got any better idea of how to track those dates down, please feel free to share that info and we can work together on procuring them.
Friendly reminder to please keep the discussion on topic and related to the wiki. Off-topic posts will be deleted. Thanks for understanding.
Also, just FYI, only now did I discover that season one, which had previously been available to purchase on Amazon, is no longer available. I bought three episodes some time ago, and those are still available to me, but just as the Jim Henson Family TV YouTube channel is gone, so are these.
TV Guide won't help for this They never included episode titles or summaries for Fox Kids programming (or Saturday morning stuff etc.) Sesame Street for awhile and occasionally some other PBS fare (and prime-time cartoons in the sixties) were exceptions. Likewise with newspapers (which have no episode documentation for, say, Dog City and so on either).
When Fox aired Animal Show, it rotated as part of a younger kids' block (with series like Mumfie and Rimba's Island) so the once a week dates match. I don't know how Animal Planet handled it, and while I found some BBC airdates for part of the first season (Radio Times was often more thorough for children's programming), they're all from a year later anyway (or even later repeats, such as a 2000 "they talk to an octopus" listing).
I think our best hope is either a) someone with access to production/broadcasters' lists or sources or b) a fan log kept at the time. Could there by any passing references, like for Episode 318: Bald Eagle, in MuppetZine which might mention a date or something trackable like "This coming Tuesday"?
Clubhouse would be Fox. Their block was Fox Kids Clubhouse. That would also be a possible term to search (especially on eBay or places where former station employees might be selling off old documentation).
As far as I know, Animal Planet just aired the show, not a specific block or umbrella title.
I've been reading some Animal Show sections of the MuppetZine archives on ToughPigs, and here's what I've discovered:
Fall 1995: The show's second season premiered in fall 1995.
Winter 1996: The show only airs Mondays on Fox Cubhouse
Summer 1996: The show is being pulled off of the Fox Cubhouse, making The Animal Show its own separate series with reruns of the second season, airing not just on Mondays, but also on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. The show itself was nominated for a "Daytime Emmy for Best Pre-School Children's Series."
Spring 1997: The show was not on Fox's schedule anymore.
Fall 1997: The show returned to Animal Planet in summer 1997, weekday mornings at 9:00 and 10:30.
P.S.: I've been watching an Animal Planet promo for the show with clips from "Dolphin & Fruit Bat" on YouTube five years ago, and I began to wonder that the 1997 run on Animal Planet is nothing but reruns of seasons 1-2, and season 3 being released early next year.
Ah, I'm an idiot. I did a search for Animal Show on TP's MuppetZine archive thinking it was all text, but they're just scans. Thanks for finding those details. I doubt it, but I'll see if Danny saved any more detailed notes from those days.
Regarding syndication, I'm not entirely sure, but I think by the time the late 90s rolled around, studios and broadcasters had a tighter grip on release schedules in syndication as compared to when The Muppet Show aired in the 70s. So, if there are different dates, they probably only fluctuate by a couple days. I don't think Animal Planet had local affiliates the way CBS did in the 70s. Like, when Star Trek: The Next Generation aired in first-run syndication, I think there were stricter rules on how far the airdates could stray from each other.
That said, if we could at least get premiere dates (or the month) for seasons 2 and 3, that might be the best we can do for now. And would be helpful in at least locking down a debut year for AS characters who went on to appear in other Muppet productions.
For the record, the Fox broadcasts weren't syndication (any more than Dog City was). After that, when Animal Planet picked it up, we know for sure they bought the reruns. Syndication means any affiliate or channel that pays to do so can run the show, and if that actually happened here, it would have been after the Animal Planet reruns. (Thus the "Fox Kids Club" list Scott found for the first season). If Animal Planet bought US rights to air any seasons after that, it wasn't syndication.
And not surprisingly, neither network actually have "archives" as such that can be contacted (if they have them at all).
Andrew, did Fox Kids have their own magazine publication? Or something similar within the Fox empire? I couldn't find anything in a search, but these things tend to be fairly obscure. Also tried looking for an Animal Planet publication with no luck.
This all just occurred to me after flipping through an issue of The Disney Channel Magazine which included broadcast dates for various shows. Might be one possible solution seeing as TV Guide didn't include episode names.
I did find a TV Guide reference mentioning the debut of the show — if we could find premiere dates for the 2nd and 3rd seasons, that would at least be something.
Fox Kids at most had posters and things (comic books, other handouts), not actual "Here's what's on today's episode" stuff. They didn't track that in those pre-internet days beyond internal documents. Disney Channel was a little different (their magazine format began at a time when cable channels were fewer and getting full schedule information to subscribers was prioritized) but I think even they may have stopped for their kids daytime programming by 1994. How many of the dates matching to specific episode titles in Disney Channel Magazine are for prime time, and how many for daytime (and especially cartoons and such)? I imagine their All New Mickey Mouse Club might get specifics, but probably not Welcome to Pooh Corner or whatever of that kind was being produced just then.
Second season premiere could probably be found, in part because usually Fox Kids (outside of mid-season launches and "Whoops, this show's not ready yet" things, which at one point resulted in a few weeks of George of the Jungle as filler) premiered everything at the same time (Saturday programs on the same Saturday, new season of weekday shows started the same week), and in this case, while Animal Show premieres might not crop up, "Fox Cubhouse new season starts" might (and promos and such would or could pinpoint the day of the week Animal Show had, and you could cross-reference from there).
In fact, using the search strings above, no premiere dates, but notes from an Emmy publication (there's another kind of resource to look at, actually) note that Animal Show in 1994 was on a Monday and Friday schedule, bookending. That's why the dates in the list you have don't always match a weekly basis (and they're out of order with Henson's numbering system, which was either production order or Fox just ran them differently; whether we'd want to renumber or not, as we have on other shows, is up to us, but given how we're still trying to find info, I'd say no, at least for now).
So, we have Monday October 3rd for the first episode. The third production episode aired on October 7th, that Friday. And so on. So that helps make a little sense of those dates if it doesn't actually provide new ones.
Yeah, when I put together the airdates for the first season, I noticed the numbering from the old Henson.com didn't match the broadcast order or the production order. I don't know why they numbered them that way, but it's the most solid source we've got and I don't see a point of renumbering right now without something super concrete.
Thanks for confirming the Monday/Friday week bookending schedule though.
I'll keep a lookout for other industry rags mentioning season premieres or anything of the sort.
Second season Fox Cubhouse premiere was Monday, September 11, 1995. Even found confirmation from Washington Post's TV Column, but it seems to tally nationally (and that's something TV Guide might mention in passing for that week, now that we have a date range to look at).
Confirming when Animal Planet aired the third season is the trickiest part.
In the "close but no real cigar" column: Cable Network Profiles from 2001 (put out by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau), which includes a programming grid for Animal Planet first quarter 2001, including Jim Henson's Animal Show. *But* since this seems to have been an industry guide/pamphlet rather than a magazine, Google Books does that thing where you glimpse the top of the page and no specifics (if it's a time slot only, it won't help us too much, and our indications are that the show was out of production then anyway, but it is kind of interesting that it was still airing in the US as late as that). But it does suggest a way to narrow focus and another area to specifically look into (beyond general TV listings and TV stuff).
I'm also digging one of my favorite resources for radio research, but it includes broadcasting journals and magazines into the modern TV era, so I'll report back if I find anything useful.
While I don't have any episode info (except that "Cheetah / Gazelle" really did air first), the airdates posted in the sandbox are not correct. "The Fox Cubhouse" had 50 consecutive new episodes in fall 1994, before going into reruns.
So, twenty episodes of "Animal Show" premiered in fall 1994. The other "Animal Show" dates for season 1 in 1995 were: February 6, February 13, February 20, May 1, May 8, May 15.
The last ever airdate of "Fox Cubhouse" was on April 19, 1996. The weekday run of "Animal Show" (that replaced "Fox Cubhouse") was from April 22 to May 17, 1996. The show left Fox after that.