Toonami has done a lot that surprised fans (along with myself). When reviewing the traditional ratings these days, I still don’t understand how Toonami now airs from 10 p.m. – 4 a.m. It shows how all of the perceptions fans once had about the block have been flipped on its head with this latest expansion. These changes should be viewed in a positive light because fans have thought that Toonami should have its own channel or take over Saturday’s on Adult Swim (along with it airing at an earlier time) for years. I never saw any of that to be a possibility. However, with the current line up and the other factors contributing to Toonami’s success, I do see a path to one of these things happening. Maybe it is a possibility that Toonami could take over Saturday’s.

Warner Media (formerly Turner Networks) announced this year they would not measure a show/block’s success based solely on the traditional ratings. While they will still be taken into consideration, Warner Media will be researching how shows in different areas (like social media for example) are performing. In essence, they want to see how their programing garners attention and not stick to one metric to value a show considering the television landscape has drastically changed. So if Warner Media decides to look at other avenues to measure success, which does nothing but benefit Toonami.

One thing the block has is a significant social media presence. Toonami owes a lot of its success to Twitter with how much buzz each show tends to create. While Toonami doesn’t produce the largest trends on social media, the digital footprint that it has implanted is remarkable. It does just as well as any other television program/station and has done a great job controlling Saturday nights. Despite going up against pay-per-view fights, college football etc. Toonami does a great job staying relevant which has to play a big part as to why Warner Media believes in making the block larger. And while Toonami has performed admirably, it has gotten the benefit of some significant changes at Adult Swim.

Adult Swim has lost some broadcasting rights to a couple of FOX series. Adult Swim has depended on playing some of these shows throughout their lineups before. Recently, King of the Hill and The Cleveland Show moved to Comedy Central which has become a huge development and one where Adult Swim feels can be rectified by expanding Toonami. These FOX series aren’t cheap especially if they air on Adult Swim a lot of the time. With it looking like Adult Swim will move away from FOX series, and depending on the financials, Toonami could air other anime series for the night.

Alternatively, this could be a chance for Toonami to have more original programming. Filling up those empty time slots with programming that doesn’t cost anything, that could be an excellent start for a Saturday takeover. With the success of Samurai Jack Season 5 and FLCL Progressive & Alternative, there could be more original projects coming Toonami’s way. We have a somewhat clear picture of how FLCL did since Progressive sold on apps like iTunes well. And while those on the outside can’t see the streaming numbers, I can only imagine things look good on that end. Otherwise, why would Warner Media continue to expand the block?

I do believe Warner Media sees the revenue that Toonami can bring thanks to the advertisement they’ve acquired. Companies are advertising like crazy on Adult Swim. A lot of big name companies have been seen while Toonami is airing such as Arby’s and Old Spice. But to my surprise, Netflix, Crunchyroll, and even FUNimation have advertised animated shows during Toonami. It’s not just the fans that have a stake in Toonami sticking around. Companies that deal with anime fans want Toonami to stick around so that their investment of advertising on the block yields some payout (it’s great that other anime companies feel the need to advertise on the block). As we’ve heard from Jason DeMarco, Toonami makes a lot of money for the network, so the longer the block is running, it could potentially generate more money for said advertisers.

The biggest question is that is expanding longer in the best interest of the block? A drawback that comes to mind is Toonami’s budget. If I knew how expensive or nonexpensive it was to get the broadcasting rights for an anime show, then I’d have a clearer picture. I’m curious as to how much money Toonami has at the moment to continue to grab shows with more time at their disposal. Right now, Toonami is airing a few shows that have already aired on the block. It’s important to have some reruns due to cost, but considering how many reruns are playing, it makes me wonder as to how much money they have to acquire a new series. With the block expanding will Warner Media allow Toonami to have a bigger budget to purchase new anime series? I’d assume so since the block has continued to grow. And potentially if more original programming airs on Toonami, that will allow them to save even more money to try and acquire more anime for fans.

I can’t believe what has been going on with Toonami lately. For the first time I can say that Toonami may take over Adult Swim on Saturdays! While there might be some trepidation with a move like that, I wouldn’t be upset if it happens. All of this expansion signals to me that the block has been performing well and Warner Media wants to build the Toonami brand to be even more lasting. Toonami expanding feels like a win for anime fans. Now anime can air longer on television in the U.S.  This makes me think that Toonami could be around for longer than it did during its Cartoon Network days if everything continues to trend in a positive direction. We are inching closer to a reality where on Saturday’s Adult Swim decides to air nothing but anime, making it into a home for anime fans to relax and watch television. To those who wanted to see something like this happen, you may get your wish.

While writing this article, it was announced that Toonami would be expanding to 9 p.m. and this was due to the Cleveland Show and King of the Hill leaving. You can read more about this by clicking here

Paul Pescrillo is the Founder of
You can follow him on Twitter @PaulPescrillo.