We didn't want to alarm anyone but...

"Lunar Eclipse" Marathon May Have Had Second Meaning

Mreeeow??   Mreeeow??
There must be some really hardball negotiations going on out there! The companies involved with the series and animated features have been unusually tight-lipped and not especially boastful of the higher ratings. With newly found success comes newly found pressure.

With this in mind we did not greet The Cartoon Network's announcement of a "Sailor Moon" Marathon being promoted as a "Lunar Eclipse" with glee or exhilaration.

The network plans to present the final 17 episodes of "Sailormoon-R" in a marathon screening on Sunday, May 23, 1999 from 11:30am to 8pm. This is the first such marathon in the United States. The program will not air during the week of May 24-28 as "Toonami" will present 2 hours of "Dragonball" each day. (On Saturday, May 29 the 3 "Dragonball Z" movies [multi-part episodes] will be presented from Noon to 4pm.) These programming changes have been made to take place at (and take advantage of) the end of the May sweeps.

Should We
Or Shouldn't We?

We were torn if we should go public with this story or not. It's speculative; it's not news. But not to post this analysis would be a dereliction of duty. Good or bad, we have a duty to report on what is affecting the series and features.

While fans are correct in believing that such a marathon is a display of faith in the series and would expose the program to viewers who have missed the show during the weekdays, we also saw this as the network positioning itself in talks with The Program Exchange & DiC.

Let me go, we've got to do something!  Usagi!
The Cartoon Network may have been threatening to drop the program unless The Program Exchange & DiC made concessions in any negotiations concerning the current 82 episode package and/or any new episodes of "Sailormoon-S."

The Cartoon Network's license to present the show was to expire on Monday, May 31, 1999 but (after publicizing the marathon) was just renegotiated for another year. (Normally, such an agreement would have been made before NATPE in January but the increasing ratings and the possibility of new dubbed episodes may have driven The Program Exchange & DiC to seek a better deal from the network.) The marathon may have been created to get the last bit of good ratings out of the series with the "Dragonball" preemption of "Toonami" a way to prepare viewers for possible, final changes. The Cartoon Network may have been positioning itself to drop "Sailor Moon" if necessary.

Attentive viewers may have noticed the recent comment concerning Toonami's line-up.....

3D baby!
"It could change at any time."

These companies must negotiate like this since the show has gotten popular and is now worth more. Do not be quick to blame The Cartoon Network for taking such possible options. We have noted (as you should too) how Funimation has been able to find outside financing for new dubbed episodes of its series ("Dragonball Z") and DiC has not.

I hope you were wrong, SOS!
However, the renewal is definitely a step in the right direction and may clear the way for the dubbing of "Sailormoon-S" and some of the animated features as well!

Meanwhile, it is very, very important that fans DO NOT contact any of the companies associated with "Sailor Moon." Fans getting involved at this point would only make any negotiations harder and could even ruin them. We have had "our say" with our letters and do not need to say more at this time.

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