CN Real was a short-lived programming block featuring live-action reality shows usually on Wednesdays and Saturdays that aired on Cartoon Network on June 17, 2009, promoted by rock musician Andrew WK. On May 28, 2010, CN Real and its shows (except Dude, What Would Happen and Destroy Build Destroy) were canceled for good shortly before the "CHECK IT" rebrand.
Shows That Aired on the Programming Block
Why It Really Didn't Shred
- First of all, it aired on a channel called Cartoon Network, which is supposed to air animated shows, not live-action reality shows!
- This was Cartoon Network's poor attempt at trying to copy Disney Channel and Nickelodeon's formula of airing both live-action and cartoons to stay relevant ignoring the fact that, unlike their competitors, Cartoon Network is more of a specialty channel focused exclusively on CARTOONS, much like Nickelodeon's Nicktoons channel and Disney Channel's Toon Disney channel (which was already defunct at the time this block was made).
- This is where Cartoon Network was at the height of its first dark age in the late-2000s because they did not release any new original animated programs that year despite the network's name and aired this instead, as well as the fact that many of the original animated programs and programming blocks (such as Toonami in 2008) were canceled prematurely in favor of this and the live-action shows. As a result, the only original animated shows that were running during the time was Ben 10: Alien Force, Chowder, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and The Secret Saturdays, while Ed, Edd n Eddy, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and Transformers: Animated had sadly ended that same year, whereupon the network only focused on Canadian-based cartoons such as Johnny Test and Total Drama.
- This, along with Cartoon Network hosting mostly live-action shows at the time, was the main reason both Craig McCracken of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and the original Powerpuff Girls fame and his wife Lauren Faust resigned from Cartoon Network for good after working there for 17 years (see the former's reaction to the block in the Reception section).
- Despite CN Real being canceled for good in 2010, Cartoon Network continued to air live-action, such as Level Up (though it did gain a cult following and a fanbase), The High Fructose Adventures of Annoying Orange, the revival of the American version of Hole in the Wall and Incredible Crew, up until 2014. And they seem to be starting up again with the announcements of Family Mash-Up and Tweety Mysteries in 2022.
- All of the shows on the block (except one) were rip-offs of pre-existing shows, but with none of the charm and cleverness of said shows they rip-off:
- Dude, What Would Happen?, was not only a rip-off of Mythbusters, but it lacked the charm and scientific integrity Mythbusters had, as well as the fact that the show spits in the eyes of science just to appeal to dumb thrill-seekers. It felt more like a Jackass rip-off than anything.
- The Othersiders was Ghost Hunters with teens.
- Survive This was Survivorman and/or Man vs. Wild with kids.
- BrainRush was Cash Cab on roller coasters at Knott's Berry Farm.
- Bobb'e Says was Tosh.0 with none of the clever writing.
- The programming block's music video, "Hearing What I Said" by Andrew W.K. (although catchy) has the lyrics that said Cartoon Network has both "real people" (live-action) and cartoons, which is considered false.
- The logo of the block looks too wild and crazy as it's just the 2004 Cartoon Network logo with the word REAL on it, but the blocks outside the C and N were removed.
- Poor Andrew W.K and the cast had to waste their talents on this programming block.
- Overall, its tone and graphics were huge rip-offs of the ones on Disney XD (even though the former was launched 4 months before the programming block started).
- Around the end of CN Real in 2010 came the release of Adventure Time, Regular Show, Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Generator Rex, Regular Show, Robotomy and Sym-Bionic Titan, thus leading into the start of what's known as Cartoon Network's "Renaissance Era". It would also mark the beginning of the Check It era.
- After leaving Cartoon Network, Craig McCracken would eventually move on to create the hit Disney Channel series Wander Over Yonder, as well as a Netflix original called Kid Cosmic. Lauren Faust, on the other hand, would create My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- At least the title makes sense, not to mention that the bumpers are quite awesome and cool to look at, mostly the ones released from January to May 2010. (despite being bland).
- Some live-action shows during this era (the most famous examples were Tower Prep and Unnatural History) could've worked better if they were either animated or on a different channel that isn't dedicated solely to cartoons.
- On top of that, Tower Prep and Unnatural History were the only good shows that aired on this block since they had clever writing and humor. Sadly, despite both receiving highly positive reviews compare to the other live-action shows, they were canceled after one season.
- Though 2009 may be considered Cartoon Network's darkest year, there were still some good moments during that year, such as the series finales of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends ("Goodbye to Bloo") and Ed, Edd n Eddy (Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show) happening that year, the latter bringing the series to a satisfying conclusion and providing fuel for fanfiction writers to work with.
- At the very least, Destroy Build Destroy had a unique premise, not to mention Andrew W.K. hamming it up as the host.
- As stated from previous pointers, some shows can be entertaining like Destroy Build Destroy, The Othersiders, Level Up, Survive This, Bobb'e Says (despite all being bad shows), Tower Prep and Unnatural History, despite the fact they're not animated.
CN Real was mostly met with backlash from critics and viewers for its place on Cartoon Network and most of the shows received horrible ratings and views. However, Dude, What Would Happen? and Destroy Build Destroy did receive high ratings despite the negative reception and they were the only CN Real shows that survived the block's cancellation and were renewed for additional seasons, both of them ended on September 21, 2011. Tim Surette, a user of TV.com, created a blog about the block with over 230 supporters. Craig McCracken, a former Cartoon Network employee and creator of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends and the original Powerpuff Girls, was unhappy about this and even stated to The Los Angeles Times in 2009, "It's a little sad. Cartoon Network 'had' something unique..."