n 1986, Ted Turner's cable-TV conglomerate acquired most of the pre-May 1986 MGM film and television library (which also included Gilligan's Island and its animated spin-offs, the U.S. rights to a majority of the RKO Radio Pictures library, and the a.a.p. catalog which includes the pre-1950 Warner Bros. film library, the Harman and Ising Merrie Melodies except Lady, Play Your Mandolin!, the pre-August 1948 color Warner Bros. cartoons, and the Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios Popeye cartoons originally released by Paramount Pictures).

In 1988, its cable channel Turner Network Television was launched and had gained an audience with its film library. In 1991, it purchased animation studio Hanna-Barbera Productions and acquired its large library as well as most of the Ruby-Spears library.

The first logo the network used from 1991-1992 before it began broadcasting had a cartoon character in a circle outline with the words "CARTOON" above and "NETWORK" below. By October 1, 1992, Cartoon Network was created as an outlet for Turner's considerable library of animation, and the initial programming on the channel consisted exclusively of reruns of classic Warner Bros. cartoons (the pre-August 1948 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies), the 1933-1957 Popeye cartoons, MGM cartoons, and Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

The logo used from 1992 to 2004

Up until 2009 when Cartoon Network started showing reality shows and live-action movies, the channel would broadcast cartoons 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The network's first theme was the Checkerboard theme with bumpers involving the Cartoon Network's second logo, used from 1992.

 

Most of the short cartoons were aired in half-hour or hour-long packages, usually separated by character or studio—Down Wit' Droopy D aired old Droopy Dog shorts, The Tom and Jerry Show presented the classic cat-and-mouse team, and Bugs and Daffy Tonight provided classic Looney Tunes shorts.
The network's first original show was The Moxy Show and was first aired in 1993. In 1994, Hanna-Barbera's new subsidiary Cartoon Network Studios was founded and started production on The What-A-Cartoon! Show (also known as World-Premiere Toons and "What-A-Cartoon"), a series of creator-driven short cartoons that premiered on Cartoon Network in 1995. It was the network's third original series (the second was Space Ghost Coast to Coast).
 

The chief purpose of The What A Cartoon Show was to help Cartoon Network expand its library of exclusive programming and it introduced a number of new cartoon ideas. Six of them were spun off into their own series runs. These six series,

Dexter's Laboratory (1996), Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken (1997), The Powerpuff Girls (1998), Mike, Lu & Og, and Courage the Cowardly Dog (1999)

became the origins of the network's original cartoons, collectively known as Cartoon Cartoons. I Am Weasel (1997) and Ed, Edd n Eddy (1999) were the first two Cartoon Cartoons not to be introduced in a What A Cartoon short

Cartoon Network underwent its makeover in 1997, launching a look that was used until June 13, 2004. The channel used bumpers involving characters from most of the cartoons it aired with the Powerhouse music, or just objects and places with the Cartoon Network's logo at that time. The Powerhouse music was no longer used starting in 2003.

the logo used from 2004-2010, a 2D version is used today

 

Cartoon Network has also begun to air some imported Canadian programs from Teletoon such as George of the Jungle, 6teen, Total Drama Island and its successors Total Drama Action and Total Drama World Tour, Chaotic and Bakugan Battle Brawlers.
Beginning May 25, 2008, Cartoon Network has been airing animated shorts, called Wedgies, to fill in spots between two programs.
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