Ted Turner's cable TV conglomerate had acquired the MGM film library (which included the older catalog of Warner Bros. cartoons), and its cable channel Turner Network Television had gained an audience with its film library. Shortly thereafter they purchased Hanna-Barbera Productions.
The Cartoon Network channel 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. and MGM cartoons, with many Hanna-Barbera TV cartoons used as time fillers.
In 1996 Time Warner purchased Turner Broadcasting, (Turner or TBS), the company that managed the collection of cable networks and properties started by Ted Turner in the mid-1970s. This provided still more material for the Cartoon Network, as the channel now had access to the Warner Brothers cartoon library from the 1950s and 1960s.
Although Turner Broadcasting operates as a semi-autonomous unit from Time Warner, Warner changed the direction of Hanna Barbera Productions, and focused the studio exclusively on creating new material for the Cartoon Network channel. Among the shows the studio has produced are Dexter's Laboratory (1996), Johnny Bravo (1997), Cow and Chicken (1997), and The Powerpuff Girls (1998).
Cartoon Network has recently made attempts to attract viewers outside its core audience of young children. For example, they recently filled a mid-afternoon cartoon block with a program called Toonami, which consists of reruns of acceptable-for-teens anime from Japan. And a late-night cartoon block called Adult Swim now shows more risque, teenage- and adult-oriented cartoons (with a combination of anime and American-produced comedies). The Latin American conglomerate of Cartoon Network has even gone so far as to incorporate a voting system for their station. The audience is encouraged to phone in there requests for programming. The program that gets the most votes will be shown that day. These changes unfortunately have almost eliminated the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the network's schedule, forcing them to move to the nostalgia-themed Boomerang network. Boomerang is the name of two television channels owned by Cartoon Network, one in the US and one in the UK, which show classic animated cartoons, mainly from the Warner Brothers, MGM and the Hanna-Barbera archives.
In order that Cartoon Network stay at the forefront of animation programming, it developed an online feature named Cartoon Orbit, in 2001, which as calculated in 2003, has exceeded one million members.