Despite my best efforts to get to bed by midnight, sometime stress-induced insomnia has other plans for me. But while most fight these early morning bouts of sleeplessness by staring at the ceiling, I tiptoe downstairs and turn on Atlanta’s own scintillating block of surrealistic TV programming, [adult swim].
Created in 2001 (and still helmed today) by Mike Lazzo, [adult swim] is the risqué, unorthodox and often bizarre nocturnal cousin of Cartoon Network that operates nightly from 8 PM to 6 AM. Programmed by Williams Street Productions, a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting, [adult swim] has produced dozens of original shows and has been the top programming block among adults 18-34 for the past 12 years. Because of its celebration of all things bizarre, the network was even granted its own Nielsen ratings report from Cartoon Network!
The initial incarnation of [adult swim] first launched on September 2, 2001 with the debut block initially airing on Sunday nights, and repeating every Thursday night. Space Ghost Coast to Coast (my favorite show host to this day) and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, along with Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, The Brak Show and Sealab 2021 kicked off the pilot lineup. After the success of their initial block, [adult swim] continued their non-traditional approach to programming by taking chances on new creators—and giving them complete creative freedom—while building direct dialogues with fans through live events, streams and chat channels.
While [adult swim] features cartoons, live action comedies and dramas of all types, all their programs are created without ratings in mind. Like the commercial-free bass and drum (free!) music driven station identifications, they affectionately call bumps, [adult swim] could care less if you like them. But what they do lose sleep over is always making sure they connect with their fans, challenge their comfort zones (and absurdist ceilings), and have fun doing it.
In this first episode of 12 For 12: Atlanta, Adam walks the halls of William Street Productions and wakes up to the possibility that he is actually just an insomnia-inflicted character I created during a restful night’s sleep not spent watching [adult swim].