Adult Swim (stylized as [adult swimming]) is the adult night programming block of the American children's basic cable network Cartoon Network, programmed by its internal production studio, Williams Street. It is currently broadcast every night from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. ET.
Debuting in 2001, Adult Swim serves as the Cartoon Network night identity, and was established as an alternative programming during the late hours of the night when the main target audience of Cartoon Network, children between the ages of 7 and 15, would normally be sleeping
In 2005, the block was awarded its own report of Nielsen's Cartoon Network ratings because it targeted a separate demographic. The block features lively and stylistically varied live action shows; including original programming, syndicated series, anime, original video animation and short films with minimal or no edition of the content.
The block has frequently transmitted animation features for adults, drills, comedy and pilots. The shows of the block are known for their sexual themes, their frank sexual discussion, nudes, strong language and graphic violence. Many of its programs are aesthetically experimental, transgressive, improvised and surreal in nature.
This has become a source of conflict, and some say that Adult Swim is too controversial, while others point out that their ability to question the norm provides a level of surrealism and experimentalism that is welcome. Adult Swim has hired several studios known for their absurd and shocking comedy productions.
As with Cartoon Network, the reach of Adult Swim through various services totals 94 million American homes.