Funny thing about that de-regulation that led to that huge surge of childrens tv shows designed to sell kids stuff. That effect of it was really very transitory. It would make a good Big Picture episode to actually look at the various standards for tv programing for kids over the years. Starting with why kids cartoons were pretty much limited to Saturday morning before noon. and how it all evolved as a result of regulatory meddling.
But here's the weird thing about that de-regulation, and that wild west of animated toy pimps that it spawned. It was very very short lived. Look a little wider. There was some craziness for a few years in the 80's. Say 82 to 87-88. But then it all went away. It was self correcting market. As you saw with the Transformers movie, people and in particular kids didn't buy it. Don't forget shortly after that surge of kids shows selling little blogs of plastic, we suddenly started to see a new wave of what can best be described as quality shows. Stuff like Disneys afternoon wave of Ducktales and Tailspin and Darkwing Duck and Chip and Dales Rescue Rangers and Gummi Bears, etc etc. Shows like Fraggle Rock. And then the surge of things like Nickolodean, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network. That same de-regulation that brought those massive toy commercials into existence just as quickly killed them off as the networks figured rather than wasting whole hours selling somebody else's product, they could actually sell their own, and get other people to pay them for commercials while doing it. Instead of the product being a He Man plastic toy. The product was now teh media company itself. Disney, Nik, etc. It's a model Sesame Street had been using since the 60's. And it is the same business model that Disney or any media company has long operated safely and successfully under.