The 1982 Animators' Strike was a ten-week labor dispute in the United States. The key issue in the dispute concerned sending animation work overseas, particularly in Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. Many of the main animation studios, including Hanna-Barbera, participated in the strike. It was settled in late September 1982.
The strike may have been a contributing factor in the lack of new shows, particularly on ABC (reruns of Superfriends and Scooby Doo Where Are You! aired as time fillers during the 1982/83 season); further new segments for programs in the 1982/83 season may have ceased production, thus prompting reruns; and also resulted in delays for the season premieres for shows on ABC, including The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show, which viewers would have expected to launch on September 11, 1982, but was delayed until September 25, 1982. Production of latter segments of some series may also have been delayed, some of them not airing until as early as January 1983. One cartoon series, The Dukes, didn't premiere on CBS until February 1983 - possibly as a result of delayed production due to the strike.
The decision to outsource animation work overseas was likely done as a cost-cutting measure, which could imply that viewership for Saturday morning cartoons was in decline by the time the strike occurred.