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PBS Kids is the brand for most of the children's programming aired by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States. Some public television children's programs are not produced by PBS member stations or transmitted by PBS which is produced by independent public television distributors such as American Public Television are not labeled as "PBS Kids" programming, and it is mainly a programming block branding.

PBS Kids is also the name of a separate network which has had two iterations in the age of digital television; one which existed between 1999 and 2005, and the current version which was launched in January 2017. The network is also available in sub-Saharan Africa.

History[]

PTV block[]

The framework for PBS Kids was established as part of PBS's "Ready to Learn" initiative, a project intended to facilitate access of early childhood educational programming to underprivileged children.[1] On July 11, 1994, PBS repackaged their existing children's educational programming as a new block called "PTV".[2][3] In addition to scheduled educational programming, PTV also incorporated interstitial content such as "The P-Pals", which featured animated characters shaped like PBS logos delivering educational content from their fictional world, "PTV Park". These interstitial shorts were aimed at younger children.[2] Older children were targeted with live action and music video interstitials.[2]

Several of the interstitial shorts, along with some of the station identification sequences that were shown during the block, continued to be used by some PBS member stations after PTV aired for the last time on September 5, 1999.

PBS Kids[]

On September 6, 1999, PBS launched the PBS Kids brand in several areas including its daytime Ready to Learn Service, PBS Online web pages for kids, and a home video label. Children's programming on the PBS network was then given unified branding. Along with the block of programming on PBS, PBS Kids lent its name to a separate television network, which launched on the same date[4] and was targeted to children from 4 to 7 years old.[citation needed] The PBS Kids Channel ran for six years.[5]

On September 30, 2000, the Bookworm Bunch programming block was introduced as PBS Kids' Saturday morning block.[6] PBS Kids Go!, a programming block targeting older children, was launched in October 2004.[7]

The network was shut down on September 26, 2005, in favor of a new commercial cable and satellite joint venture channel, PBS Kids Sprout, which was developed in partnership with Sesame Workshop, HIT Entertainment and Comcast[8] (who later bought full control of the network via NBCUniversal).[9]

Block and local channels[]

PBS gave licensees an option to sign on Sprout promoters while indicating that they should retain PBS Kids programming block during the day time. Half of stations programmed their own children's channel.[8] PBS offered a replacement early school-aged kids network based on the block PBS Kids Go! by April 2006 to be launched in October 2006,[7] but was cancelled before launch.[8]

On May 8, 2013, PBS Kids programming was added to the Roku streaming player.[10] As of October 7, 2013, to coincide with the debut of Peg + Cat, PBS Kids received another graphic redesign and the PBS Kids Go! block and branding dissolved. On July 1, 2016, all the PBS Kids shows, streaming from Netflix and Hulu moved to Amazon Prime.

PBS Kids network was relaunched on January 16, 2017 with a live stream of the channel on the PBS Kids website and video app; no changes were made to the main PBS Kids block. The block is counter programmed from the network, thus the same show would not be shown at the same time on the network and block. PBS Distribution partnered with MultiChoice Africa to launch PBS Kids on May 22, 2019 on DStv and GOtv platforms across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Critical reception[]

PBS Kids has received generally positive reviews from television critics and parents of young children. L.A. Story (a division of Blogspot) wrote, "Great for any little explorer!" Rob Owen of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, "Best children's entertainment available." Valerie Williams of Scary Mommy wrote, "A wonderful gift."

Network[]

PBS Kids is an American digital broadcast and online television network operated by the Public Broadcasting Service. The network features a broad mix of live action and animated children's programs distributed to PBS by independent companies and select member stations, which are designed for improving the early literacy, math, and social-emotional skills of young children ages 2 to 11.[20] Some PBS member stations, such as KLCS in Los Angeles maintain their own locally programmed PBS Kids feed, that is independent from the nationally sourced feed.

Network history[]

On September 6, 1999, PBS launched the PBS Kids Channel in several markets, in conjunction with the introduction of the PBS Kids brand to provide a unified branding for the service's children's programming offerings. The channel was launched on 33 PBS member stations: 19 of which offered PBS Kids Channel as a cable-only service, 9 which carried the channel on their digital broadcast signals in standard-definition, and 3 which carried simulcasts of the channel on their analog signals. Of the initial 27 affiliates, 16 of them planned to begin carrying PBS Kids Channel during the fall of 1999, with 11 additional stations choosing to debut it that winter.[4]

FCC requirements mandated satellite providers to set aside 4% of their available channel space for noncommercial educational and informational programming. With these providers limited to offering one such service per programmer, PBS had put forth PBS Kids as a prospective channel to fulfill this mandate.[21]

In the aftermath of DirecTV's decision not to renew its funding agreement with the channel, which ended in the third quarter of 2005,[5] PBS decided to shut down the network on September 26 of that year.[failed verification] PBS Kids Channel was effectively supplanted on that date by PBS Kids Sprout, an advertiser-supported cable and satellite channel that PBS developed in a joint venture with HIT Entertainment, Sesame Workshop, and Comcast. PBS gave licensees an option to sign on Sprout promoters, giving them cross-promotional and monetary benefits in exchange for giving up the ability to carry a competing preschool-targeted channel. 80 stations, making up about half of the member stations participants, signed up to be promoters; most of the remaining stations opted to develop independent children's programming services featuring programs distributed by PBS and through outside distributors such as American Public Television to fill space on digital subchannels that formerly served as PBS Kids Channel members. Many of the member stations that launched children's-focused subchannel or cable-only services reduced the amount of sourced programming from PBS Kids carried on their primary channel to a few hours of their weekday daytime schedules, in order to program more adult-targeted fare during the afternoon.[8]

PBS relaunched the PBS Kids network on January 16, 2017.[15] Structured as a multi-platform service, it was made available for distribution to digital subchannels of participating PBS member stations, initially launching on 73 member stations (counting those operated as subregional PBS member networks), with an additional 34 agreeing to begin carrying the network at a later date.[failed verification] A live stream of the channel was also added to the PBS Kids website and video app upon the channel's debut, which will eventually allow viewers to toggle from the program being aired to a related educational game extending the interactivity introduced by Sesame Street. The network is counterprogrammed from the PBS Kids block, so that the same program would not be shown on either simultaneously. PBS Kids 24/7 mainly features double-runs of existing series on PBS Kids' schedule (including some not carried on the primary channels of certain member stations); as such, no additional programs had to be acquired to help fill the channel's schedule.[13] On April 21, 2017, the network launched "PBS Kids Family Night," a weekly block on Friday evenings (with encore airings on Saturday and Sunday evenings) that showcase themed programming, premieres or special "movie-length" episodes of new and existing PBS Kids children's programs.[20][15][13][22]

Programming[]

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968-2001)

Sesame Street (1969-)

The Electric Company (1971-1977)

Zoom (1972-1978)

3-2-1 Contact (1980-1988)

Powerhouse (1982-1983)

Reading Rainbow (1983-2006)

Newton's Apple (1983-1999)

Thomas & Friends (1984-)

Kidsongs (1985-1998)

Square One Television (1987-1992)

Gerbert (1988-1991)

Long Ago and Far Away (1989-1992)

Shining Time Station (1989-1993)

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? (1991-1995)

Lamb Chop's Play-Along! (1992-1995)

The Big Comfy Couch (1992-2007)

Barney & Friends (1992-2009)

Ghost Writer (1992-1995)

Kino's Storytime (1992-1997)

Tots TV (1993-1998)

Theodore Tugboat (1993-2001)

Bill Nye the Science Guy (1993-1998)

The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon (1993-1997)

Katie and Orbie (1994-2002)

Globe Trekker (1994-)

The Magic School Bus (1994-1997)

The Huggabug Club (1995-2000)

The Puzzle Place (1995-1998)

Wimzie's House (1995-1996)

Groundling Marsh (1995-1997)

Wishbone (1995-1997)

In the Mix (1996-2012)

Kratt's Creatures (1996-1996)

Adventures from the Book of Virtues (1996-2000)

Arthur (1996-)

Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego (1996-1997)

Teletubbies (1997-2001)

Caillou (1997-2010)

The Charlie Horse Music Pizza (1998-1999)

Noddy (1998-2000)

Elliot Moose (1998-2000)

Jay Jay the Jet Plane (1998-2005)

Elmo's World (1998-)

Bob the Builder (1998-2004)

(1999) Zoom (1999-2005)

Zoboomafoo (1999-2001)

Dragon Tales (1999-2005)

Redwall (1999-2002)

Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse (2000-2002)

Between The Lions (2000-2010)

The Dooley and Pals Show (2000-2003)

Clifford the Big red Dog (2000-2003)

Corduroy (2000-2000)

George Shrinks (2000-2004)

Seven Little Monsters (2000-2004)

Timothy Goes to School (2000-2001)

Anne of Green Gabes: The Animated Series (2001-2002)

Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat (2001-2002)

DragonflyTV (2002-2008)

Cyberchase (2002-)

Angelina Ballerina (2002-2006)

Liberty's Kids (2002-2003)

Make Way for Noddy (2002-2007)

The Berenstain Bears (2003-2004)

Boohbah (2003-2005)

Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks (2003-2007)

Clifford's Puppy Days (2003-2006)

Peep and the Big Wide World (2003-2011)

Franny's Feet (2004-2011)

Curiosity Quest (2004-2015)

Maya & Miguel (2004-2007)

Postcards from Buster (2004-2012)

Bob the Builder: Project Build It (2005-2009)

Danger Rangers (2005-2006)

The Zula Patrol (2005-2008)

Signing Time (2006-2008)

It's a Big, Big World (2006-2010)

Wunderkind Little Amadeus (2006-2006)

Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman (2006-2010)

Curious George (2006-2015)

SeeMore's Playhouse (2006-2008)

Design Squad (2007-2011)

WordGirl (2007-2015)

WordWorld (2007-2011)

Super Why! (2007-2016)

Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies (2007-2008)

Animalia (2007-2008)

Biz Kid$ (2008-2017)

Betsy's Kindergarten Adventures (2008-2009)

Sid the Science Kid (2008-2013)

Martha Speaks (2008-2014)

Lomax, the Hound of Music (2008-2008)

(2009) The Electric Company (2009-2011)

Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps (2009-2010)

Dinosaur Train (2009-2017)

SciGirls (2010-)

Bob the Builder: Ready, Steady, Build! (2010-2012)

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! (2010-)

Wild Kratts (2011-)

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood (2012-)

Peg + Cat (2013-)

Odd Squad (2014-)

(2015) Bob the Builder (2015-)

Nature Cat (2015-)

Mack & Moxy (2016-2016)

Ready Jet Go! (2016-)

Splash and Bubbles (2016-)

Pinkalicious & Peterrific (2018-)

Let's Go Luna! (2018-)

Molly of Denali (2019-)

Esme & Roy (2019-)

Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum (2019-)

(2019) Clifford the Big Red Dog (2019-)

Hero Elementary (2020-)

Elinor Wonders Why (2020-)

Donkey Hodie (2021-We Don't Know Yet)

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