March 28, 2012


More articles by »
Written by: Mitch Salem
Tags: , , , , , , ,


In recent years, the broadcast networks have largely outsourced their Saturday morning kids’ programming business.  Despite decades of history in the area, the networks have determined that news and sports are much more valuable weekend commodities, and with 24-hour cable networks now available for families who are looking for childrens’ programming, the networks maintain a low-budget presence in the area mostly as a PR move to mollify the FCC and interest groups, and allow themselves to claim some interest in very young viewers.   

NBC has shifted programming partners in the area several times over the past several years.  For a while the Saturday morning shows were supplied by Discovery Networks, then NBC partnered with an entity called Qubo.  Today it announced a new partner, the Sprout Network.  Sprout operates its own cable/satellite network for preschoolers, and is itself a partnership among PBS, Sesame Workshop (which used to be called Children’s Television Workshop), Apax Partners (a financier) and NBCComcast. 
The “NBC Kids” line-up, which is what they’re calling the new NBC/Sprout partnership, starts airing on Saturday July 7, and features a 10AM-1PM schedule as the Qubo programming did.  The shows will include some higher-profile kids series like The Wiggles and a Jim Henson Studios show called Pajanimals, which is presumably good for the target viewers.  Today’s statement, though, fell all over itself to emphasize the far more important please-the-FCC slant:   the shows will “feature educational series that promote active, healthy lifestyles for younger children,” with a series called LazyTown, for example, that is “designed to encourage healthy eating and exercise,” and in general the line-up will “encourage children to achieve more positive life choices.”  
In other words, don’t expect to see Elmer Fudd stalking Bugs Bunny with a shotgun.  Or Wile E. Coyote being smashed by a giant Acme brand anvil.  To which some of us might say:  more’s the pity.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."