PBS Kids

Not to be confused with PBS Kids Go! or Sprout (TV network), formerly known as PBS Kids Sprout.

PBS Kids
Type Children's programming
Country United States
Founded July 11, 1994 (1994-07-11)[1]
Headquarters Arlington, Virginia
Broadcast area
United States
Owner PBS
Launch date
July 11, 1994 (1994-07-11)[1]
Former names
Affiliation PBS
Official website

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 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.


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.[2] On July 11, 1994, PBS repackaged their existing children's educational programming as a new block called "PTV".[1][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.[1] Older children were targeted with live action and music video interstitials.[1]

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. The PBS Kids Channel ran for six years and was largely funded by El Segundo, California-based satellite provider DirecTV. This funding agreement ended in third quarter of 2005.[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]

Block and local channels

The channel was shut down on September 26, 2005, in favor of a new commercial cable and satellite joint venture, PBS Kids Sprout, which was developed in partnership with two producers and Comcast[8] (who later bought full control of the network via NBCUniversal).[9] PBS gave licensees an option to sign on Sprout promoters, giving them cross-promotional and cash benefits in exchange for giving up the ability to broadcasting a competing preschool channel. About half, 80 stations, signed up to be promoters, while most of the other half programmed their own children's channel. Many stations with kids channels reduced the PBS Kids programming on their primary channel to a few hours in order to program more adult fare in the afternoon.[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 were dropped.[11]

A new 24-hour PBS Kids Channel is expected to launch January 2017 with a live stream of the channel on the PBS Kids website and video app. PBS Kids is expected to continue as a daypart on PBS.[12][13][14]

Programming blocks


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Bedford, Karen Everhart (June 6, 1994). "Goal for Ready to Learn: engage kids and parents". current.org/. Current.org. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  2. Chozick, Amy (January 1, 2012). "PBS Takes On the Premium Channels". NYTimes.com. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on July 16, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2015. PBS Kids ... was originally created for underprivileged young viewers who lacked access to early-childhood education.
  3. Pierce, Charles P. (January 22, 1995). "Building a Better Fun Factory : For Years, PBS Had a Monopoly on Quality Children's Programming. Now It's Being Challenged by Brash Upstart Nickelodeon, Which May Prove a Bigger Threat Than a Republican Congress Ever Will.". The Los Angeles Times. p. 7. Archived from the original on June 9, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  4. Karen Everhart Bedford (August 30, 1999). "Multi-purpose PBS Kids takes flight next week". Current.org. Archived from the original on December 16, 1999. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  5. Everhart, Karen (July 17, 2006). "PBS Kids Go! channel: plan is no-go for now". Current. Current Publishing Committee. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  6. 1 2 Everhart Bedford, Karen (July 31, 2000). "Better Saturday competition seen for the kids audience". Current. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
  7. 1 2 3 Egner, Jeremy (April 3, 2006). "World and Go! streams flow into PBS plans". Current. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  8. 1 2 3 Katy June-Friesen (January 12, 2009). "Many stations packaging their own kids' channels". Originally published in Current. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  9. Singel, Ryan (December 3, 2009). "Comcast Buys NBC, Clouding Online TV's Future". Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  10. Moskovciak, Matthew (May 8, 2013). "Roku's PBS, PBS Kids channels go live, stream full episodes". CNet. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  11. 1 2 "PBS Kids Go! goes bye-bye as colorful branding revamp rolls out to stations". Current.org. 2013-08-07. Retrieved 2013-08-16.
  12. "Archive » PBS KIDS widens access with 24/7 channel offerings". Kidscreen. 2016-02-23. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  13. KOBLIN, JOHN (February 22, 2016). "PBS Is Creating a Channel Exclusively for Children". New York Times. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  14. "PBS Chief Paula Kerger Talks 'Sesame Street' Changes, Spectrum Auction". Variety. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
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