11 July 1994
000000001999-09-06-0000September 6, 1999
Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Wild Kratts, Arthur, Curious George, Odd Squad
BabyFirst, Nick Jr., BabyTV
PBS Kids, stylized as PBS KIDS and formerly PTV block, 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. As a network, PBS Kids has been launched twice and existed as independent local programming format in between (2005-2016).
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. On July 11, 1994, PBS repackaged their existing children's educational programming as a new block called "PTV". 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. Older children were targeted with live action and music video interstitials.
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 and was targeted to children from 4 to 7 years old. The PBS Kids Channel ran for six years.
On September 30, 2000, the Bookworm Bunch programming block was introduced as PBS Kids' Saturday morning block. PBS Kids Go!, a programming block targeting older children, was launched in October 2004.
Block and local channels
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 two producers and Comcast (who later bought full control of the network via NBCUniversal). PBS gave licensees an option to sign on Sprout promoters while most of the other half programmed their own children's channel. 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, but was cancelled before launch.
On May 8, 2013, PBS Kids programming was added to the Roku streaming player. 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.
PBS Kids Channel 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 programed from the network, thus the same show would not be shown at the same time on the network and block.
PBS Kids Channel is a broadcast network that has been launched twice and existed as independent local programming channel format in between (2005-2016). Both versions of the networks are designed for improving the pre-Kindergarten age group's early literacy, math, and social-emotional skills.
On September 6, 1999, PBS Kids Channel network was launched along with other PBS Kids brand in several areas to give children's programming unified branding. 19 stations launched the network as a cable channel only with nine stations broadcasting the channel in standard-definition digital and three broadcast as an analog signal. Of the initial 27 affiliated stations, 16 planned a fall launch and 11 in the winter.
Direct satellite broadcaster were mandated to set aside 4% of its channel space for noncommercial educational and informational programming. Limited to one per programmer, PBS had put forth PBS Kids as a potential channel for this mandate, however DirecTV indicated that it would pick up PBS Kids outside the mandate in early November 1999.
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. 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 two producers and Comcast. 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.
PBS Kids Channel network was relaunched on January 16, 2017 with a live stream of the channel on the PBS Kids website and video app. The block is counter programed from the network, thus the same show would not be shown at the same time on the network and block. Additional, no special acquisitions of shows were made for the network. 73 stations launched the network on the national launch date while another 34 were signed up but delayed their launch. In the near future, the streaming version will allow viewers to toggle from the show to a related learning game extending the interactivity introduced by Sesame Street. “PBS Kids Family Night” is expected to start on April 21, 2017 and Friday evenings there after and show family friendly films and children’s show premieres.