"A lot happens when you Sprout!"Sprout
(formerly PBS Kids Sprout) is a cable/satellite network that originated as a subnetwork of PBS Kids
which originates from Philadelphia
. Originally launched as a Video on Demand service, Sprout replaced the 24/7 PBS Kids network in 2005. It was a partnership of Sesame Workshop
, Apax Partners (a share owned by HIT Entertainment
prior to its purchase by Mattel), PBS and NBCUniversal (via the Comcast merger). The latter company became the sole owner late in 2013, with NBCU's international kids' channel joint venture KidsCo ending in the process.
Sprout is known for their themed blocks of programming. Since its creation, it has had a regular feature in "The Sunny Side Up Show," a morning block with live hosts and the channel's kazoo-voiced puppet mascot Chica the chicken (who received her own series, The Chica Show
, in 2012) that even airs original content on holidays such as Christmas. It also regularly airs "The Good Night Show," a block of programming themed around getting children for bed. The program was originally hosted by Melanie Martinez, prior to Sprout's learning that she had appeared in a parody public service announcement for an online service titled "Technical Virgin
". Following a brief series of guest stints, including Noel MacNeal (Bear of Bear in the Big Blue House
), the program found a new regular host in Michele Lepe, known on the program as "Nina"; she interacts with another puppet character, Star (who looks like his name).
Sprout has also recently become known for acquiring properties once made famous on other networks and building programming blocks around them. Following their acquisition of The Wiggles
, originally seen on Playhouse Disney in the U.S., they created a block of programming called "The Wiggly Waffle Show." More recently, their acquisition of LazyTown
, once seen on Nick Jr.
, has led to the creation of "The Super Sproutlet Show" block.
Sprout maintains an official website
where much of their content can be viewed, and also continues their Video-on-Demand service, which features programs available in Spanish (including some no longer aired in English on Sprout) and from time-to-time other programming that has never actually aired on the main Sprout network. They have also sponsored a number of public service initiatives, such as "The Great Sprout Tuck-In" and "Kindness Counts", and each year on Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning air a "snooze-a-thon
," which depicts the characters from their various programs sleeping, in order to encourage children that they, too, should be asleep. This has been made available on-demand, and officially, for free, online.
All programming on Sprout is rated TV-Y.
Notably, unlike most U.S. networks of this type (i.e. Nick Jr., Disney Junior), Sprout actually airs advertising in-between programs. They have a stated policy of only airing ads targeted at children's parents, rather than children themselves, though naturally some ads might blur those lines. (Ads for The Lorax
aired after NBCUniversal gained ownership of the channel, as have ads for Barbie Mariposa & The Fairy Princess
, distributed by Universal.)
In July 2012, Sprout kicked Qubo
to the curb and took over programming NBC and Telemundo's Saturday morning blocks, under the names NBC Kids and MiTelemundo respectively. With the demise of Vortexx
, NBC Kids is the last Saturday morning block on a major English-language U.S. commercial TV network to air cartoons
, albeit of an educational nature. On another note, despite PBS no longer owning a stake, several PBS Kids shows still air on the network.
The following programs are broadcast exclusively on Sprout in the United States:
- Astroblast (Also airs on NBC Kids)
- The Chica Show (Also airs on NBC Kids)
- Chloe's Closet
- Driver Dan's Story Train
- Fireman Sam
- The Good Night Show (nighttime programming block)
- Justin Time (Also airs on NBC Kids, U.S. only — airs on Disney Junior in Canada and possibly other non-U.S. markets)
- LazyTown (Also airs on NBC Kids)
- Noodle and Doodle (Also airs on NBC Kids)
- Jim Henson's Pajanimals (Also airs on NBC Kids)
- Monkey See, Monkey Do
- Nina's Little Fables
- Olive the Ostrich
- Poppy Cat (Also airs on NBC Kids)
- Sarah & Duck
- Play With Me Sesame (Spinoff that repackages Muppet segments from Sesame Street)
- 64 Zoo Lane (Once seen on Nick Jr.)
- The Sunny Side Up Show (morning programming block)
- Wibbly Pig
- The Wiggles (Also airs on NBC Kids)
The following programs currently airing on Sprout are also still seen on some PBS stations:
The following programs no longer air on Sprout but were previously seen on either the channel or on demand:
- Angelina Ballerina (the original series)
- Big Sister, Little Brother
- Brambly Hedge
- Dragon Tales
- George Shrinks (remains available on demand in Spanish)
- James the Cat
- Little People
- Percy the Park Keeper
These programs air on MiTelemundo and Sprout (Spanish for the former):