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Sprout was a cable/satellite network that originated as a subnetwork of PBS Kids which originated from Philadelphia. Originally launched as a Video on Demand service, Sprout replaced the original 24/7 PBS Kids network in 2005note . 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.

Since its creation, Sprout 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). It also regularly aired "The Good Night Show," a block of programming themed around getting children for bed. Notably, unlike most U.S. networks of this type (i.e. Nick Jr., Disney Junior), Sprout actually aired advertising in-between programs. They had a stated policy of only airing ads targeted at children's parents, rather than children themselves, though naturally some ads might blur those lines.


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 became the very last traditional Saturday morning blocks on a major English-language U.S. commercial TV network to air cartoons, albeit of an educational nature. The block would come to an end in October on 2016, replaced by a Litton Entertainment block branded "The More You Know", based off NBC's long running series of public service announcements. note 

On April 30, 2017, Sprout general manager Deirdre Brennan announced that NBCUniversal Cable would relaunch Sprout, effective September 9, and re-brand the network as Universal Kids in an attempt to broaden the channel's demographics. Under this new structure, the Sprout brand will be used for preschool programming, running from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m, while Universal Kids will focus on children's content from the Universal archives. Content includes product from DreamWorks Animation (and its subsidiary DreamWorks Classics), and potentially Universal Animation Studios, Walter Lantz Productions and Illumination Entertainment. Additionally, it also carries both live-action and animated original programming, with the channel's inaugural show being Top Chef Junior, a spin-off of the Bravo Reality Show Top Chef, as well as a revival of Beat the Clock with kids as contestants. If the effort went well, this could've potentially made the channel a viable competitor to Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, among others.


Despite this, it should be noted that not everyone was happy with the revamp, especially those that had witnessed what NBCUniversal had done to other networks under its wings. A number of people saw this as Executive Meddling, network screwing and/or Network Decay, and those who subscribed to the channel for its wholesome educational content were especially weary of the change. It didn't help that despite being a re-brand, preschool programming continued to air under the Sprout branding and still makes up the majority of the channel's airtime, likening Universal Kids' to a youth-oriented [adult swim] or a less-raunchy NickMom. The concerns grew larger after the channel did away with the Sprout branding completely in January 2018, absorbing the still-dominant preschool programming under the Universal Kids Preschool branding.

Ultimately, the skeptics were proven right, and the rebrand has proven to be a disaster; poorly received original programming, awkwardly scheduled acquisitions, an unclear focus, and the overall loss of cable viewership to the internet have caused the network's ratings to plummet, leading it to pull the plug on all future original programming in June 2019. The channel remains on the air for the time being, but will focus exclusively on acquired programming (particularly DreamWorks shows), as well as whatever originals are still in production.

The following programs were broadcast on Sprout in the United States (a (*) indicates it aired on NBC Kids prior to that block's ending):

The following programs no longer air on Sprout but were previously seen on either the channel or on demand:

These programs air on MiTelemundo and Sprout (Spanish for the former):

Alternative Title(s): PBS Kids Sprout, NBC Kids


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