US children’s channel Sprout has been renamed Universal Kids, though the brand remains as a daily programming block.
Sprout parent NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Lifestyle Networks has made the move after acquiring DreamWorks Animation last year.
The new look network, aimed at 2-11s, will launch on September 9, with DreamWorks Animation Television shows such as All Hail King Julien and DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk.
A Magical Elves-produced kids version of Top Chef named Top Chef Junior will anchor the schedule, debuting in October. This will see twelve young chefs competing in the kitchen.
Sprout will remain as a programming block between 03:00-18:00 daily, with Universal Kids taking over in primetime.
In July, the Sprout brand will launch new toon Kody Kapow, which will sit alongside Floogals, Dot., Nina’s World and Noddy Toyland Detective.
Sprout programming will be aimed at pre-schoolers, while the Universal Kids shows will skew older.
International acquisitions such as Nowhere Boys, Little Lunch, The Next Step and Hank Zipzer will also comprise part of the schedule.
Comcast-owned NBCU took control of Sprout in 2013, buying Hit Entertainment out of the channel. Around the same time, NBCU shuttered its other kids channel, KidsCo.
Recently, it installed Corus Entertainment kids TV chief Deirdre Brennan as general manager, nearly a year after founder Sandy Wax had left.
“The launch of a channel that represents the world of NBCUniversal family brandswith great TV content at its center makes tremendous sense for our business,” said Brennan.
“Just as children grow, Sprout is growing into Universal Kids – and we will reflect all that is universal about being a kid through connection, storytelling and entertainment. A place that reflects their life and passions.”
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21st February 2019