Nick Jr. is an American pay television channel run by ViacomCBS through its domestic networks division's Kids and Family Group. It launched on September 28, 2009 as a spin-off of Nickelodeon's long-running preschool programming block of the same name, and primarily targets children aged 2 to 7. The channel's lineup features a mix of originally-produced programming, along with series previously and concurrently aired on the Nickelodeon block and its previous iterations; because of the two entities, Nick Jr. is sometimes disclaimed on-air as "the Nick Jr. channel" to avoid confusion, especially at times of day where both services are carrying preschool programming.
|Headquarters||One Astor Plaza|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Picture format||1080i HDTV (downscaled to letterboxed 480i for the SDTV feed)|
|Owner||ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks|
|Launched||September 28, 2009|
|Available on most cable systems||Varies by cable provider|
|Orby TV||Channel 220 (SD)|
|Dish Network||Channel 169 (SD/HD)|
|DirecTV||Channel 301 (SD/HD)|
|FuboTV, Philo, Sling TV, AT&T TV|
The channel replaced Noggin, which was relaunched as a streaming service in 2015 and acts as a separate sister brand. Noggin's programming is distinct from the Nick Jr. channel's; it mainly carried pre-teen-oriented programs at its launch, and its 2015 streaming service features a variety of exclusive series.
The Nick Jr. channel and the Nick Jr. block continue to exist as separate entities. The latter currently airs weekdays on Nickelodeon from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET (those hours vary during the summer months, other school break periods and on major national holidays), having traditional commercial breaks for certain programs. As of September 2018, Nick Jr. is available to approximately 70.310 million pay television households in the United States.
Nick Jr. block (1988–2009, 2014-present)Edit
Since its inception in 1977, Nickelodeon's channel space had aired preschool-oriented programs, including Pinwheel, which was their first original series. These were usually played on weekday mornings, when older children were in school and younger children were not. This block ran from 8:00am to 2:00pm. On January 4, 1988, Nickelodeon debuted a name for its preschool block: Nick Junior. Between September 1988 and mid-1989, the name was shortened to Nick Jr. on-air.
At launch, the block mostly showed imported series purchased from other companies. Eureeka's Castle was the first original series that Nickelodeon made for the block. Brown Johnson, the former vice president of Nick Jr., stated in a 2000 interview that after Eureeka ended production, Nick Jr. became "a neglected daypart" compared to the main Nickelodeon. "Without investment of energy or money, the block floundered until 1994, when the network poured $30 million into a full-scale relaunch," said Johnson.
On September 5, 1994, the Nick Jr. block began its relaunch and introduced an animated host character called Face. Gullah Gullah Island and Allegra's Window, the second and third original series made for Nick Jr., premiered. They resulted in 50% rating gains for the block. From then onward, Nickelodeon continued to create its own productions for Nick Jr. and foreign-made imports were phased out. Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer became ratings draws for both the block and Nickelodeon as a whole.
Before gaining its own spin-off network, the Nick Jr. block extended to several other networks: Nick Jr. on CBS from 2000 to 2006, and Nick Jr. on Noggin from 2003 to 2009. The Nick Jr. on CBS block ended on September 9, 2006, when CBS replaced its Nick Jr. programming with KOL Secret Slumber Party. Nick Jr. series continued to appear on Noggin until its closure in 2009, when the Nick Jr. channel replaced it.
Nick Jr. channel (2009–present)Edit
On March 12, 2009, Nickelodeon announced that Noggin would be replaced by a channel named after the Nick Jr. block. The intention was to bring the channel in line with the Nickelodeon brand identity. In July of that year, Nickelodeon unveiled new standardized logos for its five channels, intending to create a unified look that could better be conveyed across the services.
The Nick Jr. channel debuted on September 28, 2009, at 6 a.m. ET, accompanied by the debut of a new logo, designed by New York-based creative director/designer Eric Zim. Although the use of an orange "adult" and blue "child" figure was discontinued in the new wordmark logo, the tradition of the "Nick" text being orange (representing the adult) and the "Jr." text remaining in blue (as the child) was retained. Until 2012, the Nick Jr. channel retained Noggin's on-air branding style and played several of its programs, most notably the interstitial series Moose and Zee. It also continued not to accept traditional advertising or marginalize closing credits for promotion of other shows on the channel.
A Spanish language block featuring Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon programs debuted on July 12, 2010 on sister channel Tr3́s. "Tr3́s Jr." aired Spanish dubs of Blue's Clues and Wonder Pets!. The block was ended once the final affiliations for Tr3́s broadcast stations requiring E/I programming expired.
Without warning the viewers on March 1, 2012, an update of Nick Jr.'s image debuted that was produced by Gretel Inc. Jessica DiCicco began serving as the network's announcer, and the Moose and Zee interstitials were completely dropped after nine years, removing one of the last vestiges of Noggin; as a result, some of the interstitial learning activities that originally featured Moose's narration (like the Puzzle Time segments) were recycled and replaced by her. Disappointed parents organized a social media effort to bring back the Moose and Zee characters. The channel changed its slogan from "It's Like Preschool On TV" to "The Smart Place To Play" (which was also used as the branding for the Nick Jr. block). In addition, The Upside Down Show, Oswald, Jack's Big Music Show, Franklin, Toot & Puddle, and Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends were pulled from the network's lineup; the latter five would return later that year, while the former can still be seen on Nick Jr's website at the time.
The channel's programming at this point began to be hosted by characters from Nick Jr. shows. The channel also began incorporating programming promotions and short features on that date; seven months later, on October 1, 2012, Nick Jr. started airing limited traditional advertising (for companies such as ABCMouse, Kmart, Chuck E. Cheese, Nabi, Clorox, Walmart, Lysol and Playskool) in the form of underwriter sponsorships airing in-between shows, whereas its parent network airs longer traditional advertising.
In mid-February 2013, a second Pacific Time Zone-based feed for Nick Jr. was launched, both to allow a unified schedule across nearly all time zones and the reaction of parents to NickMom's scheduling a few months before which meant programming for a mature audience aired in the early evening west of the Rockies.
Second return as a full 24/7 service (2015–present)Edit
On September 9, 2015, the social media channels of NickMom announced that the four-hour weeknight block on Nick Jr., along with the NickMom website, would end operations by the end of September 2015 due to Viacom's 2015 cutbacks involving acquired programming and also due to NickMom's low ratings with the time vacated by NickMom returned to traditional Nick Jr. programming. In the early morning of September 28, NickMom ended its 3-year run at 2am ET, with an airing of the film Guarding Tess. No sign off message was shown; after the film Guarding Tess, it faded straight into an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba! at its end. Since then, some of Nick Jr.'s most popular programming, including repeats of Dora the Explorer, Blue's Clues, Team Umizoomi, and Bubble Guppies now fill the four hours vacated by NickMom, whose former website address is now used as a redirect to Nickelodeon's site for parental resources.
Following NickMom's closure, Nick Jr. increased the amount of traditional advertising it aired, but also began scheduling programs in an inversion of the "off-the-clock" format where the network shortened some of its commercial breaks, allowing the network to air more programming. The "off-the-clock" format was previously adopted by various Viacom networks, such as TV Land, Nick at Nite, MTV, MTV2, and Paramount Network (though in a reversed form, the scheduling format for those channels was designed to add extra advertising loads).
Additional Nick Jr. Channel notationEdit
On May 21, 2018, the network refreshed their imaging with new interstitial pieces and updated curriculum notices, and began to promote themselves as the "Nick Jr. Channel" audibly and visually to avert confusion with the Nickelodeon block. The first programs to air with this look were two Dora the Explorer episodes: "Dora Rocks!" and "Boots' First Bike".
Nick Jr.'s schedule primarily consists of reruns from Nickelodeon's preschool programming library, along with a few original series exclusive to the channel. Such content includes Blue's Clues & You!, Dora the Explorer, Corn & Peg, PAW Patrol, Bubble Guppies, Team Umizoomi, Dora and Friends: Into the City!, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Shimmer and Shine, Ryan's Mystery Playdate, Butterbean's Café, and The Adventures of Paddington.
From 2018 to 2020, the network was the U.S. broadcast home for first-run episodes of Thomas & Friends.
An HD feed of the channel was launched on August 1, 2013, broadcasting at 1080i 60 lines. As of 2017, most subscription providers along with DirecTV carry it and downscale it for the standard definition version.
Nick Jr. on Pluto TVEdit
On May 16, 2011, MTV Networks launched two new channels, Nick Jr. and MTVNHD, in Asia. These 24-hour channels began to be available on StarHub TV in Singapore on May 18 and on Telekom Malaysia Berhad's Unifi TV in Malaysia on June 1. The channel launched aggressively to the rest of Southeast Asia later.
An African version of Nick Jr. was launched on September 30, 2014 along with Nicktoons. In Poland, Nick Jr. is available on NC+ from March 2013. In Romania, Nick Jr. is available on UPC Romania since 24 October 2014. In Canada, Nick Jr. was launched as a programming block on the local version of Nickelodeon.
Versions of Nick Jr. also exist in the United Kingdom and Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands & Flanders, India, France, Italy, Latin America, and Australia. On November 3, 2017, Nick Jr. launched in Portugal.
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