Nick Jr. (TV programming block)
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Nick Jr. is a programming block on the Nickelodeon television channel, seen on Nickelodeon weekday mornings. As its name suggests, it is aimed at children from age 2 to 6 who have not started full-day school yet. It is owned by ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, a division of ViacomCBS.
|Country of origin||United States|
|Owner||ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks (ViacomCBS)|
|Headquarters||New York City|
|Formerly known as|
|Voices of||Wendell Craig (1988–1993)|
Chris Phillips (1994–present)
Ilyana Kadushin (1998–2003)
Hillary Hawkins (2003–2004)
Travis Guba (2003–2004)
Babi Floyd (2003–2004)
Ali Brustofski (2004–2007)
Kobie Powell (2004–2012)
Nicolette Pierini (2009–2011)
Jessica DiCicco (2012–present)
Throughout the 1980s, Nickelodeon aired programs for preschoolers (most prominently Pinwheel and Today's Special) on weekdays (from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm) and weekend mornings. This was evident during the Silver Ball era, in which during preschool programming, one such ID had the Nickelodeon Silver Ball logo flipping to the National Education Association logo with an announcer saying that Nickelodeon's programming "is recommended by the National Education Association". After Nickelodeon's preschool block premiered a slew of new shows in 1987, it began using the Nick Junior branding on January 4, 1988, coinciding with the premiere of The World of David the Gnome. A new rebrand for the block that shortened its name to Nick Jr. was slowly rolled out between September 1988 and mid-1989. Nick Jr.'s new logo was orange for 'Nick' and blue for 'Jr.', and it varied in the shape or species (e.g.: two gears, trains, robots, planets, insects, comets, or elephants). Nick Jr.'s initial network IDs were filmed in live action featuring two children wearing Nick Jr. shirts walking to a refrigerator and opening it, revealing an animated cartoon character. From 1989 to 2000, other companies and animators produced IDs for Nick Jr.
Until July 1990, Pinwheel was featured, originally for three hours (two in the morning and one at noon), then for one hour starting in spring 1989. When Nick Jr.'s original series Eureeka's Castle premiered in September, Pinwheel was split into two separate half hours in the morning and afternoon, where it remained until July 1990. Much of Nick Jr.'s other programs at the time were of Japanese or foreign origin (including Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show, Adventures of the Little Koala, David the Gnome, Noozles, Maya the Bee, and The Littl' Bits).
Grow, Learn, and Play (1993–1994)Edit
On April 5, 1993, Nick Jr. premiered a new series, Cappelli & Company, and received a new rebrand which prominently featured a new Nick Jr. logo consisting of an orange parent and a blue child, and the slogan Grow, Learn, and Play. Several Nick Jr. promos and bumpers featured kids playing near the Nick Jr. logo and a theme song with the slogan sung to the melody of London Bridge, and a few featured Cappelli & Company host Frank Cappelli. Nick Jr. also started using a female announcer (who was replaced by a different one in 1994, 1998 and 2003) in its promos and bumpers. Nick Jr. began to invest more into producing original interstitial series (including 1994's Muppet Time, forty two-minute shorts from The Jim Henson Company) in order to stay within a self-imposed limit of five minutes of commercials per hour. On April 4, 1994, the "Jim Henson's Muppet Hour" sub-block was created by pairing Muppet Babies reruns with the new acquisition, The Muppet Show. Due to Nick Jr.'s declining ratings as well as competition from PBS' PTV block and TLC's Ready Set Learn block, Nickelodeon decided to spend $30 million on revamping their Nick Jr. block in 1994.
Play to Learn (1994–2003)Edit
On September 5, 1994, Nick Jr. rebranded and introduced Face, an animated host that introduced shows and interstitials and led into commercial breaks. In the context of his segments, Face was capable of materializing objects such as an astronaut, a robot, a clown, a window, a traffic light, stars, and even wood. He was also capable of creating a number of foley sound effects and voices including a signature three-note trumpet noise usually following the name "Nick Jr." at the end of almost every bumper. Also, he changed colors, moods, and feelings. Face was voiced by Chris Phillips, who also narrated several Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. promos. The original Face promos were produced by Nick Digital (from 1994 to 1996 and 2000 to 2003) and DMA Animation (from 1996 to 1999). In October, Nick Jr. introduced two new original series, Gullah Gullah Island and Allegra's Window, resulting in 50% rating gains for the block.
On September 8, 1996, the first episode of Blue's Clues premiered in prime-time on Nickelodeon, then it debuted on Nick Jr. the next day. Nick Jr. also premiered four new interstitial series and received a new rebrand produced by Pittard Sullivan. Blue's Clues quickly dethroned Gullah Gullah Island as Nick Jr.'s most popular series. In 1998, Nick Jr. rebranded again and introduced the "Just for Me" slogan.
In 1999 and 2000, Nick Jr. replaced most of its older series with newer series such as Franklin, Kipper, Maisy, and Little Bill which helped increase the block's ratings. Nick Jr. briefly aired reruns of Shining Time Station in the Summer of 2000 to promote Thomas and the Magic Railroad before replacing it with Dora the Explorer, which became one of Nick Jr.'s most successful series. Maggie and the Ferocious Beast premiered on the same day as when Nick Jr. started airing Shining Time Station. Bob the Builder and Oswald premiered in 2001. On September 3, 2001, Nick Jr. received a new rebrand produced by AdamsMorioka (who had previously rebranded Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite) and Editional Effects.
On August 29, 2003, the original Face promos ended their 8-year run.
Nick Jr. Play Along (2003–2004)Edit
On September 1, 2003, Nick Jr. received a rebrand that introduced more than a dozen new logos; Rubbadubbers premiered that day. A new interstitial series called Nick Jr. Play Along debuted, which were hosted by two fun live-action hosts: Robin (played by actress Hillary Hawkins) and Zack (played by actor Travis Guba). Alongside Robin and Zack were two sock puppets called the Feetbeats.
New Face interstitials were produced featuring a redesigned Face, who has added eyebrows and a chin and straightened the eyes by inverting their colors from white dots on black eyes to larger black dots on white eyes, and was voiced by Nick on CBS announcer Babi Floyd. The new Face promos were produced by Vee-Pee Cartoons. Nick Jr. also removed most of its older interstitial series, although they briefly returned in 2004 due to polarizing reactions to their new interstitial series.
On October 8, 2004, the Nick Jr. Play Along and the new Face interstitials ended their 1-year run.
Love to Play! (2004–2007)Edit
On October 11, 2004, Nick Jr. received another rebrand containing interstitials co-produced with Little Airplane Productions featuring the block's new host Piper O'Possum (voiced by Ali Brustofski), and the new slogan "Love to Play". Nick Jr.'s female announcer was replaced with Kobie Powell and Chris Phillips. Nick Jr. used its new on-screen bug to promote its website, but it was changed on March 6, 2006 after the FCC forbade this and used Nick Jr.'s 2003–2004 regular screen bug and Nick's regular splat logo again. The last time they used the two NickJr.com and Nick.com on-screen bugs was January 2006 till the end of February 2006 or March 3, 2006. LazyTown, Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, and The Backyardigans (the latter of which premiering alongside the rebrand) premiered on Nick Jr. in 2004; they were briefly shown on Noggin during Thanksgiving week before joining Noggin's regular schedule later.
On September 7, 2007, the Piper O'Possum interstitials ended their 3-year run.
Play With Us (2007–2009)Edit
On September 10, 2007, Nick Jr. received yet another rebrand. The block's bumpers (which were often similar to Noggin's "Puzzle Time" interstitials) encouraged preschoolers to "Play With Us" and featured the Nick Jr. logo in the form of two stuffed animals animated in stop-motion. This marks the first time that Nick Jr. had no host since 1994. Nick Jr. also stopped airing interstitial series and increased the amount of commercials it aired. Starting in the spring of 2008, Nick Jr. began its broadcast at 8:30 am.
On September 28, 2009, the original Nick Jr. block ended its 21-year run, with Ni Hao, Kai-Lan being the last show to air on the Nick Jr. block.
Nickelodeon branding (2009–2014)Edit
On September 28, 2009, the classic Nick Jr. block was re-branded as Nickelodeon's Play Date. The block's branding was based on Noggin's branding, and many bumpers featured drawings, finger puppets or cupcakes. The bumpers' music was a choir of kids vocalizing, and Nicolette Pierini was the announcer of each bumper. In September of that year, Nick Jr. replaced Noggin as a 24/7 TV channel as part of Nickelodeon's overall rebrand. In 2011, Play Date received a new rebrand featuring characters from the block's shows. The following year, the block's Play Date branding was replaced with a modified version of Nick Jr.'s new branding known as Nick: The Smart Place to Play. Despite Nickelodeon displaying its shows credits during the last 30 seconds before it since 2012, the branding retained the split-screen credits for Nick Jr. shows airing on the block until 2014.
Return of Nick Jr. branding (2014–present)Edit
On May 5, 2014, Nickelodeon's preschool block re-branded itself as Nick Jr. while still using the Nick name for the screen bug (and promos starting in 2015). When aired on the Nick Jr. channel, commercials for programs broadcast on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block usually end with "Over on Nickelodeon" to differentiate the titles. The Nick Jr. block also began to use Nick's superimposed credits to air more commercials. On June 10, 2015, Nick Jr.'s website was completely redesigned to match up with the Nick Jr. app.
On May 21, 2018, the Nick Jr. block changed its name to "Nick Jr. on Nick", refreshing its imaging with new bumpers and curriculum boards. On November 12, 2018, the block reverted back to using the Nickelodeon name for the screen bug and in advertisements while retaining the refreshed Nick Jr. bumpers and curriculum boards.
- Nick Jr.'s Just For You! (September 4, 1989 – Summer 1991)
- Nick Jr. Is Here Just For You! (Summer 1991 – April 2, 1993)
- Grow, Learn, & Play (April 2, 1993 – September 2, 1994)
- TV for the Next Generation (September 2, 1994 – September 1996)
- TV Made Just For Preschoolers (September 1996 – October 5, 1998)
- Just For Me (October 5, 1998 – September 3, 2001)
- Where I Play to Learn (September 3, 2001 – September 1, 2003)
- Where I Play Along (September 1, 2003 – October 11, 2004)
- Love to Play (October 11, 2004 – September 10, 2007)
- Play With Us! (September 10, 2007 – September 28, 2009)
- It's Like Preschool on TV (September 28, 2009 – March 1, 2012)
- The Smart Place to Play (March 1, 2012 – May 21, 2018)
- Ready to Play (May 21, 2018 – present)
Cross-programming with other networksEdit
Cross-programming is a term used in broadcast programming.
From 2000 to 2002 and from 2004 to 2006, Nick Jr. also ran a Saturday morning children's block for CBS entitled Nick Jr. on CBS, featuring shows and interstitials from the Nick Jr. programming block. From 2002 to 2004, it was part of the general Nick on CBS block, which also included programming from the main Nickelodeon channel. The block was replaced by the KOL Secret Slumber Party block on September 16, 2006.
Spanish-language American network Telemundo has aired Blue's Clues (from 1998 to 2000, as part of the Nickelodeon en Telemundo block) and Dora the Explorer (from 2005 to 2006, as part of the Telemundo Kids block) in Spanish. In Fall of 2006, after the sale of Telemundo to NBC in 2001 and the CBS/Viacom split in early 2006, the Telemundo Kids block was replaced with a Spanish version of NBC/Ion's Qubo block.
On April 5, 2008, competing Spanish network Univision added back the Spanish-dubbed version of Dora the Explorer and also added a Spanish-dubbed version of Go, Diego, Go! to their Saturday morning Planeta U line-up. A Spanish-dubbed version of The Backyardigans was later added to the line-up on January 8, 2011.
For a brief time in summer 2010, Tr3s, a sister network to Nickelodeon, aired a daily block of Spanish-dubbed Nick Jr. programs under the name Tr3s Jr. Shows like Pistas de Blue (the Spanish version of Blue's Clues) and Wonder Pets! were featured in the block.
Face (the '90s version) made an appearance during the 2012 New Year edition of The '90s Are All That, TeenNick's former 1990s-oriented late night block. Face's appearances consisted of out-of-context clips that make him appear to be drunk or making adult comments (e.g.: "Yeah, grow a pair!").
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- "The Rugrats Timeline -- Through 1989". 2012-06-16. Archived from the original on June 16, 2012. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
- Nick to spend $30 million on kids (page 53) from Broadcasting & Cable
- "Hillary Hawkins". Hillary Hawkins. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
- "About". www.travisguba.com. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
- "Nick Jr. site gets a redesign, debuts new preschool series". Retrieved 5 September 2018.