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Sprout (TV network)

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Sprout (TV network)

The current logo since November 13, 2013. This logo was used on ID's and promos starting in 2009.
Launched September 26, 2005 (2005-09-26)
Owned by NBCUniversal Cable
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to center cut 480i for SDTVs)
Slogan Free to Grow
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide
Headquarters Comcast Building, Rockefeller Center, New York
Formerly called PBS Kids Sprout (2005–2013) Sprout (2013- present)
Replaced PBS Kids channel (on most providers)
Replaced by Discovery Familia (for Cablevision)
DirecTV Channel 295 (SD)
C-Band AMC 11 - Channel 55 (4DTV Digital)
AMC 18 - Channel 55 (H2H 4DTV)
Verizon FiOS 263 (SD)
Available on most other U.S. cable systems Consult your local cable provider for channel availability
AT&T U-verse 337 (SD)
1337 (HD)
Google Fiber Check local listings for channels
Streaming media
PlayStation Vue Internet Protocol television

Sprout (formerly PBS Kids Sprout) is an independent American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by the NBCUniversal Cable subsidiary of NBCUniversal. It replaced the PBS Kids channel on some cable and satellite providers. The network, which also maintains a complimentary video-on-demand (VOD) service and website, features a mix of children's programs acquired from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and original programming exclusive to the network, which is aimed at preschoolers and their families. The network's live programming and wraparound segments are produced at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.[1][2]

As of February 2015, Sprout is available to approximately 58 million pay television households (49.8% of households with television) in the United States.[3]


Former logo used from September 26, 2005 to November 13, 2013. This logo was also used on idents and promos from its launch until 2009.

On October 20, 2004, PBS announced that it had entered into a joint partnership with cable provider Comcast, and production companies HIT Entertainment and Sesame Workshop to launch a then-unnamed cable and satellite television channel aimed at preschool children.[4] On April 4, 2005, Comcast announced that the network's video on demand service, which would be named PBS Kids Sprout, would launch that day, and that the linear television network would launch later on September 1, 2005; the launch date for the television service was later delayed three weeks to September 26. When Sprout launched on September 26, it replaced the PBS Kids channel on some providers – helping give it an initial reach of 16.5 million pay television subscribers; the first program to be broadcast on the network was Boobah, airing at 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Comcast acquired a 51% majority stake of the NBCUniversal Television Group in January 2011 (and would assume full ownership of the company on March 19, 2013). As a result, Comcast's interest in Sprout was turned over to NBCUniversal. When Apax Partners sold HIT Entertainment to Mattel on October 24, 2011, HIT's ownership interest in Sprout was not included in the deal and was retained by Apax Partners.[5] On November 13, 2013, NBCUniversal acquired Apax and PBS's shares in the network, giving the company full ownership of the network, with its operations being merged into its NBCUniversal Cable subsidiary.[6] As a result, the "PBS Kids" branding was dropped from the network's name, renaming it as Sprout.[7][8]


Sprout's schedule consists of three programs carried by PBS (Sesame Street, Caillou, and The Berenstain Bears), acquired programming (such as LazyTown, Justin Time, Tree Fu Tom, and Poppy Cat), and originally produced programming (such as Pajanimals and The Chica Show). Unlike other children's television networks, Sprout usually airs programs (which are packaged into two 11-minute segments) that only last one segment. Sprout also airs programming blocks that fill most of the network's schedule, except between 12:00 and 6:00 p.m. and 3:00 and 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time (3:00 and 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time only on weekends).

In July 2012, Sprout began to produce a Saturday morning cartoon/live-action block for NBC aimed at preschoolers, NBC Kids (along with MiTelemundo, a Spanish-dubbed version of the block airing on sister network Telemundo that airs on both Saturdays and Sundays), which replaced a similarly formatted block – which itself was produced in conjunction with NBCUniversal – called Qubo, which had been airing on NBC and Telemundo since September 2006 (Qubo continues to exist as a Friday morning block for Ion Television, which is now aired on Sunday mornings and now called the Qubo Kids Corner, whose parent Ion Media Networks now wholly owns the block's companion digital multicast network).[9][10] As of October 2014, NBC Kids is the only Saturday morning programming block to air cartoons.

Since NBCUniversal took over management of Sprout in 2011, following its acquisition by the network's original managing partner Comcast, Sprout has evolved from its initial intent to serve as a home for archived content produced by the partners and has invested more heavily in original programming, in order to better compete with fellow preschool-oriented cable networks, Nick Jr. and Disney Junior. Under NBCUniversal, programs seen on the network such as The Chica Show have gained increased visibility airing on NBC as part of the NBC Kids block.[11]

Despite PBS' divestiture of the channel in 2013, Sprout continued to air several PBS Kids programs until their contract with PBS expired on the channel's 10th anniversary, September 26, 2015. The only remaining PBS Kids programs still airing on Sprout are The Berenstain Bears, Caillou and Sesame Street.

Programming blocks

  • The Sunny Side Up ShowThe Sunny Side Up Show is the network's late morning block, airing from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
  • The Good Night ShowThe Good Night Show is the network's evening and overnight block, airing daily from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Eastern Time.

Related services

Sprout HD

Sprout HD is a high definition simulcast feed of the Sprout channel that was first announced in May 2010 and began broadcasting on September 1, 2010.[12] All programs filmed in HD are presented in 16:9 widescreen, whereas programs that are not filmed in high definition are presented in a 4:3 pillarboxed format. It is currently available on Comcast, AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, and Time Warner Cable.

Sprout On Demand

Sprout On Demand is the channel's video-on-demand service which launched on April 4, 2005 on Comcast, six months prior to launch of the linear Sprout channel. The service offers 50 hours of programs a month, with 25% of the programs updated every two weeks.


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External links

  • Official website
  • Comcast, PBS Plan New Service (Frank Ahrens, Washington Post, April 5, 2005)
  • Saluting Sprout's Launch: PBS Sprouts a Kids Triumph (Debra Kaufman, TelevisionWeek, December 5, 2005)
  • Kids Sprout Takes Root as Leader in Genre (Allison J. Waldman, "TelevisionWeek", Nov 27, 2006)
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