The cable preschool network called Sprout will be adding primetime programming targeting preteens.
Starting Sept. 9, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment’s Sprout is rebranding and will be known as Universal Kids (channel 92 – Preferred Package). Preschool programming under the Sprout brand will continue to air on the network outside of primetime. The new primetime content will include DreamWorks Animation Television series, unscripted entertainment, and live-action scripted shows.
Universal Kids goes live this Saturday kicking off with the launching of Emmy-winning series All Hail King Julien and DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk, based on the popular How To Train Your Dragon franchise. The line-up will be anchored by the debut of Top Chef Junior, produced by Magical Elves, the Emmy-winning team behind Bravo’s Top Chef. Top Chef Junior will launch in October, with 12 young chefs competing for the coveted junior title.
Sprout will continue to add original preschool programming to its slate. Sprout will air 15 hours of preschool programming daily from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m., with Universal Kids kicking off its programming at 6 p.m. for older kids and families.
Also part of the Universal Kids programming mix are award-winning international hit series, including Nowhere Boys from NBCUniversal, a fantasy-adventure that follows four teenagers who get lost in a forest and discover – when they return home – that they are stuck in a world where they never existed; Little Lunch, a comedy series from the Australian Children’s Television Foundation that takes place during lunch, where kids tackle the big issues; and The Next Step, a single-camera tween drama from Boat Rocker Studios that follows the lives of a group of elite dancers.
In addition, Universal Kids will premiere Hank Zipzer from DHX Media. Based on the bestselling series of novels by Henry Winkler, the series focuses on the misadventures of Hank Zipzer, a 12-year old dyslexic schoolboy. The books are based on Winkler’s own childhood experiences.