NBCUniversal to Launch Disney Channel, Nickelodeon Competitor

You may remember when I analyzed how so-called “geared for kids” channels like Nickelodeon use their platforms to promote base entertainment such as rap music to their young audiences. Content like this is not something that would be inappropriate for children. So, count me as surprised when NBCUniversal, no bastion of conservatism, announced their plans to rebrand the low-rated preschool channel Sprout into Universal Kids.

This new channel is sure to give Nick and fellow competitor Disney Channel (pretty much the Coke and Pepsi of youth-oriented cable television) a run for their money. Some of the programs they have planned for the launch date of September 9 include TopChef Junior, a kiddie-fied version of the Bravo reality shoe TopChef, a preschool-aimed animated series called Hank Zipzer -based on a series of children’s books by Happy Days star Henry Winkler, as well as imported live-action shows and cartoons from other countries, as well as reruns of shows based on hit movies from the DreamWorks Animation library.

Deadline.com has more:

Universal Kids will feature a 15-hour Sprout-branded block of preschool programming daily (3 a.m.-6 p.m.) before rolling into the older kids and families programming block at 6 p.m., the network said. Among the new shows slated for the Sprout block include Kody Kapow, which joins series Floogals, Dot., Nina’s World and Noddy Toyland Detective from DreamWorks Animation Television, NBCU said.

This is very interesting to say the least. It also has a lot of potential too, as NBCUniversal ended up getting the rights to many classic cartoon characters with their acquisition of DreamWorks Animation. Among them? Well for starters, there is Casper the Friendly Ghost. Among other characters they acquired include Felix the Cat (a character that dates back to 1909), Underdog, and of course, Rocky & Bullwinkle. Universal themselves also owns the Walter Lantz library of cartoons, including those starring his most famous creation, Woody Woodpecker.

The channel has a lot of potential, and if done right, it could be a very worthy competitor in a market dominated by Disney and Viacom. Most of all, no rap and no sexually-charged content.

That said, NBCUniversal has its own problems, but that will be mentioned another day.




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