NBCUniversal’s preschool network Sprout will be rebranding to Universal Kids, which will go live September 9. Universal Kids will continue to offer premiere preschool programming while expanding its lineup to include DreamWorks Animation Television series, unscripted and live-action scripted originals, extending its audience to kids 2 to 11. The announcement was made by NBCU Cable Entertainment Lifestyle Networks President Frances Berwick on Monday.
“We see enormous potential to grow our audience in this space and create the Universal Kids platform for families to experience together,” said Berwick. “NBCUniversal is invested in the kids and family business, and the company believes in working together – we will benefit from promotion across our portfolio of networks and across the company through support that is unparalleled in the industry.”
The Universal Kids/DreamWorks collaboration will begin this fall with two Emmy-winning series: All Hail King Julien, based on the Madagascar films, and DreamWorks Dragons: Riders of Berk, from the How to Train Your Dragon franchise.
In the meantime, Sprout continues to build its slate, with plans to launch Kody Kapow from Zodiak Kids in July. The martial-arts adventure will join top-rated series Floogals, Dot., Nina’s World and Noddy Toyland Detective from DreamWorks TV. Sprout will air 15 hours of preschool programming daily from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m., with Universal Kids programmed from 6 p.m. for older kids and families.
“The launch of a channel that represents the world of NBCUniversal family brands with great TV content at its center makes tremendous sense for our business,” said Deirdre Brennan, General Manager, Universal Kids. “Just as children grow, Sprout is growing into Universal Kids – and we will reflect all that is universal about being a kid through connection, storytelling and entertainment. A place that reflects their life and passions.”