|Introduced||October 11, 1993 (before PTV)|
July 11, 1994 (official)
PBS Kids is the brand for most of the children's programming aired by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States. Some public television children's programs are not produced by PBS member stations or transmitted by PBS which is produced by independent public television distributors such as American Public Television are not labeled as "PBS Kids" programming, and it is mainly a programming block branding.
PBS Kids is also the name of a separate network which has had two iterations in the age of digital television; one which existed between 1999 and 2005, and the current version which was launched in January 2017.
The framework for PBS Kids was established as part of PBS's "Ready to Learn" initiative, a project intended to facilitate access of early childhood educational programming to underprivileged children. On July 11, 1994, PBS repackaged their existing children's educational programming as a new block called "PTV". In addition to scheduled educational programming, PTV also incorporated interstitial content such as "The P-Pals", which featured animated characters shaped like PBS logos delivering educational content from their fictional world, "PTV Park". These interstitial shorts were aimed at younger children. Older children were targeted with live action and music video interstitials.
Several of the interstitial shorts, along with some of the station identification sequences that were shown during the block, continued to be used by some PBS member stations after PTV aired for the last time on September 5, 1999.
On September 6, 1999, PBS launched the PBS Kids brand in several areas including its daytime Ready to Learn Service, PBS Online web pages for kids, and a home video label. Children's programming on the PBS network was then given unified branding. Along with the block of programming on PBS, PBS Kids lent its name to a separate television network, which launched on the same date and was targeted to children from 4 to 7 years old. The PBS Kids Channel ran for six years.
On September 30, 2000, the Bookworm Bunch programming block was introduced as PBS Kids' Saturday morning block. PBS Kids Go!, a programming block targeting older children, was launched in October 2004.
Block and local channels
The network was shut down on September 26, 2005, in favor of a new commercial cable and satellite joint venture channel, PBS Kids Sprout, which was developed in partnership with Sesame Workshop, HIT Entertainment and Comcast (who later bought full control of the network via NBCUniversal). PBS gave licensees an option to sign on Sprout promoters while most of the other half programmed their own children's channel. PBS offered a replacement early school-aged kids network based on the block PBS Kids Go! by April 2006 to be launched in October 2006, but was cancelled before launch.
On May 8, 2013, PBS Kids programming was added to the Roku streaming player. As of October 7, 2013, to coincide with the debut of Peg + Cat, PBS Kids received another graphic redesign and the PBS Kids Go! block and branding dissolved.
PBS Kids network was relaunched on January 16, 2017 with a live stream of the channel on the PBS Kids website and video app; no changes were made to the main PBS Kids block. The block is counter programmed from the network, thus the same show would not be shown at the same time on the network and block.
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- The Game (October 7, 1996 – September 6, 1999) – an afternoon programming block aimed at children aged 6 to 8. (Aired on PTV)
- PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch (September 30, 2000 – August 2004) – a Saturday morning block consisting of six animated series produced by Nelvana Limited.
- PBS Kids Go! (October 11, 2004 – October 7, 2013) – an afternoon programming block aimed at children aged 6 to 8.
- PBS Kids Preschool Block (September 4, 2006 – October 7, 2013) – a programming block aimed at preschoolers.
- PBS Kids Family Night (April 21, 2017 - present) - a programming block (exclusive to the PBS Kids 24/7 channel) airing encores of PBS Kids movies and specials from 7 to 9 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (possible to begin earlier or end later).
PBS Kids has received generally positive reviews from television critics and parents of young children. L.A. Story (a division of Blogspot) wrote, "Great for any little explorer!" Rob Owen of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote, "Best children's entertainment available." Valerie Williams of Scary Mommy wrote, "A wonderful gift."
|Type||Digital broadcast TV network (children's programming)|
|Availability||National (via OTA digital television)|
|Founded||February 23, 2016|
|Headquarters||Arlington County, Virginia|
|Owner||Public Broadcasting Service|
|January 16, 2017|
(some affiliates transmit PBS Kids programming in 1080i 16:9 and 720p 16:9)
|Affiliates||List of affiliates|
PBS Kids is an American digital broadcast and online television network operated by the Public Broadcasting Service. The network features a broad mix of live action and animated children's programs distributed to PBS by independent companies and select member stations, which are designed for improving the early literacy, math, and social-emotional skills of young children ages 2 to 11. Some PBS member stations, such as KLCS in Los Angeles maintain their own locally programmed PBS Kids feed, that is independent from the nationally sourced feed.
On September 6, 1999, PBS launched the PBS Kids Channel in several markets, in conjunction with the introduction of the PBS Kids brand to provide a unified branding for the service's children's programming offerings. The channel was launched on 33 PBS member stations: 19 of which offered PBS Kids Channel as a cable-only service, 9 which carried the channel on their digital broadcast signals in standard-definition, and 3 which carried simulcasts of the channel on their analog signals. Of the initial 27 affiliates, 16 of them planned to begin carrying PBS Kids Channel during the fall of 1999, with 11 additional stations choosing to debut it that winter.
FCC requirements mandated satellite providers to set aside 4% of their available channel space for noncommercial educational and informational programming. With these providers limited to offering one such service per programmer, PBS had put forth PBS Kids as a prospective channel to fulfill this mandate. However, El Segundo, California-based satellite provider DirecTV,[failed verification] which became the primary funding source for the channel, indicated that it would begin carrying the PBS Kids Channel outside of that mandate in early November 1999.
In the aftermath of DirecTV's decision not to renew its funding agreement with the channel, which ended in the third quarter of 2005, PBS decided to shut down the network on September 26 of that year.[failed verification] PBS Kids Channel was effectively supplanted on that date by PBS Kids Sprout, an advertiser-supported cable and satellite channel that PBS developed in a joint venture with HIT Entertainment, Sesame Workshop, and Comcast. PBS gave licensees an option to sign on Sprout promoters, giving them cross-promotional and monetary benefits in exchange for giving up the ability to carry a competing preschool-targeted channel. 80 stations, making up about half of the member stations participants, signed up to be promoters; most of the remaining stations opted to develop independent children's programming services featuring programs distributed by PBS and through outside distributors such as American Public Television to fill space on digital subchannels that formerly served as PBS Kids Channel members. Many of the member stations that launched children's-focused subchannel or cable-only services reduced the amount of sourced programming from PBS Kids carried on their primary channel to a few hours of their weekday daytime schedules, in order to program more adult-targeted fare during the afternoon.
PBS relaunched PBS Kids on January 16, 2017. Structured as a multi-platform service, it was made available for distribution to digital subchannels of participating PBS member stations, initially launching on 73 member stations (counting those operated as subregional PBS member networks), with an additional 34 agreeing to begin carrying the network at a later date.[failed verification] A live stream of the channel was also added to the PBS Kids website and video app upon the channel's debut, which will eventually allow viewers to toggle from the program being aired to a related educational game extending the interactivity introduced by Sesame Street. The network is counterprogrammed from the PBS Kids block, so that the same program would not be shown on either simultaneously. PBS Kids 24/7 mainly features double-runs of existing series on PBS Kids' schedule (including some not carried on the primary channels of certain member stations); as such, no additional programs had to be acquired to help fill the channel's schedule. On April 21, 2017, the network launched "PBS Kids Family Night," a weekly block on Friday evenings (with encore airings on Saturday and Sunday evenings) that showcase themed programming, premieres or special "movie-length" episodes of new and existing PBS Kids children's programs.
|City of license/
|Local channel||Affiliation date|
|Birmingham||WBIQ||10.2||Alabama Public Television||January 16, 2017|
|Anchorage||KAKM||7.4||Alaska Public Telecommunications||TBD|
|Fairbanks||KUAC-TV||9.8||University of Alaska Fairbanks|
|Arkadelphia||KETG||9.3||Arkansas Educational Television Network||January 16, 2017|
|Phoenix||KAET||8.4||Arizona State University||January 16, 2017|
|Tucson||KUAT-TV||6.2||Arizona Public Media||2003–2005||2005–2017|
|Eureka||KEET||13.5||Redwood Empire Public Television, Inc.||January 16, 2017|
|Fresno||KVPT||18.2||Valley Public Television, Inc.|
(serves Los Angeles)
|Los Angeles||KLCS||58.2||Los Angeles Unified School District||2004–present|
|Sacramento||KVIE||6.4||KVIE, Inc.||January 16, 2017|
|San Diego||KPBS||15.4||San Diego State University|
|KQEH and KQED||54.4 and 9.4||Northern California Public Broadcasting||August 1, 2003 – January 15, 2017|
(serves the Monterey Bay area)
|Denver||KRMA-TV||6.2||Rocky Mountain PBS||TBD|
|Hartford||WEDH||24.4||Connecticut Public Television|
(serves eastern Connecticut, including New London)
District of Columbia
|Washington||WETA-TV||26.3||Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association||2007–2019||2019|
|WHUT-TV||32.2||Howard University||January 16, 2017|
|Fort Myers||WGCU||30.5||Florida Gulf Coast University||January 16, 2017|
|Miami||WPBT||2.4||South Florida PBS|
|West Palm Beach||WXEL-TV||42.3|
|Orlando||WUCF-TV||24.3||University of Central Florida|
|Panama City||WFSG||56.4||Florida State University|
|Pensacola||WSRE||23.4||Pensacola Junior College||TBD|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg||WEDU||3.2||Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting, Inc.||TBD|
|WEDQ||16.2||University of South Florida||Currently|
|Atlanta Public Schools||September 6, 1999 – 2005|
|WGTV||8.4||Georgia Public Broadcasting||January 16, 2017|
(serves Valdosta and Brunswick)
|Honolulu||KHET||11.2||Hawaii Public Television||Current|
|Wailuku (serves Maui)||KMEB||10.2|
|Boise||KAID||4.5||Idaho State Department of Education||February 1, 2018|
(part of the Spokane, Washington market)
|Carbondale||WSIU-TV||8.5||Southern Illinois University||TBD|
|Chicago||WTTW||11.4||Window to the World Communications||January 16, 2017|
|Peoria||WTVP||47.2||Illinois Valley Public Telecommunications Corporation|
|WILL-TV||12.2||University of Illinois|
TIU Family (ended January 30, 2017)
|January 30, 2017|
|Fort Wayne||WFWA||39.2||Fort Wayne Public Television||January 16, 2017|
|Indianapolis||WFYI||20.2||Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting||TBD|
|South Bend||WNIT||34.3||Michiana Public Broadcasting|
(serves Southwestern Indiana including Evansville and Terre Haute)
|WVUT||22.3||Vincennes University||January 16, 2017|
|Council Bluffs||KBIN-TV||32.4||Iowa Public Television||current (all .2)
IPTV Learn (10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)
|Colby||KWKS||19.2||Smoky Hills Public Television||January 16, 2017|
|Ashland||WKAS||25.4||Kentucky Authority for Educational Television||January 16, 2017|
|Alexandria||KLPA-TV||25.2||Louisiana Educational Television Authority||January 16, 2017|
|New Orleans||WYES-TV||12.4||Greater New Orleans Educational Television Foundation||TBD|
|Shreveport||KLTS-TV||24.2||Louisiana Educational Television Authority||January 16, 2017|
|Boston||WGBX-TV||44.4||WGBH Educational Foundation||January 16, 2017|
|Annapolis||WMPT||22.3||Maryland Public Television||MPT Select
(daytime hours only)
|January 16, 2017|
|Augusta||WCBB||10.4||Maine Public Broadcasting||January 16, 2017|
|Alpena||WCML||6.2||Central Michigan University||January 16, 2017|
(part of the Bay City/Saginaw/Midland market)
|Flint||WCMZ-TV||28.2||January 16, 2017 – April 23, 2018 |
(serves Saginaw and Bay City)
|Detroit||WTVS||56.2||Detroit Educational Television Foundation||January 16, 2017|
|East Lansing||WKAR-TV||23.4||Michigan State University|
|Grand Rapids||WGVU-TV||35.5||Grand Valley State University||TBD|
|Marquette||WNMU||13.2||Northern Michigan University||January 16, 2017|
|Appleton||KWCM-TV||10.5||West Central Minnesota Educational Television||TBD|
|Bemidji||KAWE||9.3||Northern Minnesota Public Television||January 16, 2017|
|Crookston||KCGE-DT||16.4||Prairie Public Television|
|St. Paul||KTCA-TV||2.4||Twin Cities PBS|
|Worthington||KSMN||20.5||West Central Minnesota Educational Television||TBD|
|Biloxi||WMAH-TV||19.2||Mississippi Public Broadcasting||January 16, 2017|
|Joplin||KOZJ||26.2||Missouri State University||January 16, 2017|
|Kansas City||KCPT||19.4||Public TV 19, Inc.|
|Sedalia||KMOS-TV||6.4||University of Central Missouri|
|St. Louis||KETC||9.2||St. Louis Regional Public Media, Inc.|
|Billings||KBGS-TV||16.2||Montana State University||January 16, 2017|
|Alliance||KTNE-TV||13.4||Nebraska Educational Telecommunications||March 1, 2017|
|Las Vegas||KLVX||10.3||Clark County School District||January 16, 2017|
|Reno||KNPB||5.3||Channel 5 Public Broadcasting|
(New York City)
|WNET||13.2||Educational Broadcasting Corporation||January 16, 2017|
|Albuquerque||KNME-TV||5.2||University of New Mexico||January 16, 2017|
|Las Cruces||KRWG-TV||22.3||University of New Mexico||TBD|
|Binghamton||WSKG-TV||46.6||WSKG Public Telecommunications Council||February 1, 2017|
|Buffalo||WNED-TV||17.3||Western New York Public Broadcasting Association||TBD|
|Norwood||WNPI-DT||18.4||St. Lawrence Valley Educational TV Council, Inc.||January 16, 2017|
|Plattsburgh||WCFE-TV||57.3||Mountain Lake Public Telecommunications Council|
|Rochester||WXXI-TV||21.4||WXXI Public Broadcasting Council||February 2017|
|WMHT||17.4||WMHT Educational Telecommunications||January 16, 2017|
|Syracuse||WCNY-TV||24.4||Public Broadcasting Council of Central New York|
|Asheville||WUNF-TV||33.2||University of North Carolina||January 16, 2017|
|Bismarck||KBME-TV||3.4||Prairie Public Television||January 16, 2017|
|Athens||OU Telecomm. Center||cable-only||Ohio University||September 6, 1999–present
(mornings and weekends)
|Bowling Green||WBGU-TV||27.2||Bowling Green State University||Current|
|Cleveland||WVIZ||25.5||Ideastream||January 16, 2017|
|Columbus||WOSU-TV||34.4||WOSU Public Media||TBD|
|Dayton||WPTD||16.5||Public Media Connect||January 16, 2017|
|Toledo||WGTE-TV||30.2||Public Broadcasting Foundation of Northwest Ohio|
|Cheyenne||KWET||12.4||Oklahoma Educational Television Authority||
||January 16, 2017|
|Oklahoma City and Tulsa||OETA Kids||cable||2009–2013|
|Bend||KOAB-TV||11.3||Oregon Public Broadcasting||January 16, 2017|
|Clearfield||WPSU-TV||3.4||Penn State Public Media||January 16, 2017|
|Scranton||WVIA-TV||44.2||Northeast Pennsylvania Educational Television Association|
|Fajardo||WMTJ||40.2||Ana G. Méndez University||Current||January 16, 2017|
|Allendale||WEBA-TV||14.4||South Carolina Educational Television||TBD|
|Aberdeen||KDSD-TV||16.4||South Dakota Public Broadcasting||January 16, 2017|
|Chattanooga||WTCI||45.3||Greater Chattanooga Public Television||January 2017|
|Cookeville||WCTE||22.4||Upper Cumberland Broadcast Council||TBD|
|Knoxville||WKOP-TV||15.2||East Tennessee PBS||January 16, 2017|
|WLJT-DT||11.2||West Tennessee Public Television Council, Inc.|
|Memphis||WKNO||10.3||Mid-South Public Communications Foundation|
|Nashville||WNPT-TV||8.3||Nashville Public Television, Inc.||2017–present||June 30, 2017|
|Sneedville||WETP-TV||2.2||East Tennessee PBS||January 16, 2017|
|Austin||KLRU||18.4||Capital of Texas Public Telecommunications Council||January 16, 2017|
|KNCT||46.2||Central Texas College|
|College Station||KAMU-TV||12.3||Texas A&M University|
|Dallas||KERA-TV||13.2||North Texas Public Broadcasting|
|Houston||KUHT||8.3||University of Houston|
|Lubbock||KTTZ-TV||5.3||Texas Tech University|
|San Antonio||KLRN||9.3||Alamo Public Telecommunications Council||April 1, 2017 |
|Salt Lake City||KUED||7.3||University of Utah||March 7, 2017|
|Hampton-Norfolk||WHRO-TV||15.3||Hampton Roads Educational Telecommunications Association||January 16, 2017|
|Roanoke||WBRA-TV||15.3||Blue Ridge PBS|
|Charlotte Amalie||WTJX-TV||12.2||Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System||January 16, 2017|
|Burlington||WETK||33.4||Vermont PBS||January 16, 2017|
|Seattle||KCTS-TV||9.2||Cascade Public Media||TBD|
|Spokane||KSPS-TV||7.4||KSPS Public Television||September 2017 |
(April 1, 2017 on cable)
|Green Bay||WPNE-TV||38.4||Wisconsin Public Television||January 16, 2017|
Milwaukee Area Technical College
|Grandview||WSWP-TV||9.3||West Virginia Public Broadcasting||January 16, 2017|
|Casper||KPTW||6.3||Central Wyoming College||TBD|
|Laramie (serves Cheyenne)||KWYP-DT||8.3|
- Chozick, Amy (January 1, 2012). "PBS Takes On the Premium Channels". NYTimes.com. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on July 16, 2013. Retrieved January 2, 2015.
PBS Kids ... was originally created for underprivileged young viewers who lacked access to early-childhood education.
- Bedford, Karen Everhart (June 6, 1994). "Goal for Ready to Learn: engage kids and parents". current.org/. Current.org. Archived from the original on February 24, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- Pierce, Charles P. (January 22, 1995). "Building a Better Fun Factory : For Years, PBS Had a Monopoly on Quality Children's Programming. Now It's Being Challenged by Brash Upstart Nickelodeon, Which May Prove a Bigger Threat Than a Republican Congress Ever Will". The Los Angeles Times. p. 7. Archived from the original on June 9, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
- Karen Everhart Bedford (August 30, 1999). "Multi-purpose PBS Kids takes flight next week". Current.org. Archived from the original on December 16, 1999. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
- Everhart, Karen (July 17, 2006). "PBS Kids Go! channel: plan is no-go for now". Current. Current Publishing Committee. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- Everhart Bedford, Karen (July 31, 2000). "Better Saturday competition seen for the kids audience". Current. Retrieved April 4, 2016.
- Egner, Jeremy (April 3, 2006). "World and Go! streams flow into PBS plans". Current. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Katy June-Friesen (January 12, 2009). "Many stations packaging their own kids' channels". Current. Archived from the original on January 23, 2016. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
- Singel, Ryan (December 3, 2009). "Comcast Buys NBC, Clouding Online TV's Future". Retrieved December 9, 2010.
- Moskovciak, Matthew (May 8, 2013). "Roku's PBS, PBS Kids channels go live, stream full episodes". CNet. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- "PBS Kids Go! goes bye-bye as colorful branding revamp rolls out to stations". Current.org. August 7, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- "PBS KIDS widens access with 24/7 channel offerings". Kidscreen. February 23, 2016. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Koblin, John (February 22, 2016). "PBS Is Creating a Channel Exclusively for Children". New York Times. p. B3. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- "PBS Chief Paula Kerger Talks 'Sesame Street' Changes, Spectrum Auction". Variety. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
- "L.A. Story: Coming Attractions: Tributes to Dr. Seuss". L.A. Story. March 1, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
- Owen, Rob (October 26, 2012). "Tuned In: 'Munsters' reboot a fun Halloween treat". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 24, 2019.
- Williams, Valerie (May 14, 2017), This Free 'Mister Rogers' Marathon Is A Parent's Dream Come True, retrieved December 24, 2019
- Perez, Sarah (January 16, 2017). "PBS KIDS debuts a new channel and live TV service, available via web and mobile". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Behrens, Steve; Bedford, Karen Everhart (December 13, 1999). "DirecTV okays channels from PBS and ITVS". Current. American University School of Communication. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
- John Koblin (February 22, 2016). "PBS Is Creating a Channel Exclusively for Children". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- "Stations for Network – PBS Kids Local". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
- "Stations for Network – PBS Kids 24/7". RabbitEars.Info. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
- Newman, Deirdre (January 16, 2017). "PBS Starts Kids Channel Streaming". Orange County Business Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2017.
- Barney, Chuck (January 15, 2017). "PBS Kids: New 24/7 children's channel". Mercury News. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
- Karen Everhart Bedford (August 30, 1999). "Multi-purpose PBS Kids takes flight next week". Current.org. Archived from the original on December 16, 1999. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
- Sefton, Dru (January 18, 2017). "Peoria station marks debut of PBS Kids channel with party". Current. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- Dru Sefton (January 15, 2017). "Launch of PBS Kids streaming channel reshapes multicast lineups". Current. American University School of Communication. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- Peery, Lexi (January 13, 2017). "WGBH to launch a 24-hour channel devoted to kids". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- Kellyfirst1=Ray (January 13, 2017). "WGBY-TV, Channel 57, making PBS Kids a 24/7 offering". The Republican. MassLive Media. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
- Acosta, Roberto (April 22, 2018). "Flint public television station to go off the air Monday". Flint Journal. MLive Media Group. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
- "PBS KIDS 24/7 comes to WSKG TV Wednesday, Feb. 1". WSKG Public Media. January 12, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
- Kehoe, Katrina (March 6, 2017). "KLRN launches 24/7 PBS KIDS Channel". KLRN.org. Alamo Public Telecommunications Council. Retrieved April 8, 2017.