Nick Jr. is an American digital cable and satellite television channel that is owned by Viacom Kids & Family Group, a unit of the Viacom Media Networks division of Viacom. The channel, which is aimed at younger children between 2 and 6 years old, features a mix of originally-produced programming, and series previously and concurrently aired on the "Nick: The Smart Place to Play" block, and its previous iterations, on Nickelodeon.
The channel was originally known as Noggin from its February 2, 1999 launch until September 28, 2009. Sister channel The N was relaunched as TeenNick at the same time as Noggin's relaunch as Nick Jr.; as with TeenNick, Nick Jr.'s name was taken from a former program block on parent channel Nickelodeon, which aired weekday mornings from 1988 to 2009 under the Nick Jr. name; and still survives today on Nickelodeon as a block known in promotions as "Nick: The Smart Place to Play" (which regularly airs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET; 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. ET during the summer months or on designated school break periods and major national holidays), which has traditional commercial breaks and no common continuity between each series.
As of February 2015, Nick Jr. is available to approximately 75.4 million pay television households (64.8% of households with television) in the United States.
In 1995, Children's Television Workshop (now known as Sesame Workshop) began planning its own educational cable channel as a new home for most of its programming (other than Sesame Street)such as Cro (which had aired on ABC with excellent ratings, but was canceled after 2 seasons). The channel was to be called "New Kid City" and was planned to be CTW's "own niche on the dial with shows that emphasize educational content"; but CTW later abandoned the concept.
Meanwhile, Nickelodeon began planning an early interactive educational channel called "Big Orange"; in addition to Nickelodeon, other Viacom divisions (such as Viacom Interactive) were involved with the project. Eventually, however, by 1997, Viacom retooled the project into a package of educational programming that was to be syndicated to Broadcast TV Networks to help them meet the FCC's new requirements for educational programming, and the project was renamed "Noggin". A pilot was also developed for the project that was based on a Nickelodeon series of shorts called "Inside Eddie Johnson".
In addition to being a syndicated package of educational programming, another vision was that Noggin could also evolve into a cable channel that would focus on educational content, complementing entertainment-oriented Nickelodeon. Noggin would ultimately not launch as a syndication package, but by 1998, CTW and Nickelodeon would form a partnership, and Noggin was announced soon after as a joint venture between Nickelodeon and CTW with the goal of "[positioning] educational children's programs at the forefront of the digital cable movement".
Original Noggin (1999–2002)Edit
The new channel launched on February 2, 1999. The network's name was derived from a slang term for "head" and, by extension, had reflected its original purpose as an educational channel. Noggin's programming was originally targeted primarily at pre-teens from 1999 to 2002, although a few programs airing on the channel were aimed at preschoolers. This had the unintended consequence of creating a redundant audience with parent network Nickelodeon, which also primarily targets a pre-teen audience, despite Noggin's programming being more educational in nature than the entertainment-based Nickelodeon. The channel's first official mascot was Phred, a strange pickle character, who was seen on the channel from 1999 to 2002. Celebrating Noggin's award-winning website, Phred was said to live "in the dot of Noggin dot com."
Pre-school Noggin (2002–09)Edit
Due to low ratings, the format of Noggin was changed on April 1, 2002, shifting its target audience to preschoolers full-time. That same date, Viacom launched The N, a teen-oriented program block that targeted an older audience and featured programming edgier in content than Noggin or Nickelodeon. Similarly to the shared-time format of Nickelodeon (which had shared channel space with other cable channels throughout much of its history including The Movie Channel, BET, the Alpha Repertory Television Service and its successor A&E) and Nick at Nite, Noggin and The N aired their respective programming over the same channel space and in a block format: Noggin ran from 3:00a.m. to 6:00p.m. ET, while The N ran from 6:00p.m. to 3:00a.m. ET seven nights a week. This was acknowledged in Noggin's daily sign-off message, which explained that Noggin would resume its programming at 6:00a.m. ET the next morning. Later in 2002, Sesame Workshop sold its stake in Noggin to Viacom, giving them full control of the channel.
There were no commercials played during Noggin. Although Noggin did not air standard ads, it showed interstitials between shows such as episodes from the short film series [Oobi] and Connie the Cow's Milk Break, as well as other "tie-in" media such as music videos that tied in with promotions for programs on the other Nickelodeon channels. Much of the channel's revenue came primarily from carriage fees paid by pay television providers.
With the rebrand, Noggin introduced its first mascot named "Feetface"; its introduction brought about one of the first examples of a new animation style called "photo-puppetry", in which an animation is created by the use of manipulation of photographs. The last day of the "Feetface" segments were on Sunday, April 6, 2003, alongside Maurice Sendak's Little Bear. On Monday, April 7, 2003, Noggin introduced two new mascots named Moose A. Moose and "Zee D. Bird".
In addition to airing classic Nickelodeon preschool series such as Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer, and original shows such as Jack's Big Music Show and Oobi, Noggin also aired many preschool-oriented shows originating from English-speaking countries outside of the United States (including the Canadian series Maurice Sendak's Little Bear and Franklin the Turtle, and British series Tiny Planets). The channel also served as the launching pad for music videos by children's music artists such as Laurie Berkner, Loeb and Dan Zanes, initially as filler between 23-minute-long shows that ran commercial-free, and (because of their success in that format) now as music video shows like Move to the Music. The channel continued to carry classic Sesame Workshop series until September 12, 2005. Around this time, Noggin began to air versions of classic shows from the Sesame Workshop library (such as The Electric Company), that were edited for running time.
On August 13, 2007, Nickelodeon announced that it would shut down sister channel Nickelodeon Games and Sports on December 31, 2007, turning it into an online-only service on TurboNick, with The N becoming its own 24-hour channel that would take over Nickelodeon GAS's channel space. At 6:00p.m. ET on December 30, 2007, Noggin officially ended its run as a time-shared service. Its last program on the time shared service was an episode of the Canadian series Little Bear. The final sign on was a sudden cut-in to the intro of the British series 64 Zoo Lane replacing the song. However, due to unknown bandwidth problems, Dish Network continued to carry Nickelodeon GAS on its usual channel slot, with Noggin continuing to timeshare with The N on the satellite provider until April 23, 2009, when Dish replaced GAS with the Pacific Time Zone feed of Cartoon Network; Dish Network began to carry The N and Noggin as separate channels on May 6, 2009.
In 2006, Noggin began to decrease its reliance on foreign children's programs; Tweenies was permanently pulled from the schedule in January, with Tiny Planets being dropped that April. Tiny Planets was previously shown intermittently, i.e. not on a daily basis, at 6 a.m. ET, as Tweenies was for a year until it was pulled. However, the channel later acquired the Australia series The Upside Down Show (which like Tiny Planets, has American origins through Sesame Workshop). Noggin was renamed as Nick's Noggin on May 2, 2006 carrying Nick Jr programs.
As Nick Jr. (2009 Present)Edit
On February 24, 2009, Nickelodeon announced that Noggin and The N were to be rebranded as Nick Jr. and TeenNick to bring both channels in line with the Nickelodeon brand identity. In July of that year, Nickelodeon unveiled new standardized logos for its five channels, intending to create a unified look that could better be conveyed across the services.
On September 28, 2009 at 6:00 a.m. ET, Noggin relaunched as Nick Jr., accompanied by the debut of the new logo (which was designed by New York City-based creative director/designer Eric Zim). Although the use of an orange "adult" and blue "child" figure was discontinued in the new wordmark logo, the tradition of the "Nick" text being orange (representing the adult) and the "Jr." text remaining in blue (as the child) was retained. As is common with newer networks which have taken another former network's channel slot, some cable providers have confusingly continued to display the channel's logos as either Noggin, The N or both as that of Nick Jr.'s current logo on electronic program guides. The Nick Jr. channel retained Noggin's mascots Moose A. Moose and Zee; it also continued not to accept traditional advertising or marginalize closing credits for promotion of other shows on the channel.
A Spanish language block featuring Nick Jr. and Nickelodeon programs debuted on July 12, 2010 on sister channel Tr3́s. "Tr3́s Jr." aired Spanish dubs of Blue's Clues and Wonder Pets!. The block was ended once the final affiliations for Tr3́s broadcast stations requiring E/I programming expired.
On March 1, 2012, an update of Nick Jr.'s image debuted that was produced by Gretel Inc., with a new advertising campaign produced by BBDO. The Moose A. Moose and Zee D. Bird mascots and programs were permanently dropped, removing one of the last vestiges of the channel's former Noggin identity; as a result, some of the interstitial learning activities that originally featured Moose's narration were recycled and replaced by the voice of a female continuity announcer. Disappointed parents organized a social media effort to bring back the characters. The channel changed its slogan from "It's Like Preschool on TV" to "The Smart Place to Play" (which is also used as the branding for the Nickelodeon's preschool block). The channel's programming at this point began to be hosted by characters from Nick Jr. shows. The channel also began incorporating programming promotions and short features on that date; seven months later, on October 1, 2012, Nick Jr. started airing limited traditional advertising (for companies such as ABCMouse, Kmart and Playskool) in the form of underwriter sponsorships airing in-between shows.
Return of Noggin as an app (2015–present)Edit
On February 25, 2015, Nickelodeon announced the return of the Noggin brand and the Moose and Zee characters, this time as the name and mascots for a new video streaming service launching March 5, 2015 as an iOS mobile app under the Noggin branding. The app requires a monthly subscription fee and offers access to selected episodes and/or full seasons from the Noggin archive of several cancelled and/or rarely aired Nick Jr. shows, along with the mentioned new Moose and Zee clips and continuity. Nick Jr.'s mobile app continues to exist separately with TV Everywhere requirements, which the Noggin subscription service will not require; no on-air changes have occurred on the linear Nick Jr. cable channel outside of promotions for the Noggin app and subscription service. The website was also revived to be an informational guide to the app.
- Officail online