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Nick Jr. (TV programming block)

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Nick Jr.
Nick Jr. logo 2009.svg
NetworkNickelodeon
LaunchedJanuary 4, 1988; 33 years ago (1988-01-04)
Country of originUnited States
OwnerViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks (ViacomCBS)
HeadquartersNew York City
Formerly known as
  • Nick Junior (1988)
  • Nickelodeon's Play Date (2009–2012)
  • Nick: The Smart Place to Play (2012–2014)
  • Nick Jr. on Nick (2014–2019)
Original language(s)English
Voices ofWendell Craig (1988–1993)
Chris Phillips (1994–2003; 2004–present)
Ilyana Kadushin (1998–2003)
Hillary Hawkins (2003–2004)
Travis Guba (2003–2004)
Babi Floyd (2003–2004)
Ali Brustofski (2004–2007)
Kobie Powell (2004–2012)
Nicolette Pierini (2009–2011)
Jessica DiCicco (2012–present)
Official websitewww.nickjr.com

Nick Jr. is an American programming block for preschoolers seen on weekday mornings on Nickelodeon. The block premiered on January 4, 1988. As its name suggests, it is aimed at children from ages 2 to 6 who have yet to start full-day school. It is owned by ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks, a division of ViacomCBS.

History[edit]

January 4, 1988–April 2, 1993[edit]

Throughout the 1980s, Nickelodeon aired programs for preschoolers (most prominently Pinwheel and Today's Special) on weekdays (from 8:00am - 2:00pm) and weekend mornings. After Nickelodeon's preschool block premiered a slew of new shows in 1987, it began using the Nick Junior branding on January 4, 1988 (1988-01-04),[1] coinciding with the premiere of The World of David the Gnome. A new rebrand for the block that abbreviated its name to Nick Jr. was gradually unveiled between September 1988 and mid-1989.[2] Nick Jr.'s new logo was orange for 'Nick' and blue for 'Jr.', and it varied in the shape or species (e.g.: two gears, trains, robots, planets, insects, comets, or elephants). Nick Jr.'s initial network IDs were filmed in live action featuring two children wearing Nick Jr. shirts walking to a refrigerator and opening it, revealing an animated cartoon character. From 1989 to 2000, other companies and animators produced IDs for Nick Jr.

Until July 1990, Pinwheel was featured, originally for three hours (two in the morning and one at noon), then for one hour starting in spring 1989. When Nick Jr.'s original series Eureeka's Castle premiered in September, Pinwheel was split into two separate half hours in the morning and afternoon, where it remained until July 1990. Much of Nick Jr.'s other programs at the time were of Japanese or foreign origin (including Fred Penner's Place, Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show, Adventures of the Little Koala, Noozles, Maya the Bee, and The Littl' Bits).

Grow, Learn, and Play (April 5, 1993–September 2, 1994)[edit]

On April 5, 1993 (1993-04-05), Nick Jr. premiered a new series, Cappelli & Company, and received a new rebrand which prominently featured a new Nick Jr. logo consisting of an orange parent and a blue child, and the slogan Grow, Learn, and Play. Several Nick Jr. promos and bumpers featured kids playing near the Nick Jr. logo and a theme song with the slogan sung to the melody of London Bridge, and a few featured Cappelli & Company host Frank Cappelli. Nick Jr. also started using a female announcer (who was replaced by a different one in 1994, 1998 and 2003) in its promos and bumpers. Nick Jr. began to invest more into producing original interstitial series (including 1994's Muppet Time, forty two-minute shorts from The Jim Henson Company) in order to stay within a self-imposed limit of five minutes of commercials per hour. On April 4, 1994, the "Jim Henson's Muppet Hour" sub-block was created by pairing Muppet Babies reruns with the new acquisition, The Muppet Show. Due to Nick Jr.'s declining ratings as well as competition from PBS' PTV and TLC's Ready Set Learn block, Nick Jr. decided to revamp their on-air branding in 1994.[3]

On September 2, 1994, the Grow, Learn and Play interstitials ended their 1-year run.

Play to Learn (September 5, 1994–August 29, 2003)[edit]

On September 5, 1994 (1994-09-05), Nick Jr. rebranded and introduced Face, an animated host that introduced shows and interstitials and led into commercial breaks. In the context of his segments, Face was capable of materializing objects such as an astronaut, a robot, a clown, a window, a traffic light, stars, and even wood. He was also capable of creating a number of foley sound effects and voices including a signature three-note trumpet noise usually following the name "Nick Jr." at the end of almost every bumper. Also, he changed colors, moods, and feelings. Face was voiced by Chris Phillips, who also narrated several Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. promos. The original Face promos were produced by Nick Digital (from 1994 to 1996 and from 2000 to 2003; these promos featured a redesigned Face) and DMA Animation (from 1996 to 2000). In October, Nick Jr. introduced two new original series, Gullah Gullah Island and Allegra's Window, resulting in 50% rating gains for the block.

In 1995, Nick Jr. acquired broadcast rights to The Busy World of Richard Scarry from sister network Showtime, premiered Rupert and Little Bear, two series produced by Nelvana, and aired three episodes of The Adventures of Timmy the Tooth as part of a marketing campaign. On September 8, 1996 (1996-09-08), the first episode of Blue's Clues premiered in prime-time on Nickelodeon, then it debuted on Nick Jr. the next day. Nick Jr. also premiered four new interstitial series and received a new rebrand produced by Pittard Sullivan. Blue's Clues quickly dethroned Gullah Gullah Island as Nick Jr.'s most popular series. On March 16, 1998, the nickjr.com website was launched. Later that year, Nick Jr. rebranded again and introduced the "Just for Me" slogan.

In 1999 and 2000, Nick Jr. replaced most of its older series with newer series such as Franklin, Kipper, Maisy, and Little Bill which helped increase the block's ratings. Nick Jr. briefly aired reruns of Shining Time Station in the Summer of 2000 (Maggie and the Ferocious Beast premiered on the same day that show premiered) to promote Thomas and the Magic Railroad before replacing it with Dora the Explorer, which became one of Nick Jr.'s most successful series.

The US dub of Bob the Builder premiered on Nick Jr in January of 2001 and Oswald premiered on Nick Jr. in August of 2001. On September 3, 2001 (2001-09-03), Nick Jr. received a new rebrand produced by AdamsMorioka (who had previously rebranded Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite) and Editional Effects. On April 7, 2003, the day sister network Noggin rebranded and introduced Moose and Zee, Nick Jr. aired its three new original series Oobi, Tweenies, and Miffy and Friends; Nick Jr. continued to air Tweenies from July to October.

On August 29, 2003, the original Face interstitials ended their 9-year run.

Nick Jr. Play Along (September 1, 2003–October 8, 2004)[edit]

On September 1, 2003 (2003-09-01), Nick Jr. received a rebrand that introduced more than a dozen new logos; Rubbadubbers premiered the next day. A new interstitial series called Nick Jr. Play Along debuted, which were hosted by two fun live-action hosts: Robin (played by actress Hillary Hawkins[4]) and Zack (played by actor Travis Guba[5]). Alongside Robin and Zack were two sock puppets called the Feetbeats. Face was given a new look which added eyebrows and a chin and straightened his eyes by inverting their colors from white dots on black eyes to larger black dots on white eyes, and was voiced by Nick on CBS announcer Babi Floyd. The new Face promos were produced by Vee-Pee Cartoons. Nick Jr. removed the Play Along interstitials aside from a re-edited opening in February 2004.

On October 8, 2004, the new Face interstitials ended their 1-year run.

Love to Play! (October 11, 2004–September 7, 2007)[edit]

On October 11, 2004, Nick Jr. received another rebrand containing interstitials co-produced by Little Airplane Productions featuring the block's new host Piper O'Possum (voiced by Ali Brustofski and created by Josh Selig), and the new slogan "Love to Play!". Nick Jr.'s female announcer was replaced with Kobie Powell and Chris Phillips. Nick Jr. used its new on-screen bug to promote its website, but it was replaced by March 6, 2006 (2006-03-06) after the FCC forbade that and used Nick Jr.'s 2003–2004 normal on-screen bug again. LazyTown, Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, and The Backyardigans (the latter of which premiering alongside the rebrand) premiered on Nick Jr. in 2004; they were briefly shown on Noggin during Thanksgiving week before joining Noggin's regular schedule later. Between 2004 and 2007, Nick Jr. reduced its reliance on interstitial series and increased the amount of commercials it aired.

On September 7, 2007, the Piper O'Possum interstitials ended their 3-year run.

Play with Us! (September 10, 2007–January 30, 2009)[edit]

On September 10, 2007 (2007-09-10), Nick Jr. received yet another rebrand. The block's bumpers (which were often similar to Noggin's "Puzzle Time" interstitials) encouraged preschoolers to "Play With Us" and featured the Nick Jr. logo in the form of two stop-motion stuffed animals. This marks the first time that Nick Jr. had no host since 1994. Starting on March 3, 2008 (2008-03-03), Nick Jr. began its broadcast at 8:30 am.

On January 30, 2009, 3 days before its rebrand as Nickelodeon's Play Date, the original Nick Jr. block aired for the last time with Ni Hao, Kai-Lan being its last show. Also, the Play with Us! interstitials ended their 2-year-run.

Nickelodeon branding (February 2, 2009–May 2, 2014)[edit]

On February 2, 2009 (2009-02-02), the original Nick Jr. block rebranded as Nickelodeon's Play Date. The block's branding was based on Noggin's branding, and many bumpers featured drawings, finger puppets or cupcakes. The bumpers' music was a choir of kids vocalizing, and Nicolette Pierini was the announcer of each bumper. On September 28 of that year, the Nick Jr. channel was launched replacing Noggin. In 2011, Nickelodeon's Play Date received a new rebrand featuring characters from the block's shows. The following year, the Play Date branding was replaced with a modified version of the Nick Jr. channel's new branding known as Nick: The Smart Place to Play. Despite Nickelodeon displaying its shows credits during the last 30 seconds before it since 2012, the branding retained the split-screen credits for Nick Jr. shows airing on the block until May 2, 2014 (2014-05-02).

Return of Nick Jr. branding (May 5, 2014–present)[edit]

On May 5, 2014 (2014-05-05), Nick: The Smart Place to Play rebranded back to Nick Jr. while still using the Nickelodeon name for the screen bug (and promos starting in 2015). When aired on the Nick Jr. channel, commercials for programs broadcast on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block usually end with "Over on Nick" to differentiate the titles. On the same day, the Nick Jr. block also began to use Nickelodeon's on-screen credits to include more commercials (now 12 minutes per hour). On June 10, 2015 (2015-06-10), the Nick Jr. website was completely redesigned to match up with the Nick Jr. app.[6]

On May 21, 2018 (2018-05-21), the Nick Jr. block began calling itself "Nick Jr. on Nick", refreshing its imaging with new bumpers and curriculum boards. On November 12, 2018 (2018-11-12), the Nick Jr. block reverted back to using the Nickelodeon name for the screen bug and later in advertisements. However, the Nick Jr. name is retained in the refreshed bumpers and curriculum boards.

Slogans[edit]

  • Nick Jr.'s Just for You! (September 4, 1989 – May 3, 1991)
  • Nick Jr. is Here Just for You! (May 6, 1991 – April 2, 1993)
  • Grow, Learn, and Play (April 5, 1993 — September 2, 1994)
  • Play to Learn (September 5, 1994 — August 29, 2003)
  • TV for the Next Generation (September 12, 1994 – September 6, 1996)
  • TV Made Just for Preschoolers (September 9, 1996 – October 2, 1998)
  • Just for Me (October 5, 1998 – August 31, 2001)
  • Where I Play to Learn (September 3, 2001 – August 29, 2003)
  • Where I Play Along (September 1, 2003 – October 8, 2004)
  • Love to Play! (October 11, 2004 – September 7, 2007)
  • Play with Us! (September 10, 2007 – January 30, 2009)
  • It’s Like Preschool on TV (September 28, 2009 — February 29, 2012)
  • The Smart Place to Play (March 1, 2012 — May 18, 2018)
  • Ready to Play (May 21, 2018 – present)

Programming[edit]

Cross-programming with other networks[edit]

Cross-programming is a term used in broadcast programming.

From 2000 to 2002 and from 2004 to 2006, Nick Jr. also ran a Saturday morning children's block for CBS entitled Nick Jr. on CBS, featuring shows and interstitials from the Nick Jr. programming block. From 2002 to 2004, it was part of the general Nick on CBS block, which also included programming from the main Nickelodeon channel. The block was replaced by the KOL Secret Slumber Party block on September 16, 2006.

Spanish-language American network Telemundo has aired Blue's Clues (from 1998 to 2000, as part of the Nickelodeon en Telemundo block) and Dora the Explorer (from 2005 to 2006, as part of the Telemundo Kids block) in Spanish. On April 5, 2008, competing Spanish network Univision added Spanish-dubbed versions of Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go! to their Saturday morning Planeta U line-up. A Spanish-dubbed version of The Backyardigans was later added to the line-up on January 8, 2011.

For a brief time in summer 2010, Tr3s, a sister network to Nickelodeon, aired a daily block of Spanish-dubbed Nick Jr. programs under the name Tr3s Jr. Shows like Pistas de Blue (the Spanish version of Blue's Clues) and Wonder Pets! were featured in the block.

Face's reappearances[edit]

Face (the '90s version) made an appearance during the 2012 New Year edition of The '90s Are All That, TeenNick's former 1990s-oriented late night block. Face's appearances consisted of out-of-context clips that make him appear to be drunk or making adult comments (e.g.: "Yeah, grow a pair!").

In October 2015 for the Halloween/Nick or Treat season, the "Face the Monster" bumper would play on the block as a segway of introducing episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. The same bumper would be used on the block as an April Fools Day prank on April 1, 2017.

Face also appeared in an Easter promo for The Splat, The '90s Are All That's successor, in 2016, encouraging viewers to look for the Easter Bunny in '90s Nickelodeon shows.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. "Nickelodeon Early-Morning TV Broadcast from 1988 (with commercials)". YouTube. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  2. "The Rugrats Timeline -- Through 1989". 2012-06-16. Archived from the original on June 16, 2012. Retrieved 2015-07-29. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. Nick to spend $30 million on kids (page 53) from Broadcasting & Cable
  4. "Hillary Hawkins". Hillary Hawkins. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  5. "About". www.travisguba.com. Retrieved 2015-07-29.
  6. "Nick Jr. site gets a redesign, debuts new preschool series". Retrieved 5 September 2018.

External links[edit]