PBS Kids Lands Its Own National TV Channel

TCA 2017: More than 100 licensees will launch standalone network this year

Last Updated: January 15, 2017 @ 1:49 PM

PBS launched its first-ever national 24/7 PBS Kids channel today, which will be provided by member stations on television and live-streamed across digital platforms.

The free service, which will be entirely educational programming, was unveiled by PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger Sunday at the Television Critics Association press event.

The PBS Kids channel is expected to be launched by 108 licensees by the end of the year, which will make it available to 90 percent of U.S. TV households. On Monday, 75 licensees will debut the channel, with more rolling it out in the coming months.

No patience? The new network will be available as a live stream on pbskids.org and on the free PBS Kids Video App for mobile and tablet devices. That live stream will introduce integrated games later this year.

Participating stations will provide the PBS Kids 24/7 channel in addition to their current primary PBS channel, which will continue to feature a PBS Kids day part.

Beginning April 21, 2017, the new channel will debut “PBS Kids Family Night,” weekly family viewing events featuring movie specials or themed programming every Friday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and repeating on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

“By offering PBS Kids programming 24/7, PBS stations will extend the reach and impact that they already have in their communities, where they provide essential services for families,” said Kerger. “With the launch of the multi-platform 24/7 PBS Kids channel, all of America’s children will be able to access our trusted educational content anywhere, anytime and through any device. As the only free national 24/7 kids’ TV service in the U.S., the PBS Kids channel will be a game changer for all families — especially our nation’s most under-served, many of whom do not attend preschool and rely solely on over-the-air television for media content.”

“We know from years of research that PBS Kids helps children build important social-emotional and school readiness skills, and that the learning potential of media is multiplied when parents co-view with their children,” said Lesli Rotenberg, senior vice president and general manager, Children’s Media and Education, PBS. “We are encouraged to see how much parents value family viewing time, ranking PBS Kids as the number-one use of family screen time, because parent involvement is critical to our long-term vision of using the power of media to create a personalized learning experience that engages and meets the needs of kids, parents and teachers.” 

The PBS Kids 24/7 channel launch schedule includes the following 21 series:

ARTHUR
BOB THE BUILDER
CAILLOU
THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!
CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG
CYBERCHASE
DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD
DINOSAUR TRAIN
FETCH! WITH RUFF RUFFMAN
NATURE CAT
ODD SQUAD
PEG + CAT
READY JET GO!
SESAME STREET
SID THE SCIENCE KID
SPLASH AND BUBBLES
SUPER WHY!
THOMAS & FRIENDS
WILD KRATTS
WORDGIRL
WORDWORLD