Nick Jr. was a programming block on the Nickelodeon television channel, seen on Nickelodeon weekday mornings. It was aimed at kids ages 2 to 7 years. On September 28, 2009, Nick Jr. was launched as a full channel, being moved out of Nickelodeon. It is owned by MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International.
From the morning of January 4, 1988, onwards, the Nick Jr. brand was in place and in use, with an approximate six-hour portion of the Nickelodeon broadcast day, at 9:00am – 3:00pm every weekday. The logo for the new Nick Jr. brand became a distinctive feature for the block. At first, the Nick. Jr. logo was orange for "Nick" and blue for "Jr.". The logo varied in the shape or species (e.g. two stars, two trains, two trees, two robots, two balls, two castles, two pigs, two cows, two horses, two brothers, two cats, two dogs). Until May 1991, a former staple of the Nickelodeon lineup, Pinwheel was featured, and eventually replaced by a new timeslot for Eureeka's Castle. Much of the remaining time in the lineup, particularly early in this time period, was devoted to animated series, many of which were of foreign origin (The World of David the Gnome, Sharon, Lois & Bram's Elephant Show, Noozles, The Adventures of the Little Koala, The Adventures of the Little Prince, The Littl' Bits, Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics, Maya the Bee, Maple Town, Curious George, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies). Programming of both live action and puppeted preschool programming also appeared during this time. Many of the Nick Jr. network ID's were produced at VideoWorks Inc. with 2D animation, CGI animation and clay animation. In 1993, Nick Jr. introduced its first rebrand in five years, with idents, promos, and bumpers featuring an orange figure with the word "NICK" it resembling a parent and a blue figure with the word "JR." in it resembling a child doing activities. The promos and bumpers featured a female announcer and some promos and bumpers featured kids holding hands and walking around the Nick Jr. logo. Several Nick Jr. promos and bumpers carried the slogan "Grow, Learn, and Play". This rebrand was short-lived, as it lasted until Face was introduced in the autumn of the following year.
The final pre-Face program aired on Friday, December 31, 1993 and it was The World of David the Gnome right before the closing ID of Nick Jr and a handover to Friday's Nickelodeon program schedule. After that, they had an advertisement for Nick Jr.'s upcoming rebrand, also mentioning Face, the block's mascot. On Monday, January 4, 1994, proceeding the first network ID, Nick Jr. introduced Face, the animated host that introduced, and wrapped up shows, and smaller variety pieces. More than 400 Face promos were created and produced by Nick Digital (Nickelodeon's in-house animation studio), and later at Data Motion Arts from 1996 to 1999, and then at Napoleon Videographics from 1999–2003, and finally at Tonic in New York from 2003–2004. From this point forward, he changed colors, moods, and feelings, also on that day a slew of new shows and shorts premiered, including Nick Jr. Little Big Room, Muppet Time, Gullah Gullah Island, Allegra's Window, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, and Winky Love. Nick Jr also moved its sign off time to 2:00 pm starting that day. Programming during this period included (but wasn't limited to) Allegra's Window, Little Bear, Gullah Gullah Island, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, Franklin, Rupert, Rugrats (re-runs, also aired as part of the original Nickelodeon), Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, The Muppet Show, Eureeka's Castle, Bob the Builder, and Blue's Clues. Face, in the context of its segments, was capable of materializing objects such as an astronaut, a robot, a clown, a window, a traffic light, stars, even wood, and of creating any number of foley sound effects including a signature three note "trumpet" noise used to lead up to the slogan Just for me, followed by a nod. Face was voiced by Chris Phillips who also voices Roger Klotz on Disney's Doug and various promos & bumpers for the MTV networks (including Nickelodeon's Next bumpers and promos from 1993 to the 2000s). Original Face was removed from the lineup on Friday, August 29, 2003. On Monday, September 1, 2003, Face was given a new look, which added eyebrows and a chin and straightened the eyes by inverting their colors from white dots on black eyes to black, larger dots on white eyes. Also, his voice turned into a D.J. rapper-like voice. Also, a new series of segments called Nick Jr. Play Along debuted, and the new segments were hosted by two fun, live-action hosts – Robin (played by actress Hillary Hawkins) and Zack (played by actor Travis Guba ). Alongside Robin and Zack were four sock puppets called the Feetbeats. New Face and the Play Along segments were removed from the lineup on Friday, October 8, 2004.
On Monday, October 11, 2004, Nick Jr. introduced a new mascot named Piper O'Possum, and also was branded by a new slogan, "Nick Jr! We Love to Play!". Piper O'Possum's last appearance was Friday, September 7, 2007. The last program that aired with this look was Go, Diego, Go!.
On Monday, September 10, 2007, Nick Jr. was updated and introduced new graphics and music. The Nick Jr. logo's shapes resembled plushies now. The plushies seen in the logos included robots, bunnies, and monkeys. This saw the new look, which indicates preschoolers to play and learn with Nick Jr. characters. The first program aired with this look was Dora the Explorer.
On January 30, 2009, Nickelodeon removed the Nick Jr. branding from its lineup. Nick Jr. shows continued airing on the slot, but with the Nickelodeon branding, replacing the Nick Jr. branding, and the addition of more frequent commercial advertising. The final program was Ni Hao, Kai-Lan. On September 28, 2009, Nick Jr. received its own 24/7 network removing Noggin.
Despite this, original Nick Jr. programs continue to air under the Nickelodeon brand.
Until the fall of 2006, Spanish language US network Telemundo offered Nick Jr. programming in Spanish on Saturday and Sunday mornings, as part of the Nickelodeon en Telemundo block, which featured such shows as Rugrats and Dora the Explorer. In the fall of 2006, after the sale of Telemundo to NBC and the CBS/Viacom split, Nick programming was replaced with a Spanish-language version of NBC/Ion Television's qubo block.
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.. Pistas de Blue (episodes from the Steve Burns era of Blue's Clues) and Wonder Pets were featured in the block.
Face made an appearance during the 2012 New Year edition of The '90s Are All That, TeenNick's 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 pear!).