Sprout (TV network)

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PBS Kids Sprout logo.svg
Launched September 26, 2005 (2005-09-26)
Owned by NBCUniversal
Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Slogan Let's Grow!
Country United States
Website www.sproutonline.com
DirecTV Channel 295 (SD only)
Verizon FiOS 263 (SD only)
Available on most cable systems Check local listings for channels
AT&T U-Verse 337 (SD only)

Sprout (formerly known as PBS Kids Sprout) is a U.S. digital cable television channel, video-on-demand (VOD) service, and website providing PBS Kids shows and original programming for preschoolers and their families. Sprout launched initially as a VOD service on April 4, 2005, and later as a cable and satellite channel on September 26, 2005.

The network was previously owned by a consortium including Comcast, HIT Entertainment, Sesame Workshop, Apax Partners, and PBS. In November 2013, Comcast acquired the remaining stakes in the network it did not already own, giving NBCUniversal Cable full ownership.[1]

As of August 2013, approximately 55,218,000 American households (48.35% of households with television) receive Sprout.[2]


On October 20, 2004, PBS announced a joint partnership between themselves, Comcast, HIT Entertainment, and Sesame Workshop for a then-unnamed preschool children's television channel.[3] On April 4, 2005, Comcast announced that the network's on demand service would launch that day, and that the network itself would launch later on September 1, 2005. It was later pushed to September 26 of that year. When Sprout launched that day, it replaced the PBS Kids channel on some providers. It also initially reached 16.5 million homes. Boobah was the first program to air on the network at 6AM ET.

When Apax Partners sold HIT Entertainment to Mattel in October, 2011, HIT Entertainment's share in Sprout was not included in the deal and was retained by Apax Partners.[4] In November 2013, NBCUniversal acquired Apex and PBS's shares in the network, giving it full ownership.[5] As such, the PBS Kids branding was dropped from the network's name, in favor of just Sprout.[1][6]


Sprout's schedule consists programming seen on various PBS stations (such as Sesame Street, Barney & Friends, Caillou, Super Why! and Thomas & Friends), acquired programming (such as LazyTown, Justin Time, Tree Fu Tom and Poppy Cat) and its own original programming (Pajanimals, The Chica Show). Unlike other children's television networks, Sprout would usually air programs (that are packaged into two 11-minute segments) that only last one segment. Sprout also telecast its programming blocks that fills most of the network's schedule. The only times the network doesn't use its program blocks are from 12pm-4pm ET and from 3am-7am ET (3am-9am ET only during the weekends).

In July 2012, a block of Sprout's programming, titled NBC Kids, started appearing on most NBC affiliates.[7][8] It replaced the qubo program block, which has been there on Saturday mornings since 2006. NBCUniversal took over management of Sprout in 2011, after NBCUniversal was acquired by the cable system operator Comcast, which was the network’s first managing partner. Initially intended as a home for reruns of shows owned by the partners, Sprout has invested more heavily in original programming in the last year. Under NBCUniversal, Sprout shows like “The Chica Show” have gotten increased visibility as part of NBC’s Saturday morning children’s lineup.[9]

Programming blocks

The Sunny Side Up Show

The Sunny Side Up Show is aired from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST.

SuperSproutlet Show

SuperSproutlet Show is aired from 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM EST, in the former spot of Wiggly Waffle. It previously aired from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST.

Sprout Sharing Show

Sprout Sharing Show is aired from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM EST. During this show, videos of kids doing stuff that were "shared" to the Sprout website are shown along with regular Sprout programming.

Good Night Show

The Good Night Show is aired from 6:00 PM to 3:00 AM EST.

Related services

Sprout HD

Sprout HD is the high definition simulcast feed of the Sprout channel that was first announced in May 2010 and began broadcasting on September 1, 2010.[10] All programs made in HD are presented in 16:9 widescreen, whereas other non-HD programs are presented in 4:3 letterbox. This feed is currently available on Comcast, AT&T U-verse and Cox Communications.

Sprout On Demand

Sprout On Demand is the channel's video-on-demand service which launched on April 4, 2005 on Comcast, before the Sprout channel existed. This service offers 50 hours of programs a month, with 25 percent of the programs updated every two weeks.


  1. ^ a b Nordyke, Kimberly (November 13, 2013). "NBCUniversal Acquires Ownership of Kids' Channel Sprout". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ Seidman, Robert (August 23, 2013). "List of How Many Homes Each Cable Networks Is In - Cable Network Coverage Estimates As Of August 2013". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 6, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Comcast, HIT Entertainment, PBS and Sesame Workshop Announce Plans to Launch Ground-breaking 24-hour Preschool Children's Television Channel" (Press release). Arlington, VA: PBS. 2004-10-20. Retrieved 2013-08-03. 
  4. ^ Braude, Jonathan (October 24, 2011). "Apax sells Hit Entertainment to Mattel". The Deal. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  5. ^ Jensen, Elizabeth. "NBCUniversal Takes Full Ownership of Sprout Cable Network". New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Hagey, Keach (November 13, 2013). "NBCUniversal Buys Remainder of Sprout Network". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  7. ^ "NBC Will Launch NBC Kids, a New Saturday Morning Preschool Block Programmed by Sprout®, Saturday, July 7". MarketWatch. March 28, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  8. ^ Rubino, Lindsay (March 28, 2012). "NBC, With Assist From Sprout, to Launch Saturday Morning Preschool Block". MultiChannel News. Retrieved July 15, 2013. 
  9. ^ Jensen, Elizabeth. "NBC Universal Takes Full Ownership of Sprout Cable Network". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 

External links