Nick Jr. (block)
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|Launched||January 4, 1988
(as Nick Jr.)|
September 28, 2009 (as Play Date)
February 29, 2012 (as Nick: The Smart Place to Play)
May 4, 2014 (as Nick Jr., revival)
|Network||Nickelodeon (from 8:30 AM-3PM)|
|Owned by||Viacom International and MTV Networks|
|Slogan||The Smart Place To Play|
|Headquarters||New York City|
|Formerly called||Play Date (2009–12)
Nick: The Smart Place to Play (2012–14)
Nick at Nite
Nick Jr. is a programming block on the Nickelodeon television channel, seen on Nickelodeon weekday mornings. It is aimed at young children aged under 7 years. On September 28, 2009, Noggin was renamed Nick Jr. and the block was temporarily renamed "The Play Date." In 2014, the Nick Jr. name began to be used for both the block and network. 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 July 1990, a former staple of the Nickelodeon lineup, Pinwheel was featured, originally for three hours (two at the beginning and one at noon), then for one hour during spring-summer 1989. When Eureeka's Castle premiered in September 1989, Pinwheel was split into two separate half hours in the morning and afternoon, where it remained until July 1990. Much of the remaining time in the lineup, particularly early in this time period, was devoted to animated series, many of which were Japanese or of foreign origin (David the Gnome, The Elephant Show, Noozles, Doctor Snuggles, Adventures of the Little Koala, The Little Bits, Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics, Maya the Bee, Maple Town, Curious George and Muppet Babies). Programming of both live action and puppeted preschool programming also appeared during this time. Many of Nick Jr.'s network IDs were produced by VideoWorks Inc..
On April 5, 1993, Nick Jr. premiered two new series, Cappelli & Company and Jungle Tales, and introduced its first re-brand in five years, with promotional elements 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 introduced a new female announcer and often featured kids playing near the Nick Jr. logo. Several Nick Jr. promos and bumpers carried the slogan 'Grow, Learn, and Play' and a theme song with the slogan sung to the "London Bridge" melody. The re-brand was unsuccessful, and Nickelodeon decided to spend $30 million on revamping their Nick Jr. block in 1994.
On Monday, September 5, 1994, Nick Jr. re-branded and introduced a new female announcer as well as Face, an animated host that introduced, and wrapped up shows, and smaller variety pieces. 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, even wood, and of creating any number of foley sound effects including a signature three note 'trumpet' noise always following the name "Nick Jr.". Face was voiced by Chris Phillips who also voiced Roger Klotz on Disney's Doug and various promos and TV commercials (including many Nickelodeon bumpers and promos from 1995 to 2013). More than 400 Face promos were created and produced by Nick Digital from 1994–96 and 1999–2003, and later at Data Motion Arts from 1996–99, and finally at Vee-Pee Cartoons from 2003–04. From this point forward, he changed colors, moods, and feelings, and during the fall of 1994, Nick Jr. introduced two new original series; Gullah Gullah Island and Allegra's Window. Programming during this period included (but was not limited to) Allegra's Window, Little Bear, Gullah Gullah Island, Blue's Clues, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, Franklin, Rupert, Rugrats, Muppet Babies, The Muppet Show, Eureeka's Castle, and Bob the Builder. Nick Jr. re-branded again in 1996, 1998, and 2001; in 1998, Nick Jr.'s female announcer was replaced with a different one. The original Face segments ended their run on Friday, August 29, 2003.
On Tuesday, September 2, 2003, Nick Jr. re-branded and introduced more than a dozen new logos. 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. Nick Jr.'s female announcer was replaced with Chris Phillips and a male announcer. A new series of segments called Nick Jr. Play Along debuted, which 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.
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!". The Piper O'Possum segments ended the three-year run on Friday, September 7, 2007 at 2:00 pm ET, with Holly Hobbie & Friends: Best Friends Forever being the last special that aired with this look.
On Monday, September 10, 2007 at 9:00 am ET, 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. This marks the first time that there was no mascot on Nick Jr. since 1994.
The Nick Jr. block ended its twenty one-year run on February 2, 2009, with Ni Hao, Kai-Lan as the last program to air. 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. On September 28, 2009, Nick Jr. replaced Noggin as a 24/7 TV channel. This makes it the first that Nickelodeon does not brand its preschool shows in a program block since 1988.
In May 2014, Nickelodeon began using the "Nick Jr." name in advertisements to refer to both the network and block. When aired on the Nick Jr. channel, commercials for programs broadcast on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block usually end with "Nick Jr. over on Nickelodeon" to differentiate the titles.
Cross programming with other networks
Cross programming is a term used in broadcast programming. From 2000 to 2002 and from 2005 to 2006, Nick Jr. also ran a Saturday morning children's block for CBS entitled Nick Jr. on CBS, featuring shows from the programming block. Between 2002 and 2005, it was part of the general Nick on CBS block, which also included programming from the main Nickelodeon channel. The block was replaced September 16, 2006, when DIC Entertainment (now Cookie Jar Group) started the KOL Secret Slumber Party/KEWLopolis/Cookie Jar TV on CBS.
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 in 2001 and the CBS/Viacom split in early 2006, 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 pair!). Face also appeared in a Easter promo for The Splat in 2016.