Nick Jr. (block)
This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages)(Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Launched||January 4, 1988|
|Network||Nickelodeon (Weekdays from 8:30AM-2:30PM)|
|Owned by||Viacom International and MTV Networks|
|Slogan||The Smart Place To Play|
|Headquarters||New York City|
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 February 2, 2009, the Nick Jr. block was temporarily renamed "Play Date" and on September 28, 2009, Noggin was rebranded as the Nick Jr. channel. 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 8:30am – 2:30pm 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, two dinosaurs (India only), two bunnies, two sisters). Most of Nick Jr.'s network IDs during this period were produced by VideoWorks Inc. and Olive Jar Animation. 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.
On April 5, 1993, Nick Jr. premiered a new series, Cappelli & Company, 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 (who was replaced by a different female announcer in 1994, 1998 and 2003) and often featured kids playing near the Nick Jr. logo. Several Nick Jr. promos and bumpers carried the slogan 'Play To Learn' and a theme song with the slogan sung to the "London Bridge" melody. Due to competition from PBS' children's programming and TLC's Ready Set Learn block, Nickelodeon decided to spend $30 million on revamping their Nick Jr. block in 1994.
On September 5, 1994, Nick Jr. re-branded and introduced 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 was also one of Nickelodeon's continuity announcers. More than 400 Face promos were created and produced by Nick Digital from 1994–1996 and 1999–2003, and later at Data Motion Arts from 1996–1999, and finally at Vee-Pee Cartoons from 2003–2004. 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.
On September 8, 1996, the first episode of Blue's Clues premiered in prime-time on Nickelodeon, then debuted on the Nick Jr. block the next day. Nick Jr. also premiered four new interstitial series and received a new re-brand, produced by Pittard Sullivan. Blue's Clues quickly dethroned Gullah Gullah Island as Nick Jr.'s most popular series; Nick Jr. re-branded again in 1998. In 1999 and 2000, Nick Jr. removed most of its older series and replaced them with newer series such as Franklin, Kipper, Maisy, Little Bill, and Dora the Explorer. Bob the Builder premiered on January 15, 2001, while Oswald premiered on August 20, 2001; on September 3, 2001, Nick Jr. received a new re-brand produced by Adams Morioka (who had previously re-branded Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite). On August 29, 2003, most of Nick Jr.'s older interstitial series and the original Face segments ended their run.
On September 1, 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. 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) and Zack (played by actor Travis Guba). Alongside Robin and Zack were four sock puppets called the Feetbeats. The Nick Jr. Play Along interstitials and new Face segments ended their one-year run on October 8, 2004.
On October 11, 2004, Nick Jr. introduced a new mascot, Piper O'Possum, and a new slogan, "Nick Jr! We Love to Play!". Nick Jr.'s female announcer was replaced with Chris Phillips and Kobie Powell. The Piper O'Possum segments ended their two-year run on September 7, 2007 at 2:00 pm ET.
On September 10, 2007 at 9:00 am ET, Nick Jr. received another re-brand, which encouraged preschoolers to play and learn with Nick Jr. shows. The block's bumpers featured the Nick Jr. logo in the form of two stuffed animals, animated in stop-motion. This marks the first time that Nick Jr. had no mascot since 1994. Nick Jr. also stopped airing interstitial series and increased the amount of commercials it aired. The block was extended to 8:30 am to 2:00 pm in the spring of 2008. The block ended on January 30, 2009; Yo Gabba Gabba! was the last show to air on the block.
The Nick Jr. block ended its 21-year run on February 2, 2009. Nickelodeon continued to air Nick Jr. shows in the block's timeslot, but with the Nickelodeon branding, replacing the Nick Jr. branding. 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. (For a period during this interim, the preschool block on Nickelodeon was branded as the "Nick Play Date.")
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.
- Nick Jr.'s Just for You! (September 4, 1989 – Summer 1991)
- Nick Jr. is Here Just for You! (Summer 1991 – April 2, 1993)
- TV for the Next Generation (1992 - September 2, 1994)
- Grow, Learn and Play (April 5, 1993 – September 2, 1994)
- We Play to Learn (September 5, 1994 – 1997)
- TV Made Just for Preschoolers (September 9, 1996 – September 1998)
- Play to Learn (1996 – September 2001)
- Nick Jr. is Just for Me! (September 1998 – September 2001)
- Where I Play to Learn (September 2001 - August 29, 2003)
- Nick Jr. is Where I Play Along (September 1, 2003 – October 8, 2004)
- We Love to Play! (October 11, 2004 – September 7, 2007)
- Play with Us! (September 10, 2007 – September 28, 2009)
- It's Like Preschool On TV (September 28, 2009 – March 1, 2012)
- The Smart Place to Play (March 1, 2012 – present)
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 an Easter promo for The Splat in 2016.