PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch
|Launched||September 30, 2000|
|Closed||August 5, 2004|
|Country of origin|
PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch was a preschool TV block produced by Canada-based animation studio Nelvana that aired on PBS from September 30, 2000 to August 5, 2004. It typically aired on either weekend mornings, depending on station preference and scheduling (both days on the former PBS Kids network). The shows that formed the Bookworm Bunch were based on well-known children's books. The initial series were Corduroy, Elliot Moose, Timothy Goes to School, Seven Little Monsters, George Shrinks, and Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse.
The idea behind PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch first came about in August 1999, when Nelvana offered to create PBS' first-ever weekend cartoon block. It was essentially created to boost viewership of the preschool audience on weekends, especially on Saturday mornings when that attention was shifted elsewhere. A rumored animated series titled Junior Kroll and Company was set to premiere, but that idea was shelved and replaced by Marvin The Tap-Dancing Horse in April 2000. PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch became the second preschool-oriented Saturday morning programming block on U.S. television after Nick Jr. on CBS, which premiered two weeks prior on September 16, 2000.
The block's first season premiered on September 30, 2000, and aired its season finale on February 24, 2001. Originally, all the shows (with the exception of the first 15-minute Corduroy episode, which was shown either on the hour or half-hour minute mark), began at either 15 or 45 minutes after the hour. A final 15-minute Corduroy episode then ended the block, making its total run three hours. Bookworm Bunch proved to be extremely popular in its first season, and weekend viewership increased dramatically. Reruns of the first season continued to air until October 27, 2001, and were not showing again after that date. Interstitials and other materials from the first season were considered to be lost media for almost 16 years, until footage of the first season finally surfaced online.
The second and final season premiered one week later on November 3, 2001, and with this premiere came a drastic revamp: Corduroy and Elliot Moose were removed from the block entirely, thus shortening it to two hours. The four remaining series were instead seen on the traditional hour and half-hour minute marks, while Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse and Timothy Goes to School both ended production by the end of 2001. The second season finale aired on February 23, 2002.
Some member stations began to gradually phase out the weekend block a year later in favor of a unbranded weekday edition, which premiered on January 6, 2003. The shows included a revival of Berenstain Bears, and new episodes of Seven Little Monsters and George Shrinks. Although Seven Little Monsters was originally a half-hour program, PBS commissioned new 15-minute episodes that aired alongside Berenstain Bears in the same half-hour timeslot. This experiment did not last very long as Berenstain Bears eventually became a half-hour show beginning September 15, 2003, thus permanently removing Seven Little Monsters from the PBS lineup. George Shrinks was given its own half-hour timeslot, in which it also proved to be extremely popular. Select member stations, including the PBS Kids Channel, continued to air the two-hour weekend block and Seven Little Monsters with The Berenstain Bears until August 5, 2004.
After the cancellation of PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch, cable channel Discovery Kids aired reruns of Timothy Goes to School from 2004 to 2006. Qubo has also aired reruns of Elliot Moose, Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse, and Timothy Goes to School as part of its daily programming.
One of the staples of the PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch were music video interstitials that aired at the end of each program before the credits. These spots initially replaced promotions for Elliot Moose, which are the only materials as of late that are still considered to be lost. These music videos were essentially montages of scenes from all of the shows with musical accompaniment. Each of the songs was performed by musician Nancy Cassidy, appearing on three albums released between 1986 and 1992.
First Season (2000–2001)
- Corduroy (first half) – "Boom, Boom, Ain't It Great to Be Crazy?" (shortened version) (Appears on the 1988 album Kidsongs 2)
- Elliot Moose – "You Gotta Sing" (Appears on the 1986 album Kidsongs)
- Timothy Goes to School – "Rig a Jig Jig" (Appears on Kidsongs 2)
- Seven Little Monsters – "La Bamba" (shortened version) (Appears on Kidsongs 2)
- George Shrinks – "You Gotta Sing" (reprise)
- Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse – "Rig a Jig Jig" (reprise)
- Corduroy (second half) – "Skidamarink" (Appears on the 1992 album Kidsongs Sleepyheads)
Second Season (2001–2003)
- Timothy Goes to School – "Friends Are Special" (Appears on Kidsongs Sleepyheads)
- Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse – "La Bamba" (extended version)
- Seven Little Monsters – "This Little Light of Mine" (Appears on Kidsongs)
- George Shrinks – "Boom, Boom, Ain't It Great to Be Crazy?" (extended version)
- 1 Debuted individually as a separate PBS program.
|Title||Premiere date||End date||Moved to|
|Timothy Goes to School||September 30, 2000||August 5, 2004||Qubo|
|Seven Little Monsters1|
|Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse||Qubo|
|Title||Premiere date||End date|
|Corduroy||September 30, 2000||October 28, 2001|
- "'PBS KIDS BOOKWORM BUNCH' Returns to PBS For a Second Season on Saturday, November 3" (Press release). Nelvana Limited. October 29, 2001. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
- "Kidssongs 2 by Nancy Cassidy". cdbaby.com.
- "Kidssongs by Nancy Cassidy". cdbaby.com.
- "KidsSongs Sleepyheads by Nancy Cassidy". cdbaby.com.