PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch
|PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch|
|Country of origin||Canada
|Original network||PBS Kids|
|Original release||September 30, 2000 – September 5, 2004|
PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch was a Canadian/American children's animated television block produced by Toronto-based entertainment company Nelvana that aired on PBS from September 30, 2000 to September 5, 2004. It typically aired on either Saturday or Sunday mornings, depending on station preference and scheduling. The shows that formed the Bookworm Bunch were based on then-popular children's books. The initial shows 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 proposed show 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 was also the second preschool-oriented Saturday morning programming block on American television after fellow competitor 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 segment, which was shown on the hour), began at either fifteen or forty-five minutes after the hour, and ran for three hours. PBS Kids 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 never shown 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 recently 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 shows were instead seen on the traditional hour and half-hour minute marks, and by the end of 2001, Timothy Goes to School and Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse had already ceased production. The second season (or the PBS Kids Bookworm Bunch) finale aired on February 23, 2002, and continued in reruns for another two years.
By 2003, some PBS stations began to gradually phase out the weekend block in favor of a non-branded weekday version, which premiered on January 6 of that year. The shows included a reboot of Berenstain Bears, and new episodes of both Seven Little Monsters and George Shrinks. Although Seven Little Monsters was originally a half-hour program, Nelvana commissioned new 15-minute episodes that aired alongside Berenstain Bears in the same half-hour time slot. 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. A few stations continued to air Berenstain Bears & Seven Little Monsters well into 2004, though not many did so. George Shrinks was successful as a half-hour standalone program, and continued to air well into 2008 in some markets. It's important to note that some stations aired the weekday block as an hour-long one, while others scheduled the two shows at different times. A few other member stations, including the former PBS Kids Channel, continued to air the two-hour weekend block until September 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. The non-cable Qubo channel aired reruns of Elliot Moose from 2007 to 2010, and continues to air reruns of Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse and Timothy Goes to School as part of its daily programming.
- Corduroy (September 30, 2000 - October 27, 2001)
- Elliot Moose (September 30, 2000 - October 27, 2001)
- Timothy Goes to School (September 30, 2000 – September 5, 2004)
- Seven Little Monsters (September 30, 2000 – September 5, 2004)
- George Shrinks (September 30, 2000 – September 5, 2004)
- Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse (September 30, 2000 – September 5, 2004)