NBCU Starting Children’s Channel With DreamWorks Animation

Sprout plowed under to form Universal Kids
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After acquiring DreamWorks Animation last year, Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit is planning to take a giant step into the children’s television business with a cable network to be called Universal Kids.

NBCU already owns Sprout, a channel aimed at pre-schoolers but has limited distribution and low ratings compared to the industry’s giants—Viacom’s Nickelodeon, Time Warner’s Cartoon Network and Disney’s Disney Channels.

Sprout will be transformed into the newer network, aimed at a broader swath of children, starting Sept. 9. NBCU has been weeding its cable portfolio of its weaker networks at a time when cable subscribers are dropping and consumers are looking for lower priced, skinnier bundles of channels.

The new channel’s first series will be Top Chef Junior, a spinoff of Top Chef, which runs on NBCU’s Bravo cable network.

It will also air reruns of DreamWorks Animation shows like All Hail King Julien, which was based on the Madagascar movies.

DreamWorks also makes cartoons for Netflix, which is carried on Comcast’s X1 cable systems.

News of NBCU’s plan was reported by the New York Times.

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