If you’re a parent (or just like watching preschool shows for whatever reason), you may have noticed Nick Jr.’s new TV schedule, on-air design changes and new tagline that started today.
The new schedule is very noticeable – many of the network’s older series are now off the line-up completely. Oswald, Jack’s Big Music Show, Toot & Puddle, Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, the ’90s Franklin series and The Upside Down Show are complete gone from the network. At the same time, the new Franklin and Friends and Mike the Knight series that started on Nickelodeon in February are making their way to Nick Jr. too. Shows like Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, Bubble Guppies and Team Umizoomi are getting more airings in daylight hours, while older series such as Little Bear, Little Bill and even Yo Gabba Gabba are getting pushed to the very late night. One series that is returning after a short time off the network is Oobi, but just on weekends at 4:30am ET.
The on-air look is also noticeably different now. The main change – Moose and Zee are now gone. The two mascots of the channel, who have been there since NOGGIN was 12 hours and shared channel space with The N in 2002, are nowhere to be found. I guess 10 years is long enough then?
The network is also officially going by the tagline “The Smart Place to Play” both on-air and online.
It’s not surprising that these changes are taking effect 22 days before Disney Junior launches as a 24/7 network, replacing SOAPnet. Nick Jr. is in about 74 million homes and has been doing considerably well in ratings. With kids age 2-11, Nick Jr. regularly ranks 4th place (behind only Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network) in total day. In primetime, they’re second – only behind Disney Channel. Total viewer-wise, Nick Jr. has even been beating Nickelodeon’s primetime network Nick@Nite.
Once SOAPnet turns over to Disney Junior on March 23, they will be available in about 71 million homes. Even with about a 3 million home difference, that’s certainly enough to make Nick Jr. worry some. Disney Junior’s programming block has been doing pretty well on Disney Channel in the mornings. When movies such as Toy Story, WALL-E and Monsters, Inc. air, the block explodes with ratings. The recent Jake and the Never Land Pirates primetime special scored over 3 million total viewers on Disney Channel in February. I’m sure Disney’s hoping those things will help the channel starting March 23.
Nick Jr.’s new tagline is also a way to tell parents – we care about educating preschoolers, Disney Junior doesn’t. It was Disney’s first intention to make their Disney Junior block and channel a place to have fun and learn, but not make it as much of an educational tool as Nickelodeon has done over the past decade or more.
You’ll never see SpongeBob on Nick Jr., but you’ll certainly see Disney’s big stars (like the movies mentioned above and more) on Disney Junior. That’s the big difference.
Here’s what Nick Jr. has to say about all the changes.