Alert the P-Pals! (No, not those alleged pee pals.) PBS is launching a 24/7 kids network tomorrow (January 16), as the youngling wing of the Arthur enabling public broadcaster spins off into its own entity.
This inspired PBS mutation is being provided as a free service focused on educational programming (no cockfighting here!) and is designed to be “available to all children and caregivers on a platform and at a time that works for them, including primetime, weekends and other out-of-school times when they are most likely to tune in.” In a strange new world where Sesame Street is a second run property for PBS, added exposure and access is nothing to sneeze at. According to PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger, their channel is an “essential” one.
“By offering PBS KIDS programming 24/7, PBS stations will extend the reach and impact that they already have in their communities, where they provide essential services for families,” said Kerger. “With the launch of the multi-platform 24/7 PBS KIDS channel, all of America’s children will be able to access our trusted educational content anywhere, anytime and through any device. As the only free national 24/7 kids’ TV service in the U.S., the PBS KIDS channel will be a game changer for all families – especially our nation’s most underserved, many of whom do not attend preschool and rely solely on over-the-air television for media content.”
Airing on member stations and digital streaming, PBS Kids is also trumpeting a “first-of-its kind integrated games feature” set to emerge later in 2017. Additionally, starting on April 21, the channel will introduce “PBS Kids Family Night.” This programming block promises “movie specials or themed programming every Friday from 7 to 9 pm” and sounds like a sensible course of action for the family-oriented new channel. If a Ghostwriter reboot mysteriously appears on PBS Kids, we won’t be mad. Just saying.