Bring Back Sprout

  • by: Maddie Fretz
  • recipient: NBCUniversal, Comcast, Frances Berwick, Deidre Brennan,

A PBS Kids 24-hour channel launched on September 6th, 1999, but didn't find success. In October 2004, PBS, HiT Entertainment, Sesame Workshop, and Comcast announced plans to launch a 24-hour cable channel and VOD service for preschoolers. Comcast announced the new channel would be named PBS Kids Sprout, after both PBS' then-soon-to-be-defunct channel, and a word used to grow something. The logo was designed by the company Primal Screen, which designs for certain children's networks.

Sprout launched on Comcast on-demand in April 2005, and featured many preschool shows produced and aired by its founders. Parents could pause, fast forward and rewind the shows so their children could enjoy favorite scenes as many times as they'd like. After months of preparation, the 24-hour channel officially launched on September 26, 2005, along with its own website ( Unlike its competitors, Sprout featured schedules based on the day, and featured hosted "programming blocks" in-between shows - these included Musical Mornings with Coo, Wiggly Waffle, The Sunny Side Up Show, The Let's Go Show, The Sprout Sharing Show, and The Good Night Show. Once Comcast acquired NBCUniversal in 2011, a deal was made for the company to acquire all its products by 2013, including Sprout. Apax Funds and Mattel acquired HiT and Sesame Workshop quit the channel in 2012. Finally, in November 2013, "PBS Kids" was dropped from the channel's screenbug.

Sprout received many viewers. Deidre Brennan of Treehouse TV became President of the channel in 2016, replacing Sandy Wax. In April 2017, Brennan announced her plans to relaunch Sprout as Universal Kids, which launched on September 9, 2017. There has been no word at this time. Sprout became a programming block airing from 3 to 6 on that Channel, but its name was removed in January 2018. Fans thought more bad things would happen to their beloved channel.

While there are many petitions on both and Facebook, I decided that since some Sprout fans only have Email addresses, that these wouldn't prove successful.

Not only that, but also, according to a website, ZOOM 1972, produced for PBS by WGBH Boston and helped inspire The Sunny Side Up Show as well as Sprout's other blocks, was going to get cancelled after its third season in 1974. Also that season, they asked Zoom fans to submit pictures of themselves to the show, like other content for the show. This proved succesful, and they decided to continue the show until it got put to bed in 1978. This petition will be the next best thing for NBCUniversal and Comcast to understand that many Sprout fans want to see it back, especially with those back-to-back Masha and the Bear marathons UniKids airs today.

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