September 08, 2017
Universal Kids Acquires Bear Grylls Series Ahead of Relaunch (Exclusive)
 "We have great [shows] for the preschoolers, which is important, but we needed to grow up with the rest of the family," says GM Dierdre Brennan of rebranding Sprout.

Sprout has a new name — and a broader focus.

The preschool-targeted network is being relaunched as Universal Kids on Saturday, expanding its target audience to kids 2-12 and ramping up its slate consisting of animated shows from DreamWorks, unscripted originals and international hits.

The new schedule features content that is "unique and distinct in the market," general manager Deirdre Brennan says, noting the company did a great deal of research on kids and their interests. "We're not really offering the same choices. We're offering something to 2- to 12-year-olds that has a slightly different purpose — widening their eyes, opening their minds and celebrating many aspects of being a kid. We have great [shows] for the preschoolers, which is important, but we needed to grow up with the rest of the family."

The launch lineup includes several international acquisitions, including the series The Next Step, Nowhere Boys, The Deep, Masha & the Bear, Hank Zipzer and Little Lunch. Additionally, the channel has just confirmed two new series that will debut Saturday — Guinness World Records: Officially Amazing and Bear Grylls: Survival School.

Initially, the plan is to launch a schedule will include a mix of original unscripted series as well as acquisitions, with an eye toward premiering a scripted comedy or drama in about a year's time. (Brennan says the support of the various NBCUniversal divisions, from broadcast to cable to branding to news to film, has been "strong.")
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