Nick Jr. is a programming block on the Nickelodeon television channel, seen on Nickelodeon weekday mornings. It is aimed at young children aged two to seven. It is owned by MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International.
Before 1988, many shows that might be associated with a preschool audience were broadcast on Nickelodeon, but were not specifically distinguished in their own programming block. Most preschool programs were shown roughly between the hours of 7 AM and 3 PM Eastern, which approximates the hours in which older children might be in school.
From the morning of January 4, 1988, onwards, the Nick Jr. brand was in place and in use, with an approximate six-hour portion of the Nickelodeon broadcast day, at 8:30am – 2:30pm every weekday. The logo for the new Nick Jr. brand became a distinctive feature for the block. At first, the Nick Jr. logo was orange for 'Nick' and blue for 'Jr.'. The logo varied in the shape or species (e.g. two stars, two trains, two trees, two robots, two balls, two castles, two pigs, two cows, two horses, two brothers, two cats, two dogs, two dinosaurs (India only), two bunnies, two sisters). Most of Nick Jr.'s network IDs during this period were produced by VideoWorks Inc. and Olive Jar Animation. Until July 1990, a former staple of the Nickelodeon lineup, Pinwheel was featured, originally for three hours (two at the beginning and one at noon), then for one hour during spring-summer 1989. When Eureeka's Castle premiered in September 1989, Pinwheel was split into two separate half hours in the morning and afternoon, where it remained until July 1990. Much of the remaining time in the lineup, particularly early in this time period, was devoted to animated series, many of which were Japanese or of foreign origin (David the Gnome, The Elephant Show, Noozles, Doctor Snuggles, Adventures of the Little Koala, The Little Bits, Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics, Maya the Bee, Maple Town, Curious George, and Muppet Babies). Programming of both live action and puppeted preschool programming also appeared during this time.
On April 5, 1993, Nick Jr. premiered a new series, Cappelli & Company, and introduced its first re-brand in five years, with promotional elements featuring an orange figure with the word 'NICK' it resembling a parent and a blue figure with the word 'JR,' in it resembling a child doing activities. The promos and bumpers introduced a new female announcer (who was replaced by a different female announcer in 1994, 1998 and 2003) and often featured kids playing near the Nick Jr. logo. Several Nick Jr. promos and bumpers carried the slogan 'Play To Learn' and a theme song with the slogan sung to the "London Bridge" melody. Due to competition from PBS' children's programming and TLC's Ready Set Learn block, Nickelodeon decided to spend $30 million on revamping their Nick Jr. block in 1994.
On September 5, 1994, Nick Jr. re-branded and introduced Face, an animated host that introduced, and wrapped up shows, and smaller variety pieces. In the context of his segments, Face was capable of materializing objects such as an astronaut, a robot, a clown, a window, a traffic light, stars, even wood, and of creating any number of foley sound effects including a signature three note 'trumpet' noise always following the name "Nick Jr.". Face was voiced by Chris Phillips, who was also one of Nickelodeon's continuity announcers. More than 400 Face promos were created and produced by Nick Digital from 1994–1996 and 1999–2003, and later at Data Motion Arts from 1996–1999, and finally at Vee-Pee Cartoons from 2003–2004. From this point forward, he changed colors, moods, and feelings, and during the fall of 1994, Nick Jr. introduced two new original series; Gullah Gullah Island and Allegra's Window.
On September 8, 1996, the first episode of Blue's Clues premiered in prime-time on Nickelodeon, then debuted on the Nick Jr. block the next day. Nick Jr. also premiered four new interstitial series and received a new re-brand, produced by Pittard Sullivan. Blue's Clues quickly dethroned Gullah Gullah Island as Nick Jr.'s most popular series; Nick Jr. re-branded again in 1998. In 1999 and 2000, Nick Jr. removed most of its older series and replaced them with newer series such as Franklin, Kipper, Maisy, Little Bill, and Dora the Explorer. Bob the Builder premiered on January 15, 2001, while Oswald premiered on August 20; on September 3, Nick Jr. received a new re-brand produced by Adams Morioka (who had previously re-branded Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite). On August 29, 2003, most of Nick Jr.'s older interstitial series and the original Face segments ended their 8-year run.
On September 2, 2003, Nick Jr. re-branded and introduced more than a dozen new logos. Face was given a new look, which added eyebrows and a chin and straightened the eyes by inverting their colors from white dots on black eyes to black, larger dots on white eyes. Also, his voice turned into a D.J. rapper-like voice. A new interstitial series called Nick Jr. Play Along debuted, which were hosted by two fun, live-action hosts – Robin (played by actress Hillary Hawkins) and Zack (played by actor Travis Guba). Alongside Robin and Zack were four sock puppets called the Feetbeats. On October 8, 2004, the Nick Jr. Play Along interstitials and the new Face segments ended their 1-year run.
There is a CD with music from Nick Jr. shows available titled Dance and Sing: The Best of Nick Jr.
On October 11, 2004, Nick Jr. introduced a new host, Piper O'Possum, and a new slogan, "Nick Jr! We Love to Play!". Nick Jr.'s female announcer was replaced with Chris Phillips and Kobie Powell. NickJr.com had an on-screen bug on TV to match up with the Nick.com on-screen bug from 2004-2006. On September 7, 2007, the Piper O'Possum segments ended their 2-year run at 2:00 pm ET.
On September 10, 2007, Nick Jr. introduced new graphics, and music. This saw the introduction of Nick Jr.'s Playdate which indicates preschoolers to play and learn with Nick Jr. characters. The first program ever aired on the relaunched Nick Jr. was Dora the Explorer. The block's bumpers featured the Nick Jr. logo in the form of two stuffed animals, animated in stop-motion. This marks the first time that Nick Jr. had no host since 1994. Nick Jr. also stopped airing interstitial series and increased the amount of commercials it aired. The block was extended to 8:30 am to 2:00 pm in the spring of 2008. The block ended on January 30, 2009; Yo Gabba Gabba! was the last show to air on the block.
- → Main article: Nick Jr. (TV channel)
Nickelodeon dropped the Nick Jr. name from its morning block in Noggin's 10th anniversary (February 2, 2009). Nick Jr. programs continue to air in that slot, but has the Nick branding replacing the Nick Jr. branding. The last program was Nickelodeon dropped the Nick Jr. name from its morning block in Noggin's 10th anniversary (February 2, 2009). Nick Jr. programs continue to air in that slot, but has the Nick branding replacing the Nick Jr. branding. The last program was 'Little Bear'.
On September 28, 2009, Noggin became Nick Jr. Also, it had the "It's Like Preschool On TV" slogan.
On May 5, 2014, Nickelodeon began using the "Nick Jr." name in advertisements to refer to both the network and block. When aired on the Nick Jr. channel, commercials for programs broadcast on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block usually end with "Nick Jr. over on Nickelodeon" to differentiate the titles.
On June 10, 2015, the website was completely redesigned to match up with the Nick Jr. app.
On May 21, 2018, Nickelodeon rebranded the Nick Jr. block, and the Nick Jr. channel, which includes new Nick Jr. bumpers, and curriculum boards.
Cross-programming with other networks
Starting in the 1990’s, Nick Jr. programs, (alongsides those of Nickelodeon’s) have been airing on the AFN network, and then later, AFN Family. Some of Nick Jr.’s older programs have been in reruns to the present, such as Blue's Clues, and Go, Diego, Go!, along-sides delayed premieres of newer Nick Jr. programs, such as Paw Patrol, and Butterbean's Café.
From 2000 to 2002 and from 2004 to 2006, Nick Jr. also ran a Saturday morning children's block for CBS entitled Nick Jr. on CBS, featuring shows from the programming block. Between 2002 and 2004, it was part of the general Nick on CBS block, which also included programming from the main Nickelodeon channel. The block was replaced September 16 2006, when the DiC-programmed KOL Secret Slumber Party on CBS began.
Until the fall of 2006, Spanish language US network Telemundo offered Nick Jr. programming in Spanish on Saturday and Sunday mornings, as part of the Nickelodeon en Telemundo block, which featured such shows as Rugrats and Dora the Explorer. In the fall of 2006, Nick programming was replaced with a Spanish-language version of NBC/Ion Television's qubo block.
For a brief time in summer 2010, Tr3s (a sister network to Nickelodeon) aired a daily block of Spanish-dubbed Nick Jr. programs under the name Tr3s Jr. Pistas de Blue (episodes from the Steve Burns era of Blue's Clues) and Wonder Pets were featured in the block.
Face made an appearance during the 2012 New Year edition of The '90s Are All That, TeenNick 's 1990s-oriented late night block. Face's appearances consisted of out-of-context clips that make him appear to be drunk or making adult comments (e.g. Yeah, grow a pair!). Face also appeared in an Easter promo for The Splat in 2016.