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Thomas & Friends logo 2009.png

Thomas & Friends (previously known as Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends) is a children's television series distributed by Mattel Television. It is based on the Railway Series by the Reverend W. Awdry and was created by Britt Allcroft.

In the United States, Nickelodeon and the Nick Jr. Channel aired Thomas & Friends from late 2017 to 2019. In early 2020, Mattel announced that the show would move to Netflix,[1] officially ending its short run on Nickelodeon.

Synopsis

Thomas & Friends is a television series mainly based around railway engines that live on the Island of Sodor. The show is mainly about the title character, Thomas, a cheeky little blue tank engine with six small wheels, a short stumpy funnel, a short stumpy boiler, and a short stumpy dome. Thomas & Friends takes place on the standard gauge North Western Railway, the narrow gauge Skarloey Railway, and the 15-inch gauge Arlesdale Railway. The head of the North Western Railway is Sir Topham Hatt, affectionately nicknamed "The Fat Controller" by the engines and staff, the Skarloey Railway is operated by Mr. Percival, "The Thin Controller," and the Arlesdale Railway is operated by Fergus Duncan, "The Small Controller."

History with Nickelodeon

Thomas & Friends' history with Nickelodeon dates back to 1999, when the series began airing on Nick Jr. in the UK. In the 2000s, the series was also airing on Nick Jr. Too in the UK. The series aired on Nick Jr. in the UK until 2017, when Nick UK's rights to air the program expired.

In the US, the second and third seasons of Thomas & Friends' American spin-off series, Shining Time Station, aired on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr. block from June-August of 2000 to promote the franchise's theatrical film, Thomas and the Magic Railroad. After Shining Time Station stopped airing reruns on the Nick Jr. block on August 11, 2000, the Thomas & Friends franchise was not seen again on Nickelodeon networks in the US until December 15, 2017, when holiday episodes from the 20th and 21st seasons of Thomas & Friends were aired on Nickelodeon and the Nick Jr. Channel for a limited time.

In January 2018, after the contract to air the series on Thomas' previous US broacaster PBS expired, it was announced by Mattel (the owners of the Thomas & Friends brand) that Nickelodeon would be the new US broadcast home for Thomas & Friends starting from March 2018. From March 12, 2018 until December 30, 2019, Nickelodeon and the Nick Jr. Channel aired episodes and specials of the series' 19th-23rd seasons (Seasons 21, 22, and 23 of which were premiered on Nick's networks in the US).

In January 2020, Mattel announced that Thomas & Friends episodes and specials would no longer be available on Nickelodeon or Nick Jr. in the US, and not long afterwards, the series was moved to Netflix in March 2020. In 2021, it was announced that Thomas would move channels once again, with Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go! airing on Cartoon Network's "Cartoonito" block.[2]

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