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Universal Kids (formerly PBS Kids Sprout and Sprout; stylized as UNIVERSAL KiDS) is an American children’s television channel owned by the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group division of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The channel was launched on September 26, 2005.
The network was first launched as a joint venture between PBS, Comcast, Sesame Workshop, and HIT Entertainment devoted to children’s television programming aimed at a preschool audience. Following Comcast’s purchase of NBCUniversal, the company gradually bought out the remaining owners’ shares in the channel, reaching full ownership in 2013. The network’s operations were subsequently relocated from Philadelphia to New York City, and the “PBS Kids” name was dropped from its branding.
On September 9, 2017, the network re-launched as Universal Kids (derived from sister film studio Universal Pictures), and began to devote its evening and primetime lineup to programming aiming youths aged 8–12—including programs from the library of recently-acquired DreamWorks Animation, imported series from Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and unscripted programming (including game shows, and youth spin-offs of reality series from its sister networks, such as American Ninja Warrior and Top Chef). Universal Kids continues to air a block of preschool programming during its daytime schedule.
As of January 2016, the channel was available to approximately 56 million American pay television households (48.2% of households with television) in the United States (when it was still primarily known as Sprout).