Discovery Kids Cuts NBC Cord

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Dissolving a four-year distribution marriage, Discovery Kids and NBC are getting divorced, reducing the amount of kids’ content from basic-cable channels getting wider viewing on big broadcast platforms.

Come fall, Discovery Kids will pull tween-targeted shows such as Flight 29 Down and Darcy’s Wild Life from NBC’s Saturday morning lineup. Instead it will focus on developing new original fare for its Discovery Kids channel, distributed to 43 million homes.

Discovery has been leasing time from the broadcaster and selling ads in the programming, which airs during 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. block on Saturdays.

Sources placed the value of the time buy at around $6 million annually.

“The partnership provided great brand exposure for us and a great foundation for the group,” Discovery spokeswoman Catherine Frymark said, declining to comment on the financial terms. An NBC representative did not return phone calls.

CBS recently signed a five-year deal with DIC Entertainment Corp. to present a branded kids’ block on Saturday mornings, beginning next fall, supplanting the “Nick Jr. on CBS” block that had aired on the network since 2000.

Nickelodeon, which had supplied the Saturday-morning fare, is now part of Viacom Inc. and CBS is a separate company, following the January split of Viacom and CBS.

But cable will continue to have a broadcast presence on Saturday mornings this fall, as Disney Channel fare will appear on the ABC Kids block. And Cartoon Network programming could be part of The CW, the union of The WB and UPN, which will continue to present kids programming in that daypart.