DISCOVERY KIDS AND NBC END PROGRAMMING AGREEMENT

Broadcast Network Mum on Plans for Saturday Morning Block

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Discovery Kids and NBC have parted ways at the end of their four-year agreement during which Discovery supplied three hours of Saturday programming to NBC, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

A Discovery spokeswoman said the parting was amicable and mutual. The partnership was launched in October 2002.

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Discovery will shift the staff previously dedicated to the NBC block to duties on Discovery Kids, the digital cable network it launched in the late 1990s in 20 million homes but has since grown its distribution to 43 million. Part of that growth can be attributed to the exposure the brand got on NBC.

While the agreement with NBC dictated that all Discovery Kids programming must premiere first on the broadcast network, now that programming will debut on Discovery Kids channel.

The Discovery Kids block never turned into a huge ratings success for NBC -- in February its Saturday morning ratings ranged from 0.5 to 0.7 for viewers 2-to-11, about a third of what the other three major broadcast networks were each getting. But it did prove a critical success, snaring 7 of NBC’s 20 Daytime Emmy nominations.

No word yet on what NBC’s plans are for its children’s programming. Each of the broadcast networks are required to air three hours of educational programming a week.

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