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Cartoon Raises Bar on Kids TV

Cartoon Network will put parent-targeted subtitles, dubbed "Mommy Bars," on its new Tickle U preschool block of shows as part of a media curriculum pitching humor as an aid to childhood development.

Armed with Harris Poll research finding that the vast majority of parents think humor is essential to their kids' quality of life and development, cable net Cartoon will launch the block Aug. 22 weekdays at 9-11 a.m.

Cartoon bills the subtitles as aids to co-viewing by parents and children, but in addition to providing "research on humor and preschoolers packaged as fun commentary for the adults,"  the subtitles will also provide information on "cues for show content and length," so those co-viewing moms will know how much time they have to grab a cup of coffee, put in a load of laundry, or do something other than co-view.

That baby-sitting function was (not surprisingly) courtesy of talks with moms, said a Cartoon spokesman, who also said Cartoon will submit the block as meeting FCC standards for kid-friendly (educational/informational) programming..

Tickle U shows include Peppa Pig, Yoko! Jakamoko! Toto!, and the baby boomer classic, Gerald McBoing Boing.