Discovery Gets NBC Kids' Block

Looking to build its status in the burgeoning kids' market, Discovery
Networks U.S. will offer tween-targeted programming Saturday mornings on NBC as
part of a three-year deal reached between the two companies.

While terms were not disclosed, the deal is expected to net NBC about $6
million per year, sources close to the situation said.

Beginning next fall, Discovery will lease the Saturday-morning 10 a.m. to 1
p.m. block to air repurposed and original programming from its Discovery Kids
digital-cable service.

The block could be reduced to two-and-a-half hours if NBC renews its current
deal with the National Basketball Association and brings back NBA-oriented
weekly series Inside Stuff.

The deal will provide enormous exposure for Discovery Kids, which is in about
15 million households. 'This allows us to become a major player in the kids'
space,' Discovery Networks U.S. president Jonathan Rogers said.

Still unclear is how Discovery will program the block, but Discovery Kids
senior vice president and general manager Marjorie Kaplan said it will most
likely include current and originally developed programming targeting six-
through 11-year-olds.

Currently offering mostly reality-based adventure, science and
animal-oriented programming, the network is also looking to develop several
animated shows, although none would be created before the fourth quarter of

NBC West Coast president Scott Sassa said the network couldn't reach the
target teen audience through its primetime programming to help market and
promote its Saturday-morning schedule.

He added that he would have programmed the block with other content if not
for the Federal Communications Commission's network requirements for kids'

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.