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Discovery Kids Remakes Lineup

After announcing last week that it will disband its programming partnership with NBC, Discovery Kids is focusing with renewed vigor on developing shows for its own network.

The Discovery-owned cable channel is developing a crop of new shows for the fall and toying with new scheduling options now that it is not obliged to premiere shows on NBC.

Discovery Kids, distributed to about 45 million homes, is developing at least 20 new shows for the fall and winter, sticking to the science-based genre in which it specializes.

Included in the mix are half-hour animated shows Growing Up Creepie, about a middle school girl raised by bugs; half-hour animated Grossology, about a pair of kids who investigate situations too vile for adults to handle; and live-action/CGI series Dinosapien, about tweens who befriend a dinosaur. Discovery Kids will also debut episodes of returning series Endurance and Tutenstein.

The network, which expects that it will become rated by Nielsen by the end of 2007, has programmed NBC's Saturday-morning kids block since 2002.

The two networks announced in March that they had mutually agreed to not renew their contract for Discovery Kids on NBC when it comes due in September.

Says Discovery Kids Executive VP and General Manager Marjorie Kaplan, “Getting on NBC allowed us to leapfrog ourselves to another level. It was a really exciting opportunity, but strategically, we have different things we're trying to accomplish, and it made much more sense from our perspective to focus on our own real estate.”

Discovery Kids will likely strip its new shows, targeted to kids 6-11, something it hasn't done under the NBC partnership, which required a percentage of new Discovery Kids' shows to premiere in the Saturday-morning block on NBC.

Creepie, for example, will debut in the fall on Discovery Kids, but the network will tease it with a programming stunt this summer, as well as with exclusive content online.