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It’s ‘Go Time’ for Litton Entertainment

Litton Entertainment is expanding its reach in the kids’ entertainment/information programming market, adding another block to its existing three and extending its deal with ABC affiliates for several more years.

The new block, called Go Time!, will start airing in fall 2016 on CBS owned duopoly stations WLNY New York, KCAL Los Angeles, KTXA Dallas, WSBK Boston and WBFS Miami, as well as on stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Gray Television. Announcements of additional affiliates are pending, according to Litton.

“Go Time will feature programming that inspires young people and their families to be active, eat healthy and get involved,” says Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of Litton Entertainment.

Shows for the new block have yet to be determined, but they will all adhere to the theme of health, fitness and community. Litton has some 30 shows in development, says Litton COO Pete Sniderman. All of Litton’s kids E/I blocks are targeted at teens aged 13-16, and help stations fulfill the FCC’s requirement that stations air three hours of E/I programming each week.

“Teens are at an emotional state in their lives where they can be easily manipulated,” says Sniderman. “This audience needs positive influences in their lives.”

All of Litton’s E/I blocks program to a theme. That includes Litton’s Weekend Adventure, which started airing on ABC owned stations and affiliates in September 2011.

That block includes adventure series Jack Hanna’s Wild Countdown, Ocean Mysteries With Jeff Corwin, Born to Explore With Richard Wiese, Sea Rescue and The Wildlife Docs. Season-to-date, the block averages a 7.1 live-plus-same-day household number and 10.2 million viewers, according to ABC and Nielsen Media Research. Among the block’s target audience of people aged 12-17, Weekend Adventure averages a 0.7.

Litton also programs a weekend block for CBS owned stations and affiliates called CBS Dream Team… It’s Epic. That block includes series that feature subject-area experts: Lucky Dog, The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation With Mo Rocca, All in With Laila Ali and Game Changers With Kevin Frazier, who also coanchors CBS Television Distribution’s Entertainment Tonight.

“Litton’s Weekend Adventure features what’s going on outside and around you in the natural sciences,” says Sniderman. “CBS Dream Team is focused on leaders in different categories. It’s like a dream team of people if they were your high school teachers come to educate you on different subjects.”

Finally, last fall Litton launched a third block on CW affiliates called One Magnificent Morning that includes outdoor and nature programming: Calling Dr. Pol, Expedition Wild and Rock the Park, as well as acquired program Dog Whisperer With Cesar Millan.

Weekend Adventure was the first of Litton’s kids’ TV blocks aimed at teens, but it filled enough of a need in the market that other broadcasters became interested, says Sniderman.

“Station owners recognized that they had a need,” says Sniderman. “After we started providing this turnkey service for them, they felt like they could trust us in this area.”

Besides delivering high-quality programming in high-definition, Litton also employs a team of people who make sure that all of Litton’s E/I programs comply with FCC regulations as mandated by the Children’s Television Act.

“There’s a whole series of regulations that you have to adhere to when you are producing E/I programming, including documentation,” says Sniderman. “That we’re handling all of that is comforting for a TV station. Their license is the most valuable thing they have, more than even their brick-and-mortar operation.”

While TV stations have always been required to offer three hours per week of E/I programming, kids’ TV in general has changed drastically over the past decade or so with the availability first of 24-hour kids’ cable networks and then subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services that allow kids to watch episodes of their favorite shows whenever they want and as much as they want.

Litton also produces, through its Litton News Source division, the Consumer Alert News Network and partners with Consumers Union to produce Consumer Reports TV, which Litton distributes.

Paige Albiniak
Paige Albiniak

Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.