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Noggin to Launch Tween Programming Block

Commercial-free digital network Noggin will undergo an April facelift that will effectively split the network into two dayparts, targeting preschoolers and tweens, respectively.

Much like Nickelodeon — which stamps its late-night programming with the Nick at Nite brand — Noggin will call its tween-targeted 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. block The N.

The network's expanded 12-hour preschool block, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., will continue to carry the Noggin name, said Noggin/The N general manager Tom Ascheim.

Both blocks will feature new, original programming, as well as separate Web sites. And both will maintain true to Noggin's educational bent while entertaining and engaging viewers, said Ascheim.

The move broadens the target audience for the Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop-owned Noggin from 2-to-10-year-olds to include the burgeoning 9-to-14-year-old tween demographic.

Other networks have also set their sights on tweens, including Disney Channel, ABC Family and Nickelodeon. But none of those outlets provide real-life, educational-based shows that talk directly to the audience, said Ascheim.

"We saw a void in the marketplace for meaningful, educational programming for tweens," he said. "That age group is reaching puberty, and a result, experiences changes both from within and without, but have few outlets to help them understand those changes.

"The N will offer true-to-life programming that speaks directly to tweens and helps them navigate through and figure out their lives."

On Monday nights, The N will bow original episodes of the network's marquee tween series, including Degrassi: The Next Generation, Ascheim said. Noggin will air 28 episodes of the Canadian import — based on the 1980s series Degrassi Junior High
— which follows the trials and tribulations of several junior high school kids.

Also new to the network is 24Seven
, a U.K.-produced drama that looks at teenagers living at a boarding school. Ascheim said both the 26-episode 24Seven
and Degrassi
deal with such weighty issues as sex, alcohol and drug abuse in an informative, non-exploitative and non-preachy manner that the network hopes tweens will identify with.

Other shows on The N include A Walk In Your Shoes, Being Eve
and the off-Nickelodeon shows Clarissa Explains It All
and The Adventures of Pete and Pete.
For the preschool set, Noggin will debut Play With Me Sesame, an originally produced half-hour interactive show featuring Sesame Street
characters Ernie, Bert, Grover and Prairie Dawn. Noggin, which will roll out the first 30 episodes of Play with Me Sesame,
will also serve up newly created Play With Me Sesame
content on

Other programs to air within the Noggin pre-school block are Sesame Street
and the Nickelodeon shows Blue's Clues, Franklin, Kipper, Maisy and Little Bear.

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.