Press Release

                                 

THOMAS & FRIENDS JOINS PBS KIDS’ WEEKDAY SCHEDULE

Top-Rated Series to Air Monday-Friday Beginning in October

Miami, FL, May 15, 2013 – Today at PBS’ Annual Meeting with its member stations, PBS KIDS announced that THOMAS & FRIENDS will move to its daily schedule starting on October 7, 2013 (check local listings). This will move THOMAS & FRIENDS from weekend syndication to a national distribution, where its coverage will reach over 95 million households each month.* THOMAS & FRIENDS is produced by HIT Entertainment, in association with THIRTEEN for WNET.

In addition, a dedicated THOMAS & FRIENDS site will be added to award-winning PBSKIDS.org, which averages over 13 million unique visitors and 210 million video streams per month (Google Analytics Event Tracking Jan-Mar 2013). Beginning in August, THOMAS & FRIENDS will also be featured on the PBS KIDS online video player and the PBS KIDS Video App. Accompanying the schedule move will be an all-new season of CG-animated episodes of THOMAS & FRIENDS and a national broadcast of the upcoming 60-minute movie special, “King of the Railway.”

“We are excited to welcome THOMAS & FRIENDS to our weekday schedule and to bring all new adventures grounded in the series’ social-emotional curriculum to children across America,” said Lesli Rotenberg, General Manager, Children’s Programming, PBS. “THOMAS & FRIENDS will join other PBS KIDS favorites, including CURIOUS GEORGE, THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT!, DINOSAUR TRAIN and SUPER WHY!, as part of our children’s programming lineup, which is designed to use the power of media to help kids build key skills for success in school and in life.”

“From its roots in publishing when the Rev. W. Awdry wrote The Railway Series, THOMAS & FRIENDS has always been brought to life in the hearts and imaginations of preschoolers with great characters and stories. We are so pleased to partner with PBS KIDS to bring the adventures of Thomas and his engine friends to nearly every U.S. household five days a week,” said Claudia Scott-Hansen, Group Director, Broadcast Americas, HIT Entertainment. “The popularity of the THOMAS & FRIENDS series is at an all-time high, and we expect this move to continue the momentum of the brand.”

The move to the national feed follows a successful ratings year for the preschool television series, with THOMAS & FRIENDS rating in the top five most-watched preschool shows since August 2012.** THOMAS & FRIENDS also experienced a year-on-year kids 2-5 audience increase of 32 percent in January 2013, as well as a 55 percent audience increase from two years ago (January 2011 to January 2013).** PBS KIDS is home to many of the top-rated preschool programs, including CURIOUS GEORGE, THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! and DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD.

For air times of THOMAS & FRIENDS episodes, viewers can check their local listings.

*Source: PBS Research, Carriage 2.0 database, 4Q12 monthly average US coverage

**Source: PBS Top Rated Kids Programs and Monthly Highlights Report. NPower, Live+7 Days national ratings for PBS and select competitive cable networks, for 12/27/2010 - 01/30/2011, 12/26/2011 - 1/29/2012, 07/30/2012 - 08/26/2012 to 2/25/2013 - 3/31/2013. Telecasts are accumulated across the entire week based on unique program names only, with a minimum duration of 15 minutes and four or more telecasts per month required for inclusion.

About PBS KIDS

PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online, mobile and community-based programs. Kidscreen- and Webby-award winning pbskids.org provides engaging interactive content, including the PBS KIDS video player, now offering free streaming video accessible on computer- and mobile-device-based browsers. For more information on specific PBS KIDS content supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit pbs.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.

About HIT Entertainment

HIT Entertainment is one of the world’s leading preschool entertainment companies, specializing in building powerful brands based on engaging stories. HIT Entertainment’s world-class portfolio includes THOMAS & FRIENDS®, Mike the Knight™, Fireman Sam®, Bob the Builder, Barney®, Angelina Ballerina®, Pingu® and Rainbow Magic®.

HIT Entertainment excels at creating and building globally successful brands which capture the hearts and imaginations of preschoolers and their families. This is achieved through exceptional storytelling in multiple formats, enhanced by creating high-quality character-based products and experiences with best-in-class partners. HIT Entertainment’s lines of business span television and home entertainment production, content distribution, digital media, publishing, consumer products and live events and attractions. HIT Entertainment is a division of Fisher-Price and has operations in the UK, U.S., Canada, Hong Kong and Japan. For more information, visit www.hitentertainment.com.

About WNET
In 2013, WNET is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THIRTEEN, New York’s flagship public media provider. As the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, Need to Know, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. A pioneer in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJ Today and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.

The current season of THOMAS & FRIENDS series is sponsored by Orajel, the maker of the ARM & HAMMER™ Spinbrush™, and the Hard Rock All-Inclusive Experience in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Punta Cana.   ©2013 Gullane (Thomas) Limited.

Contacts

Maria Vera, PBS KIDS Publicity, 703.739.3225, mvera@pbs.org
Noelle Dong, HIT Entertainment PR, 646.467.5336, ndong@hitentertainment.com

                                 
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