PBS Kids round-the-clock TV, online channel launches Monday

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — PBS is launching a round-the-clock children’s channel that will be available on member stations and digital platforms.

The free PBS Kids channel starting Monday is aimed at youngsters who are 2 to 6 and their families with educational programming including “Nature Cat” and “Bob the Builder,” PBS said. The network called it critical for kids in low-income households that have spotty Internet access or connect only via mobile devices.

But why 24-7 programming for children?

“Believe it or not, there are many children that are up at night,” PBS chief executive Paula Kerger told a TV critics’ meeting Sunday. “Many are in hospitals. And as we started talking about a service that we would build, we actually heard from caregivers who said, ‘You know, we are at a loss sometimes to figure out how we can keep children calm and entertained,’ and so we feel that it’s a great service.”

PBS said the channel will launch on 75 PBS licensees and is expected to reach 90 percent of U.S. TV households on 108 licensees by the year’s end. It will be available as a live stream on pbskids.org and on the free PBS KIDS Video App.

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