Saturday, March 3, 2012

Are music-oriented preschool shows taking a backseat on new Nick Jr.?


Thursday after picking up my three-year-old from preschool we got home and turned on the TV only to find that his favorite show, the music-driven “Pufnstuf”-style Nick Jr. series “Yo Gabba Gabba,” was not on. No big deal usually. The toddler-geared Nickelodeon network shuffles its schedule every few months. Yet scrolling through the guide “Yo Gabba Gabba” (pictured above on its live tour in Charlotte in October) was nowhere to be found. Not at 4:30 or 6 or the 10/10:30 timeslot it’s occupied since he was born. Not until midnight - long after our little buddy has gone to sleep. While the initial change is upsetting, it’s not that big of a deal. We have DVDs, DVR, and a few episodes OnDemand each month. However the changes to Nick Jr. - sparked no doubt by the impending March 23 premier of Disney’s preschool oriented competitor Disney Junior, which replaces SoapNet - go much deeper than Gabbaland mysteriously relocating like “Lost” island.

While “The Fresh Beat Band” (which my kids do like) runs during daytime, other programs that focus on music are either relegated to midnight or, like “Jack’s Big Music Show,” are completely off the schedule. Animated series such as “Bubble Guppies” and “The Backyardigans” do have songs, but unlike “YGG” and “Jack’s” they don’t feature real (aka human) artists. And the artists these shows feature are an eclectic group. “Jack’s,” which other parents have mentioned to me as a favorite, has featured Andrew Bird, Angelique Kidjo, and Laurie Berkner. “Yo Gabba Gabba” has welcomed everyone from Ladytron to Weezer to the Roots while focusing heavily on lesser known artists like Chairlift or Blitzen Trapper (I’ve googled a few bands I discovered there). Instead of shows like these, Nick Jr.’s daytime hours now rely heavily on double doses of cartoons such as “Dora the Explorer,” “Go, Diego, Go” and “Team Umizoomi,” while old animated favorites like “The Wonder Pets” (which our younger child is fond of) and “Wow Wow Wubbzy” are banished to the wee wee hours. It’s not that I mind some of these shows (except “Olivia,” which drives me bananas), but they aren’t ones my kids are that interested in and they certainly aren’t ones I want to watch over whatever’s going to be playing on Mickey’s new neighbor. They’re generally loud and colorful, not chill and calm (favorable attributes I’d think) like “Little Bill” or “Little Bear.” This article further explains the scheduling and format changes.

The biggest huff online is over what appears to be the retirement of Moose and Zee, characters that served as the network’s hosts and appeared in several educational and musical shorts in place of advertisements. Moose and Zee’s songs are often what small children respond to before paying any attention to the shows. A post on Nick Jr.’s website which breaks down the changes addresses their absence vaguely stating that the animated animal duo is focusing “on new plans of their own.” Parents can hope that means they aren’t gone for good. A couple of petitions have popped up online since their disappearance Thursday demanding their safe return.

Children’s programming may seem like a ridiculous thing to squabble about when doctors recommend limited TV viewing for small children, but in reality you can’t read to your child 24-7. At some point the dishes have to get done and that blog has to get updated. Music is also obviously a big part of our lives. I’ve made our sons playlists since birth and have kept journals about my children’s listening habits since before they were born so they can see what they were listening to and if or how it influences their listening habits as teenagers and adults. Music videos were a big part of my childhood. My mother’s generation watched “American Bandstand.” We had MTV and “Night Tracks.” But today’s videos are rarely kid-friendly. For every cool “OK Go” clip there’s plenty of pole dancing and scantily clad booty shaking.

The only good thing I can see coming from the switch at Nick Jr. is less TV viewing overall. Between the cancellation of two ABC soaps and the new Nick Jr. schedule the only reason I turn on my TV before 8 p.m. remains “General Hospital.” I hope Nick Jr. will shake up its schedule again or release the next season of “Yo Gabba Gabba” on Nickelodeon or DVD soon. IMDB lists 13 new episodes for Season 4 (some fun titles too) and actress Busy Phillips (“Cougar Town”) tweeted a photo when she and Thomas Lennon filmed an as yet unaired episode last year. So viewers know new episodes exist and now we need new “Gabba” more than ever. 


UPDATE: As of the week of March 21, it looks like Nick Jr. is shaking up its schedule bringing back "Yo Gabba Gabba," "Wow Wow Wubbzy," and "Pocoyo" during the day and backing off the constant hour-long blocks of other shows. Still no Moose or Zee. 

10 comments:

  1. its all on netflix 24/7 so why the worry?

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  2. Netflix is a waste of money. Try Amazon....

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  3. If you like the music on JBMS, you should purchase the Plaza Family Band CDs for your children. Musicians that are both real people and local. Also, the proceeds benefit the Plaza Presbyterian Preschool in Plaza-Midwood. Call the preschool to pick up a copy.

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  4. unfortunately its not all on netflix (who people will recall had a similar #PRFAIL not too long ago when they decided their pockets were more important than customer loyalty)

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  5. I hate Nick Jr. new changes. Without the music we are not interested. YGG is our favorite show. We dont care for DoraDiego. Too loud.

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  6. it features a list of the most well-liked tracks, blogged bands and accepted searches of the last three days.cheap yo gabba gabba tickets It enables users to play the music straight from the browser. But it does not list blogs whose writers or editors are involved in the music business or connected public relations commerce.

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  7. (: Pa-pied show YGG one of the famous show... Children like this show, Funny and amazing play in the world.

    CD Jackets Printing

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  8. I was looking for something 'new' for my daughter to watch that was music oriented because Gabba has new episode like once every 6 months or something these days! I just discovered Jack's Big Music Show and now, a week later, its gone completely. My 2 year old loved it instantly and so did I. Really sad about that.

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  9. it Really Stinks,.JBMS, not only entertained with music, but also taught about friendship and other things that shows are.not doing anymore. more FRIENDSHIP SHOWS MEANS NO BULLYING!!!!! R.D

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