Noggin Channel For Kids Will Be Digital Network And Online Site

January 06, 1999|By Bruce Westbrook, New York Times News Service.

Empowered by rocketing ratings and a hit movie spin-off, Nickelodeon is teaming with the Children's Television Workshop to launch Noggin, the first 24-hour kids' "thinking channel," on Feb. 2.

Besides being offered on standard cable, Noggin will be both a digital network and an online site.

Being digital enables some cable systems to carry the show even though their standard lineup is full. Being online means the network can supplement shows with related interactive elements, seeking kids' participation.

"The goal is to make entertainment educational, rather than make education entertaining," said Dan Martinsen, a spokesman for Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon claims Noggin is one of the top new channels that cable operators nationwide are interested in carrying by the end of next year.

Noggin will feature original programs (not yet named) as well as such CTW and Nick Jr. shows as "Blue's Clues" and "Sesame Street." Such shows also will continue to air on their current channels.

The focus from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. will be preschoolers, shifting to kids 6-12 years old in the afternoon, with evening shows will be aimed at a more general audience.

Though Noggin is conceived as a cable-computer hybrid, Martinsen said it can be appreciated through either medium.