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Nickelodeon Buys Out Noggin; Enters Into Production Deal With Sesame Workshop

Nickelodeon has bought out the other 50 percent of educational network Noggin from joint venture partner Sesame Workshop, pending customary regulatory approvals. Financial details of the buyout were not disclosed. The channel will be operated and managed by Nickelodeon, with Noggin general manager Tom Ascheim continuing to oversee the networks day-to-day operations. Ascheim will report to Herb Scannell, president, Nickelodeon, TV Land and The New TNN. Noggin was launched on-air in early 1999 as a joint venture between Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop (formerly Children's Television Workshop) and is now seen in more than 25 million homes via cable, digital cable and satellite television. The channel will maintain its format of commercial-free preschool programming from 6:00 am - 6:00 pm followed by its tween-targeted block "The N" from 6:00 pm - 6:00 am. Noggin will also continue to operate its two Websites: www.noggin.com and www.the-n.com. On the heels of the buyout, Nickelodeon has entered into a multi-year agreement for the development of new original series for Noggin with Sesame Workshop. Noggins programming lineup will continue to feature the library of educational series from Sesame Workshop, including prior seasons of SESAME STREET, for three more years. PLAY WITH ME SESAME, the new original interactive program based on SESAME STREET, will continue to be produced and run exclusively on Noggin for seven years. Noggin will also continue to feature co-produced series from Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop as part of its regular programming lineup. These series include TINY PLANETS, a comic adventure series for children 3 6 years old. Commenting on the deal, Scannell said, "We are very proud of our relationship with Sesame Workshop in conceiving and launching Noggin, and we look forward to developing more original series for the network with them in the years to come. Noggin has already experienced tremendous creative growth with its fresh approach in developing original series such as A WALK IN YOUR SHOES, PLAY WITH ME SESAME and DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION to complement its award-winning library of programming from Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon. We look forward to continuing to build Noggin on its path to becoming a leading channel for kids and tweens."

Jerry Beck reviews TINY PLANETS and finds that it teaches big concepts to pre-schoolers in a completely charming way.

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