In the first major move from the Viacom/CBS merger, Viacom-owned Nickelodeon has verified it will program CBS's Saturday morning children's schedule with six half-hour series debuting Saturday, Sept. 16, 2000. The deal was rumored in February as part of the then pending Viacom and CBS merger [2/22/00]. CBS's Saturday morning lineup will feature new and existing series from the "Nick Jr." block, which features programs designed specifically to entertain and educate young viewers. CBS's 2000-2001 children's lineup, entitled "Nick Jr. on CBS," will feature BLUE'S CLUES, LITTLE BILL, LITTLE BEAR, FRANKLIN, KIPPER and the new series DORA THE EXPLORER. As part of the three year pact, CBSs Saturday mornings will be promoted Monday through Friday on "Nick Jr." which, in turn, will receive promotion from CBS. In addition, CBS Productions will partner with Nickelodeon in the development of new series. "We are thrilled to be partners with the most successful and recognizable brand name in children's programming," said Nancy Tellem, president, CBS Entertainment. "We look forward to bringing Nick Jr.'s vast array of imaginative programming to CBS affiliates and to our Saturday morning audience. This is truly a mutually beneficial agreement. It will significantly enhance the quality of our children's programming on Saturday morning while Nickelodeon can further promote its terrific franchise on network television." Herb Scannell, president, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite and TV Land added, "Expanding the Nick Jr. brand to a sixth day on the CBS Television Network will provide kids and parents with an alternative choice in Saturday morning television that is unique in today's landscape, and fulfills all FCC educational TV requirements with shows that have proven educational value. CBS signifies quality, and the characters and shows featured on Nick Jr. have emerged as a ground breaking force in kids TV over the past five years. This is a great combination and powerful platform for the continued growth of the Nick Jr. brand."