Discovery’s Ready, Set, Learn! block is undergoing a makeover in preparation for a relaunch that’s set for February 24, 2003. As far as cosmetic changes go, the three-hour preschool block will get a new on-air puppet host named Little Penguin, who will be featured on the new logo and in between show segments for roughly eight minutes out of every half hour.
New additions to the programming schedule will include Save-Ums, a hot CGI series from Toronto, Canada-based Decode that’s ripe with licensing potential, as well as a natural science show called Peep from PBS’s Boston, Massachusetts affiliate WGBH. The 2-D series–hosted by Peep the chick, Quack the duck and Chirp the robin–will tap into early concepts of nature and observation.
Rounding out the Ready, Set, Learn! lineup will be itsy bitsy’s Nini’s Treehouse, ToddWorld (a series based on the books of L.A. author Todd Parr that’s being developed by Jem Entertainment and Imaginease Entertainment) and Jim Henson’s Animal Jam, which introduces new Henson characters Edie (a zebra) and Waffle (a monkey who thinks he’s a cowboy). The cast throws a big dance party each ep at which kids watch live-action wilderness footage and then imitate the animal movements to music.
Discovery Kids VP and GM Marjorie Kaplan also wants to develop original, curriculum-based properties in-house, so an advisory board of early childhood development specialists has been set up to start working on new projects.
The Ready, Set, Learn! block will continue to air weekdays between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. on The Learning Channel and between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m. (the three-hour block repeats at 9 a.m.) on Discovery Kids.