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Qubo (/ˈkjuːb/ kew-boh) is an American digital broadcast and pay television channel, video on demand service and the name for block of children's programming on Ion Television; it was founded by QUBO Venture, LLC, a joint venture between Ion Media Networks, the Nelvana subsidiary of Corus EntertainmentScholastic Corporation, and DreamWorks Classics. It is now owned wholly by Ion Media Networks.[1]

The endeavor operates multiple services under the Qubo branding, including programming blocks in English. The initial blocks, which aired on Saturday mornings, made their debut on September 9, 2006 on NBC and Telemundo (whose corporate parent NBCUniversal was a former partner in Qubo); the NBC block ended on June 30, 2012, followed by the Telemundo block one day later on July 1, 2012, with both being replaced the following weekend by NBC Kids and MiTelemundo.

History

On May 8, 2006, Ion Media NetworksNBCUniversalCorus Entertainment's Nelvana subsidiary, Scholastic Corporation, and Classic Media (now DreamWorks Classics) announced plans to launch a new children's entertainment endeavor spread across all media platforms, including video-on-demand on digital cable and an interactive webpage. Originally announced under the name "Smart Place for Kids", the official name "Qubo" was announced in August 2006.[2] The name "Qubo" was chosen for the platform due to its "fun" sound and marketability in both English and Spanish.[3] Each owner contributed shows to the network.

The primary goal for Qubo is to "provide quality, entertaining children's programming in a safe environment." The endeavor utilizes Ion's digital broadcast outlets, the educational, literary, and creative assets of Scholastic, the acquisition duties of Classic Media, and the combined content libraries and production facilities of Nelvana; NBCUniversal, which dropped out of the venture in 2012, also provided Qubo-branded weekend morning blocks on NBC and Telemundo. Qubo's Saturday morning block made its debut on NBC and Telemundo on September 9, 2006 (replacing the Discovery Kids block on NBC). This was followed by the Qubo block repeating on Ion Television each Friday, beginning on September 15, 2006, and was later followed by the launch of a digital broadcast network on January 8, 2007 that is carried on the digital subchannels of Ion Television affiliates.[4]

Initially, religious content was edited out of the original VeggieTales broadcasts by request of NBC's standards and practicesdepartment.[5] The removal drew criticism from the conservative watchdog group Parents Television Council, which complained to NBC.[6] NBC replied that the editing conformed to the network's broadcast standards "not to advocate any one religious point of view." VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer also expressed discontent with the edits, stating that he was not informed that religious content would be removed from the series, and he would have refused to sign a contract if he had known of this beforehand. Vischer said, "I would have declined partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money."[7] Still, Vischer added that he understood NBC's wish to remain religiously neutral, and said, "VeggieTales is religious, NBC is not. I want to focus people more on 'Isn't it cool that Bob and Larry are on television?'"[8]

With the acquisition of NBCUniversal by Comcast, it was announced on March 28, 2012 that NBC and Telemundo would drop Qubo in favor of new blocks known as NBC Kids and MiTelemundo respectively, which would be produced by the PBS Kids Sprout cable network—a pre-existing preschool television joint venture that Comcast was a partner of. The changes took effect on NBC on June 30, 2012, and on Telemundo on July 7.[9][10][11][12] As of November 2013, Sprout is now fully owned by NBCUniversal.[13]

The scheduling of the "Qubo on Ion Block" has changed several times throughout its run on Ion Television (which in turn, restored children's programming to the network for the first time since it dropped the Pax Kids block in 2000), switching from a three-hour Friday slot to one hour each Wednesday through Fridays; it currently airs on Fridays from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. ET.

Qubo Channel

A 24-hour standalone digital broadcast television network, carried via the second digital subchannel of Ion's owned-and-operated stations and affiliates, began broadcasting on January 8, 2007.[4] Qubo’s digital channel initially launched with a rolling four-hour block of children's programming. Almost all of the programming also comes with an alternate Spanish language soundtrack via the SAP channel, and Spanish closed captioning via the CC3 caption channel.

On December 3, 2007, Qubo expanded its offerings on the digital channel to include shows from other producers, as well as some programming currently seen on the main Qubo blocks on Ion. In addition, the repeating schedule was expanded to a six-hour block, seen four times each day.[14]

In January 2008, Ion Media Networks and Comcast reached an agreement to continue carrying Ion's digital channels: Ion Television, Qubo and Ion Life.[15][16] In 2009, Ion began seeking the inquiry of the Federal Communications Commission for must-carry cable and satellite carriage of Qubo.[17]

On September 28, 2010, the network began officially advertising itself as "Qubo Channel" (which the NBC and Ion Television blocks already referred to the channel as in promos for the channel's programming on those networks' Qubo-branded blocks) instead of simply "Qubo" in order to differentiate the channel from the Qubo-branded blocks on NBC, Telemundo and Ion Television.

While the Qubo Channel is not available on either DirecTV or Dish Network, its signal is available digitally over the air. The Qubo block also airs on ION TV.

Programming block

Qubo Night Owl

On September 28, 2010, Qubo Channel launched a late night programing block aimed at older audiences entitled "Qubo Night Owl"; the block airing nightly from 12:00–6:00 a.m. ET, featured animated series primarily from the Filmation animation library such as He-Man and the Masters of the UniverseShe-Ra: Princess of Power,BraveStarr, and Ghostbusters, along with other series previously seen on Qubo in daytime slots in earlier years, such as Class of the Titans and Being Ian. The rights to the Filmation programs expired in August 2013, with the shows being replaced on August 26 by animated and live-action programming content from Qubo's former co-parent companies-turned-program distributors (such as Being IanAnimorphs and Class of the Titans).

Current programming

Current programs on Qubo channel

Qubo Kids Corner

Qubo Night Owl

Former programming

Qubo Short Series

Current

Former

Specials

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