Nick Jr. was first launched as Noggin on February 2, 1999, as a joint venture between Viacom's Nickelodeon and the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), but Sesame Workshop's interest was sold to Nickelodeon at some point in 2002. From 1999 to 2002, Noggin was targeted at preteens. Starting in 2002, it was targeted for preschoolers; the format was changed due to low ratings. Noggin's first mascot was "Feetface" from April 1, 2002 to April 6, 2003, followed by Moose & Zee since April 7, 2003. The network took its name from a slang term for "head" or, by extension, "brain," reflecting its original purpose as an educational channel. By the time Noggin introduced "Feetface" on April 1, 2002, it was one of the first examples of a new animation style called "photo-puppetry", in which the animation is created by the use of manipulation of photographs. Until September 25, 2005, the network aired classic Sesame Workshop productions such as 3-2-1 Contact, Square One TV, Cro, and The Electric Company. As of September 10, 2007, Noggin no longer aired any show produced by Sesame Workshop (it has since premiered Pinky Dinky Doo, which is produced by Sesame Workshop, which debuted in 2006, and The Upside Down Show).
Noggin was a 24-hour channel until April Fool's Day of 2002, when Viacom decided to launch The N, which was formatted similarly to Nickelodeon's defunct 2000-09 TEENick block and later featured some recent family-oriented series that aired on Nick at Nite. The N was aimed at teens and had thought-provoking programming considered by many[by whom?] as too complex for Noggin's target pre- and elementary-school-age viewers. The N took up 12 hours of Noggin's programming space (operating in a similar manner as Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite) from 6 p.m.-6 a.m./ET seven nights a week. The fact that Noggin shared channel space with The N (now TeenNick) made it very similar to parent network Nickelodeon as it has shared channel space with Nick at Nite during the nighttime hours for most of its existence starting with Black Entertainment Television for the first couple of years on the air, then ARTS (Alpha Repertory Television Service, now A&E) and currently with Nick at Nite since 1985, which is commonly considered a nighttime program block on Nickelodeon.
Noggin's final day of the prior-2003 Moose and Zee era signed off the air at 6PM ET on April 6, 2003. The last prior 2003 Moose and Zee era program to air on April 6, 2003 was Little Bear right before the final appearance of the 2001-2003 mascot "Feetface". After Feetface was gone, they showed a commercial for then-upcoming hosts "Moose A. Moose" and "Zee" which they would start hosting Noggin on April 7, 2003, followed by the final ident of Noggin and the clock to Sunday's The N program schedule. At 6AM ET on the morning of April 7, 2003, proceeding the countdown clock, Noggin introduced "Moose A. Moose" and "Zee D. Bird", but the network retained the "photo-puppetry" animation style.
In addition to classic episodes of Nickelodeon favorites such as Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer, and original shows such as Oobi and Jack's Big Music Show, many preschool-oriented shows originating from non-U.S., English-speaking countries that would otherwise not likely be seen on American TV are shown. Some examples include Little Bear, Franklin from Canada and Tweenies, Connie the Cow, Tiny Planets, and 64 Zoo Lane from the UK. However, in 2008, this was being de-emphasized; Tweenies was permanently pulled from the schedule in January, and Tiny Planets was pulled in April. Tiny Planets was previously shown intermittently — but not every day — 6 a.m. Eastern/5 a.m. Central, as Tweenies was for a year until it was pulled. Since July 2006 this is also being done with 64 Zoo Lane, suggesting that it too may disappear eventually (however, unlike the other two shows, they also sometimes are showing it at 7 a.m. Eastern/6 a.m. Central. However, they have also recently introduced The Upside Down Show, which is from Australia (though like the British Tiny Planets, has American origins via Sesame Workshop).
Technically, Noggin did not show commercials, but it did show ads between shows such as Connie the Cow's Milk Break, as well as other "tie-in" media such as the music video that tied in with the film Curious George, and spots for airings of shows on other channels within the Nick family. The channel's other revenues presumably[by whom?] come from fees paid by cable television distributors.
The network was also a launching point for the music videos of pop musician/children's performers like Laurie Berkner, Lisa Loeb and Dan Zanes, initially as filler between 23-minute-long shows run commercial-free, and (because of their success in that format) now as music video shows like Move to the Music. Also, when Sesame Workshop’s classic shows (such as The Electric Company) aired on Noggin, they had to be edited for running time. On December 31, 2007, Noggin's sister channel Nick GAS shut down as a digital cable channel and The N was split into a separate channel taking over the former 1999-2007 channel space of Nick GAS, which allowed Noggin to become a 24-hour channel again after spilting from The N. Noggin then became the second U.S. cable channel to offer a 24-hour schedule of shows aimed at preschoolers after PBS Kids Sprout, which launched in 2005. However, Dish Network kept Nick GAS on the air until April 23, 2009, when that channel was replaced with the Western feed of Cartoon Network and Noggin and The N were both split into 24/7 channels on Dish Network[by whom?] on May 16, 2009. On February 2, 2009, when the Nick Jr. block was defunct, the "For Noggin By Nick Jr." bumper was removed.
In an attempt to extend the association of the Nickelodeon brand to two sister cable channels on February 24, 2009, it was announced that Nick Jr. would be replacing Noggin and TeenNick taking over The N as the 24/7 channels. This is similar to how Nick Jr. launched its own channels in the UK on September 1, 1999 and in Australia on March 14, 2004. On February 24, 2009, it was announced that Noggin is no longer existent. Eventually, it would be replaced by Nick Jr. and would become a 24/7 television channel.
Noggin relaunched as Nick Jr. on September 28, 2009 at 6:00 AM Eastern/5:00 AM Central. The new Nick Jr. network retains the Noggin mascots Moose A. Moose and Zee. Like Noggin, the network does not air commercials or marginalize closing credits for promotion of other shows.
As is common with newer networks which have taken another former network's channel slot, some guide providers have not updated their listings slot for Nick Jr. to the current logo and may display either the Noggin or The N logos, or both logos in the same image instead to denote Nick Jr.
A Spanish language version of the block debuted July 12, 2010, as part of the transformation of MTV tr3s into Tr3́s. As of 2010, "Tr3́s Jr." currently airs Spanish dubs of Blue's Clues, SpongeBob SquarePants, Doug and Wonder Pets.
The network's logo has been adjusted as part of a brand unification effort which saw all four of the Nickelodeon networks take on a unified look. Although the former motif of using an orange 'adult' figure and blue 'child' was discontinued in the new text-only logo, the tradition of 'Nick' being orange (representing the adult) and 'Jr.' remaining in blue (as the child) was retained.
In October 2010, MTV Europe announced that Nick Jr. would have its shows aired on Kazakhstan-One in Kazakhstan, and as a branded block on Kazakhstan kids' channel Balapan, along with the Afghanistan television network Ariana Television Network.
On May 16, 2011, MTV Networks launched two new channels, Nick Jr. and MTVNHD, in Asia. These 24-hour channels will be available on StarHub TV in Singapore beginning May 18 and on Telekom Malaysia Berhad's Hypp.TV in Malaysia on June 1 onwards. The channel will launch aggressively to the rest of Southeast Asia sooner this year.
Some commercials of Moose A. Moose and Zee from the defunct Noggin are replaced with the Nick Jr. logo.
Main article: List of programs broadcast by Nick Jr.Though Nick Jr. does repeat some of its programming over the course of a 24-hour day, it does not follow a strict repeating program wheel. Programming from Nick Jr. that aired in the mid-1990s up to the early 2000s such as Oobi, Little Bill, and Gullah Gullah Island usually air in the overnights, owing to less demand for those shows compared to the longtime popular standby shows which make up the daytime and early evening schedules of the network. The following programs (not some of them) will be airing in the present tense.
Although Nick Jr. has no commercials (although it aired a commercial for www.donorschoose.org every day before sign-off from 2003 to 2007), it has little breaks including some promos for Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and sometimes Nick At Nite. The breaks often include an ID, this month's subject, interstitials, shorts, and more. These pseudo-commercials are only shown between Moose A. Moose sketches.
Online video content on NickJr.com has television commercials or a Nick Jr. sting that play between video clips.
What sparks you? (February 2, 1999-March 31, 2002)
I'm using my Noggin! (April 1, 2002-April 6, 2003)
It's like preschool on TV. (April 7, 2003-March 1, 2012)
A smart place to play. (March 1, 2012-present)