|Owner||Paramount Streaming (Paramount Global)|
|Introduced||February 2, 1999|
|Previous owners||Sesame Workshop (co-owner; 1999–2002)|
Noggin is an American entertainment brand launched on February 2, 1999. It was co-founded by MTV Networks (owners of Nickelodeon) and Sesame Workshop. It started out as a cable television channel and a website, both centered around the concepts of imagination, creativity, and education. Since 2015, Noggin has been a streaming service.
In Noggin's first three years, it was mainly aimed at pre-teens and teenagers. One of Noggin's goals was to disprove the idea "that educational programming is not entertaining enough to attract pre-teens and young adults." It aired preschool shows in the morning and devoted the rest of its schedule to tween and teen shows. In April 2002, Noggin extended its preschool block to last for 12 hours, airing from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and the teen block ran from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The teen block was given a new name, "The N," to distinguish itself from the preschool block. The shows that made up Noggin's original older-skewing lineup aired exclusively during The N from 2002 onward.
Sesame Workshop eventually sold its stake in Noggin in August 2002, but it continued to co-produce shows for Noggin until 2009. The original Noggin channel closed on September 28, 2009, and the brand was dormant until 2015, when it was announced that Noggin would return as a mobile streaming service. The service launched on March 5, 2015. Since 2020, the Noggin streaming service has produced its own exclusive shows.
Noggin's creation dates back to 1995, when Sesame Workshop (then known as the Children's Television Workshop) planned to start an educational cable channel called "New Kid City." The Los Angeles Times reported that "launching its own channel is the only way to ensure a home for its highly acclaimed shows, which are often passed over by networks in favor of more commercially successful fare." Meanwhile, Nickelodeon (part of MTV Networks) planned its own educational channel called "Big Orange." When the two companies learned of each other's ideas, they partnered to create a channel together.
The channel was named Noggin (a slang term for a person's head), reflecting its purpose: to encourage kids to think, discover new things, and use their imaginations. When it started, Noggin was mostly aimed at kids aged 6–12. Its main goal was to provide "fun shows that help kids learn and inspire their curiosity – all without feeling like they're in school." Noggin's core values included the statements: "Kids want to learn. Kids are naturally curious. There are no stupid questions."
From 1999 until 2019, Noggin used the same logo: the bottom half of a smiling cartoon face. The logo's upper half featured different icons that represented topics the head was "thinking of" (such as a beaker to reflect science, or flowers to reflect springtime). Hundreds of different "toppers" were designed for the logo. For its first few years, Noggin often captioned its logo with the slogan "What sparks you?" It also aired videos of kids and teens responding to the question, explaining their favorite topics that "spark" their imaginations.
Noggin's logo was featured in a large amount of original shorts and animations that ran between shows on the channel. In its early years, Noggin's creative team hired "sick and twisted" independent animators to create station ID commercials, hoping that they could each bring their own personal design elements to the logo. The goal was to make the logo "look unlike any other network" and inspire kids' creativity. In 2019, the original Noggin face logo was retired for the first time in 20 years; it was replaced with a lowercase noggin wordmark written in purple.
See also: List of programs broadcast by Noggin
The first service established under Noggin was a cable TV channel. It operated from February 2, 1999, until September 28, 2009. When it started, the channel mainly showed reruns from Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon's libraries. Noggin was originally aimed at pre-teens, since Noggin's creative team felt that this age group was "underserved when it comes to new, quality educational television." The Noggin channel was commercial-free and allowed teachers to tape its programs for use in the classroom.
Noggin's original lineup included classic episodes of The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, Cro, Square One Television, and Ghostwriter from Sesame Workshop's library. It also included series like Wild Side Show, Nick News, and Doug from Nickelodeon's library. From 2000 to 2002, Noggin aired reruns of the science show Bill Nye the Science Guy. Bill Nye also starred in brand-new segments made specially for Noggin, where he played the role of Noggin's "head sparkologist" and tried to find out what topics sparked viewers' imaginations.
Noggin's first original show was Phred on Your Head Show, which featured an animated host named Phred. A second original series, A Walk in Your Shoes, premiered in October 1999. Each episode of A Walk in Your Shoes followed two different people "switching lives" to better understand each other's cultures. In 2000, Noggin introduced three series of shorts that aired during program breaks: Me in a Box, which showed kids making dioramas to represent their personalities; Citizen Phoebe, about a girl who wants to run for president; and Oobi, a preschool series about bare-hand puppets.
By 2001, original content made up 40% of Noggin's schedule. That year, Noggin premiered four new shows: Big Kids, a British-American co-production; On the Team, a documentary about a Little League baseball team; Sponk!, a game show centered around improv acting; and The URL with Phred Show, which showcased viewers' submissions to the Noggin website. On April 1, 2002, the channel was reorganized into two blocks: a daytime block for preschoolers and a nighttime block, The N, for teens. Play with Me Sesame, a new series featuring Sesame Street characters, debuted on the same day.
Sesame Workshop continued to co-produce shows for Noggin through 2009, most notably Out There and The Upside Down Show, two live-action series. Both shows were developed by Sesame Workshop's writers in New York and filmed by a multinational team in Australia. The Noggin brand was placed on a six-year hiatus from 2009 to 2015; on September 28, 2009, its channel space was replaced by a 24-hour channel based on Nickelodeon's long-running Nick Jr. block. In March 2015, the Noggin brand was revived as a mobile streaming service, which is still active as of 2023. Many shows from Noggin's run as a cable channel were included on the service when it launched.
Main article: The N
The N (standing for Noggin) was an overnight programming block on the Noggin channel, aimed at pre-teens and teenagers. It premiered on April 1, 2002, and aired until December 31, 2007. Promotions advertised the block as "The N: The New Name for Nighttime on Noggin." It took several months for Noggin to choose the right name for the block; as reported by Kidscreen in 2002, they needed a name to "help distance and distinguish the tween programming from the preschool fare," but the legal department also required the block to maintain a relation to Noggin's main name.
Noggin's preexisting tween-targeted shows—like A Walk in Your Shoes and Sponk!—only aired during The N from 2002 onward. Noggin produced several original series for the block, including the animated comedy O'Grady, the drama South of Nowhere, and the competition show Girls v. Boys. The N was also the U.S. broadcast home of the Canadian series Degrassi: The Next Generation. Noggin aimed to promote a variety of life skills through the shows on The N, including self-respect, constructive thinking, and tolerance of diversity.
Like the rest of Noggin, The N's shows were created with educational goals, which was uncommon for teen programming at the time. The block was managed by the same team that made Noggin's preschool shows. The team considered it a challenge to focus on both preschoolers and an older audience, but because both focused on educational shows with valuable life lessons, they felt Noggin and The N had a "unified brand identity." From 2007 to 2009, the block was moved from Noggin to a new channel, which carried TEENick programming throughout the day and relegated The N's content to a block at night. According to Polygon, "Nickelodeon began phasing out The N's programming and replacing it with TEENick, an entertainment block with no educational curriculum and zero involvement from Noggin. The N lost its footing by 2009, and both [The N] and its website closed down completely."
On March 5, 2015, Noggin was relaunched as a mobile streaming service. From 2015 to 2020, it included older shows from Noggin's time as a cable channel. In 2020, Noggin started to make new shows for the service. These included an exercise show called Yoga Friends and a cooking show called School of Yum. Kinderwood, an animated series about five classmates at a magical school, premiered on Noggin in 2020. In 2021, the service introduced a half-hour educational show called Noggin Knows and a series of shorts called The Noggins, which featured new teal-colored mascots called Noggins.
The Noggin streaming service has launched internationally, starting with a Spanish version, which debuted in Latin America in November 2015. This version included some shows unavailable on the English service, including the Spanish dub of Rugrats. A Portuguese version was released on November 21, 2015. On September 21, 2020, it was announced that versions of Noggin would launch in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Austria as an add-on to Amazon Prime Video.
In 2023, it was reported that Paramount is looking to sell the Noggin service to an outside investor.
Throughout its history, Noggin has featured unique cartoon characters who act as the hosts and mascots of the brand. During Noggin's time as a cable channel, these mascots often appeared during program breaks to introduce shows. Noggin has had the following mascots:
The Noggin channel launched along with an interactive website, Noggin.com, which is still active as of 2023. The website features games, blogs, printables, and fact sheets. The website was integrated into many of Noggin's earlier shows, like Sponk! and The URL with Phred Show, which featured viewer-submitted questions and artwork from Noggin.com. Throughout 2000, Bill Nye of Bill Nye the Science Guy answered questions asked by Noggin.com users between airings of his show. In 2001, Noggin launched "Chattervision", which allowed viewers to comment on different shows online and see their conversations appear live on TV.
One of the website's first games was the "Noggimation Station," which taught visitors about the animation process and allowed them to design their own animations, some of which were chosen to air on TV. Another website, called MyNoggin.com, was launched in October 2007. It was a subscription-based site that offered educational games and allowed parents to track their child's progress in different subjects.
Blocks based on Noggin have appeared on other channels. TV Land aired a one-night Noggin special on April 26, 1999. Spanning two hours, the special featured reruns of The Electric Company, along with animated shorts featuring the Noggin logo. Noggin shows were also occasionally seen on the main Nickelodeon channel. On June 6, 1999, Nickelodeon ran the first episode of Noggin's Phred on Your Head Show.
On March 27, 2000, Nickelodeon introduced a half-hour block of Noggin shows that aired every weekday morning until June 2001. The block was originally titled "Noggins Up" and became "Noggin on Nickelodeon" during its second year on the air. It showcased one tween-oriented program every weekday, including A Walk In Your Shoes and On the Team. The block attracted thousands of visitors to the Noggin.com site. Nickelodeon revived the block for a single day on April 7, 2003. Following the block's removal, premiere episodes of Noggin series were often simulcast on Nickelodeon and Noggin.
The Noggin name was used for an otherwise unrelated programming block on Nick Jr. UK from May 2004 until September 2005. It ran for two hours every night and included reruns of older British television series for children. On January 30, 2006, Noggin was launched as a block on TMF in the United Kingdom, this time in the style of the US Noggin. It ran every weekday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Noggin continued for a short time on TMF's successor, VIVA, until March 2010.
From May 2021 to March 2022, the Nick Jr. Channel aired an hour-long block of programming from the Noggin streaming service every Friday. The block, titled "Noggin Hour," featured shows such as Noggin Knows and Kinderwood, as well as the acquired series Hey Duggee and JoJo & Gran Gran. Noggin interstitials played during commercial breaks, and a purple screen bug reading "On Noggin" was shown toward the beginning of each show.
Noggin held live events to promote its shows. At the 2001 North American Trade Show in Minnesota, Noggin presented a replica of the set from Oobi. In spring 2002, Noggin launched a live version of its Play with Me Sesame series, featuring mascot characters and music from the show. In May 2002, the Jillian's restaurant chain offered "Noggin Play Days" each Wednesday afternoon, where attendees could watch a live feed of Noggin with themed activities and meals.
In March 2004, Noggin partnered with GGP shopping malls to host a free educational program called Club Noggin. It debuted at five test malls in April of the same year. Attendance at the first few events exceeded expectations, leading GGP to bring Club Noggin to over 100 malls across the United States. The monthly events were hosted by trained YMCA leaders, who gave out Noggin posters and merchandise to attendees. Each meeting was themed around a different Noggin character.
From October 2005 until late 2006, Noggin sponsored a music festival called "Jamarama Live", which toured the United States. The tour had performances from Laurie Berkner, a musician on Jack's Big Music Show. The festival also included meet-and-greet opportunities with a mascot costume of Moose A. Moose. The characters hosted karaoke, face-painting, and storytelling sessions during intermissions. Reviewers for Time Magazine compared Jamarama to a family-friendly version of Lollapalooza.
In November 2005, a Noggin float appeared at America's Thanksgiving Parade. In November 2006, Noggin hosted an online charity auction on its website, called the "Noggin Auction." Viewers could bid on props from different Noggin shows. Noggin also auctioned off props from The N's teen shows, with the money going to homeless shelters. In August 2007, Noggin partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and sponsored its annual Trike-A-Thon program.
This Site at THE-N.COM is fully controlled and operated by Noggin LLC, a joint venture of MTV Networks, a division of Viacom International, Inc., and Sesame Workshop.
[Noggin] stressed imagination and thinking, and I was branded an 'edgy' and 'sick and twisted' animator ... Design-wise, the Noggin executives wanted their network to look unlike any other network.
The whole experience was guided by two characters unique to Noggin ... this summer the SVOD rolled out a new interface focused instead on recognizable characters.
Big Kids, billed as 'an educational series' and co-produced with the Nickelodeon- and Sesame Workshop-backed U.S. kids channel Noggin
TDU started out as a purely North American concept set in New York.
New York's Sesame Workshop, Nickelodeon Australia and local prodco Blink Films are coproducing a new preschool series, The Upside Down Show.
The newest addition to that sked is Noggin-produced series Play With Me Sesame... the series marks the first time a State-side entity other than Sesame Workshop has been given permission by Henson to use the Sesame Street Muppets.
[The channel] will serve tweens and teens with programming from Nickelodeon's popular TEENick block during the day and continue as The N at night.
The gameplan for now is to run a daytime block of TEENick shows ... and then stack the originals, specials and movies in the evenings .... Sarah Tomassi Lindman expects the TEENick fare to create a more gender-balanced audience.
The latest original, Titmouse's preschool show Kinderwood (30 x seven minutes), launched on December 3
((cite magazine)): Cite magazine requires
The alpha teens were created for The N by Berkeley-based comic-book author Adrian Tomine
completed airing its first season on 6/11/21
6/4/21: Dandy Dandelion (R)