The ABC is set to split its kids content, devoting its preschoolers content to ABC2 and aiming ABC3 at school-age kids.
The launch of ABC3 later this year will coincide with the re-launch of ABC for Kids, a dedicated preschool block on ABC2. It will expand its kids’ programming to between 9am and 6pm on weekdays and 6am to 6pm on weekends.
ABC1 will also continue to air six hours of kids programming each day. This will effectively mean there is kids content on all 3 ABC channels simultaneously for some parts of the day.
ABC has acquired more than 800 hours of children’s programming across all platforms since May,with another 800 hours over the next six months.
Recent pick-ups for ABC3 include Total Drama Island (Fresh TV/Cake Entertainment), Spliced (Nelvana), Connor Under Cover (Shaftesbury/Heroic), M.I. High (Kudos), Richard Hammond’s Blast Lab (September Films/Hamster’s Wheel), The Wannabes (Showcase Entertainment), Barney’s Barrier Reef (Darrall MacQueen), The Little Prince (Method) and Jungle Book (ZDF/Moonscoop/DQE).
ABC2 has acquired RDF’s Waybuloo, Roary the Racing Car (Chapman Entertainment), the new CGI Angelina Ballerina (HIT Entertainment), Toby’s Toy Circus (Target Entertainment Group), Nanigugu (Ypsilon) and Igam Ogam (Calon). Some are already screening.
Animation will comprise 66% of ABC2 and roughly 33% of ABC3’s total air time.
As for original productions, the channel has several on the go right now. There’s the YTV/CBBC reality series Prank Patrol (created by Canada’s Apartment 11 and produced in Melbourne by Active TV). Rush TV (produced in Sydney by Beyond Productions) profiles the music and artistic offshoots of the extreme sports world, and BTN Extra (pictured, from ABC TV’s News and Current Affairs team in Adelaide) offers a daily analysis of news and current affairs.
Other titles were revealed some months ago.
ABC3 is in discussions with RDF and Australian co-producer, Freehand, for two more of CBBC’s adventure series Escape from Scorpion Island. There are also two music shows in development.
Meanwhile, July’s open call for hosts yielded more than 5,000 applications, with the winners to be revealed shortly after the MIPCOM Conference.
The hosts will make appearances throughout the schedule in slots.
Looking ahead to 2011, the network is searching out entertaining documentary series for ABC3, as well as boy-led dramas and animated series. Its call for pitches closes at the end of October.