PBS Kids selects first-ever live host of new preschool block

MUMBAI: PBS Kids has its first-ever live host -- Chicago-based performer, teacher and mom Lori Holton Nash -- for its new preschool destination, which will launch on 4 September.

As the new host, Nash and an animated sidekick will guide kids through a two-hour programming block for preschoolers. The new block will feature four PBS Kids programs age- appropriately grouped including PBS Kids' two new series -- Curious George, emphasising science, math and engineering and narrated by Emmy-winning actor William H. Macy, and It's a Big Big World, highlighting science and geography -- alongside existing shows like Clifford The Big Dog and Dragon Tales.

"Based on research PBS conducted with parents we identified valuable content that parents feel is missing from children's media today, including positive real adult role models and opportunities to connect lessons learned from programming to kids' lives. PBS Kids new preschool destination will meet parents' needs by introducing Lori, a host who has a passion for children and a unique and engaging teaching style that incorporates humor, music, movement and storytelling," said PBS Kids Next Generation Media senior vice president Lesli Rotenberg.

After an extensive nationwide talent search, PBS Kids named Nash as the host of its new preschool block to inspire and entertain kids in a playful setting designed to spark kids' imaginations, give them a greater sense of discovery and build their excitement for learning about the world around them. In addition to her on-air and online presence, she will make appearances at various events across the country, visiting local PBS member stations and participating in children's events.

"I'm extremely excited to be named PBS Kids' first-ever host. Performing and educating is not just what I do, it's who I am and I look forward to reaching out to children across the country through the most trusted kids content source, PBS Kids. I grew up watching PBS' children's programs and today, I am raising my own kids as PBS Kids," said Nash.

In addition to Nash's broadcast debut, the new block will feature the premiere of Curious George. Produced by Imagine Entertainment, WGBH Boston and Universal Studios Family Productions, and based on the best-selling Curious George books. The series encourages inquiry and curiosity, promotes hands-on exploration, and shows parents and caregivers how to support children's science and math-related play.

PBS Kids new hosted preschool destination is one part of PBS Kids Next Generation Media, a broad-based initiative to define public television's role in the changing digital children's media landscape.

In addition to the launch of the new preschool environment, PBS recently announced a new 24/7 early elementary school digital broadcast service, PBS Kdis Go! Channel, scheduled to launch in October 2006 and delivered to the community through local PBS stations, which will meet the educational and developmental needs of this underserved audience.

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