Sprout to Begin Filming in New York City

Comcast's children's network flees Philly in the name of corporate synergy.

I used to work in the Comcast Center. One of the fun things about working there was the frequency with which you’d see actors from the kids’ cable channel Sprout. Not that I would notice them — I have no idea who they are — but my co-workers with kids would point them out, often overly excited that the pretty man or woman they saw on television was now there, in the flesh, in the Comcast lobby. (I assume kids’ shows put model-like actors and actresses on their shows to give the parents more reason to pay attention.) One time, Chica — the star of two Sprout hits, The Sunny Side Up Show (in puppet form) and The Chica Show (in cartoon form) — even made an appearance at the building! Not that it mattered to me, but it was nice to see some excited co-workers.

Sprout has been producing live programming and other segments at the Comcast Center since the building opened. Sadly, some of this is coming to an end. The channel will start producing its live morning show at 30 Rock in Manhattan this fall, in the hopes that celebrities will stop by after appearing on Today. A sensible decision, probably, but one that’s a little disappointing. (Or not. Perhaps you’re saying, “Who cares?”) NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast, purchased full control in Sprout from PBS and Apax Partners, a private equity firm, last November. PBS Kids was dropped from the title and Comcast could now do whatever it wanted with the channel!

The New York Times fills us in on the types of celebrity stars Chica is already hanging with, now that she’ll soon be a big New York celebrity.

[I]n May the Sprout chicken character Chica walked the red carpet along with the Kardashians and the Sharknado cast at an event for advertisers.

Oh, sure. Philadelphia was good enough for Chica when she was just slumming it on The Sunny Side Up Show. But now that she’s hanging with the Kardashians, Tara Reid, Ian Ziering and a tornado full of sharks, she has to move to New York City. That was quality Comcast synergy: Sharknado aired on NBCUniversal’s SyFy, while the Kardashians have been a moneymaking venture for the Comcast corporation since 2005, when Khloe was a cast member on Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive. Doubtlessly, Comcast hopes celebrities will stop to give Sprout some buzz in the crowded kids’ TV field — and if the celebrities have made a show or movie for NBCUniversal, Comcast can make them stop in.

Sprout will apparently still be headquartered in Philadelphia, s hopefully we’ll still see the Sprout actors and puppets around town occasionally. But, for now, they are headed to the Big Apple. Make us as proud as The Roots have, Chica. That’d be some a good cross-over, too! Soon Chica will be another member of The Roots, yukking it up on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. We knew her when.

Now don’t get any ideas about moving anywhere, Sesame Place.