On September 26, 2005, Sesame Workshop and HiT Entertainment joined forces with Comcast to launch a new digital cable television network called PBS Kids Sprout.
Upon the network's launch, a free video-on-demand service was also released to digital cable subscribers nationwide.
In late 2013, NBC bought the network's rights from PBS, and since then, PBS Kids Sprout was renamed to just "Sprout". On May 1, 2017, NBC Universal announced that Sprout will be replaced by Universal Kids, which launched on September 9, 2017.
All programs broadcast on Sprout are designed for preschool audiences, and possibly for those who grew up watching classic shows that aired on this network as well, such as Barney & Friends and the Thomas the Tank Engine series.
In Sprout's early years, Thomas & Friends episodes included those from the first generation, and Barney & Friends had episodes from Seasons 4-8. In September 2007, 21 episodes of the first three seasons of that show were added to the lineup, and they aired for about four years in the exact same rotation, until 2011.
In later years, newer episodes of both shows began appearing on the lineup, often replacing older episodes.
Unfortunately, the network's contract with PBS expired on Sprout's 10th anniversary (September 26, 2015), and as a result, both Barney & Friends and Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends were removed off the lineup.
As of after when Universal Kids replaced Sprout, all programming carried over from the old channel now only airs from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., while primetime shows comprise of those targeted at older children aged 8-12.