Universal Kids is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Group subsidiary of NBCUniversal, itself a division of Comcast. The network broadcasts children's programming and takes the branding of the sister company, Universal Pictures. The network's daytime lineup is heavily supplied by preschool-oriented programs, while its evening and primetime lineup are made up of programs aimed generally towards pre-teens and young teenagers.
Universal Kids was originally launched in 2005 as PBS Kids Sprout—a joint venture between PBS, Comcast, Sesame Workshop, and HiT Entertainment devoted to children's television programming aimed at a preschool audience. Following Comcast's purchase of NBCUniversal, the company gradually bought out the remaining owners' shares in the channel, reaching full ownership in 2013. The network's operations were subsequently relocated from Philadelphia to New York City and the "PBS Kids" name was dropped from its branding. The network re-branded under its current name on September 9, 2017, expanding its primetime programming to focus on a wider youth audience, while continuing to broadcast preschool-oriented programming under the "Universal Kids Preschool" branding during daytime hours.
Sprout has had 3 floats throughout the course of the parade. The first float debuted in 2012, which was titled "Daytime, Playtime, Nighttime Too". The float seemed to be based off of many craft materials, such as wood, paint, cardboard, etc. This float appeared until 2014, when it was given an overhaul in 2015 to make it seem much more vibrant and smooth-looking. This float was called "Free to Play", and made its final appearance in the 2016 parade.
A new float debuted in 2017 to promote the name change from "Sprout" to "Universal Kids". The float was appropriately named "Universal Playground" , and featured jungle gyms and working slides, much like the Zhu-Niverse float from 2011.