Barney & Friends' Riff, Degrassi's Cassie Steele (Manny)
New characters! New episodes! New seasons! Check out our helpful guide to our favorite returning kids shows on broadcast, cable and satellite.
First up, Sesame Street (PBS) celebrates the start of Season 37 next week by adding the magical Abby Cadabby, a delightful (if mistake-prone) sprite who represents the first new female Sesame Muppet in more than 13 years. [Look for a TVGuide.com Insider Q&A with Abby on Monday, Aug. 14.] Barney & Friends (Sept. 15, PBS) also waited 13 years to introduce Riff, their new dino character, whose musical imagination helps usher in an era of more varied tunes. New playmates will also populate the worlds of Thomas & Friends and Bob the Builder (both premiering episodes Sept. 2, PBS). And you'll get more than the same old fare on Little Einsteins (Aug. 14, Disney Channel), Make Way for Noddy (September, PBS), The Wonder Pets! (Sept. 25, Nick Jr.), The Backyardigans (Oct. 9, Nickelodeon), Postman Pat (Fall, PBS) and the popular spin-off Go, Diego, Go! (Oct. 23, Nick Jr.).
Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks (fall, PBS) spreads out the red carpet for new voice talent Joan Rivers as Shirley the Sheep. Though her repartee with Mel Brooks is winning, the title character's charming misadventures are still the major reason to tune in. Maya & Miguel (fall, PBS) airs new shows as well, including an episode about a new deaf student in school, which is handled with intelligence and sensitivity. New adventures of the awakened boy-mummy in Tutenstein (now exclusively on Discovery Kids) will air starting Sept. 9. The wild mix of action and animation (and game show, reality show and spoof) that is Fetch (PBS) also airs new shows beginning in September. Codename: Kids Next Door (Sept. 8) starts a new season on Cartoon Network, while Cyberchase (PBS) begins a new year on Oct. 31 with, appropriately enough, a Halloween-themed episode. Caillou and It's a Big, Big World (both PBS) also feature new shows this fall, while Postcards from Buster revisits the open road beginning in November on PBS.
After surviving a horrific car accident last winter, Drake Bell reteams with Josh Peck for a new round of sibling silliness in Drake and Josh (Sept. 24, Nickelodeon). Zoey 101 (Sept. 24, Nickelodeon) finds Zoey (Jamie Lynn Spears) enrolled for a new term of fun in the boarding school sun at Pacific Coast Academy. Season 3 of the junior high-jinks at the heart of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide (Sept. 24, Nickelodeon) includes a special Halloween episode in which Ned (Devon Werkheiser) and Company nearly scare the principal to death. Meanwhile, nobody's laughing during the season premiere of Flight 29 Down (Sept. 9, Discovery Kids), as a storm has washed away the young castaways' food, shelter and belongings. Later, a new cast of teenage survivors in the reality competition series Endurance (Oct. 14, Discovery Kids) will battle it out in a secret, rugged mountain location.
Life doesn't get any easier for the kids at Degrassi Community, with story lines including Internet scandals, a school rivalry that turns violent, and possible prison time in Season 6 of Degrassi: The Next Generation (Sept. 29, The N). Things are just as tough out West on South of Nowhere (Sept. 29, The N) as addiction, death, hate crimes and the arrival of a long-lost sibling rock the Carlin family's multiracial world. True Life (October, MTV) returns with more teen-centric documentaries about social issues, while Made (October, MTV) promises to make wishes come true for a whole new crop of teenage dreamers.
For more guidance to kids' TV options, pick up the new TV Guide magazine.
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