As PBS faces rough seas ahead with potential cuts to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s federal funding, Al Jazeera may fill PBS’ once-prominent role in entertaining young American children.
Mahmoud Bouneb, general manager of the Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, told Abu Dhabi-based newspaper The National about his channel’s ambitions.
“We have so many requests from Asian countries to bring Al Jazeera [Children’s Channel] in Arabic and to be dubbed in English,” Bouneb said. “It is essential our international feed will cover North America.”
Bouneb said that the children’s channel would not encounter the divisive public debate that Al Jazeera English experienced. “I don’t think we will face the issues related to the distribution of Al Jazeera (English News),” Bouneb said.
Fast Company reported that the English-language channel will launch sometime in 2012.
Earlier this month, Fast Company reported that Al Jazeera executives were visiting Comcast’s headquarters in Philadelphia, but noted, “To be fair, Al Jazeera has been diligent in letting journalists know that it was lobbying for a Comcast slot.”
Al Jazeera English, currently offered in only a few regions by American cable providers, is also reportedly engaged in distribution discussions with Time Warner and Cablevision.
Programs offered by Al Jazeera Children’s Channel include Saladin, a crusades-themed cartoon.