PBS, (or The Public Broadcasting Service) is an American public broadcaster and television program distributor made up of more than 350 member television stations. PBS is an independently operated non-profit organization, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, US.
It aired Shining Time Station (starting on January 29, 1989), along with other kids shows during the PTV Park era in the mid 90's. Its primary fundraiser is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It began airing Thomas & Friends in its normal form under the PBS Kids banner on Sunday September 5, 2004 using the airings from Nick Jr. UK, redubbing it with Michael Brandon's narration and starting the airings with Season 8 paired with a Season 7 episode in each airing. Thomas & Friends currently aired on PBS in the United States on weekends and new episodes on Sundays. In 2011, Thomas started coming more often on weekdays. On May 15, 2013, PBS Kids announced that Thomas & Friends would moved to the daily schedule on weekdays that started on October 7, 2013 when Season 17 premiered, due to an increase in ratings of nearly 110 million households. The model airings stopped airing on September 2013, airing the CGI Series more often. A microsite was added on the PBS Kids website as well. An Underwriting spot was added on September 21, 2013 with the narrator of Thomas & Friends, Mark Moraghan announcing it.
PBS Kids Sprout started to release Thomas on Comcast On-Demand on April 4, 2005 and September 13, 2005 on TV. They aired restored versions of Season 1-4 and aired most of the entire classic series as individual episodes for the first time in the US. Thomas and a lot of shows stopped airing on Sprout in Autumn 2015 because NBC Universal/Comcast took full control of the channel and dropped PBS Kids from their branding, the channel is now called Universal Kids.
On January 16, 2017, PBS launched a brand new 24/7/365 channel, called PBS Kids Channel. Thomas aired in a daily hour-long slot at 11am EST.
Thomas & Friends' partnership with PBS ended on December 31, 2017. In addition, the website was removed on December 19, 2017.
Starting December 17, 2017, Thomas & Friends aired on Nickelodeon for a limited time; however, it began airing full time on Nick Jr. in March 2018.
- On February 10, 2018, an old Thomas ad from the CGI Series aired, advertising Thomas on PBS, despite the series' partnership with PBS ending, Thomas still also appears in several PBS promo ads.
- During the airings for the Season 19 episodes, PBS had mistaken a few Season 18 episodes as part of it on an advert for the episodes' airings.