Carnival Corp. is preparing to debut Saturday morning travel shows on three major TV networks this fall.

It will provide 80 episodes of original content that will appear on the three-hour education and information programming blocks aimed at teenagers between 13 and 16 years old.

In an announcement, Carnival said its “experiential” content “is designed to engage viewers by showcasing exciting adventures, exotic cultures and popular global destinations.”

Viewers will see ships from all 10 of Carnival’s brands, which will serve as the platform for the adventures. Each of the brands will be featured in at least one of the episodes of the inaugural season.

The shows will run on ABC, NBC and the CW Network during a time block once dominated by children’s cartoons. Cable, online streaming and new interpretations of children’s TV mandates have pushed animation off its former Saturday morning perch.

Instead, networks are showing reality-based lifestyle and entertainment programs. The shows Carnival will appear on include “Ocean Treks With Jeff Corwin” on ABC, “The Voyager With Josh Garcia” on NBC and “Vacation Creation” on the CW Network.

The shows will be seen within programming blocks produced by Charleston, S.C.-based Litton Entertainment, which has pioneered the type of show that meets the FCC guidelines for educational and informative programming mandated by the Children’s Television Act. In “Ocean Treks,” for example, viewers follow Corwin to exotic destinations to do things such as zipline through a rain forest or take a “flight-seeing” trip to land on a glacier.

“What you’ll see on all of these shows, whether it’s ‘Ocean Treks’ or ‘The Voyager’ or ‘Vacation Creation,’ is a true focus on what the cruise guest experience is,” said John Padgett, Carnival’s chief experience and innovation officer.

The shows, Padgett said, are not infomercials. Sponsors in addition to Carnival will buy 30-second ads. Carnival-brand ships will appear but not in classic product-placement fashion, he said.

“This is true, valuable, entertaining and engaging content,” Padgett said. It won’t say “sponsored by,” but “there are nuanced suggestions that it is Carnival Corp. as a driver” of the show, he said.

Carnival isn’t the first cruise line to do this kind of programming. Norwegian Cruise Line this year was the focus of 26 episodes of “Dream Quest With Evette Rios,” a show within the CWs “One Magnificent Morning” three-hour Saturday block.

A spokeswoman said Norwegian has not renewed for a second season.

The half-hour shows debut Oct. 1. It will be the first time NBC uses shows distributed by Litton. Its block will be called “The More You Know,” after NBC’s public service announcements. In “The Voyager,” Josh Garcia will “go off the beaten path in fascinating seaside ports to meet locals who share their rich history, life stories and exotic foods,” Carnival said.

Litton’s programs have tended to focus on wildlife, health, job hunting or travel, which have been deemed satisfactory as educational/informative content for kids 13 to 16, the target audience.

“Vacation Creation” tailors “vacations of a lifetime for couples, individuals and families facing hardship, in need of hope or seeking much-needed time together, Carnival said.

Other travel companies have sponsored shows during the Litton-produced Saturday morning blocks, including SeaWorld (“Sea Rescue” on ABC) and Busch Gardens (“The Wildlife Docs,” also on ABC).

Padgett said one of the major goals of creating the shows is to keep cruising in mind as a vacation option, something that Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald frequently raises. “We want to show how broad a proposition cruising is for consumers,” Padgett said.


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