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Background[]

WNET is the PBS affiliate located in New York City (although it is licensed to Newark, New Jersey). They first signed on the air on May 15, 1948, originally an independent commercial station under the calls WATV; National Telefilm Associates bought the station in 1957, renaming it to WNTA-TV in 1958. Though NTA hoped to use the station as the flagship of their short-lived NTA Film Network, NTA ran up debt (thanks to the NYC area having three other independent stations) and ultimately sold the station to the non-profit Educational Television for the Metropolitan Area (ETMA, later renamed the Educational Broadcasting Corporation) in 1961.

Rechristened in 1962 as WNDT (for New Dimensions in Television), it joined NET and became a non-commercial educational station. WNDT merged with NET in 1970, becoming WNET, in part because of government pressure on NET to stop producing programming that upset politicians; this directly resulted in NET being replaced by PBS, with WNET becoming one of PBS' most prolific stations. WNET continued to produce national programming under the NET name for another two years, before the WNET brand fully replaced it in 1972.

In addition to WNET itself, the WNET Group (formerly the Educational Broadcasting Corporation) also owns WLIW 21 (serving Long Island) and operates NJ PBS (formerly NJTV) on behalf of the state government (replacing the New Jersey Network in 2009).

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WNET Productions[]

1st Logo (March 1972-Spring 1973)[]

Visuals: This is a reworked version of the 13th NET logo, with the logo altered to read "wnet". The animation also appears to be sped up, the mass is completely yellow until it unravels, and a "13" also moves downward from the swirling mass, which causes the word to move up.

Variant: A black & white and possibly filmed variant is seen on Science '72.

Technique: Same as the 13th NET logo, though slightly altered with the design changes that were made.

Audio: Same as the 13th NET logo, but with an additional loop to the keyboard tune, and the announcer says "The following program is from WNET 13." or "The following program is a presentation of WNET 13."

Availability: The logo appeared on An American Family, where it may or may not have been used in tandem with the 3rd logo, and also appeared on Soul!. The alternate announcer variant appeared on Science '72.

2nd Logo (October? 1972-June 27, 1979)[]

Visuals: On a black background, red rectangles with white horizontal pieces shoot away from the viewer, converging into a red screen with a white “FROM NEW YORK” on it. After a few seconds on screen, the pieces shoot towards the viewer, revealing teal bars, and “WNET” zooms forward on a teal background, with "PRESENTS" appearing below a second later.

Variants:*A black and white version exists.

  • A filmed version exists.
  • There exists a version where the background at the end is a maroon color.

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: A synthesized, keyboard-driven rock tune. The first half of the music has two arrangements: one slightly faster and more hokey-sounding, and the other cleaner and more professional. Both have the same ending.

Availability: Seen on pre-1979 recordings of PBS shows produced by WNET.

  • The first appearance of the logo is on an unknown show in 1972, although one of the first appearances of the logo was on VD Blues in October 1972; this logo made its last appearance on the seven-part miniseries Women in Art.
  • Originally appeared on an episode of The Men Who Made the Movies; this logo is retained on a DVD directed by the subject of that episode.
  • This logo is also retained on a few episodes of Theater in America (such as "Enemies") presented on DVD by the Broadway Theatre Archive.
  • The complete logo also shows up about an hour into the documentary Mr. Soul.
  • The version with the hokey arrangement appears on a Home Vision VHS of Portraits of an Artist (featuring Georgia O'Keeffe) and also on at least two episodes of the first season of the PBS incarnation of The Dick Cavett Show.
  • The version with the clean arrangement appears on The Great Radio Comedians and also on the DVD release of The Great American Dream Machine (all episodes on Volumes 1 and 2); and early (pre-1976) episodes of The Robert MacNeil Report on DVD and online at the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

3rd Logo (Spring 1973-1975)[]

Visuals: An art deco-style "13" (rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise) writes itself on a black screen. The "13" zooms out as a similarly styled "13" (rotated 90 degrees clockwise compared to the previous text) writes itself in as a mirror image, overlapping with the "3" in the former "13". Then both of them disappear, as "WNET" written in the same style appears at the bottom and zooms out. A "W" zooms in and out, followed by an "N", an "E", and a "T". Then the background turns red, and "WNET", in white and in a more normal-looking font, zooms in.

Variants:*A filmed variant appears on the Bill Moyers special An Essay on Watergate

  • A short version exists.

Technique: A mix of motion-controlled animation for the first half and Scanimate animation for the second half.

Audio: A clean arrangement of the first half of the previous logo plays, followed by a hokey arrangement of that half with an announcer saying either "Produced in New York by WNET" or "A Presentation of WNET". Afterwards, the second half plays as usual.

Availability: Seen on An American Family, where it may or may not have been used in tandem with the 1st logo. It also appeared on a 16mm print of the Bill Moyers special An Essay on Watergate.

4th Logo (October 6, 1978-May 31, 1985)[]

Visuals: Two white bars appear from opposite ends of the screen and slide horizontally to the center. After they collide, they retract to reveal "FROM WNET", with "NEW YORK" below (all in a stylized font). The white bars would do the same for the names of any company, individual, institution, foundation, or organization that funded the program [that this precedes] (e.g. "Corporation for Public Broadcasting", "Public Television Stations", "The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies", etc.). After the last text slides, the whole thing fades to black.

Variants:

  • The color of the background may either be black or blue. The latter is used for the filmed version and also on Great Performances.
  • On the Great Performances spin-off Live from Lincoln Center, the first slide after "FROM WNET NEW YORK" reads "Great Performances", and the funding credits announcer also waits a few more seconds to start talking.
  • Sometimes, it's superimposed.
  • If there are no funding credits at the start of the program, this simply fades in and out.
  • On the first season of Nature, one of the last programs to use this logo, the whole thing is set in the Modern No. 20 typeface.

Technique: Cel animation.

Audio: Technically none, except for the voiceover announcing the funding credits, and/or the opening theme of the program. However, if you listen closely, you might hear a test tone towards the end of this logo.

Availability:

  • Seen on later episodes of The Dick Cavett Show, as well as on installments of the local late-night movie program Cinema 13 from the era and the 1980 adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven.
  • You might also see this on episodes of Great Performances (including Theater in America and Dance in America) and its spinoff, Live from Lincoln Center, as well as on Non-Fiction Television.
  • It first appeared on We Interrupt This Week, on which it was superimposed over the opening. Its last appearance was on Love's Labour Lost, broadcast as part of The Shakespeare Plays on May 31, 1985.

5th Logo (December 6, 1982-June 27, 1983)[]

Visuals: On a black screen, "WNET" appears as an outline, in a more normal font than before. Below it is "NEW YORK" in the same font as before. Below all that, the logo at the time for their performing arts anthology series Great Performances (depicting, from left to right, a ballerina, a stage actor, an opera singer, and an orchestra conductor standing atop a horizontal, rounded stage) is seen.

Technique: A still, printed image.

Audio: A nine-note synthesized brass fanfare.

Availability: Seen on episodes of Great Performances from the era, this was a special ident created specifically for the program's 10th season, along with the new opening graphic.

6th Logo (October 9, 1983-September 25, 1989)[]

Visuals: On a black background, circular lines showing the New York skyline wipe in, with an outlined “WNET” on it. The pre-2001 World Trade Center "Twin Towers" can also be seen on the far left. As the “radar” circles two more times, the outlined “WNET” becomes more solid, and the morning sky becomes night. Finally, when the sky becomes completely dark, and “WNET” is filled in with white, “FROM” and “NEW YORK” can be seen above and below the letters respectively. This is all in the same font as the 4th logo.

Variant: A filmed version appeared on Heritage: Civilization and the Jews.

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: A five-note synthesizer tune with chimes, repeating three times, just with different pitches.

Availability: Older tapes of WNET programs should have this.

  • Time-Life Video and Lorimar Home Video releases of early episodes of Nature, such as "Forest in the Sea" (where this logo debuted), "Designed for Living" (which was the last episode to use this ID), "Secret Weapons", "Cats", and "Man's Best Friend" (the latter three of which were also made available by PBS Home Video) use this logo.
  • You can also see this on episodes of Great Performances and American Masters (which used this logo until 1989) from this era.
  • This logo was also seen on a Home Vision tape of New World Visions-American Art and the Metropolitan Museum (1650-1914)-Part Two.
  • This logo also followed the 1983-1991 MGM/UA Television logo on The Spencer Tracy Legacy: A Tribute By Katharine Hepburn.

7th Logo (September 9, 1987-January 27th, 1992?)[]

Visuals: On a blue space background with dancing stars, “FROM” and “NEW YORK” zoom out, along with a "W". Then, an "n", an "E", and a "t" slide out while the animation zooms away from the viewer, all of which resembles the "Thirteen" logo at the time. “Sparks” then create parallelograms to surround “FROM” and “NEW YORK”, placed above and below the logo.

Variants:

  • An in-credit version appears at the end of 1986-1991 episodes of American Masters. The logo has "A PRESENTATION OF" above the logo and "NEW YORK" either appears in the bottom parallelogram or is under it, leaving either the top or both blank. There may be a copyright notice below.
  • In a rare exception to the general rule that station logos don't appear on co-productions between PBS stations, this and the KCET logo are played simultaneously, without any music, before Television.
  • On some programs, including Shining Time Station, the logo is slightly sped up to 30fps (the logo was originally animated at 24fps) and the audio is out of proportion, or vice-versa.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: Same as the last logo.

Availability:*This logo is easier to find than the previous logo, given the fact that it has appeared on PBS Home Video tapes of the era from WNET, including episodes of Nature and Great Performances, and even plastered the previous logo on some Time-Life releases of the former.

  • Its first appearances were on The Power of Choice and I Would Be Called John: Pope John XXIII, as well as on sixth-season episodes of Nature and the 1987 rebroadcast of The Adams Chronicles.
  • Both first and second season Shining Time Station episodes (the first season being when Ringo Starr was Mr. Conductor and the second season with George Carlin as Mr. Conductor) have this logo, too. Depending on your PBS station, it was seen either at the beginning or end of an episode.
  • It also appeared on the Laserdisc releases of the Nature episode "The Volcano Watchers" and the American Masters episode "A. Einstein: How I See the World". It is unknown if this appears on any DVD releases.

8th Logo (February 9?, 1992-October 23, 1999)[]

Visuals: On a black background is “wnet” in a thin font (in a black rectangle with the word carved out of it) and then “NEW YORK” (appearing letter-by-letter), circling the logo counterclockwise while a spotlight shines around the logo from right to left.

Trivia: This is a live-action logo, created by Liberty Studios (which also produced HBO's "In Space" opening from 1982) in 1991 and directed by Robert Lyons and David Bruce. An Oxberry Animation Stand Camera was used for the filming of this logo, which like the 1992 PBS logo, was shot on 35mm film.

Variant: Sometimes, the logo is referred as "FROM wnet NEW YORK".

Technique: Live-action.

Audio: A beatbox jingle with a synthesized choir sounder.

Audio Variant: On American Masters, WNET announcer Tom Stuart says "A production of WNET, New York" over the jingle. Some episodes have this rephrased as "A presentation of WNET, New York."

Availability: In its day, it appeared on Nature, American Masters, Charlie Rose and the pilot episode of Cyberchase (one of the last appearances of this logo, with the Tom Stuart VO). Also appeared at the beginning or end of season 3 episodes of Shining Time Station. It may appear on early DVD releases of Nature. It also appears on the PC game The Day the World Broke.

Thirteen (WNET New York)[]

1st Logo (October 24, 1999-October 31, 2006)[]

Visuals: On a dodger blue background with many flashing dots (apparently arranged to look like skyscrapers), a pulse “wipes” inside the words “thirteen” with a red dot on the "I" (placed on the background as to be placed on one of the "dotscrapers" as if an antenna), and the words “WNET NEW YORK” fade in below.

Variants:

  • One version has flashing dots covering the horizontal middle of the screen.
  • Another one is on a red background with dots moving towards and away from the red dot on "thirteen".

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: A five-note digital piano sounder; the version uses jazz piano and drum music. Otherwise, the ending theme.

Availability: Can currently be seen on Cyberchase releases on VHS and DVD and most reruns on PBS. Also appeared on 1999-2006 episodes of Nature and Charlie Rose. Also seen at the end of American Masters and The Face - Jesus in Art. Though it officially ended use in 2004, it was used as a placeholder for the next logo until 2006.

2nd Logo (October 31, 2006-March 27, 2015)[]

Visuals: There is an overhead view of New York City, with the initials "thirteen" and "WNET NEW YORK" (the bottom text is spaced out to fit the width of "thirteen") from the previous logo, rendered in CGI, floating overhead. The camera pans down to a 20th Century Fox-esque angle (except it's reversed), so the logo is seen from below.

Variants:

  • On Make Em' Laugh, the logo is slightly sped up. After it finishes, a hand with a yellow shirt bounces the red dot off the "I".
  • US prints of Franny's Feet and Wishbone have the first second cut off.

Technique: CGI designed by Bobby Chang.

Audio: A held-out bass string note, followed by a soft 5-note piano sounder ending in violas playing an additional note. Sometimes it has the closing theme playing over it.

Audio Variant: On Make Em' Laugh, a "clinking" sound is heard when the hand bounces the dot off.

Availability:

  • Seen on Nature, Charlie Rose, Barney & Friends, Cyberchase and NOW, among others.
  • Usually replaced with the 2009 logo, though this is still abound on most shows of the era such as reruns of Sprout's Franny's Feet.
  • Also seen at the start and end of recent prints of the 1976 miniseries The Adams Chronicles, accompanied by, surprisingly enough, the 1984 PBS ID (this plasters the 1987 logo from the Fall 1987 reruns).
  • After it officially ended in 2009, this continued to appear on Charlie Rose's programs for some time after, with Charlie Rose: The Week using it until March 27, 2015.
  • This can also be seen on some reruns of Cyberchase.

3rd Logo (April 19, 2019-May 8, 2020)[]

Visuals: On a nightime New York skyline, there is a billboard reading "A PRODUCTION OF THIRTEEN", stacked atop each other atop a brownish building. The camera then pans down to an angle (à la the 20th Century Studios). The screen then fades-out.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A Mexican guitar tune (sourced from a stock library).

Availability: Exclusively made for the WNET station. Seen on Season 12 of Cyberchase (most airings of said season use the normal logo instead).

WNET.ORG THiRTEEN[]

Background[]

WNET.ORG (WNET) is the name of the organization that holds the licenses of WNET and its sister station on Long Island, WLIW.

Logo (May 13, 2009-March 27, 2022)[]

Visuals: There is the Empire State Building at night. "WNET.ORG" appears at the top of the screen next to the Empire State Building. Then, a line draws itself next to the moon and spins several times and stops by forming a lowercase "i". "TH" slides out of the left side of the "I" and "RTEEN" slides out of the right side of the "I" (all in the Gotham typeface).

Early Variant: An early version (used until February 21, 2010) exists. Here, the logo is the following: there is the skyline of Manhattan at night, a line draws itself next to the moon and spins several times and stops by forming a lowercase "i", "TH" slides out of the left side of the "I" and "RTEEN" slides out of the right side of the "I" (all in the Gotham typeface), and "WNET.ORG" appears above "THIRTEEN" after the animation is done.

Other Variants:

  • Starting in 2011, "WNET.ORG" instead reads "WNET", and all the text just fades in while shining with a blur (due to the fact that the "i" animation is no longer used).
  • On Worldfocus, Firing Line with Margaret Hoover, and PBS Newshour Weekend, "CREATIVE NEWS GROUP" appears in place of "THIRTEEN".
  • Sometimes, as seen on episodes of Live from Lincoln Center, the word "THIRTEEN" does not appear at all.
  • On WLIW-produced programs, such as Front and Center, "WLIW21" appears in place of "THIRTEEN". Only "WNET" appears.
  • On Sprout prints of Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, two extremely rare reported variants exist:
    • one where only the text "THIRTEEN" was shown and there is no "WNET.ORG" at all (the logo was also edited for some reason during this variant and however, if one looks closely when the logo begins, "WNET.ORG" is seen at the beginning due to an editing mistake on some prints) starting after the shining disappears),
    • and one where there is no text at all and only has the footage of the Empire State Building. It is unknown if this variant appears on Sprout prints of Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps.

Technique: Live action for the Empire State Building, with motion-controlled animation (designed by Pentagram) for the text.

Audio: A gracious 4-note orchestra tune with a piano note at the end (composed by Niccolo Athens). A short version exists with the piano note being cut-off.

Audio Trivia: You can watch a video of Athens conducting this logo's theme, as well as other themes used in WNET's local bumpers of the time.

Early Audio Variant: An early variant uses a re-orchestration of the 2006 logo's theme.

Availability: This logo still appears on most new programs, mainly in prime time.

  • Can be seen on American Masters, Tavis Smiley, PBS News Hour Weekend, Nature, Great Performances, Charlie Rose, Charlie Rose: The Week (though no logo appears at all on most editions beginning December 18, 2015), and Cyberchase.
  • The original variant made its last appearance on a rebroadcast of the Nature episode "Invasion of the Giant Pythons".
  • Also shown up on Los Angeles-animated Bob the Builder: Ready, Steady, Build and Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, (animated in Taiwan) and PBS airings of Barney & Friends and Thomas and Friends (DVDs and Sprout airings remove this logo; also, on PBS airings of the former, the logo appears after the HiT logo instead of before it, since no other company, not even Nitrogen Studios, produced it).
  • Its last appearance was on the March 27, 2022 edition of PBS NewsHour Weekend, which was also its last to be produced before moving to WETA.

The WNET Group[]

Logo (May 14, 2021-)[]

Visuals: On a white background with dots below, there are the words "WNET", "The", and "Group", being scattered across the screen. Afterward, the logo moves to the center with the text moving to a yellow line. A thin line forms by "WNET Group", and the text, "Media Made Possible By All Of You".

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: A five-note synth tune.

Audio Variant: On Part 2 of the Nature special miniseries Growing Up in the Rockies, the logo is entirely silent.

Availability: First seen on the May 14, 2021, edition of Firing Line. It also appears on Tulsa: The Fire and the Forgotten. Since July 9, 2021, it has also appeared on Great Performances, and since July 27, 2021, on American Masters; by the fall of that year, most WNET programming had switched over to this logo, an exception being PBS NewsHour Weekend (this show continued to use the 2009 logo until it was rebranded and moved to WETA). It also appears on season 13 of Cyberchase, making it the third season 13 of a WNET kids show to use a new WNET logo.

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