Background: APT was founded in 1961 as the Eastern Educational Television Network (EEN), distributing public TV shows such as The French Chef, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, and Washington Week to public television stations on a regional basis, and then nationwide when NET (now PBS) was formed. They changed their name to Interregional Program Service in the 1980s, became American Program Service (APS) in 1992, and changed to their current name, American Public Television in 1999.
Nickname: "A Production of..."
Logo: On a maroon-colored background, we see the text:
A PRODUCTION OF
in Copperplate, which zooms in slightly. There is a shining wipe on the text.
- There is a variant which has "BOSTON" under the text.
- Another variant has the text "DISTRIBUTED BY" in place of "A PRODUCTION OF".
- Yet another variant says "A PRESENTATION OF".
FX/SFX: The name zooming in, the "shimmer".
Cheesy Factor: The logo looks pretty cheap for 1992.
Music/Sounds: None. In other cases, it uses the end theme of the show. Bloopy's Buddies, however, used their own generic theme over the logo (as well as two other logos that appeared at the end of said show).
Availability: Seen on Bloopy's Buddies, Computer Chronicles, and The Big Comfy Couch episodes from the era. However, since those shows don't air anymore, it's pretty much extinct outside of personal recordings. Still intact on the "Cyber Cafes" and "Macworld" episodes of Computer Chronicles on the Internet Archive, from 1996. It was also in tandem with the next logo.
Scare Factor: None to minimal.
Nickname: "APS", "Programs For Public Television"
Logo: On a black background with 2 orange/brown squares, we the letters "aps" in orange/brown with the words "American Program Service" below the letters zooming out from us, with the "p" slightly on top of the "a", a white bracket revealing the "p", and a black bracket revealing the "s". Once the letters shift into place, the words:
appear below the letters "ps", while a small flash appears above the "a" in the top left hand corner. Also, one of the squares disappears, leaving one square in the background, which rotates.
FX/SFX: The animation in the logo.
Music/Sounds: A somewhat patriotic 7-note synth tune with a drum crescending throughout. It's rumored (and also possible) this fanfare was sometimes used for the 1st logo.
Availability: Extremely rare. Was seen on 1994-1998 episodes of Computer Chronicles. A few episodes from the era on the Internet Archive retain this. Can also be seen on 1997-98 episodes of The Kidsongs Television Show on iTunes.
Scare Factor: Minimal. The fanfare may startle some viewers, but this is an okay logo.
(1999-2008; April 12th, 2009)
Nickname: "The Squares"
Logo: On a black background, we see two squares, one with white outlining and the other with red outlining, shifting throughout, and each one is blue with watermarks of the name on them. Then a red outline forms another square, which appears in the same color also with watermarks of the name as it finishes, with the text "American Public Television" on it.
- From 2000-2007, the URL text "aptonline.org" appeared under the company's name. Starting in 2007, it appeared as "APTonline.org".
- On The Organ Wise Guys shorts, the logo appears at the bottom of the screen with the text: "Copyright (C) (Year) American Public Television" to the left of the logo.
FX/SFX: The squares forming.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 2nd logo.
Availability: At one point, it was considered to be the Sony Pictures Television of public television, but it is now mostly uncommon. It can be seen on older programs that they distribute to PBS stations, as well as independent Public TV stations such as KCET and shows on the digital broadcast network Create (which APT partially owns). This made a surprise appearance on the April 12, 2009 episode of The McLaughlin Group. Rick Steves Europe and Linda's Italy episodes from the era have this logo as well. Also seen on Smile airings of The Zula Patrol episodes aired during the timeframe, and on DVD, it can be seen on Monarch's release of Seemore's Playhouse: Fire Safety, on the episode "Sweet and Sour". In addition, this appears on movies co-distributed by APT.
Scare Factor: None to low. This is a very memorable logo to most viewers, but it can also be annoying for some who felt like this logo was hammered into their minds on purpose.
Nickname: "The Squares II"
Logo: Nearly the same as before, but it's been redone for HD, and appeasers darker and seemingly quicker in pace. The company name is in Gotham instead of Helvetica.
Variant: On all shows with this logo except for 2008-early 2009 episodes of WORLDFOCUS, the URL text "APTonline.org" appears under the company's name.
FX/SFX: Same as the previous logo.
Music/Sounds: Same as the previous two logos.
Availability: Due to its shorter lifespan, this wasn't as common as the previous logo was at one point. However, it does appear on the PBS version of the first season of Wild Animal Baby Explorers, and episodes of WORLDFOCUS episodes of the era.
Scare Factor: None to minimal. This is a fine update of the 3rd logo.
Nickname: "Shady Squares"
Logo: On a shady steel gray/blue gradient background, we see the words "American Public Television" in a Garamond font appear. Then, several blue/aqua/white-textured squares zoom out from out of nowhere and the URL "aptonline.org" appears below.
FX/SFX: The zooming, done with modern computer animation.
Music/Sounds: Four notes from the 1994 fanfare, played in a relaxing tone on a guitar. Otherwise, the actual 1994 theme is used.
Availability: Current. Seen on WORLDFOCUS, Mr. Bean, The Joy of Painting, and Nightly Business Report, among others. The second season of Wild Baby Animal Explorers also has this logo.
Scare Factor: None. This is a fine logo, but it's not as memorable as the 3rd logo. However, it may surprise you if you're expecting the previous logo.