Nickelodeon Upfront 2006
via Nickelodeon press release:
Nickelodeon Leads Industry in Reinventing Original Development Process for Kids in a Multi-Platform World
Network Commissions Multi-Million Dollar Development Slate for Non-Linear Entertainment Platforms – Announces Creation of ‘Inkubators’ Animation Laboratory
Announces New Series Developed From Video Games, Broadband, International Production and Feature Film Platforms; Unveils New Platforms for Content Including Video Podcasts
Diverse Slate of 254 Episodes to Premiere on Nick TV during 2006-07 Season, Including New Projects from Steve Oedekerk, The Wayans Brothers, Alison Taylor, Jorge Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua
NEW YORK – At its 2006-07 upfront presentation today, Nickelodeon, the number-one entertainment brand for kids, launched into a new era of creating entertainment for kids in the digital age. While continuing its unprecedented leadership in linear television production, Nickelodeon announced a slate that will include content developed from such platforms as feature films, video games, broadband and international production, as well as announcing a multi-million dollar development slate for non-linear productions. Nickelodeon television will also premiere 254 new episodes during the 2006-07 season.
“The first Nickelodeon generation of kids grew up in a video democracy where the words broadcast and cable meant nothing, and great characters and stories meant everything,” said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group. “This next generation of kids is platform agnostic. We already are programming to kids on 15 different platforms and we’re excited to be expanding our tradition of strong content development to reach across broadband, digital and wireless screens that have become a daily part of their lives. Kids are the first adapters of the digital age and we are going to fully integrate our brand into that space with great character and story-driven content that will be developed specifically for the products they are accessing.”
Ms. Zarghami added that Nickelodeon is committing to a multi-million dollar development slate to introduce new original content specifically for non-linear platforms, including launching an animation laboratory called “Inkubators,” based at Nickelodeon’s animation studio in Burbank, CA. The Inkubators Lab will be dedicated to the development of original animated content made specifically for a diverse range of platforms, including broadband; wireless; portable video devices; online and gaming. Additionally, Nickelodeon will be committing development resources to the creation of long and short form content developed from creators in international markets.
During the 2006-07 season Nickelodeon will introduce the following series that were developed from non-traditional platforms:
Tak and the Power of JuJu (15 episodes — premieres in 2007 on Nickelodeon) Developed from the successful video game series, Tak and the Power of Juju is a CGI animated adventure comedy series created in conjunction with THQ, Nickelodeon and game developer Avalanche Software which follows the slightly skewed comic adventures of fun-loving, mischievous 14-year old Tak, who has gained access to the magical, mythical realm of the always colorful and powerful Jujus. Set in an out-of-this world jungle paradise, Tak and his partners in adventure, Keeko and Jeera constantly find themselves in over their heads, but somehow always find a way out by relying on their native wits. Hal Sparks stars as the voice of Tak, with Tommy Davidson as Keeko and Colleen O’Shaughnessey as Jeera.
Mr. Meaty (13 episodes — premieres in 2007 on Nickelodeon) Developed from Nickelodeon’s TurboNick broadband platform where it appeared as a series of shorts, Mr. Meaty is an animated comedy set in the flashy facade of a fast-food franchise and focuses on the working life of two teenage slackers, Josh and Parker, the unofficial, unaware champions of the underdog in a world that relies on the cookie-cutter mentality and the veneer of a perfect customer service experience. Full of teenaged self-importance and slouching indifference, the boys are willing to endure one of the most soulless jobs on earth in order to save enough money to produce their dream project — an awesome horror movie called “Ninja Zombies.” From their six-by-six foot square food-court bunker, they plan to improve their lives and their ultimate escape from the monotony of minimum wage.
Downward Doghouse (working title) (20 episodes — premieres March 2007 on Nick Jr.) Developed and produced through a partnership between Nickelodeon and Wang Films, Downward Doghouse is a new, original animated series that introduces preschoolers to the many aspects of Chinese culture and language through a five-year-old Chinese-American girl named Kai-lan. Following in the tradition of Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!, this new play-along series features an intergenerational Chinese-American family and teaches the Mandarin language to preschoolers at home — a first for preschool television. Each half-hour centers on Kai-lan and her relationships with her grandfather, her animal friends and the natural world. Kai-lan is an emotionally gifted child who is driven to understand the world and how things are linked together both physically and emotionally. Every episode follows the adventures of Kai-lan and her friends as they learn to identify their emotions and stop to consider the feelings of others. The series explores the colorful aspects of Kai-lan’s upbringing and background including family, food, and language while encouraging preschoolers to care for others and their environment. Downward Doghouse is created by Karen Chau and Executive Produced by Mary Harrington. The animation production for Downward Doghouse will be done in conjunction with Wang Films, with animation taking place in both Shanghai and Taiwan. In addition to the animation work, key episode designs will be created and produced at the Wang studio in China.
Nicktoons Network Animation Festival (premieres August 2006 on Nicktoons Network) After two successful festivals and entries received from around the world, Nicktoons Network, the 24-hour animation network owned by Nickelodeon, will partner for the first time with Kidscreen Magazine and again with Frederator Studios, for this year’s Nicktoons Network Animation Festival. Animators from around the globe can submit their original short films created in any style of animation and a grand jury will select a $10,000 grand prize winner from the top ten films chosen by the pre-selection jury. The festival will debut on Nicktoons Network’s air on August 26th and will run for six nights. For the first time, the animation festival will also be available to view online at http://www.nicktoonsnetwork.com/ and will kick off with a two-day live screening event at the Nicktoons Studios in Burbank, CA on Saturday, August 12 and Sunday, August 13.
Barnyard (13 episodes — premieres in 2007 on Nickelodeon) Developed from the upcoming feature film of the same title and created by Steve Oedekerk (Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, The Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls), Barnyard is a CGI animated comedy series which takes a hilarious look at what really happens in a barnyard when the farmer’s back is turned. The series centers on Otis, a former carefree party cow who recently took over as the patriarch of the farm. Otis is advised (and sometimes ill-advised) on how best to govern the barnyard by his best friends: Pip, an outspoken mouse; and Freddie, a neurotic ferret and Peck, a level-headed rooster. Constantly faced with protecting the barnyard animals from all that lurks just beyond the fence, Otis must balance his desire to be the irresponsible cow of his youth with his new, grown-up responsibilities.
Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! (26 episodes — premieres 2007 on Nick Jr.) The series was first introduced as The Wubbcast, the world’s first-ever video podcast of preschooler programming. The Wubbcast features musical animation (5-7 minute episodes) for distribution on portable video devices, including iPod and Sony PlayStation Portable [PSP] and mobile telephones. This original animated preschool series celebrates the spirit of teamwork and cooperation through a curious little creature named Wubbzy and his two pals Widget and Walden. The offbeat, loveable friends live in a whimsical and imaginative world and when Wubbzy runs into everyday kid problems, he calls on his friends for help and advice. Each half-hour episode of Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! will feature two, 10-minute adventures with the themes of the day reinforced through an original music video, followed by a direct-to-camera segment where the three friends address the preschoolers at home. Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! is a Bolder Media for Boys and Girls Production in association with IDT/Film Roman. Bob Boyle (The Fairly OddParents and Danny Phantom) is the creator and executive producer of the series. Susan Miller of Bolder Media, Inc. and Mixed Media Group and Fred Seibert of Bolder Media, Inc. and Frederator Studios, are also executive producers on Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!.
Nickelodeon will also continue to introduce content on new, innovative platforms including games on http://www.nick.com/ and video podcasts.
Video Podcasts — As of this week, Nickelodeon is launching on a new platform with its content — video podcasts. Video podcasts will be available on Nick.com and iTunes for various TEENick shows such as Zoey 101, Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards and various Nick Movies. The network will introduce several podcasts over the course of 2006-07. In a soft launch of its video podcast platform on Nick.com this week, Nickelodeon unveiled a video podcast featuring the cast of Zoey 101 for the TV event Zoey 101: Spring Break Up airing tomorrow, Mar. 10, 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Nick.com New Games of the Week — One of the most popular entertainment platforms for kids is online gaming. Over the course of 2006-07, Nick.com will introduce more than 100 “New Game of the Week” titles on Nick.com, featuring new and original games based on various Nick properties. Since the New Game of the Week’s initial launch on Nick.com, eight new games have been featured and have generated almost 50 million game plays. Nick.com totals 152 million game plays (which includes all its game offerings) for 2006, with 18 million game plays in March alone.
For the 2006-07 season, 18 current Nick and Nick Jr. series will premiere new episodes, totaling over 127 hours of original programming. In addition, pick-ups on returning hit series include: hit TEENick live-action series Zoey 101 (26 episodes), Unfabulous (13 episodes), Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide (15 episodes) and Drake & Josh (13 episodes); TV’s number-one kids’ series SpongeBob SquarePants (20 episodes); LazyTown (18 episodes); The Backyardigans (20 episodes) and Nick Jr.’s hit animated series Go, Diego, Go! (20 episodes).
Nickelodeon Television will also launch the following new series in 2006-07:
El Tigre (13 episodes — premieres in 2007 on Nickelodeon) is a Mexican folk art-inspired animated comedy with a spaghetti western twist, created by husband-wife team Jorge Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua (El Macho). El Tigre centers on a teenage boy, Manny Rivera (El Tigre), who must choose to become a great superhero, like his father, Rodolpho, or a feared super-villain like his grandfather. Manny struggles with the daily choice of which super-power he will master because being good is good … but being bad is fun!
Thugaboo 3 specials — first one premieres in August 2006 on Nickelodeon, then Nicktoons Network) is a series of animated specials themed around important times in kids’ lives, such as holidays and the first day of school, and takes a humorous look at the trials and tribulations of nine very different kids growing up in the inner city. Through their series of misadventures, the kids learn valuable lessons about everything from the importance of friendship to never giving up on a dream. Each special ends with a special musical number played out in music video format. Shawn, Marlon and Kenan Ivory Wayans produce, write and lend their voices to Thugaboo, their first animation project. Also featured in the specials are celebrity appearances by Michael Rapaport, Tracy Morgan, David Alan Grier and Kim Wayans.
The Lil’ JJ Show (working title) (13 episodes — premieres in 2007 on Nickelodeon) is a live-action multi-generational comedy starring teenage actor/comedian Lil’ JJ, which chronicles the adventures of ninth grader Jordan Lewis who has been waiting tables and stocking shelves at his family’s legendary Grants Eat-n-Greet Diner since he was tall enough to reach the counter. Each week Jordan and his neighborhood pals navigate their way through some of the great teenage injustices (i.e. Why do girls say they like the nice guys, but always date the bad boys? Why don’t parents have to follow their own rules?) on the ever-changing front lines of adolescence. Alison Taylor (Clarissa Explains It All, Lizzie McGuire, Cheeta Girls) is creator and executive producer, with Ken Bright consulting. Nick Movies is also in development on a feature project for the teenage actor/comedian to star. The untitled film is based on the real-life rags-to-riches story he shares with his teacher-turned-manager, Ken Bright.
Nickelodeon, in its 26th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in 89 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than ten consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NYSE:VIA) (NYSE:and) (NYSE:VIA.B)