Nickelodeon is reversing the engine of the development train with its latest crop of shows, spinning off several series for the linear channel from those that started on emerging platforms, rather than launching them the other way around.
The kids cable network unveiled a new round of programs, most of which were generated on alternative platforms like the Web and videogames, at its 2006-07 upfront Thursday in New York.
“We are in a digital era for kids, and our mission, obviously, is to keep up with kids, so we want to put our content on all the platforms they’re looking for,” says Cyma Zarghami, president, Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group.
New series that begin on emerging platforms include:
-CGI action adventure series Tak and The Power of JuJu (15 episodes premiering in 2007), which was spun off from a video game;
-puppet comedy Mr. Meaty (13 episodes premiering in 2007), which was spun off from the channel’s broadband site, TurboNick;
-CGI comedy Barnyard (13 episodes premiering in 2007), developed from an upcoming movie about animals who come to life when the farmer isn’t there;
-Nick Jr. preschool series Wow! Wow! Wubbzy (26 episodes premiering in 2007), 5-to 7-minute episodes of musical animation that began as the network’s first podcast.
The network will also continue premiering content on its emerging platforms, including video podcasts on Nick.com and iTunes and new weekly online games.
Other new shows premiering on the linear network include:
- Downward Doghouse (working title, 20 episodes premiering on Nick Jr., March, 2007), a preschool play-along series à la smash hit Dora developed in China and designed to help teach kids about Chinese culture and language.
-El Tigre (13 episodes premiering in 2007), a Mexican-inspired comedy about a teenage boy with a superhero father and a super-villain grandfather; and
-The Lil’ JJ Show (working title, 13 episodes premiering in 2007), a rags-to-riches live-action comedy starring teen actor Lil’ JJ.
Nick has also ordered more episodes of Zoey 101, Unfabulous, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, Drake & Josh, SpongeBob SquarePants, LazyTown, The Backyardigans and Go, Diego, Go!.
Going into this upfront, Nick has already done one-third of its deals because of multi-year contracts with key partners such as toy manufacturers, food companies and movie studios, says Nickelodeon Senior VP of Ad Sales Jim Perry. The company has also seen an uptick in recent years from adult-targeting advertisers looking to capitalize on the co-viewing that goes on between kids and parents. Those include advertisers in auto, travel and tech.
“We feel very well positioned as we enter what I think is going to be a very strong kids’ market,” Perry says.