Nickelodeon opened the cable portion of this year’s upfront presentations in New York City by touting more than 800 original hours of programming content, up 20 percent from last year. Nickelodeon Group President Cyma Zarghami also said the group’s immediate focus is on the traditional linear programming landscape as well as new partnerships and technologies.
The presentation to advertisers and the media community was held Tuesday night at the Palace Theater in Times Squares, the current home of SpongeBob SquarePants: The Musical.
”We reinvent ourselves constantly and we do it for it for and with our audience front and center,” said Zarghami. “In over four decades of doing just that, we have developed a unique brand position that resonates with passionate audiences. We have cultivated a safe high quality environment that families trust. And we have created an unmatched portfolio of original and enduring programming, great characters and great stories worth telling.”
”Our connection to you, our partners, is really just as vital,” she added. “With great content and characters at the center, we can take, or follow, audiences anywhere and everywhere that they want to go: to TV, feature films, consumer products, musical festivals and live tours and into real world experiences or virtual ones.”
Mirroring the current primetime landscape, where the programming theme for next season is clearly all about revivals, Nickelodeon is no exception with upcoming new versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — now called Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — and Blue’s Clues, with the search, at present, on finding a new host.
Nickelodeon also is following another common programming path, the spin-off, with a development deal for Los Casagrandes, a companion series for animated The Loud House.
The network also has announced a second season renewal for Lip Sync Shorties, hosted by Nick Cannon, which was a spin-off of sorts from Lip Sync Battle, now on corporate cousin Paramount Network.
Cannon also has created and is executive producing Musical Dares, a new short-form series offering a twist on the concept of musical chairs. Musical Dares is the first project by Viacom Digital Studios for Nickelodeon’s YouTube channel.
In addition to Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, new at Nickelodeon in animation is Pony, developed by Nickelodeon International in the UK. It tells the tale of a young girl and her talking pony.
Joining returning series Henry Danger, The Thundermoms, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn and recently introduced Knight Squad, new in live action at Nickelodeon is competition series Keep it Spotless, executive produced by the WWE’s John Cena and featuring real kids competing in paint-filled challenges.
Nickelodeon has plans to do more with green slime than one could have ever imagined with multi-day music festival Nickelodeon SlimeFest, produced in partnership with Live Nation, taking place in Chicago for two days in June. The network also has minted a new partnership with IMAX to bring to SlimeZone – its first multi-player, social VR experience – to select IMAX VR theaters globally this month.
In the preschool arena, four new animated series will join the aforementioned revival of Blue’s Clues: Abby Hatcher, Fuzzly Catcher; Butterbean’s Café; Fashion Alley and The Swashbuckling Adventures of Capitan Calavera (working title), which will include a Spanish-language and culture curriculum. They join returning PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Shimmer and Shine, and Nella the Princess Knight.
Finally, Nickelodeon also has created and launched a new brand campaign, called “That’s Me,” which opens with the first round of spots this week and showcases kids’ drive to be honest and authentic individuals who celebrate differences and diversity.
”We have made significant progress growing our footprint and positioning ourselves for the future,” said Zarghami. “We keep our content pipeline full and with our linear and social business in overdrive we are adapting how we work and who we work with in order to best serve the new and next generation audiences on new and next generation platforms.”