NEW YORK, Feb. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Nickelodeon today at its annual upfront previewed its strategy to serve the new generation of post-millennial kids; introduced a line-up of brand-new animated and live-action comedy series from new creative voices; outlined plans for new, innovative content development platforms; and presented a new slate of educational preschool programming. Hosted by Nickelodeon Group President Cyma Zarghami, the presentation was held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Among the new animated projects introduced were: Sanjay & Craig, an animated series about a boy and his best friend--a snake--whose creative team combines two first-generation Nickelodeon creators Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi (The Adventures of Pete & Pete) with first-time Nickelodeon creators and co-executive producers Jim Dirschberger, Jay Howell and Andreas Trolf; and Breadwinners, whose creative team (animator Gary "Doodles" DiRaffaele and writer Steve Borst) came from Nickelodeon's Animation Shorts Program and features two booty-shaking ducks who operate a bread delivery service out of their awesome, jet-fueled rocket van. Additional new animated projects include the previously announced Rabbids and Monsters vs. Aliens. Nickelodeon is also picking up a third season of its hit animated series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which bowed in 2012 as the number-one new animated series with boys 2-11.
In live-action, two new family comedy series were announced, including The Haunted Hathaways, created by veteran comedy writer-producer Robert Peacock (Reba, The Jeff Foxworthy Show) in his first Nickelodeon show, about a family who moves into a house in New Orleans, LA, only to learn it's already occupied by a family of ghosts; and The Thundermans, from Jed Spingarn, who most recently served as co-executive producer of the hit Nickelodeon series Big Time Rush, about the sibling rivalry between twins in a family of superheroes. These series join the previously announced live-action series Sam & Cat and the recently launched Wendell & Vinnie.
A robust slate of original new educational programs for preschoolers was also introduced, including Wallykazam!--Nickelodeon's first literacy show for preschoolers that embeds the curriculum into a rich narrative story with the goal of helping and inspiring kids to read; Blaze and the Monster Machines, which is the first-ever preschool series that features a curriculum dedicated to all areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and follows the adventures of an 8-year-old boy and his monster truck; and Dora and Friends, a spin-off from the original creative team behind megahit Dora the Explorer, which stars the Latina heroine as a 10-year-old who goes on adventures in the big city with a group of new friends.
In addition, Zarghami outlined Nick's commitment to researching the newest generation of kids, the post-millennials, born between 2005 to present, as well as how the network is reinventing its development process and pipeline and innovating on new platforms. The presentation also included a look at Nickelodeon's just-launched Nick App–which now ranks as the number-one title on the Entertainment App list and the number-two title on the Free App list in the iTunes Store, approaching 400K downloads. Also detailed were: a new live afternoon daypart, Nick Studio 10; announcements about new sketch-comedy workshops for live-action development; and a partnership with Brian Robbins' AwesomenessTV online site.
"We have reorganized our development process in a way that allows us to make content smarter and faster than ever before, tailored specifically for this first generation of post-millennial kids," Zarghami said. "Our research tells us that for them funny is a badge of honor, and because funny is in Nickelodeon's core DNA, we believe our position will ensure our success with them."
In a surprise appearance, actor Josh Duhamel took the stage to highlight his role as host of Nickelodeon's 26th Annual Kids' Choice Awards, which will air Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). Duhamel was later joined by Viacom President and CEO Philippe Dauman; and the presentation was capped off with a musical performance by Interscope recording artists OneRepublic, who performed their latest hit single, "If I Lose Myself."
Details of Nickelodeon's new content slates include:
During the presentation, Nickelodeon highlighted original research into the newest generation of kids, the post-millennials. The network's early profile of them reveals some of their unique connections to friends, family and funny, including:
Nickelodeon, now in its 33rd 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 and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in almost 100 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 18 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).