Nickelodeon and DreamWorks TV Animation have signed a co-production deal following months of talks between the channel and the studio. The two entities will collaborate on an animated action-adventure series to be executive produced by Steven Spielberg, with an additional action-adventure series to follow.
Albie Hecht, president of film and TV entertainment for Nickelodeon says that Nickelodeon has been looking to bring an ‘action-adventure sensibility to cartoons, and [Spielberg] is the person [who] can manage that process.’ Hecht says the kids network plans to bring action-adventure toons to Nick that will provide ‘thrills and excitement’ without the violence.
Nickelodeon’s signing of this deal, as well as an acquisiton agreement with Sunbow for the animated series Brothers Flub, came as a surprise in light of the channel’s moves to beef up its own production of animation. According to Hecht, looking outside of Nickelodeon for new product is part of an ongoing search for ‘the best idea, wherever it comes from.’
‘Nicktoons started out with creator-driven ideas. We want to produce a lot of animation [at Nickelodeon's new animation studio], but also have strategic partnerships with outside producers,’ he says. According to Hecht, slots within Nick’s schedule will continue to be held for outside product.
Hecht notes that Nickelodeon’s constant contact with kids-through Nick Studios in Florida, on-line sites, focus groups and the vast quantity of mail the channel receives-makes it uniquely positioned to assist outside creators such as DreamWorks in giving kids what they want. ‘We found that kids really love the action-adventure genre,’ says Hecht. ‘It’s a risk for us, but it’s another place for us to go that we haven’t gone.’ He feels that the channel’s take on actio-adventure will be different than what is seen at other broadcast outlets. ‘Kids expect something different from Nick. We plan to do something that combines a sense of humor with suspense.’