By the end of the year, Nickelodeon says it will have more original series programming than any other network, thanks to four new half-hour series and 272 new episodes for returning series. Nick is also developing 50 new series pilots. New shows airing this fall include the tentatively-titled Stray Dog, Rocket Beach, SpongeBob SquarePants and the previously announced Little Bill. As well, 13 new episodes of Cinar’s Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which aired for five seasons on Nick before going out of production in 1995, will be hitting screens February 6. Nick also announced that a full-length feature spin-off of Hey Arnold! is currently in production, although the budget and release date were not available at press time. The Wild Thornberrys is also being considered for a future theatrical release.
New series Stray Dog, a 26-ep, US$10.4 million, live-action co-pro with L.A.-based Lynch Entertainment and Toronto’s Fireworks Entertainment, chronicles a 13-year-old orphan coming to live with a foster family on a Montana ranch. Rocket Beach, a co-pro with L.A.’s Klasky Csupo, follows pre-teens in an animated 20-ep adventure series. Nicktoon Productions’ SpongeBob SquarePants, the most bizarre new series, follows a ‘lovable sea sponge’ through 13 episodes of action-adventure set in a tropical underwater suburb where he lives in a two-story pineapple.
New pilots for 1999 include: The Amanda Bynes Show, a live-action series from Tollin/Robbins Productions spun off from All That; Klasky Csupo’s The Carmichaels, featuring Susie Carmichael from the Rugrats series; Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Nickelodeon’s first proposed 3-D CGI series, with Dallas’s DNA Productions and San Juan, California-based O Entertainment; One Hundred Deeds for Eddie McDowd, a live-action series from creators Steve Burman (Sabrina, The Teenage Witch, The Movie) and Mitchell Kaitlin/Nat Bernstein (The Gregory Hines Show, Doogie Howser, MD), features a nasty boy who is turned into a dog and has to perform 100 good deeds to become a little boy again; Stewy the Dog Boy, an animated production from creators Dennis Messner and Mary Harrington about a dog who can pass for a boy in fourth grade; The Noah Chronicles, a serialized live-action sitcom with L.A.-based Tested Ladder about the tribulations of a group of four teenagers; and Bruce Smith’s The Proud Family, a co-venture with L.A.’s Hyperion Studios about the animated suburban exploits of a teenage girl and a pair of one-year-old twins who are always escaping supervision. All of the new series are aimed at Nick’s traditional core audience of kids ages six to 11, despite the teenaged characters in some of the shows.