Following the appointment of new president of Nickelodeon, Brian Robbins in October, the kidcaster is rolling out an ambitious new slate featuring SpongeBob spin-offs, a reboot of sketch comedy All That, an unboxing series starring YouTube mega-star Ryan ToysReview, a CG-animated Paddington series (pictured) and more.
Nickelodeon notes in a press release that this is its biggest and most wide-ranging content slate ever and that it aims to reflect this diverse generation of kids with plenty of multi-cultural, family focused options. The slate was put into development in October, as soon as Robbins’ began at the kidsnet and will begin to debut on all of its platforms this summer.
Nick will capitalize on the popularity of YouTube with new series Ryan’s Mystery Playdate. The series follows YouTube star Ryan, of Ryan ToysReview, who has racked up 18 million subscribers on his channel. Created and produced by LA-based pocket.watch, the new live-action preschool series will feature animated characters working with the YouTuber to tackle a series of physical challenges and unboxing puzzles to reveal his playdate.
Another big name getting a lot of play in the slate is SpongeBob SquarePants, which is being spun-off in several different formats, including shows, specials and feature-length movies that will focus on the core characters. This news comes in time for the show’s 20th anniversary, which Nickelodeon plans to fete with new content and products, which were announced earlier this week.
Other new series include Paddington (working title) where actor Ben Whishaw (Paddington 1 & 2) will reprise his role as the voice of the titular character in a new CG-animated series that follows a younger Paddington in London with the Brown Family. It is produced by Heyday Films and STUDIOCANAL, in association with Copyrights, helmed by Adam Shaw of Blue Zoo and developed for TV/written by Jon Foster and James Lamont (The Amazing World of Gumball, Cuckcoo, Paddington 1 & 2). David Heyman (producer on all of the Harry Potter films), Karen Davidsen (formerly with Disney and HIT Entertainment) and Simon Quinn (Isle of Dogs) all serve as producers, with Rosie Alison (Paddington 1 & 2) as exec producer and co-produced by Rob Silva. Airing on Nickelodeon worldwide in 2020, local broadcast partners have also been secured in France, Canada, China and Japan
LEGO City also joins the lineup, as a new CG-animated comedy created and produced by LEGO Group, depicting slices of life in the sprawling LEGO City community. It is set to debut this year.
Nickelodeon is also diving into a scripted music series created by Simon Fuller (American Idol) and Ryan Tedder (from One Republic) that it still untitled. The show is set in a performing arts high school and will have original music in every episode. Starting things off is a nationwide search to find the cast for the show.
A major feature of this new slate is a focus on family time. Today’s families say that watching TV together is their favorite activity, and that 44% of kids viewing is with an adult, according to the release. To capture those co-viewing opportunities the kidster is bowing some new and familiar titles, including Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader, The Substitute, America’s Most Musical Family (working title), Are You Afraid of the Dark? and a reboot of All That.
Popular family game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader is making a comeback, and will be hosted by John Cena, who also serves as an executive producer alongside Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Voice) and Barry Poznick, the president of unscripted TV at MGM, who return as the executive producers for the reboot. It is slated to premiere this year.
Produced by The Intellectual Property Corporation, Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman (Undercover Boss), The Substitute is a hidden-camera prank show where celebs are transformed by special effects and go undercover as substitutes teachers to surprise classes of unsuspecting students. Each pranked school will receive a US$25,000 donation. From the same producers is America’s Most Musical Family, following a nationwide search for the most talented family in the country.
Making a comeback is anthology series Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which will return in October as a new mini-series, following members of the Midnight Society as they gather ’round the campfire to tell scary stories. It’s premiere coincides with the upcoming Are You Afraid of the Dark? theatrical movie from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players and Nickelodeon movies coming out in October.
Another reboot on the co-viewing slate is weekly sketch-comedy series All That, featuring a new cast of kids, executive produced by Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live, and who was an early cast member on the original) and Kevin Kay (All That, SpongeBob SquarePants, Lip Sync Battle). Comedian Jermain Fowler (Sorry to Bother You) serves as a consulting producer on the show, which is set to premiere this summer.
Nickelodeon, also highlighed the growing segment of Hispanics watching its channel with two new shows, The Casagrandes and Santiago of the Seas, as well as the Dora the Explorer theatrical release. Premiering in October, The Casagrandes is a companion to Nick’s popular animated series The Loud House, and follows 11-year-old Ronnie Anne after she moves to the big city with her older brother and mom to live with their big multi-generational Mexican-American family. It was first announced at last year’s upfront in March.
Nickelodeon also announced that The Swashbuckling Adventures of Capitan Calvera, created by former Nick intern turned showrunner Niki Lopez has been renamed Santiago of the Seas. The interactive animated series follows eight-year-old Santiago Montes and features Spanish-language and Latino-Carribean culture curriculum.
The previously announced live-action Dora the Explorer is being produced by Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players and Nickelodeon Movies, in association with Walden Media. It opens in theaters in August.
Although not mentioned in its new slate, Kidscreen has confirmed that Nickelodeon is also in the works on a new original animated series based on the world of Star Trek. Aimed at kids, Nickelodeon will partner with US broadcaster CBS to produce the show, which will be a first-of-its-kind take on the franchise.
The Nick animation team is developing its take on the property now, and trying to find ways to expand the universe with new stories and characters for a younger audience. Details are limited at this time, but it will be from writers Kevin and Dan Hageman. They both served as the executive producers and writers on TV series Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, Trollhunters.
This wouldn’t, however be the first animated Star Trek spin-off as CBS’ all Access gave a two season order to the adult animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks in October, which is being created by writer Mike McMahan (Rick & Morty).