Nickelodeon orders The Ludwigs for local & global audiences

Nickelodeon's Jules Borkent talks about the strategy behind his new commission from The Netherlands, The Ludwigs.
November 30, 2015

Nickelodeon is going back to where it all began.

When Europe-bred House of Anubis launched in the US in 2011, the mystery series marked Nickelodeon’s first global live-action production filmed outside the US that went on to perform well on both domestic and global levels. Since then, the net has been actively pursuing a similar simultaneous production strategy, wherein series are produced in local territories and for the global market at the same time.  Every Witch Way and Talia in the Kitchen, both of which were locally made by Nickleodeon Latin America before being primed for the world stage, followed the Anubis blueprint. (Talia is set to go worldwide in 2016).

Now, the net is focusing its attention on The Netherlands production scene once again. (Nickelodeon Netherlands worked with Belgian-based Studio 100 to co-produce the original, Dutch-language version of House of Anubis - Het Huis Anubis – in 2006). Local prodco Blooming Media has received the greenlight on a new project that will yield two new series: An English-language, globally commissioned production titled The Ludwigs, and De Ludwigs, a Dutch-language production commissioned by Nickelodeon Netherlands. Both productions will be filmed and produced by Blooming Media in Amsterdam next year and will share the same sets.

“We started to look outside of Latin America, and Ludwigs will take the same structure as Talia and Every Witch Way in that it will be filmed locally with one set and one storyline, but with different scripts,” says Jules Borkent,  SVP of global acquisitions and international programming at Nickelodeon, Viacom International Media Networks. “There are a lot of markets that have demand for local live-action content, and Holland is one of those places. There’s a big market for Dutch comedy drama. We did House of Anubis, but we’ve never done an English-language version out of Holland. So it’s super exciting.”

The new series for kids ages six to 12 follows the comedic adventures of five foster children who are on a quest to find out what happened to their foster parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ludwig, after they mysteriously disappear. While they work to unravel the mystery, the kids must keep up appearances that everything’s fine at home, and fend off the Ludwig’s greedy and duplicitous heirs.

De Ludwigs will air on Nickelodeon Netherlands in spring of 2016, and English-language The Ludwigs will begin airing on Nick channels globally in the second half of 2016.

“Audiences these days are so globalized. Amsterdam is very much a part of the story in The Ludwigs, and locations for us act as characters in the story,” notes Borkent. “We really try to bring in local culture to kids shows and feel there is diversity in that. And there is a strong desire to expand on that.”

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