After multiple seasons, and some major challenges along the way, Nickelodeon’s The Loud House remains relevant with fans because it keeps its stories realistic and grounded, says Kevin Sullivan, the story editor and head writer on the show.
Revolving around Lincoln Loud, the only boy in a house with 10 sisters, the show has been a ratings success for Nick since it hit the network in 2016. Now, season five is in production, and the show’s 100 episode airs today. At the core of the show’s success is a feedback loop with fans, who often tell producers they enjoy the series because they can see themselves in at least one of the many characters, says Sullivan.
And though the stories themselves are often goofy and a bit cartoonish (even for a toon), kids also connected with how the stories are always grounded in realism, Sullivan adds. Keeping these elements at the core of the writing, has been a big part of the show’s ongoing success, he adds. It’s also why the show stands out from other popular Nick titles, like Fairly OddParents, which put over-the-top scenarios above realism, he adds.
But the road to 100 hasn’t always been smooth.
Created and executive produced by Chris Savino (The Powerpuff Girls, SpongeBob SquarePants), the show is based on an animated short of the same name from Nick’s annual Animated Short Program. The show hit a bit of a bump in 2017, after Nickelodeon fired Savino, following allegations of misconduct. At the time, Sullivan was a staff writer on the series, and had been writing on the show since its beginning. Although Savino leaving was a shift, the series had been around long enough, and the writers were all experienced crafting the show, that they were able to carry on without too much disruption, Sullivan says. While Savino’s departure was a bit of a curve-ball for production, it was also a positive step towards creating a more inclusive space on and behind the camera, says Sullivan.
“When leadership changed it brought up some small challenges around making sure we were making the best series, and could keep the story and tone consistent,” says Sullivan. “But we had really strong leadership across teams, from art direction to writing, and there was a trust in all the crews that we could get the job done, which helped motivate us all to keep producing it.”
Another challenge was expanding the brand into a film, working with new teams who weren’t as familiar with it, says Sullivan. So, he had to keep a close eye on production to make sure the movie maintained the brand’s humor, didn’t talk down to kids, and that the characters were the same as the show.
Looking forward, to make sure the The Loud House remains fresh and relevant with kids aging out of the demo, season five will see the characters all aged up by a year. This also gives the team the opportunity to tell new stories as character dynamics change, adds Sullivan.
“The secrets to the show’s success is that the characters are reflective of our audience, and it features situations they can relate to,” he says. “It also blends comedy, moments of growth and real emotion to get kids laughing, thinking and feeling, and I’m excited to see how kids resonate with all of its upcoming content.”