Here at Kidscreen, we spend a lot of time talking with buyers about what content they want. But it’s one thing to say you want to buy a certain type of show, and a whole other thing to go out and pick up a BIPOC-led comedy for six-year-olds that’s focused on climate change. So over the next few weeks, we’re cataloguing what the biggest broadcasters have actually acquired, commissioned, ordered and greenlit in 2021 in this new Who Bought What series.
Nickelodeon has been all about reboots and established brands in the past few years (looking at you, Star Trek: Prodigy and Kamp Koral), and the kidsnet stuck pretty close to that strategy in 2021. But it did also mix things up with a focus on competition and sports, more regional greenlights and Noggin’s first long-form series.
February—Nickelodeon orders Tooned In, a live-action quiz show that sees kids answer questions about cartoons and complete an obstacle course to win cash prizes.
July—After scoring a viewership touchdown with its NFL Wild Card Game on Nickelodeon event in January (netting two million views, according to ViacomCBS), the kidcaster doubles down on football content with original live-action feature film Fantasy Football, produced in partnership with Awesomeness and scheduled to premiere in early 2022. The Springhill Company, owned by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, is executive producing the feature.
September—Going another yard with football content, Nickelodeon, CBS Sports and the National Football League hit the field again with new weekly series NFL Slimetime (pictured). The live-actioner features highlights, game footage and a spotlight on youth football. As part of this deal, the kidcaster has committed to simulcasting an NFL game on January 16, 2022…with a uniquely Nickelodeon twist—cannons that shoot slime for every touchdown.
Back and Better than Ever
February—Nick sets up a dedicated studio to mine the world of Avatar, and its first project is an animated feature film that began production this year. Nickelodeon also greenlights live-action versions of two classic animated hits. The Fairly OddParents (working title) remakes the long-running series (2001 to 2017) and centers around a young girl who has to readjust to life when magical fairies appear. And a Dora the Explorer revamp will target six- to 11-year-olds and families.
In partnership news, Nick teams up with eOne to co-produce an original animated Transformers series that introduces a new species of the vehicular shapeshifters trying to find their place in the world. Nickelodeon Animation also collaborates with Mattel TV to bring Monster High back to the screen next year in a new animated series and the brand’s first live-action TV movie.
Rounding out the month, Nick and Awesomeness join The J Team. Starring and executive produced by influencer JoJo Siwa, this feature film stars a young girl who rediscovers her passion for music after getting kicked out of her dance troupe.
July—Nick orders a new live-action/animated Blue’s Clues movie to celebrate the franchise’s 25th anniversary. Produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio, the film will tag along with Josh and Blue to New York City for a Broadway musical audition. Diving deeper with Baby Shark, the kidcaster also preps a first-ever animated feature based on the brand, produced by SmartStudy/Pinkfong and Nickelodeon Animation Studio.
November—Building on the October success of PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie, Spin Master Entertainment and Nickelodeon Movies announce plans for a sequel and spinoff TV series. The new show will follow one of the main pups from the original series, but there were still no details about the second movie available at press time.
January—Nick’s interactive learning SVOD for preschoolers launches its first-ever original long-form series, Noggin Knows. The live-action/animated show features a singing and dancing host who guides kids through lessons with Nickelodeon’s iconic characters.
March—Nelvana’s preschool series The Hamster Show, about a posse of hamsters that think they’re heroically protecting the king (who is really just their eight-year-old owner), gets a greenlight. And on the live-action front, the channel orders a 13-episode series called Warped! for a fall premiere. Kevin Kopelow and Heath Seifert are the creators behind this comedy about a geek and his co-worker who team up to create the world’s best graphic novel. The kidcaster also premieres Awesomeness’s Drama Club—a 10-episode comedy that stars artsy middle-graders trying to put their oft-forgotten drama club in the spotlight.
Down under, Nickelodeon teams up with Australia’s Network 10 to co-produce live-action series Taylor’s Island. Fremantle is producing this 20-episode action-comedy about a group of friends who try to unravel the mysterious events happening on their island home. The channel also orders a buddy-comedy for six to 11s called ZJ Sparkleton (working title) from Nelvana, following a vlogger and her alien best friend who film their daily adventures. And finally, building on its 2020 overall deal with young rapper Alaya High, Nick preps 13-episode live-action series That Girl Lay Lay.
June—ViacomCBS Networks Americas picks up Zumbar from MobiusLab Kids, the children’s division of Cisneros Media. This live-action/animated series covers a variety of topics for preschoolers, including animals, yoga and friendship. And Noggin adds the first two seasons (44 x 11 minutes) of JoJo & Gran Gran from BBC Studios to its lineup. About a four-year-old girl who spends time with her grandmother in London, the animated series makes its US debut in June.
July—Awesomeness, BCDF Pictures and Entertainment 360 partner to produce Hush, Hush for a 2022 launch on Paramount+. A film adaptation of Becca Fitzpatrick’s bestselling YA novels, the live-action film stars a teenager who is drawn into a battle between angels and immortal beings after befriending a new student.
October—In international news, Nickelodeon India launches its 11th homegrown series, Chikoo aur Bunty. The animated comedy focuses on the relationship between two siblings who are always trying to one-up each other.
And Nick UK picks up Guru Studio’s newest toon Big Blue. Gyimah Gariba created this 2D-animated underwater adventure series, which stars siblings who steer a submarine through a magical and mysterious ocean world.
November—Nickelodeon orders Rock, Paper, Scissors, marking the first full-season greenlight for one of its Intergalactic Shorts projects. Kyle Stegina and Josh Lerhman created this animated concept about three very different roommates who always get into hijinks. Expanding its fantasy lineup, the channel also orders Max & the Midknights, based on a same-name kids book series by Lincoln Peirce. He and Jane Startz are executive producing the series, which is about a 10-year-old who pursues her ambition of becoming a knight while fighting evil villains…in her dreams. Nickelodeon Animation Studio is producing both shows.