Nickelodeon may be getting older (it’s 33!), but its powers-that-be have a laser focus on the young market. At the network’s 2013 upfronts yesterday, Nickelodeon Group President Cyma Zarghami played up research that showed kids eight and younger have an intense connection to their sense of humor. And the Viacom-owned network intends to feed that need with new preschool programing and a slate of new animated and live-action shows.
“We have reorganized our development process in a way that allows us to make content smarter and faster than ever before, tailored specifically for this first generation of post-millennial kids,” Zarghami said. “Our research tells us that for them funny is a badge of honor, and because funny is in Nickelodeon’s core DNA, we believe our position will ensure our success with them.”
One of the new educational preschool shows scheduled for 2014 is a spinoff of the popular Dora series, Dora and Friends: Into the City, which will take a 10-year-old Dora on city adventures. There’s also Wallykazam, which follows the adventures of a boy named Wally Trollman and his pet dragon, Norville. Wally has a magic stick that makes words come to life and playfully transforms the world around him. Blaze and the Monster Machines is a CG-animated series about an 8-year-old boy and his monster truck, which introduces preschoolers to the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). And there’s the current Peter Rabbit, a reimagining of the popular Beatrix Potter children’s books.
New animated shows include Sanjay & Craig (about a boy and his snake BFF), Monsters vs. Aliens (their spinoff of the 2009 Dreamworks Animation movie), Rabbids, and Breadwinners (two funky ducks delivering bread). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also has a third season pickup. There will be new live-action shows, too, such as The Haunted Hathaways, Wendell & Vinnie, Sam & Cat, The Thundermans (about a family with superpowers), Nick Studio 10 (sketch comedy), Awesomeness (working title, which is a mix of new and existing content from the AwesomenessTV.com). And more new episodes of existing live-action series, such as Big Time Rush, Marvin Marvin and See Dad Run.
Some of the network’s stars attended the presentation — Scott Baio, Nick Cannon, Jeanette McCurdy and more — as did the 2013 Kids Choice Awards host Josh Duhamel.