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Thursday, March 02, 2017

Nickelodeon Upfront 2017 News Round-Up

Below is a collection of articles about Nickelodeon Upfront 2017. Nickelodeon's Upfront 2017 press release, detailing Nick's 2017-2018 programming season, can be found here on NickALive!.

From Kidscreen:

Nickelodeon unveils 2017 upfront lineup

Projects from hitmaker Dan Schneider, teen influencer JoJo Siwa and 9 Story Media Group were among a raft of new series unveiled at the kidcaster's annual upfront presentation today.

Following its best Q1 performance in the kids six to 11 demo in five years, Nickelodeon swung into New York today for its 2017/18 upfront presentation riding a wave of momentum and touting a content pipeline stacked with nearly 700 episodes of new and returning series.

For preschoolers, the network will premiere three new animated series Butterbean’s Café, Sunny Day and Top Wing, along with close to 200 new episodes of returning hit shows including PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Shimmer and Shine, Mutt & Stuff and the newly launched Nella the Princess Knight.

Originally announced last May, Butterbean’s Café comes from the minds of Bubble Guppies creators Jonny Belt and Robert Scull, and Irish producer Brown Bag Films. The series follows the cooking adventures of a fairy named Butterbean who runs a neighborhood café with her friends.

Also announced last May is Top Wing from Canadian producer 9 Story Media Group. Created by fellow Canuck studio Industrial Brothers, the CG-animated action-adventure series tells the story of a flock of young birds that becomes a team of rescue birds to help their island community.

Sunny Day, meanwhile, follows the life of a 10-year-old problem-solving hair stylist and is produced by Silvergate Media (Peter Rabbit). Forty episodes have been ordered by Nick for both Sunny Day and Butterbean’s Café, while Top Wing has a 26-ep order.

Nick currently owns six of the top-10 programs for kids ages two to five this year, according to Nielsen Media Research, led by top-ranked PAW Patrol.

For kid-targeted animation, three new series will be introduced, Amusement Park, The Adventures of Kid Danger and Captain Man and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while nearly 200 episodes of returning hits including SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House and ALVINNN!!! and The Chipmunks are scheduled to launch.

Amusement Park is a result of parentco Viacom’s new five-point turnaround plan, which will see Paramount’s film slate include co-branded releases from each of Viacom’s flagship brands.

It is the first of a four-film Nick/Paramount theatrical slate and will be directed by Dylan Brown for a July 2018 premiere. A Nick TV series adaptation will follow in 2019.

Ten episodes of The Adventures of Kid Danger and Captain Man (working title) are also in the mix. Created and executive produced by Dan Schneider (Game Shakers, iCarly), the crime-fighting program is based on Schneider’s top-rated live-action comedy Henry Danger.

The third new series is Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (working title, 26 episodes), a 2D-animated reimagining of the global TMNT franchise. Slated for this fall, the series follows the famous half-shell heroes as they discover a magical new world beneath the streets of New York City.

In other animated moves, Nick has ordered a 26-episode second season of Kuu Kuu Harajuku, a series co-created and executive produced by music icon Gwen Stefani. The first season bowed on Nick US in October.

New 20-episode shows Bunsen is a Beast, Pinky Malinky and the TV version of digital short-form series Welcome to the Wayne are also included among Nick’s 2017 animated lineup.

As for live-action, three new series will launch Lip Sync Battle Shorties (pictured), I Am Frankie and recently announced Hunter Street, as well as 300 all-new episodes from Henry Danger, Game Shakers, The Thundermans, School of Rock and Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.

First aired as one-hour special in December, Lip Sync Battle Shorties is a 10-episode spinoff of Viacom-owned Spike’s Emmy-nominated global hit, Lip Sync Battle.

The kids version is created and executive produced by Casey Patterson Entertainment and Matador Content, with John Krasinski, Stephen Merchant and Eight Million Plus Productions also serving as executive producers. It will begin production later this year and is set to premiere in the fall.

I Am Frankie, meanwhile, is a 20-ep series about a teenager who is forced to hide her true identity as an experimental android or risk being switched off forever.

Rounding out new live-action programming, an untitled docu-style special that gives viewers an exclusive look into the life of 13-year-old singer, dancer, performer and social media influencer JoJo Siwa has been greenlit.

Nick, in fact, has signed Siwa to a broader multiplatform talent deal encompassing consumer products, original programming, social media, live events and music.

The network is already in the process of signing merchandising and promotional partners in categories including apparel, home furnishings, toys, accessories and publishing.

Last but not least, an untitled, original one-hour Rocko’s Modern Life special based on Nick’s beloved ’90s hit of the same name will launch, along with 90-minute book-based TV movie Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and two-hour animated TV movie Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie.

Nick’s hit TV events the Kids’ Choice Awards, Kids’ Choice Sports and the HALO Awards, will also all return.


From Variety:

‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ CG Animated Series Gets 2D Reboot at Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is mutating once more, Variety has learned.

The kid network will be rebooting its current CG “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series as a 2D animated series with the title “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” The network made the announcement at its upfront presentation in New York on Thursday afternoon.

“The Turtles is a property that has reinvention in its DNA, which keeps it fresh and relevant to every new generation while satisfying the demand from its adult fans,” said Cyma Zarghami, president, Nickelodeon Group. “’Turtles’ has been an incredibly important franchise for us since we reignited it five years ago, and we’re excited for the new series to take the characters in a different direction with more humor, a younger and lighter feel and all-new dimensions to explore.”

The new 2D series is co-executive produced by Andy Suriano (character designer for the critically acclaimed Adult Swim series “Samurai Jack”) and Ant Ward (supervising producer, current “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”) at Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif.

The CG series will air one last season starting Sunday, March 19. Nickelodeon has ordered 26 episodes of the 2D reboot to air starting in fall 2018.

“Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” will follow Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo on all-new adventures as they seek to unlock the mystical secrets of New York City. From the tallest skyscraper to the dankest sewer drain, the Turtles will encounter absurd new mutants and battle bizarre creatures all while enjoying their favorite slice of pizza. Tapping into mystic, ninja powers they never knew existed, the four brothers must learn to work together and navigate the perils of the modern age and hidden realms in order to fulfill their destiny to become a team of heroes.


From Entertainment Weekly:

Nickelodeon orders Lip Sync Battle spin-off Lip Sync Battle Shorties

Lip Sync Battle began as a bit on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon before turning into a Spike series. Now the franchise grows again: Nickelodeon has ordered a Lip Sync Battle spin-off titled Lip Sync Battle Shorties, the network announced Thursday.

Nickelodeon is not entering into the empire blindly, having aired a Lip Sync Battle Shorties special back in December that attracted more than two million viewers, factoring in a week of DVR playback. (The network also points out that clips from the special tallied 20 million-plus viewers on its YouTube channel.) Like the special, the series will showcase kids facing off and lip-syncing pop songs.

Nickelodeon has ordered 10 half-hour episodes of Lip Sync Battle Shorties and plans to premiere the series in the fall. A host will be announced shortly.

The show’s executive producers include Lip Sync Battle creators John Krasinski and Stephen Merchant as well as Casey Patterson.

In other Nick news, the network ordered 26 episodes of an animated 2-D series based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise, with this one being tentatively titled Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


From Just Jared Jr.:

JoJo Siwa Spills on Her Huge Nickelodeon Deal & 'School of Rock' Guest Spot & More

JoJo Siwa just booked a huge deal with Nickelodeon — and JJJ could not be more excited for her.

The former Dance Moms star and singer has signed an overall deal with the network, which means that JoJo will be appearing in live events, original shows on the network, and more.

There’s even JoJo-themed consumer products and she’s starring in a brand-new docu-style special that will give viewers an exclusive look into her exciting world.

The half-hour special will follow her as she embarks on a new journey full of surprises with the help of some Nickelodeon friends, AND JoJo will appear in the Sizzling Summer Camp Special, a live-action variety special, and on Nick’s hit series School of Rock!

Want to know more? Click inside for our exclusive interview with JoJo!

JJJ: What Nick projects can you tell us about? And are you most excited for?
JoJo: I am super excited, because there are so many good things going on with Nickelodeon! I am going to be on a summer special, School of Rock, and I have my own special airing this summer.

JJJ: Are you taking acting lessons to prep for your School of Rock arc?
JoJo: Yes, I love acting! I have been taking lessons for quite some time now, and it’s one of my favorite things. My amazing acting coach, Cynthia Bain, has inspired me so much.

JJJ: What can you tell us about your character?
JoJo: It’s a surprise!

JJJ: We have to know, how many bows do you own?
JoJo: I own over 700 bows, and I love the rainbow ones.

JJJ: Do you ever miss being on Dance Moms?
JoJo: Dance Moms was one of the best times of my life. Of course, I miss all of the people, but my Nickelodeon life is amazing and I am loving every minute.

JJJ: What’s your relationship like with Maddie now?
JoJo: I love Maddie! I don’t get to see her as much as I used to but she is literally my sister.


From Animation Magazine:

Nickelodeon Upfronts: New ‘Henry Danger’ & ‘TMNT’ Toons

Top kids’ network Nickelodeon held its annual upfront presentation in New York on Thursday, full of exciting announcements on the animation and broader content front, and punctuated by celebrity appearances by music/TV superstar Gwen Stefani, actor Jace Norman (Henry Danger) and social media influencer JoJo Siwa — and a special performance by multi-platinum artist Pitbull.

Overall, Nick announced that it has nearly 700 new episodes across every genre. These projects are powered by key insights culled from the network’s recent, nationally representative study “The Story of Me,” which reveals that today’s kids are America’s most diverse generation, most likely to grow up to become entrepreneurs, and closer to their parents than previous generations.

“Today’s kids are coming of age in a revolutionary period of change, in tech, entertainment, politics and culture, and these factors have definitely influenced how they see the world,” said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Group. “It’s our job to understand everything we can about kids, and connect our audience to relevant content and characters that speak to their need for authenticity and diversity– both on our screens and beyond through on-the- ground experiences.”

A couple animated highlights of this robust slate are The Adventures of Kid Danger and Captain Man, inspired by the live-action Henry Danger (TV’s No. 1 kids’ series); and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a reimagining of the classic amphibian franchise.

Created and executive produced by Dan Schneider (Henry Danger, Game Shakers, iCarly), The Adventures of Kid Danger and Captain Man (10 x half-hour) follows the heroic Kid Danger and Captain Man as they battle bizarre criminals and super villains with their sharp wit and amazing skills. The concept first appeared as a short-form digital series, also created by Schneider and viewed more than 30 million times. The shorts’ producer Powerhouse Animation is also tackling the TV series.

Kid Danger features the voices of the original live-action cast playing their younger cartoon characters: Jace Norman as “Henry Hart/Kid Danger,” Cooper Barnes as “Ray/Captain Man,” Riele Downs as “Charlotte,” Sean Ryan Fox as “Jasper,” Ella Anderson as “Piper Hart,” Michael D. Cohen as “Schwoz” and Jeffrey Nicholas Brown as “Mr. Hart.”

Fans will also get to see new areas of the superheroes’ headquarters thanks to the magic of animation, including the Man Cave’s tube-based hero-delivery system, garage full of vehicles and gadgets; and meet all new friends and foes.

“We are giving the characters that kids love, the opportunity to play in fresh new ways,” said Zarghami. “Animating Dan Schneider’s incredible Henry Danger, while keeping the voices of the current series, signals to the audience that we are working hard to serve them on all platforms.”

Set to launch in Fall 2018, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (working title) is an all-new 26-episode, 2D animated series inspired by the iconic heroes on a half-shell. The show is co-executive produced by Andy Suriano (character designer, Samurai Jack) and Ant Ward (supervising producer on current TMNT series) at Nickelodeon’s Burbank studios.

Rise will send Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo on all-new adventures as they seek to unlock the mystical secrets of New York City. From the tallest skyscraper to the dankest sewer drain, the Turtles will encounter absurd new mutants and battle bizarre creatures — while enjoying a tasty slice of pizza. Tapping into mystic, ninja powers they never knew existed, the turtle brothers must learn to work together and navigate the perils of the modern age and hidden realms in order to fulfill their destiny to become a team of heroes.

“The Turtles is a property that has reinvention in its DNA, which keeps it fresh and relevant to every new generation while satisfying the demand from its adult fans,” said Zarghami. “Turtles has been an incredibly important franchise for us since we reignited it five years ago, and we’re excited for the new series to take the characters in a different direction with more humor, a younger and lighter feel and all-new dimensions to explore.”

A new season of the CG Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will premiere Sunday, March 19 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.


From Twist Magazine:

JoJo Siwa Dishes on Her Exciting New Nickelodeon Projects

If you've loved JoJo Siwa's guest-spots on Nickelodeon's recent specials, like the Not So Valentine's show and the Ultimate Halloween Haunted House special, you're in luck: it was just announced today by the network that JoJo's partnering with the network in a ton of new ways.

First up, JoJo will be starring in an upcoming half-hour long documentary-style special that details a look into her everyday adventures, so her dedicated Siwanators can get a totally new look into her life. This summer, she is going to be part of another TV event called Nickelodeon’s Sizzling Summer Camp Special. Additionally, she is going to be guest-starring on an upcoming episode of Nick's School of Rock – a role she's really excited about because she's friends with several of the cast members IRL.

TWIST caught up with JoJo to get her to dish all about these upcoming projects and more, and you can check out our exclusive interview in the video player above!

Let us know which JoJo special you're looking forward to most by leaving us a comment below!


From Advertising Age:

At Its Upfront Event, Nickelodeon Touts Global Branding Opportunities Outside of TV

Big plans for two of Viacom's 'flagship six' networks

While Viacom has done away with most of its splashy upfront events this year, dropping them in favor of intimate dinners with agencies, the company is still giving Nickelodeon a big spotlight, as it kicked off this year’s New York upfront galas today.

And in line with Viacom president and CEO Robert Bakish’s new vision for the company, Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami stressed her brand’s global potential to buyers who assembled at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.

Nickelodeon is entering this upfront without the pall that was cast over last year’s proceedings, which unfolded as then-CEO Philippe Dauman was publicly feuding with founder Sumner Redstone over the company’s future. Now, Dauman is gone and Viacom has new leadership and a new direction.

With none of last year’s baggage, “we’re all a little bit less grey, and it’s a little bit boring,” Zarghami told Adweek. “We actually can start thinking about how to grow our business now. The past couple of years, we would circle around, quarter by quarter, thinking about how we were going to deliver what we needed to deliver in that particular quarter.”

Earlier last month, Bakish unveiled his plans to turn around the struggling company, by shifting resources to its “flagship six” networks— BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount (which will be rebranded next year from Spike)—which he said have global revenue potential.

That gives Zarghami control of one-third of those “flagship” brands, and a new mandate to maximize value for them. Viacom’s largest and most profitable division, Nickelodeon is the No. 1 kids networks this year in the 2-11, 6-11 and 2-5 demos, and has topped the 2-11 demo for three straight years.

“So his definition of flagship is, can travel the globe, serves a very broad audience and has the potential to work on multiple screens. Check and check and check for Nickelodeon, so we’re really well-positioned to help Bob deliver on his strategy,” said Zarghami.

Now she is hoping that buyers will work with Sean Moran, head of marketing and partner solutions for Viacom, and his team to utilize Nickelodeon Velocity, its partner marketing division, for new partnerships.

In line with Bakish anointing those network as global brands, a big component of Zarghami’s upfront push is around opportunities outside of its linear and digital platforms, like the Kids’ Choice Awards, Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, live tours and the Nickelodeon Hotel. A second Nickelodeon Resort will open in Riviera Maya, Mexico, and a new Paw Patrol Tour Live! tour is launching this fall with sponsors like Pedigree.

“These are all ways for our partners to be able connect with the consumer on television and well beyond. As we start to do that, I think that the shift in the way we work with Sean and his group on Nickelodeon is really about how to connect all of those things together. It creates really big opportunities and it takes Velocity and the more integrated marketing to a whole new level,” said Zarghami.

To that end, said Moran, “we are already in talks, for major deals that go far beyond the GRPs [gross ratings points].”

During last week’s Toy Fair, “we met with a bunch of our partners who said, we want to work more globally with Nickelodeon,” said Zarghami. “So for the two big categories, there are more opportunities for us to be much more connected on a global basis.”

Nickelodeon will also be working closely with Paramount, bringing the animated film Amusement Park to theaters in summer 2018, which will launch as a Nickelodeon series in 2019. “We’ll start to roll out some of the other ones that we have in development shortly after that,” said Zarghami.

The 700 (Episode) Club

Nickelodeon will feature 700 episodes of new and returning series this year. Highlights from its upcoming slate include The Adventures of Kid Danger and Captain Man, an animated spinoff of its live-action hit, Henry Danger, which was 2016’s No. 1 kids show on TV. The live-action cast will voice the animated series, about Henry Danger’s crime-fighting duo.

In other spinoff news, Nick has picked up Lip Sync Battle Shorties, a spinoff of Spike’s Lip Sync Battle, which will feature regular kids (not celebs) lip syncing songs from their favorite artists. The show, which sprung from the success of the hour-long special that aired in December, will premiere this fall.

Nickelodeon will reimagine its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise with a new animated series, tentatively titled Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which will premiere in fall 2018. Zarghami said it will feature more humor, and “a younger and lighter feel.”

The company has signed Jojo Siwa, a 13-year-old singer, dancer and social media influencer, to an overall multiplatform deal that will include a new documentary special about her.

And next year will see the launch of Nickelodeon SlimeFest, a multi-day family music festival that will take place at a still-undetermined U.S. location. The event already occurs globally, in Australia, the U.K., Spain, Italy and South Africa.

Last month, Moran told Adweek that Viacom would be scrapping most of its elaborate upfront spectacles (last year it held five of them) for intimate agency dinners with its CEO and other execs.

While Viacom has moved to upfront dinners for all networks in the Global Entertainment Group (MTV, Comedy Central, Spike, TV Land, CMT, Logo and VH1), the company elected to hold a traditional upfront event this year for Nickelodeon, as well as BET (that will be held on April 27).

“Nickelodeon is an entity unto itself that goes way beyond any one screen,” explained Moran. “It’s such a great engine that connects with kids in such a wonderful way, that it really deserves its full focus and that day to explain to all of its partners that are currently working with it, or potential partners, how they can benefit from being a partner with Nickelodeon.”

Nickelodeon’s upfront concluded with a performance by Pitbull.


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