Thursday, January 11, 2018

WWE Superstar John Cena Returns To Host '2018 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards'

Original Nickelodeon USA Press Release:


Additional Projects Include: Cena Giving Voice to Original Villainous Role in Newly Reimagined Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles;

and Executive Producing New, Innovative Competition Series, Keep It Spotless

Share it: #KCA #KeepItSpotless #TMNT

John Cena, Host of the 2018 Kids’ Choice Awards on Nickelodeon.

BURBANK, Calif.—Jan. 11, 2018—Nickelodeon announced today that WWE Superstar John Cena is returning to host the 2018 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for the second time, while also breaking new ground at the network with two firsts: Cena will get into character by lending his voice to an original villain named Baron Draxum in the brand-new 2D animated series Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, premiering late 2018; and is executive producing the brand-new competition series, Keep It Spotless, where teams of kids go head-to-head in a battle to stay clean.

“John Cena is one of the biggest stars in the world. Kids just love him, which makes him the perfect partner for these upcoming projects,” said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Group. “His blend of humor and originality brings a fresh voice to Nickelodeon both in front of the camera and behind.”

Said Cena, “I’m thrilled to partner with Nickelodeon on three big projects that run the range of what kids love--slime-filled live events, awesomely cool animation and competition shows where kids take their shot at being the best.”

He continued, “It’s an honor to come back a second time to host the biggest, slimiest party of the year, the Kids’ Choice Awards. Not only do I get to be a cartoon character in the new Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, but I get to be a villain, too. And to top it all off, I’m stepping behind the camera to executive produce Nick’s new competition series Keep It Spotless, which gives a whole new meaning to staying clean.”

Nickelodeon’s 2018 Kids’ Choice Awards airs live on March 24, from 8-9:30 p.m. (ET/PT), and celebrates kids’ favorites from across the worlds of film, television, music, pop culture, animation and more. With stunts and surprises at every turn, the show will return to the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and will be seen by kids around the globe on Nickelodeon channels in more than 170 countries and territories. Additional Kids’ Choice Awards news, including categories and presenters, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ newest villain, Baron Draxum, will be voiced by Cena. Baron Draxum is an alchemist warrior mutant who seeks to turn all of humanity into mutants. Cena’s reoccurring character will appear in the premiere episode and throughout the series, which follows the band of brothers as they encounter new mutants and villains and discover a mystical world they never knew existed beneath the streets of New York City. Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will bow later this year.

Keep It Spotless, Nickelodeon’s new competition series, is executive produced by Cena and features kids competing in a variety of physical and paint-filled challenges designed with one goal in mind--to stay as clean as possible. After each game, a 360 degree scanner will measure each teams’ mess to determine just how spotless they really are. The winning team will face The Gauntlet, a multiple-challenge obstacle course, where they can turn their cleanliness into cold hard cash. Keep It Spotless is produced by ITV Entertainment and Hard Nocks South Productions, based on a UK format from Possessed, and scheduled to premiere later this year.

Sponsors of Nickelodeon’s 2018 Kids’ Choice Awards include Barbie®, Cinnamon Toast Crunch , Swiffer® and Toyota.

The presenting International sponsor for the 2018 Nickelodeon’s Kids' Choice Awards is Heelys.

Nickelodeon’s 2018 Kids’ Choice Awards is produced by Nickelodeon Productions. Elizabeth Kelly, Michael Dempsey, Shelly Sumpter Gillyard and Jay Schmalholz are executive producers.

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is co-executive produced by Andy Suriano (character designer, Samurai Jack) and Ant Ward (supervising producer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) at Nickelodeon in Burbank, Calif. Veteran animation industry voice actor Rob Paulsen is voice directing the series.

Keep It Spotless is produced by ITV Entertainment and Hard Nocks South Productions, based on a UK format from Possessed. David Eilenberg, David George, John Cena, Jason Carey and Shye Sutherland all serve as executive producers.

Nickelodeon, now in its 38th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

# # #

"It's an awesome show!" Cena, who next stars in the comedy Blockers, told E! News. "It is like the thrill of being in a WWE show, which is the thing I enjoy the absolute most, and Kids' Choice Awards is that thrill and that experience. Nickelodeon's production value is amazing. Every show is just outstanding and what they do for the kids in the audience and the kids at home is spectacular. The show is for the kids and so designed for the audience absolutely and it's so fun. You get to be a big kid."

Cena is already devising inventive ways to make this year's show the best in its 29-year history. "I compare the Kids' Choice Awards to Wrestle Mania in a WWE environment, where Wrestle Mania is the biggest show of the year for WWE. Every year it's enormous and they go, 'Well, what are we going to do next year?' And somehow they outdo themselves every year. Kids' Choice is no different, and they knock it out of the park every year," the Ferdinand star said. "We're in the process of coming up with how we are going to do that again this year."

Also, from Variety:


“He’s just one of those people who kids love, so why wouldn’t we want to be in business with him?” Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami said of Cena.

“Nickelodeon and I, we share the same looking glass,” said Cena. “We like to make kids laugh and we like kids to have fun. Nickelodeon doesn’t do programming that doesn’t have comedy in it, that doesn’t have smiles in it. I really enjoy putting smiles on faces.”

One of WWE’s most popular figures, Cena has found increasing media success outside the ring, voicing the title role in 20th Century Fox’s animated film “Ferdinand” and making numerous other film and television appearances. This year, he will star in in the newest entry in Paramount’s “Transformers” film franchise, “Bumblebee.” But he likens hosting Kids’ Choice, which he did for the first time last year, to his WWE work.

“It’s a wonderful environment,” Cena said of Kids’ Choice. “I compare it to a WWE event where the show is absolutely 100% made for the audience. Being in front of a live audience for so long so many nights in a row, I think it prepares you for the chaos of a live television production which is so, so fun.”

According to Zarghami, asking Cena to host Kids’ Choice was an easy decision both times around.

“Kids’ Choice is an iconic and brand-defining moment for us every year,” she said. “Finding a host for that is a very specific brief, because it has to be someone who wants to play. It has to be somebody who really cares about this audience, and it has to be somebody who has something about them that resonates with our audience.”

When Cena first emerged as a host candidate for last year’s show, “There was a resounding ‘He’s our guy,'” said Zarghami, who noted that Cena had tested incredibly well with audiences for the film “Daddy’s Home” and its sequel from Nickelodeon’s corporate sibling Paramount. A sizeable uptick in male viewership for Kids’ Choice — according to Nielsen ratings data, last year’s show was up 19% among boys 6-11 — made a strong case for a return engagement.

“We don’t often have somebody come back two years in a row,” Zarghami said. “But having him come back two years in a row is perfect for us.”

On the new “Ninja Turtles” cartoon, Cena will voice an original villain named Baron Draxum.

“If you were of my age, you know ‘Ninja Turtles,’ you were a fan of ‘Ninja Turtles,'” said Cena, who fondly recalled playing Konami’s 1989 Nintendo Entertainment System game based on the characters. “Being able to recreate ‘Ninja Turtles’ and be involved in the franchise is really special.”

“Keep it Spotless” also takes its inspiration from classic kids’ entertainment, including Nickelodeon series such as “Double Dare” and “You Can’t do That on Television.” Produced by ITV Entertainment and Cena’s Hard Nocks South Productions, and based on a U.K. format from Possessed, “Keep it Spotless” features kid contestants vying for cash prizes as they compete to keep clean while navigating obstacles designed to make them messy.

“It’s like the chaos and the slime-ability of Kids’ Choice meets that crazy scene in the original ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ where everyone is wearing white suits and the kid gets transported through the TV,” Cena said. “It’s gonna be super special to kids.”



Also, from EW:

John Cena on why the Kids' Choice Awards are just like the WWE


Cena spoke to EW to discuss his new partnerships with Nickelodeon and the direction he’s headed in the world of entertainment. In our interview, which you can read below, he explained why hosting the Kids’ Choice Awards reminds him of WWE, why he was drawn to the TMNT reboot, and what went into his first-ever producing gig.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you sum up your first experience hosting the Kids’ Choice Awards?
JOHN CENA: I love the Kids’ Choice Awards, having been part of many of them before even hosting. The audience and the environment is very similar to a WWE audience, and the show is built for the kids. Not only are the kids in the live audience, but it’s the audience in the home as well. I think it’s the only one of its kind in that format: Nickelodeon goes above and beyond to not only produce a great show that translates well to television, but kids have so much fun. They’re empowered to just let loose and go crazy. The show is just that: It’s crazy with stuff you don’t necessarily see at your typical awards show, and I just really love that environment.

Is that kind of experience what led you to develop Keep It Spotless for the network?
It’s funny you ask me because the Kids’ Choice Awards is literally all about getting messy, and seeing how children react to that, the audience just eats it up. This show kind of came out of that thought process. It’s really a fun show and it’s done extremely well and gives kids a chance to get a little bit of cash at the end, but at the same time, they go through this unbelievable universe where I think every kid playing Keep It Spotless is going to want to go back to play, and every kid watching at home on Nickelodeon is going to ask, “How can I play that?” Just knowing what I’ve seen of these kids, it’s going to be fantastic.

It’s your first major producing credit, correct?
Yeah. Honestly, after talking with the folks at Nickelodeon, I’m very passionate about this show, and they hooked onto that passion. We’ve both put together what I feel is going to be a wonderful experience, for everyone who watches on Nickelodeon.

Were there any logistical challenges in working on this, getting into producing for the first time?
It’s been a slow process. I’ve been a part of weekly episodic television for 15 years now and then movies come along and other TV shows come along. The more diverse that I’ve been able to be — hosting American Grit or doing the Today show or doing Kids’ Choice or being more involved with Nickelodeon — I think more ideas come from that. Especially, in this case, when I got to know the brand of the network more and more. That’s where the inspiration comes from. And you throw a bunch of ideas against the wall, and one resonates with folks and you’re off to the races making television.

Transitioning to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, what was it like playing an original villain in this series?
It was awesome, man. I kind of dropped my voice down a bit [mimics dropping voice], but it was really cool to get into another character and doing some VO work, I’ve been able to explore the dynamics of what merely a voice can do. It’s pretty funky and great. I was right on the cusp of the age who truly enjoyed the first incarnation of Ninja Turtles — I played the heck out of the Ninja Turtles video game for NES back in the day — so it’s really cool to not lose that childhood imagination and be able to put it in something I can relate to. Oftentimes when you become older, the culture kind of passes you by in what young kids think is fun and cool; as an older person, you’re like, “I don’t get that.” This is one thing that I totally get and was honored to be in — kind of like the new Shredder. It’s really an honor.

So it sounds like you’re a big fan of the franchise.
Yeah, and it’s cool that Nickelodeon’s bringing it back. I also have a 4-year-old niece who is obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I think she’s going to have so much fun when she sees the new show.

What is it about youth programming that really appeals to you and has convinced you to work more heavily in it?
I’ve been performing for kids for a long time, and WWE is just a wonderful environment: I can’t speak highly enough of it, because not only do you perform for the audience at home, but that fanatical audience is in the arena with you. You can see their faces every night and you can feel the effect that you have on them. We have everyone walking through our turnstiles, every age, every race, every religion — everyone. But there are a lot of kids, and you can directly see the honest effect you have on children. I guess it’s because I’m so excited by that. I always say when I’m in the ring, it’s the child’s reaction that’s honest and pure. If they don’t like something, then that person is bad; if they do like something, then that person is good. It’s really easy to mine, and it makes it exciting. Something in that creative process about making a show for kids and putting your mind in that space: It’s a lot simpler, it’s more fun, it’s more exciting.

The broader climate feels so divisive and intense right now, I think adults and kids alike are looking for a little fun, too.
That’s the thing. I don’t want to say kids aren’t bogged down with those problems, but — well they’re not. They’re worried about being kids. That’s fun. When kids have fun, there’s no denying that experience. Trying to come up with ideas that recreate that experience is the coolest thing.

As you continue to branch into new areas, is there anything you haven’t done that you’d like to do?
It’s so cliché, but one opportunity at a time. Would I have told you that I was going to be not only hosting but coming back to host another Kids’ Choice Awards, and being a voice in the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, or producing a show on Nickelodeon? None of these things I would have told you, “This is the plan to do it!” But like I said, once you release that energy and things evolve, when you realize “This is good and I’d like to be a part of it,” you begin to become passionate about it and then you push it. I don’t know what those things are, but I’ll know them when I see them. Who knows? I may get another idea at the Kids’ Choice Awards this year.


Also, from E! News:

"This is going to sound super cliché, but I just take things one day at a time," Cena told E! News in a phone interview.

"Absolutely one day at a time and that's how you sleep and find time for all this work and I guess the second thing is something you hear from a lot of folks that grind it out is, this recurring message of love what you do. There isn't a single thing that I'm doing and am involved in that I don't truly enjoy," he said.

Cena previously hosted the Kids' Choice Awards in 2017 and he's coming back because "it's an awesome show!"

"It is like the thrill of being in a WWE show, which is the thing I enjoy the absolute most and Kids' Choice Awards is that thrill and that experience. Nickelodeon's production value is amazing. Every show is just outstanding and what they do for the kids in the audience and the kids at home is spectacular," he told us. "The show is for the kids and so designed for the audience absolutely and it's so fun. You get to be a big kid. It's so fun you get to be so goofy and get messy and slimy and slime the kids and they love it. It's a really cool time."

As for his animated role in the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, Cena is playing Baron Draxum, an "alchemist warrior mutant who seeks to turn all of humanity into mutants." The character is recurring and Cena will make his debut in the premiere episode. He said the role is a dream come true, "especially because I was right at the age to enjoy the first fascination with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

"I've been saying this consistently because I think it's awesome, but usually the older you get the farther away you drift from that connection with youth. It's like older people usually say ‘Back in my day…" but this is one of those instances where back in my day I watched exactly the same thing that kids are watching these days, so you can have that fun experience and talk to kids about who your favorite Ninja Turtle is and what they think of the show," he said. "It's really, really fun selfishly to be part of that because I grew up with it."


"Keep it Spotless is awesome," Cena. The show takes the "excitement and the energy" that kids have "when getting dirty is a possibility, and getting messy is a possibility."

"It really is a cool stage-by-stage challenge, where as kids, you go in as partners and go through this against another team and you get a chance to win a cash prize, which is unique for kids and I think the kids watching at home are going to be like, ‘Wow, that's crazy they just had a chance to win all that money!' The kids are so fun and exciting and it's right in the wheelhouse of the Nickelodeon audience, so I think it's going to be a success," he said.



Also, from The Wrap (H/T:

John Cena on Nickelodeon Conquest Plans, From ‘TMNT’ Villain to Hosting ‘Kids’ Choice Awards’

“When you really enjoy the things you do, you find the time for them,” Cena tells TheWrap as he transforms into Baron Draxum on “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

You can see John Cena all over Nickelodeon this year.

The WWE Superstar has been named the voice of a new villain on the network’s animated series, “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” will host the 2018 “Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards” for a second time, and the host of Nick’s new competition series “Keep It Spotless.”

Phew! And somehow he still finds time to dominate the WWE squared circle and star in Hollywood movies like “Fernando” and “The Blocker.”

“Busy is good,” Cena (whose WWE catchphrase is “you can’t see me,” in case you didn’t get the joke above), told TheWrap while promoting all of his Nickelodeon endeavors.

“These are all things that I love and when you really enjoy the things you do, you find the time for them,” he explained. “It comes down to juggling a lot of things — sometimes doing it by the minute — and knowing you can’t be everywhere at once.”

But even one of the hardest working stars in entertainment — lagging only behind fellow WWE star-turned-action hero Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — has to make some sacrifices. “I love my WWE family and the time in the ring but a lot of these projects are taking away from the full-time commitment of the WWE schedule,” Cena said. “So I’ve had to have a long talk with myself and say, ‘hey, you’re not exactly going to be out there 360 days a year if you want to do all this new stuff.’

“That was a difficult conversation with myself to have but so many good things have come out of it and I am still able to go back and have a bunch of fun there as well. It is just a matter of trying to adapt to the new surroundings,” he added.

Find out what it’s like to be the latest “TMNT” nemesis, why Cena likes being slimed, and what the hell “Keep It Spotless” is all about in the Q&A below.

TheWrap: What was the best thing about voicing a villain on such a cult product as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”?

John Cena: I’ve kind of fell in love with voicing characters — as it really is so magical when you see the work of the animator and your voice come together. This is especially fun as I get to be a bad guy, which is not normal for me, so I was really drawn to being a villain, especially with the iconic “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” brand and Nickelodeon.

TheWrap: Is Baron Draxum totally new to the “TMNT” world?
Cena: It is a new character — the universe is kind of being redesigned and I think the audience is going to love it. It will be a new version of the main villain of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

TheWrap: How involved were you in his evolution?
Cena: I was shown artwork very early on (which was awesome), then began to talk details with the writing team and came up with little nuances to help get the best look that we could for the Baron. I am really happy with the end product.

TheWrap: Draxum is described as an “alchemist warrior mutant who seeks to turn all of humanity into mutants” — can give us any other teasers to explain that?
Cena: He is certainly a mutant and all of the villains have a shred of truth to them. He believes what he is doing is for the sake of good, but ends up doing bad as his views are skewed a little bit. I love the fact that he is overly logical and the Turtles are very whimsical, so the interactions with him and them is really funny.

TheWrap: Everyone has a favorite TMNT — who is yours?
Cena: I am a Michelangelo fan, he likes to eat carbs [pizza] and can get away with it!

TheWrap: We saw you get smothered slime hosting the “Nickelodeon’s Kids’ Choice Awards” last year — what made you want to do it again?
Cena: The show is amazing, and the audience is amazing and the show is built for the audience. It is unlike any other awards show, but is very similar to a WWE event, as it’s about the audience having as much fun as they can. As for the sliming, there is nothing bad about it, I have been slimed multiple times.

TheWrap: You pledged to slim now-fiancee Nikki Bella when we spoke last year, how did that go?
Cena: In the moment of truth, I kind of backed away and aired on the side of caution as I would have had to deal with the wrath afterwards! This year, I honestly just want to slime anyone who doesn’t want to be slimed. The thing that everybody gets worked up about is they don’t want to get messy, but that means they’re in the wrong place… “Kids’ Choice” is all about letting loose, having fun and getting messy. If you check those reservations at the door when you walk in, you’ll have a great time. Anyone who thinks they’re too cool for school needs to be slimed.

TheWrap: And now you’re also hosting competition series, “Keep it Spotless” — what is that all about?
Cena: “Keep it Spotless” originates from the “Kids’ Choice Awards,” where contestants compete in a series of physical and paint-filled challenges … if anyone makes it through 100 percent spotless then they are truly gifted. It is set up to be messy and it is meant to be fun, so brings out all those elements.

TheWrap: There seems to be a natural crossover between the Nickelodeon and WWE audiences — does that make it easier to juggle both?
Cena: There is an amazing crossover appeal between WWE with Nickelodeon — and the way Nickelodeon views its brand. Each of their shows has a smile incorporated in it and our mission statement in WWE is to put smiles on people’s faces, so not only is there a giant crossover audience, but also the same ideology.

You can’t be afraid to be able to laugh at yourself, and I am certainly ready, willing and able to do that at a moment’s notice.

TheWrap: And then you have raunchy adult comedies like “The Blocker,” which has a very different audience, does that ever create a conflict?
Cena: That is the beauty about being able to create stuff. If you read things and like it, you can do it. I liked ‘The Blocker” a lot when I read it but that is an R-rated comedy, and won’t crossover to the Nickelodeon audience. I am very fortunate to be asked to be able to do a show with Nickelodeon, then you can go do an R-rated comedy, and then do things like read the news on the ‘Today’ show. I am very aware of the perspective of all that and happy I can do all of those things.

“Nickelodeon’s 2018 Kids’ Choice Awards” airs live on March 24, from 8-9:30 p.m. (ET/PT) and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles premieres in late 2018.


More Nick: USA: Enter Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards Sweepstakes And Win Tickets To KCA 2018 | Saturday, March 24th!
Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nickelodeon and Kids' Choice Awards 2018 News and Highlights!

No comments: