Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Nickelodeon USA Debuts 'Middle School Moguls'

Originally published: Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Nickelodeon’s Middle School Moguls Premieres Sunday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. (ET/PT)

Kids can get ready for the new school year and learn lessons about friendship and following your dreams with Nickelodeon’s Middle School Moguls, premiering Sunday, Sept. 8, at 11 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nick USA. The four half-hour, CG-animated specials chronicle the ambitions of four new friends striving to create their own companies while attending Mogul Academy, an entrepreneurial school where kid-business dreams come true. Middle School Moguls will continue to air every Sunday in September at 11 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon USA.

Each special will look at life inside the exclusive Mogul Academy through the eyes of first-year students and moguls-in-training: Valeria, a budding sports gear innovator, voiced by Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez; Winnie, an aspiring pet chef, voiced by Daniella Perkins (Knight Squad); Celeste, a smart-tech inventor, voiced by Jade Pettyjohn (School of Rock, Henry Danger, Rufus 2); and Yuna, an edgy fashion designer, voiced by Haley Tju (Bella and the Bulldogs). Together, the girls work to tackle grown-up challenges by thinking outside of the box and “mogulizing” to make their big dreams a reality.

In the first episode of Middle School Moguls, “The Making of a Mogul,” Valeria’s business is discovered by a robot recruiter and she’s selected to attend Mogul Academy, a school for budding young entrepreneurs.

Middle School Moguls also features guest voice actors including: fashion and television personality Tim Gunn (Project Runway) as Wren, a non-binary teacher in the Mogul Academy Fashion Branch; Jane Lynch (Glee, iCarly) as Victoria Steele, the Headmaster of Mogul Academy; Nickelodeon star and YouTube sensation JoJo Siwa as Josie, a communications mogul and head journalist for the school blog, The Daily Juice; Ricardo Hurtado (School of Rock) as Finn, a free-spirited athlete and fellow student; actor and YouTube star Alex Wassabi as Ethan, the girls’ comedic Resident Advisor; entrepreneur Kheris Rogers as Kheris, a budding beauty and fashion mogul; Nicole Sullivan (Black-ish, Wendell & Vinnie, King of Queens, Penguins of Madagascar) as sports Mogul Marci Stern, the head of the academy’s athletic branch; and Garcelle Beauvais and Sean Patrick Thomas as Winnie’s hardworking parents.

Middle School Moguls is created and executive produced by sisters Gina and Jenae Heitkamp (Gengirl Media, Inc.).

From Hollywood Life:

Laurie Hernandez Hopes To ‘Inspire’ KidsWith New Show & Talks 2020 Olympics:‘I’m In Full Training Mode’

Laurie Hernandez is a gymnast, Olympic gold medalist, and the youngest-ever ‘DWTS’ champion, but now she’s lending her voice as Valeria in Nickelodeon’s ‘Middle School Moguls’!

Laurie Hernandez is currently training for the 2020 Olympics. But this 19-year-old gymnast has a full plate as she’s also been busy lending her voice on Nickelodeon’s Middle School Moguls. Laurie’s character Valeria, is a budding sports gear innovator in the upcoming series and she sat down with HollywoodLife to dish EXCLUSIVELY on her latest venture. “Middle School Moguls is about four new friends that have met each other and they’re trying to create their own company at a place called Mogul Academy,” Laurie explained. “It kind of helps them hone in on everything they’re passionate about.”

“My character, Valeria, who mostly goes by Val is also an athlete, which is a funny coincidence,” Laurie continued. “She basically creates something and this little mogul school recruiter recruits her to come to Mogul Academy for the summer to try and create her own company, and she gets to meet a bunch of awesome people along the way.” We asked the Olympic gold medalist why this role was the perfect fit for her. “There were a lot of things that really drew me in. I think also, you know, especially the fact that Val comes from a Hispanic background, she’s with her dad and she gets to do something that she’s passionate about and her dad really encourages her with that and he wants to help her with it,” Laurie said. “Also the fact that she’s, like, a little business lady, even though she’s in middle school! She likes to create her own craft and she wants it to be something more, so I like that kids are going to be able to watch someone create something and I hope they get inspired to try something new.”

The Dancing With the Stars champion has also been busy gearing up for the 2020 Olympics and is in “full training mode.” “I’m training six days a week, about five hours a day, and right now, we’re just trying to get everything together so that we can hopefully start competing early next year,” Laurie explained. When it comes to how this multi-talented star juggles it all she said, “I mean, it definitely is tough juggling everything, but these are all things that I’m passionate about, so I’m so happy to be busy, and I’m so blessed to be busy. I’m just excited!”

“Whether that’s doing something in the entertainment world or especially being able to do something like Middle School Moguls, gymnastics has always been a passion of mine, and now I get to do them all at the same time,” Laurie continued. “So of course, making time for myself is really important and making sure that I have all the self-care stuff outside of practice, physical therapy and meeting with my nutritionist and all those things, because the Olympics is right around the corner. But that doesn’t mean anything fun has to stop!”

Tune in to the four half hour specials of Nickelodeon’s Middle School Moguls on Sundays at 11 a.m. (ET/PT)


From Irvine Standard:


Gina Heitkamp likens the UCI Beall Applied Innovation program to the TV show “Shark Tank.” It’s an incubator for entrepreneurs – and the reason she just sold her very first brand to Nickelodeon.

“Basically I have a business because of UCI,” she says. “The ecosystem they are building for entrepreneurs is amazing.”

Gina Heitkamp turned Middle School Moguls into a successful TV show.

Heitkamp was in her last year of UC Irvine’s MBA program in 2014 when she came up with the idea for Middle School Moguls, a line of dolls and books to “instill the entrepreneurial spirit in young girls.”

She entered her idea in the school’s annual New Venture Competition. And she won: $15,000 (now winners get $100,000). That was just enough money to make a prototype of a doll.

As luck would have it, the university was about to launch its Applied Innovation program, a campus incubator for startups.

Heitkamp enrolled, along with her older sister Jenae, a child therapist, who had brainstormed Middle School Moguls with her.

Jenae and Gina Heitkamp created “Middle School Moguls,” a cartoon now on Nickelodeon.

The program connected them with investors and mentors, including a Mattel executive who now sits on their board.

“That took us to the next level,” Heitkamp says.

Within a couple of years, she and her sister raised $1.8 million to develop Middle School Moguls.

“The brand chronicles the ambitions of friends Valeria, Winnie, Celeste and Yuna, who are striving to create their own companies while attending Mogul Academy, an entrepreneurial school where kid-business dreams come true,” Heitkamp says.

The cartoon just finished its first season on Nickelodeon.

Now, under the company name Gengirl Media, the sisters are preparing to launch a new brand sometime this summer.

What is it?

“That’s still a secret,” says Heitkamp.


More Nick: Nickelodeon Embarks on New Direction with its Biggest, Most Wide-Ranging Content Slate Ever!

Originally published: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 16:27 BST.
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