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Nick Jr. Steps Out With New Backyardigans Series

Nick Jr. goes CGI with a new show, THE BACKYARDIGANS, that will introduce preschoolers to five-high spirited friends who take epic, musical adventures by transforming their yards into fantastical places like ancient Egypt or the high seas, which premieres at 11:00 am on Oct. 11, 2004. Each episode's soundtrack features a unique music/dance genre with four original songs, along with real choreographed movements recreated in animation, raging from swing to reggae to James Brown-style funk.

BACKYARDIGANS debuts with two episodes on Oct. 11 in its 11:00 am timeslot on Nick Jr. and will also air weekends on CBS, starting Oct. 16 (check local listings).

"Like a Hollywood musical just for them, THE BACKYARDIGANS will inspire kids to sing and dance along and stretch their imaginations as they climb up mountains, slide down glaciers and sail across oceans," said Brown Johnson, evp. Nick Jr. "Each adventure has its own musical style and original songs that kids and parents alike won't be able to resist."

THE BACKYARDIGANS is truly a home-grown Nick Jr. property," said Johnson. "The whole creative team, including creator Janice Burgess, have been part of the Nick Jr. family for years, and we are proud and excited to welcome their lovable characters and amazing stories to the lineup."

The five high-spirited stars include: Pablo, an energetic, enthusiastic and excitable penguin; Pablo's best friend Tyrone, an easy-going, confident young moose; Uniqua, a one-of-a-kind character with an adventurous nature; Tasha, a deceptively sweet and girlish hippo; and Austin, a resourceful, but shy, kangaroo.

The CGI, 3D-animation style show features lush, photoreal backgrounds. Each of THE BACKYARDIGANS animated dance steps are choreographed by a former director of the Alvin Ailey Dance School's children's program and performed by real dancers, whose movements are then recreated in animation.

The first of two premiere episodes airing on Oct. 11, "Knights are Brave and Strong," is set to the sound of big band swing. Queen Tasha sends Uniqua, the brave pink messenger, through the forest to deliver a message to King Austin's castle but she has to get past some obstacles to get there. "The Yeti," the second episode, features James Brown-style funk, complete with an animated recreation of his signature dance moves. Pablo is a yeti, a mysterious creature of the frozen north, and he leads Uniqua, Tasha and Tyrone on a chase all the way back to his igloo.

THE BACKYARDIGANS was created and is exec produced by Janice Burgess, who joined Nick Jr. in 1995 as a production exec for the award-winning series BLUE'S CLUES and LITTLE BILL. Robert Scull is exec producer/ supervising director and Jonny Belt is co-exec producer/supervising creative director. Scull and Belt also teamed up for LITTLE BILL and WHOOPI'S LITTLEBURG, both on Nick Jr.

Bill Giggie directs the series, Pam Lehn producers and Scott Dyer is supervising producer.

The original music is composed by jazz musician Evan Lurie and Beth Bogush serves as choreographer.

THE BACKYARDIGANS is a co-production with Nick Jr. and Corus Entertainment's Nelvana.

Nelvana Ltd. is one of the worlds leading international producers and distributors of childrens programming and products. Nelvana is owned by Corus Ent., a Toronto-based media and entertainment company. Corus (www.corusentertainment.com) is a market leader in both specialty TV and radio. The company's other interests include music, television broadcasting and advertising services.

Nick Jr. is a specially designed programming block airing on Nickelodeon weekdays from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and weekends on CBS (check local listings). Completely dedicated to preschoolers, ages 2-5, Nick Jr.'s Emmy, Peabody and Parents' Choice Award-winning programs are curriculum based, fun and commercial free.

Nickelodeon (www.nick.com), which is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary this year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeons U.S. television network is seen in more than 88 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than eight consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

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