Hosted by Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami, the 2009 Nickelodeon Upfront presentation at New York City's Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday previewed new programming initiatives for kids, teens and families.
Included in the presentation was: a forthcoming new live-action feature film; key new business partnerships; and the network's plans to serve its audiences by connecting all of its platforms under the Nickelodeon umbrella. In 2009, Nickelodeon is entering its 30th year and is poised to record its unprecedented 15th straight year as the top-rated network in basic cable.
Nick Cannon, former Nickelodeon and MTV Networks star, will return to the Nickelodeon family as Honorary Chairman and development consultant for TEENick. The network's two-year deal with Cannon, which begins immediately, positions him in front of the camera and behind the desk as Honorary Chairman of The N as it transforms into TEENick. In fourth quarter 2009, The N will rebrand itself as TEENick, further developing and delivering on its mission of serving teens and tweens through programming reflecting the breadth and depth of "teendom."
As TEENick's Chairman, Cannon will serve as creative consultant and provide his vision on several projects for the teen network and its development slate. He will have a presence on-air, online and behind-the-scenes as he works closely with the network's development and on-air teams to harness and execute new ideas across multiple platforms.
Cannon also will host and executive produce TEENick's Halo Awards (working title), a new hour-long special celebrating ordinary teens who make a difference in the world. Production on TEENick's Halo Awards is scheduled to commence this summer and the special will premiere winter 2009. In addition, Cannon will serve as exec producer on a new original two-hour TV movie for Nickelodeon which is currently in development.
Also announced at the upfronts: the voice cast for Michael Eisner's new stop-motion animated comedy, GLENN MARTIN, DDS, premiereing on Nick at Nite this summer.
Kevin Nealon (WEEDS, ANGER MANAGEMENT), Catherine O'Hara (FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION, CHICKEN LITTLE) and Judy Greer (27 DRESSES, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) has been tapped to star. The first television production to come from Eisner's Tornante Animation, GLENN MARTIN, DDS follows a beleaguered dentist and his family trading in the suburbs for life on the road. Crisscrossing the country, the Martins are beset by an array of colorful locals and crazy situations in locations ranging from Las Vegas to Amish Country. Many of the characters they encounter are voiced by enough instantly recognizable guest stars to fill a parking lot of RVs, including: Chrissie Hynde, Betty White, Gene Simmons, Wendie Malick and more.
The show was developed for Nick at Nite by Eisner, who co-created the series along with Alex Berger. The show is being produced by Steven Cohen and Noel Bright for Tornante Animation, a division of The Tornante Company LLC. Eric Fogel, of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch fame, will supervise the animation while the writing team of Sivert Glarum and Michael Jamin serve as show runners.
Also during the 60 minute upfront presentation, film producer and exec producer of Paramount Pictures' and Nickelodeon Movies' upcoming film, THE LAST AIRBENDER, Kathleen Kennedy introduced a never-before-seen previz of the upcoming film. Walmart SVP/GM of Apparel, Dottie Mattison, gave details of Walmart and Nickelodeon's SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS 10th Anniversary celebration. Nickelodeon's latest star, Keke Palmer, presented her new hit series, TRUE JACKSON, VP. Capping the event was a musical performance from recording artists Colbie Caillat and Wyclef Jean, who performed "Here Comes the Sun," "Bubbly" and Sweetest Girl."
For the month of March, a SPONGEBOB shop--"the Happy Place" -- featuring SPONGEBOB apparel, DVDs, music, electronic, toys, books and other products, will spring to life in Walmart stores nationwide and on Walmart.com.
Nickelodeon's 2009 upfront presentation was held two weeks before the end of first quarter, as the brand advanced its number-one position with a significant advantage over competitors. For the quarter-to-date (12/29/08-3/10/09), Nickelodeon owns 45% of all K2-11 share of viewing among the three major kids nets in total day, and controls more than 63% of the gross ratings points (GRPs) in the marketplace. Nickelodeon placed 20 of the top 20 programs among kids 2-11, 6-11, tweens 9-14 and teens 12-17 for first quarter-to-date, and holds the number-one position on Saturday mornings by 81% with kids 2-11, 74% with kids 6-11, 77% with tweens 9-14 and 78% with teens 12-17. Nick holds a +588% K2-11 lead over its closet broadcast network competitor and a +679% lead with K6-11 (source: Nielsen Media Research-kids type programming only during each network's total day data. Based on live viewing only - 12/29/08-2/15/09).
Nickelodeon's 1Q 2009 to date performance will mark its 56th consecutive quarter as basic cable's top total day network for kids, tweens and total viewers -- the longest run of its kind. Nick tops with kids 2-11, averaging a 3.5/1.2 million K2-11, and total viewers, averaging a 2.2 million P2+ and beating its nearest competitor by +40% (source: Nielsen Media Research 12/29/08-3/8/09).
Nickelodeon also highlighted its plans to add seven new series to its already top-notch roster of hits that currently include number-one ranked SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS and ICARLY, as of 2009 to-date. The new series run the range of live action and animated shows, TV movies and game shows, super-serving preschoolers, kids, tweens, teens and families. There will be forthcoming announcements with details of these new shows in the next few months.
As Nickelodeon enters its landmark 30th anniversary year, the network will unify the TV channels (NOGGIN, The N, Nicktoons Network) and websites (Nick.com, Neopets, AddictingGames, among others) from its top-ranked portfolio under the single, globally recognized brand "Nickelodeon" -- beginning 4Q 2009.
NOGGIN will be renamed Nick Jr., retaining its quality schedule of commercial-free, preschool-focused programming. The N assumes the name TEENick and will further develop and deliver on its mission of serving teens and tweens through programming reflecting the breadth and depth of 'teen-dom'. Nicktoons Network retains its name while continuing to organically grow its boy 6-11 audience through hit, action-oriented animated programming. Also, Nick.com will expand to become a hub for Nickelodeon's entire digital network of properties and brands, and will continue to serve as the leading content destination for kids.