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Nicktoons & NFL Draft Additional Football Stars For Rush Zone

Nicktoons, Nickelodeon’s boy-targeted network, and the National Football League today announced additional NFL players, coaches and personalities who will voice themselves in the new, animated short-form series, Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core, premiering Monday, Sept. 6, at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Nicktoons.

Press Release from Nicktoons

NEW YORK – Sept. 1, 2010 – Nicktoons, Nickelodeon’s boy-targeted network, and the National Football League today announced additional NFL players, coaches and personalities who will voice themselves in the new, animated short-form series, Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core, premiering Monday, Sept. 6, at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Nicktoons.   The original series that follows an unexpected hero trying to save the world will now feature Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals wide receiver), Brian Dawkins (Denver Broncos free safety), Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams running back), Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions wide receiver), Norv Turner (San Diego Chargers head coach), Hall of Fame running back Marcus Allen (Los Angeles Raiders/Kansas City Chiefs) and NFL personalities Shannon Sharpe (legendary Pro Bowl tight end and NFL commentator) and Bob Papa (NFL Network and New York Giants sportscaster) in addition to Eli Manning (New York Giants quarterback) and Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints head coach) who were formerly announced.

The series, comprised of 22 two-to-five-minute episodes, is based on the NFLRUSH ZONE, the NFL’s online world for kids, and will regularly air Mondays at 8:00 p.m. (ET) during the NFL season.  The series will culminate with an hour-long movie (the first 21 episodes and the premiere of the final episode) on Saturday, Feb. 5, a day prior to Super Bowl XLV.  The series will feature NFL game footage, and will be available on NFL Network, Nicktoons.com and NFLRUSH.com, the NFL’s official website for kids, following its premiere on Nicktoons.  All 32 NFL teams will be represented in Rush Zone, which has been created in high definition for use on Jumbotrons in NFL stadiums across the country.

In addition to the NFL players, coaches and personalities who have lent their voices to Rush Zone, several NFL stars will appear on Nicktoons in promotion for the series, including Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints quarterback), Tony Romo (Dallas Cowboys quarterback), Michael Strahan (Fox NFL Sunday analyst and former New York Giants defensive end), Kurt Warner (former Arizona Cardinals quarterback), Shawne Merriman (San Diego Chargers outside linebacker), Sam Bradford (St. Louis Rams quarterback), Trent Williams (Washington Redskins offensive tackle), Derrick Mason (Baltimore Ravens wide receiver), Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons quarterback), Marcellus Wiley (ESPN host and former NFL defensive end) and Rich Eisen (NFL Network host).

On Sept. 6, Nicktoons will launch a dedicated show website, www.Nicktoons.com/RushZone, which will feature episodes, message boards, flipbooks and information about the series and characters.  A new Game of the Month will give fans the opportunity to enter a new code from each week’s episode to unlock a featured NFL Rush Zone virtual prize.  A new prize will be available each week so fans can collect team Rusherz for all 32 teams.

In addition, on September 3, NFLRush.com will launch a page dedicated to RUSH ZONE: Guardians of the Core where fans may find character bios, show promos and episodes, a gallery filled with art from the making of the show and a comprehensive show schedule.  Viewers will also be able to redeem codes that appear on screen during RUSH ZONE: Guardians of the Core in the NFLRush Zone for special virtual prizes such as Gameballs and Pigskins.

Nicktoons is celebrating its highest-rated and most-watched August with total viewers (+40%), kids 6-11 (+40%), boys 6-11 (+43%), tweens 9-14 (+50%) and boys 9-14 (+60%).  For third quarter to date, the network is posting double-digit increases with boys 6-11 (+43%), boys 9-14 (+80%), tweens 9-14 (+50%) and total viewers (+47%).  Nicktoons is the number-one fastest growing kids network with kids 6-11, boys 6-11, tweens 9-14 and boys 9-14 (Source:  Nielsen Media Research, 6/28/10-8/29/10 vs. 6/29/09-8/30/09, MSU 6a-6a, Live + 7 Day data through 8/15/10, Live + Same Day data through 8/29/10).

Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core follows Ishmael, a 10-year old boy who was just an ordinary kid until learning that all 32 NFL stadiums also serve as secret strongholds of an otherworldly benevolent life force that he has been chosen to guard.  That life force, once the core of a far-off peaceful planet, has been broken into pieces, or shards, which are hidden in every NFL stadium around the country.  An evil villain known as Sudden Death is determined to find the shards, reassemble them and end humanity.  To stop Sudden Death, Ish is given the physical abilities of an NFL football player (and a few additional super powers) to battle on and off the gridiron.  He must work with the Rusherz, the NFL superheroes representing all 32 teams, to stop the Blitz Botz, robots controlled by Sudden Death. Taught by his mentor, O.T. and guided by NFL players and coaches, Ish learns exactly what it takes to be a true hero.

The NFLRUSH ZONE, a role playing game on NFLRUSH.com, was launched in December 2007 and today has more than 2 million registered users. The NFLRUSH ZONE is an immersive virtual world where kids are able to create avatars, join their favorite team, play games, chat, and compete with friends in a safe and fun environment. All 32 teams are represented within the NFLRUSH ZONE with distinct team lands and team Rusherz and Avatars.

Nicktoons is the fastest growing kids’ network and offers programming such as Dragon Ball Z Kai, Fantastic Four: The World’s Greatest Heroes, Iron Man: Armored Adventures, Wolverine and The X-Men and Speed Racer: The Next Generation, as well as a roster of hits that have defined kids’ and animation lovers’ TV, including Avatar: The Last Airbender, Invader Zim, Danny Phantom, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.  Nicktoons currently reaches 57 million homes via cable, digital cable and satellite, and can be seen on Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast Cable, Cox Communications, DirecTV, DISH Network and Time Warner Cable.  Nicktoons and all related titles and logos are property of Viacom, Inc.  For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com.

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