On Wednesday, March 28, Nickelodeon and Universal Studios Recreation Groupannounced the signing of a strategic alliance for the development of newNickelodeon-branded attractions at various Universal theme parks. Under thenew agreement, the two companies will develop two major attractions, createco-branded promotions, sell merchandise and increase marketing andadvertising on the Nickelodeon cable channel. As part of the agreement,Universal will get rights to use Nickelodeon characters such as THE RUGRATS,THE WILD THORNBERRYS, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, BLUE'S CLUES and ROCKET POWERin its American theme parks. Nickelodeon will also maintain the option toutilize production facilities at Universal Orlando. The first newNickelodeon attraction, "Nickelodeon Blast Zone" at Universal StudiosHollywood, will feature flying rubber balls and thousands of gallons ofwater in a 30,000 square-foot interactive adventure, which will debut inSpring 2001. "Nickelodeon Blast Zone" will be located next to "Rugrats MagicAdventure" -- an interactive stage performance based on the award-winninganimated television series. Construction of the second newNickelodeon-themed attractions will begin early next year at UniversalOrlando, which is also home to Nickelodeon Studios Florida. "We're veryexcited to enhance and extend our partnership with Nickelodeon," said TomWilliams, chairman and chief executive of the Universal Studios RecreationGroup. "Nickelodeon's new attractions provide the quality and fun-filledfamily entertainment that we strive for in our theme parks." According toJeffrey Dunn, president, Nickelodeon Enterprises and COO, Nickelodeon, Nickat Nite, TV Land and TNN, "Universal Studios is a world-class familydestination and the ideal home base for Nickelodeon. Their contemporaryapproach to themed attractions is a perfect compliment to Nickelodeon'sdynamic brand and innovative characters."
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.