Hosted by Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami, the 2009 Nickelodeon Upfront presentation at NYC’s Hammerstein Ballroom last week previewed innovative 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.
During the presentation, producer and executive producer of Paramount Pictures’ and Nickelodeon Movies’ upcoming film, The Last Airbender, Kathleen Kennedy introduced a pre-viz of the upcoming film and Academy Award-winner, Dev Patel, who has been cast in the role of the Fire Nation Lord Prince Zuko. Tornante Company’s Michael Eisner provided a first-look at the upcoming new Nick at Nite comedy series, Glenn Martin, DDS. 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 series, True Jackson, VP. Nick Cannon was introduced as the Honorary Chairman of Nickelodeon’s tween/teen-targeted channel, The N (which will be renamed TEENick in the fall), and highlighted his first project titled The Halo Awards. 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.”
“Nickelodeon’s reach into the family is ever-growing,” commented Mattison. “The creative content they produce resonates across all ages and translates into mainstream products we believe in, so we’re excited to be partnering on SpongeBob.”
Nickelodeon also highlighted its plans to add seven new series. 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 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 portfolio under the single, globally recognized brand “Nickelodeon”–beginning Q4. This philosophy of “one brand” signals Nickelodeon’s continued move toward serving the whole family through TV, online, consumer products, recreation and theatricals.
NOGGIN will be renamed Nick Jr., retaining its 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. 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.