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Nick Gets Dauman to Do Funny Business

The highest priced star at Nickelodeon’s upfront presentation on Tuesday wasn’t Dora the Explorer or SpongeBob SquarePants.

Underscoring how important a turnaround of the kids network is for the media conglomerate, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman took the stage and engaged in comedic banter in front of media buyers, at least one of whom later noted that Dauman hasn’t exactly been known as Mr. Entertainment.

Dauman was called back out from stage right by actor Josh Duhamel, who will host this year’s Kids’ Choice award show. Duhamel called Dauman “Philip,” normally a fatal faux pas at 1515 Broadway.

Duhamel corrected himself and asked the executive to cohost the Kids Choice with him. To do so, Duhamel asked if Dauman was willing to wear a dress. Dauman said yes, adding that he’d heard he had “pretty good legs for a dude.” Would he hang from the ceiling, Duhamel asked. How about being slimed? “I’ve got my pals on Wall Street for that,” Dauman answered, sounding like he was speaking from the heart.

Duhamel and Dauman left the stage followed by Nick president Cyma Zarghami, who cracked that they were “two dudes I love for completely different reasons.”

Later, at cocktails, Zarghami was asked how she got Dauman to take the stage. “He likes doing that,” she said, adding that she thought he’d written some of his own jokes.