Cannon, Nick Put a ‘Halo’ Around Extraordinary Kids

Nickelodeon’s pro-social Halo Awards will have a different look when it premieres simultaneously on Teen- Nick, Nick and Nicktoons Nov. 30. Created by actor and producer Nick Cannon, the sixth-annual Halo Awards — honoring real-life kids doing extraordinary things — for the first time will add musical performances from such artists as Echosmith, Fifth Harmony, Nick Jonas, The Roots, The Vamps and Zendaya. Cannon spoke with Multichannel News programming editor R. Thomas Umstead about the revamped ceremony.

MCN: Why was the format of the Halo Awards changed?

Nick Cannon: We wanted to expand. The interesting thing is, when I first created the show I was trying to make it an un-awards show — not your mom and dad’s awards show. We wanted to take out all the cliché things about awards shows, like acceptance speeches and being in a room dressed up in formal wear. Each year, we’ve been able to do that, but each year, the show gets bigger and bigger. We wanted to do something differently so we’re taking the festival approach, which appeals to this generation. We want to get everyone excited about bringing a prosocial event with music in a cool, festival way, and I think it’s the right thing to do.

MCN: How were you able to assemble the impressive list of performers your first time out doing the show this way?

NC: It’s always the idea of taking the celebrity spotlight and to shine it on things that really matter. I think everyone can embrace that idea. With other awards shows you have celebrities sitting around kissing each other’s butt, but this is an awards show that focuses on young people doing amazing things and making the world a better place one community at a time. Once I gave that message to the people involved, they were like “sign me up.” The winners will be there along with the celebrities — it’s all about helping and leading others and about the people who are doing that in an effective way.

MCN: Given the addition of marquee celebrities to the awards show do you expect a bigger viewing audience than in previous years?

NC: You never know. We’ve had record ratings numbers anyway so we just want to continue the success that each and every Halo Awards has accomplished over the years.

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.