Halo Awards Tell Stories Live

Nickelodeon is hoping to create a halo effect for its public affairs and social-media outreach efforts with its Nov. 17 live TeenNick Halo Awards telecast.

The TeenNick Halo Awards, the brainchild of actor/producer/director Nick Cannon, celebrates four teens doing exceptional work within their communities. It has grown from a small, taped ceremony that aired on teen-targeted network TeenNick to a celebrity-driven live event airing on more broadly distributed Nick-at-Nite.

This year’s program will features singer and talk show host Queen Latifah, basketball pro Chris Paul, and actors Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) and Shay Mitchell (Pretty Little Liars).

“It started off as an idea to give young people the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good things that they were doing in their community,” Cannon told Multichannel News. “From there it’s turned into a huge show that keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.”

He said the live aspect will certainly bring a “whole different energy to the show” than in previous years. Last year’s event generated 1.2 million viewers, but Jean Margaret Smith, senior vice president of public affairs for Nickelodeon, said the success of the Halo Awards goes beyond ratings.

“It’s a hallmark of Nickelodeon’s pro-social initiative and it’s in keeping with Nick’s 34-year commitment to inspire kids to take action to make a difference in their communities,” Smith said. “It’s not about ratings — it’s about Nickelodeon and its ongoing commitment to address very important issues that are relevant to kids.”

This year’s Halo Award winners include Miranda Fuentes, 16, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., who has spent the past five years volunteering with Surfers for Autism; Zachary Kerr, who became a positive advocate for the transgender community, facilitating educational programs through Greater Boston PFLAG; Rocio Ortega, who works extensively with Global- Girl Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls from under-served communities through new media leadership training; and Denzel Thompson, a co-founder of Philadelphia Urban Creators (PUC), a youth-led organization that grows organic food and turns blighted areas into models of urban sustainability.

Along with the celebrities who will present awards to the four winners, the special will also feature musical performances from Grammy-nominated Fall Out Boy and teen pop star Austin Mahone.

Dax Shepard (Parenthood), Darren Criss (Glee) and Chloe Bennet (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) will also appear on the 90-minute telecast, to be rebroadcast on Teen- Nick Nov. 18.

On the social-media front, the network will encourage viewers to tweet and Instagram pics to its “Halo Hive” interactive media lounge. Viewers can also take to Twitter via the #HALOawards hashtag to share how they plan on helping and leading others in their own communities.


The live telecast of the TeenNick Halo Awards on Nick-at-Nite continues the growth of the community aid-focused event.

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.