Nick Gets Busy In Fall

Hoping to keep kids engaged throughout the fall season, Nickelodeon is launching several new series and programming stunts over the next two months.

The kids-targeted network, which finished the third quarter as the most watched basic-cable network on a 24-hour basis for a 58th consecutive period, will feature over the next two months a star-studded SpongeBob SquarePants special, Halloween-themed episodes of such shows as True Jackson, VP and Glenn Martin DDS and a new Saturday morning animated series, according to executive vice president of programming Pete Danielsen.

“Fall has always been a magic time for us to introduce new programming, as kids are changing their schedules and getting used to new programming,” he said. “It's a natural evolution for the network.”

On Nov. 6, Nickelodeon will premiere a one-hour primetime SpongeBob SquarePants special featuring guest star appearance from Rosario Dawson, Craig Ferguson, Tina Fey, LeBron James and Robin Williams. The same day, Nickelodeon will debut Fanboy and Chum Chum, a new CG-animated comedy which follows two tween boys as they seek out new adventures in their everyday lives, according to Nick.

The new shows come on the heels of last week's launch of Nick's new game show Brainsurge and the Sept. 18 debut of its live-action series The Troop.

Also launched in September was a a short-form series dubbed Hollywood Hang, which runs between Nick's weekday afternoon shows and feature behind-the-scenes looks at Nick stars and shows, according to Danielsen.

Nickelodeon will also pay homage to Halloween with a series of Halloween-themed episodes beginning Oct. 23 from such shows as The Troop, Penguins of Madagascar, Back at the Barnyard, The Mighty B!,True Jackson, VP, Glenn Martin DDS, The Backyardigans and The Wonder Pets!.

In other Nickelodeon news, the network last week officially renamed its toddler-targeted Noggin network as Nick Jr. and its teen-tinged The N service as TeenNick.

The network announced last February it would rebrand the two services under the Nickelodeon umbrella in an effort to establish the nearly 30-year-old Nickelodeon brand as the pre-eminent multimedia brand for toddlers, tweens, teens and their parents.

While the on-air logos have changed for both networks, network officials said neither network would change its programming lineup. Nick Jr. earlier this month began running ads touting the name change and alerting parents that the network's toddler-focused, commercial-free programming schedule — which includes such shows as Dora the Explorer — would remain intact.

TeenNick, which offers programming such as Degrassi: The Next Generation, today began running a series of on-air ads promoting the name change featuring former Nickelodeon kids star Nick Cannon, who last March was named honorary chairman of the network.

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.