Nickelodeon is readying its signature orange blimp statuettes for
Saturday's 25th anniversary telecast of its Kids Choice
The network's biggest awards event, which celebrates what kids like in movies, sports, television and music, has drawn a cadre of entertainers over the years like Johnny Depp, Ben Stiller, Katie Perry, Harrison Ford and Jim Carrey who often suffer the show's most endearing tradition of getting doused by the network's famous green slime.
"It is really consistently fun, and we slime people -- we get celebrities to do things they ordinarily wouldn't do," said Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami. "We really bring out the kid in people, which I think only Nickelodeon is able to do."
This year's Nick Kids Choice Awards will be hosted by actor Will Smith and will feature musical performances from popular British boy band One Direction and Perry. Also expected to appear on the show are Nicki Minaj, Robert Downey Jr., Chris Rock, Emma Stone, Andrew Garfield, Zac Efron, Heidi Klum, Victoria Justice, Miranda Cosgrove, Big Time Rush, Chris Colfer and Cee Lo Green.
The network is hoping to improve on the network's 7.3 million audience generated by last year's event, which was down from the show's record 7.7 million viewers drawn in 2009. The 2010 version averaged 7.6 million viewers.
"I think this is absolutely a kids-driven show that families like," Zarghami said. "The adult [viewership] numbers are significant and all segments of the kids audience come out together, so I do think this is really the true definition of a tentpole event."
Zarghami said the show has remained popular because it focuses on what kids want and like - even if that means embracing stars and shows from competing networks.
Nick also allows kids to have a major say in the awards process: last year's telecast generated a record 200 million votes cast by viewers for the various award categories across a number of online and mobile outlets, including Nick.com, Nick iPhone and iPad apps, TeenNick.com and Nick's Facebook page, the network said.
"It's a gigantic event and it really is one of a kind and it does celebrate all the things kids love that don't get celebrated anyplace else, and that's what makes its special," she said. "It's TV, movies, books and sports and video games - it is really all the categories that are important to kids."
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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.