Nick Sets New Series; Adding Ads To The Mix

Nickelodeon will launch a record nine original series during the 2004-05 TV season and convert its tween-targeted “The N” network into an advertising-based service, channel executives said during last Tuesday’s upfront presentation here.

Among the new series planned for the 2004-05 season: a yet-to-be-titled series featuring Britney Spears’s sister and All That cast member Jamie Spears; The Power Strikers, a Whoopi Goldberg-produced vehicle based on an all-girls soccer team; Unfabulous, starring Julia Roberts’ niece Emma Roberts as a tween who uses music to guide her life; and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide, a comedy on how to survive middle school. The network will also take a run at the popular boys-targeted anime genre with the action series Avatar.

Nick Jr. will roll out spin-offs of its popular Dora the Explorer (Go Diego Go!), as well as Blue’s Clues (a series of specials dubbed Blue’s Room), said network executives. It will also bow The Backyardigans, an animated musical adventure series; Lazy Town, a comedy/health-and-fitness show; and Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch, an animated series featuring the voice of Kristin Davis (Sex and The City).

In addition, the network will produce more than 125 new episodes of returning series, including Romeo!, The Fairly OddParents, All Grown Up and My Life As a Teenage Robot.

Meanwhile, The N — the night-time spin-off block of Nickelodeon-owned preschool service Noggin — will offer six minutes of ad time per hour beginning May 28, according to network executives. The formerly commercial-free network is currently in 38 million households.

“The N’s popularity enables us to use the digital platform as another avenue to reach the tween audience in a more targeted way,” said Nickelodeon Television president Cyma Zarghami.

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.