Nick Sets New Series, to Offer Ads on The N

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

Among the new series planned for the 2004-05 season are a yet-to-be-titled show featuring Britney Spears’ 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 focusing on how to survive middle school.

The network will also take a run at the popular boys-targeted anime genre with action series Avatar.

Nick Jr. will roll out spinoffs of its popular Dora the Explorer (Go Diego Go!) and Blue’s Clues (a series of specials dubbed Blue’s Room), network executives said.

It will also bow The Backyardigans, an animated musical adventure series; Lazy Town, a comedy/health 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, My Life as a Teenage Robot, ChalkZone and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.

The N, the evening programming block of the preschool Noggin service, 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.

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.