Nickelodeon’s Upfront Highlights New Shows on New Platforms

With a show launching on YouTube and a new augmented app, Nickelodeon is showing advertisers it can reach kids beyond television.

The leader in the kids TV space announced at its upfront presentation to advertisers on Tuesday (March 6) in New York that it will debut 800 episodes of new and returning series this year, up 20% from the previous year.

Among those series is a remake of the pre-school classic Blue’s Clues. Another new show is a spinoff of The Loud House, one of Nick’s highest rated series. The new show is called Los Casagrandes.

With kids getting more of their entertainment on line and via digital devices, Nickelodeon is under pressure to create content for new platforms to stay relevant.

One way it is doing that is by launching new short-form competition series on its YouTube channel. Musical Dares is being created in partnership with Viacom Digital Studio and is executive produced by Nick Cannon and is based on musical chairs. Production begins this summer.

“We are deepening audience engagement through short-form content and expanding our ability to be everywhere kids are,” said Cyma Zarghami, president of the Nickelodeon Group. “With Nick Cannon at the helm, Musical Dares provides another avenue for our audience to connect with our brand in new and unexpected ways.”

Nickelodeon is also moving in the augmented reality space with a new "Do Not Touch" app that enables user to play an AR version of its mobile game "Sky Whale," which averages two million active mothly users.

The app is available now in the App Store.

Nickelodeon said it has ordered 20 episodes of Pony, an animated buddy comedy that tells the story of what happens to a 9-year-old girl and her family when an unpredictable talking pony comes to live with them in their city apartment.

The network also said that its Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will be getting a new villain, Baron Draxum, who will be voiced by John Cena of the WWE.

Cena is also executive producing a new game show for Nickelodeon called Keep It Spotless.

For the new Blue’s Clues, Nick has ordered 20 episodes. The network says the series will have a refreshed look. Casting begins this month for a new host. In the new series, Blue is an energetic female puppy. The original series launched in 1996.

“With Blue’s Clues, Nickelodeon launched what became TV’s first generation of interactivity for preschoolers and set the bar for quality, curriculum-driven shows we have made since,” said Zarghami. “The new, modern version of Blue’s Clues will capture all the original’s creativity and visual identity for a whole new audience ready for its fun adventures and expertly designed problem-solving curriculum.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.