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Nicktoons Viewers to See Spots

Nicktoons will become basic cable’s newest ad-supported network in August, Nickelodeon officials said last week during an upfront presentation in New York.

The kids-targeted network also unveiled several new live-action and animated shows set to premiere later this year.

The Nick spinoff, which airs animated fare aimed at kids and tweens, is in nearly 34 million homes and features 75% original programming, said Nicktoons vice president and general manager Keith Dawkins. Nicktoons has been commercial-free since its launch in May 2002.

“It will provide us with additional revenue and make us a more competitive player in the marketplace,” said Dawkins. The amount of commercial time will be “limited,” he added, although he would not provide specifics.

Nicktoons also announced it would launch three new series: Skyland, a science-fiction action adventure series set in 2251; Kappa Mikey, a parody based on a U.S. actor who becomes a huge star in Japan after joining the cast of a struggling Japanese anime series; and Shuriken School, a comedy with a martial-arts twist.

In other Nick upfront news, the network said it will launch six new series for the 2005-06 season. Bowing on Nickelodeon: Catscratch, centering around the lives of three wealthy felines; The X’s, about a family of secret spies living in the suburbs; and Power Strikers, a live-action comedy produced by Whoopi Goldberg about a girls’ soccer team. Joining Nick Jr., Nick’s preschool block: Go Diego Go!, a spinoff from Dora the Explorer; Wubby Widget and Walden; and The Wonder Pets, a live-action/animation hybrid.

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.