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Nickelodeon Continues Its Never-Ending Search For Entertaining Cartoons

At this point in TV animation history, if Nickelodeon still hasn’t given you your own pilot, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Continuing its decade-and-a-half long search for “the next SpongeBob,” Nickelodeon has opened up its free-for-all 2016 Animated Shorts Program for submissions. Pitches will be accepted through April 15.

Nick is looking for ideas that are “original, humor-based and character-driven.” So, if you’ve been developing an unoriginal and unfunny idea about a background prop, don’t even think about submitting it.

Creators whose projects are accepted will be provided artistic and production support to complete their shorts. Pitches specific to Nick Jr. should come from a child’s POV, and focus on science, technology, and/or family for a preschool audience.

Nick accepted 950 pitches in its contest last year, from which 22 pilots will be produced, none of which will become “the next SpongeBob.” Talent is something that must be developed, not discovered. All the talent that Nick needs to create its next huge hit is already in front of it. That they are unable to recognize talent and continue funding pointlessly broad pitch programs is both a waste of Viacom’s resources and a diversion from their actual goal, which is to produce successful children’s content.

Shorts from the 2012-2014 Animated Shorts programs can be viewed HERE. Here’s the list of pitches from the 2015 round that will be developed into pilots:

  • Someone Needs to Stop Aunt Phyllis
    Created by Lisa Vandenberg (graduate of 2013 Nick Artist Program, storyboard revisionist on Sanjay and Craig)
  • The Super Dooper Studios
    Created by Sabine Ravn and Stine Buhl
  • Farkel’s
    Created by Greg Kletsel, Valerie Lockhart, and Jaime Bassil
  • Dog and Squirrel
    Created by: Andrea Gerstmann (background artist on Pig Goat Banana Cricket)
  • Girl from Dinosaur Island
    Created by: Celestino Marina (graduate of 2014 Nick Artist Program, storyboard revisionist on Harvey Beaks)
  • Lazybones
    Created by Casey Alexander and Lizz Hickey
  • Space Mission: Danger
    Created by Lynn Wang and Ed Skudder
  • Pig and a Blanket
    Created by Brendon Ingvy Gillas
  • Planet Panic
    Created by Gene Goldstein (background artist on upcoming series The Loud House)
  • Slimelab
    Created by Nick Arciaga (story artist on Pinky Malinky)
  • My Friend Pancake
    Created by Rikke Asbjoern (co-creator of Pinky Malinky)
  • Best Baddies
    Created by Max Wittert (selection from Small Press Expo)
  • Mini Cops
    Created by Nicolette Groome
  • Myth of Robo Wonder Kid
    Created by Joel MacKenzie
  • Monster Taco
    Created by Vincent Scala (designer on Dora)
  • Ramblers
    Created by Brett Jubenville and Morghan Fortier
  • Burger Bros.
    Created by Kevin Li (School of Visual Arts student)
  • PRONTOsaurus
    Created by Evan Sussman and Allison Dressler Kramer (Hero4Hire Creative)
  • Pony
    Created by Ant Blades (Birdbox Studio, UK)
  • Sharkdog
    Created by Jacinth Tan & Raihan Harun (Chips and Toon, Singapore)
  • Trufax: Tot Cop
    Created by Jason and Méabh Tammemägi (Mooshku, Ireland)
  • P.E.T. Academy
    Created by Robert Smith (UK)

(Top: “My Friend Pancake,” a 2015 pilot by Rikke Asbjoern.)

  • LeeFW

    While a nice idea to suggest the talent is already infront of them, not everybody is lucky enough to attend cal-arts. While there might be a lot of terrible ideas submitted, there is always the off chance one is out there that never had the same opportunities as those already in the industry.

  • And this is the reason why most of the talent has migrated to either Cartoon Network or Disney Channel.

  • I’ve never seen someone write so bitterly about a company trying to foster new talent.

    • AmidAmidi

      They’ve been “fostering talent” for over a decade with little to show for it. What we’re saying is an open secret in the industry; it’s just that no one dares speak about it publicly.

      • Bernardo Valenzuela Torres

        The point isn’t that the magic is not in the “idea” but in the execution?
        Things like the minions are not successful because of the concept but because of all the work behind it.
        On the other hand it’s pretty cool that nickelodeon could help you make a short. Does anybody remember “What a cartoon!”? This is not like that, but wouldn’t be awesome to have something like that again? You know, that take risks and then makes cartoon series out of them. But I think that was the wild west then.

      • maddie

        Cartoon Brew is now just a relentless rant by its editor about the animation studios that employ many of its readers.

        Also, to say they have “nothing to show for it” writes off every artist who got into the program.

        • ValjeanLafitte

          No one’s forcing you to read it.

        • Mendoza

          It’s always been a pit of snark, misery and cynicism. It’s actually quite an achievement to drain all the fun and passion out of cartoons.

      • RawDeal

        You should mention the fact that the way the program works is that they want you to do a 2 – 3 minute board FOR FREE and if they like it then they might pick up. (a simple pitch bible/packet or doodles on a napkin don’t cut it anymore). They don’t pay you for the board work. I suppose that fee is included in the measly “option” deal or whatever you want to call it. Also the budgets for the pilots, if picked up are also fairly crappy leaving the bulk of the work left to the artist. And of course all these young naive artists are going to do all this extra work for free. Definitely not on par with union rates. So it’s this blurry zone where they can get a lot of extra hard work for free. ALSO what other great deals does nick offer? because of their oversight on developing Adventure Time and then ditching it, letting CN swoop up and produce the hit they now punish creators who develop with them. They add on a (~)5% little fee in the event that they pass on your project (after it’s developed) and the option expires and you decide to take it elsewhere. Most other studios are not going to feel comfortable picking up a show where off the bat 5% of the profits are gonna go to Nick. So once you do develop something it’s pretty much locked up and owned by NICK. into the pit of all the other shit they don’t actually produce. Another raw deal for creators. Do you think these 19 year olds from tumblr are reading any of these stipulations in the contract? of course not! They are just trying to make their own NICKTOON. What else? they say they want original content but then list all the shit you CAN’T do and all the shit they SPECIFICALLY want included in the pitch. Is it any wonder all the pilots released thus far have the same tone? the same premise. Kids or weird characters in the woods? Literally multiple shorts with the same exact f*cking concept. Same voice actors (because the NICK casting department handles that for you. You’re not smart enough to pick a good voice actor, let’s use the “screamers” Butch Hartman uses.) same music composers, same animatic editor, same cookie cutter, same playdough mold they smash your idea into. So what happens? more of the same stuff? and exactly the opposite of what they wanted because it’s not original at all. Well, maybe Philly Daumanne will switch things up for them.

        • First, I just LOVE that Cartoon Brew decides to feature one of the only lenghty comments that supports Amid – even if it´s not even remotely the most voted comment. Very classy, guys. Good job, really.

          Second, I think RawDeal really shoud be more considerate with his or her comments here. A lot of this sounds like guessign or hearsay. My contract with Nick was nothing like you mentioned. There was no 5% retainer, and I can attest that the budget for my short was negotiated between the studio (Birdo) and Nick, just like any other work-for-hire Birdo usually does. The price they agreed upon was pretty much what the studio asked for in the first place – a pretty fair and standard budget for animation. Added to that, me and my co-creator were also paid by Nick.

          Oh, and did I mention we got to pick our music guys? And the voice actors we liked? And the storyboarder, the compositer, even the dude who puts the animatic together? And that some of these people were a few of my best buds in the industry?

          And with esteemed studios like Rubber House, Ghotbot and Headless involved in current and previous installments of the Nick Shorts Program, I´m guessing their experience (the budget, the freedom to pick their own crew, etc) must´ve been pretty similar.

          Bottomline is that everything is done out in the clear. There are no misleading clauses in the contract, no hidden fees, nothing. The rules for the Nick Short program are clear and nobody is being “scammed”. Trust me. I´m in my 30s now, with nearly a decade of experience in animation. So I´m no naive teen being taken advantage here.

          So, please, check your stuff. Contact some of the previous creators. And then submit your show if you want to. If you don´t want to, then simply don´t submit.

        • Ronnie

          As a voice acting buff, I’m taking umbrage to your profiling of Hartman’s VA cast as ‘screamers’. So let’s see who’s been in Butch Hartman shows on a regular or recurring basis, I’ll go easy and keep it to the three things he did for a while, DP, FOP, and Tuff Puppy, and their core casts:

          Daran Norris: While much of his character on FOP is screaming, he’s definitely versatile enough to not be called a ‘screamer’, confer his several Transformers roles
          Tara Strong: This is the woman who voiced Raven. Full stop, don’t even need to say anything else.
          Susanne Blakeslee: Does a good amount of other work, usually fairly level even in FOP. Not a screamer.
          Carlos Alazraqui: Also in a lot of other work in more subtle roles, not a screamer in general despite his main FOP role being such.
          Grey DeLisle: Veteran of the industry and current VA of Daphne Blake for 10 years, again, rather reserved performance there, not generally a screamer.
          David Kaufman: Definitely higher on the pitch end, but that’s why most of his characters tend to be teenagers, and his impeccable stint as Jimmy Olsen proved his range.
          Rickey D’Shon Collins: Known primarily outside DP for his pretty down to earth character Vince on Recess. Not a screamer.
          Martin Mull: :An established comedian delivering a rather reserved and subtle performance even in his Hartman role.
          Jerry Trainor: Plays a screamer on Tuff Puppy, but clearly has range demonstrated in other work including a Hartman produced promo for his Noog app.
          Jeff Glen Bennett: Also known as Prowl, Owen on Gargoyles, and many other subtle roles.
          Rob Paulsen: Has done his fair share of screaming over the years, but also capable of subtlety, as Yakko proved.

          In short… What you’re complaining about is NOT a matter of undertalented VAs, it’s a matter of poor direction.

        • Andy-Lee Fry

          Can you provide a source for these claims (regarding the contracts, 5% fee, etc.?)? If not, this just comes across as a rumor-based rant.

        • Dylan Palmer

          The 5% thing is a total fabrication. I recently sold a pitch to Nick, and if they don’t do anything with it for 3 years, 100% of the rights automatically revert back to me. I had my manager look over my contract before I signed, and they confirmed that my Nick deal was very standard in the animation world. It’s a boilerplate contract based on the Animation Guild’s agreement made between Nick, CN, Disney, Sony, and Dreamworks. I can’t speak for the Nickelodeon of the past, but the current regime is working exactly like all of the other major TV animation outlets.

      • Paul G. Christoforos

        Agreed, Amid Amidi. That network is predominantly run by executives, writers, producers, and voice directors, gatekeepers too. None of these people know anything about art, cartoons and animation; they aren’t creative people!

        • Dylan Palmer

          Dude. All networks are run by execs and producers, and if you think otherwise you are not prepared to work in this industry. TV animation is a commercial artform. 50% commerce, 50% art.

          Also… writers and directors ARE artists, and they have a lot less control at a network than you think they do. Based on this post, I believe your complaints are just as misdirected as those of Cartoon Brew’s editors.

  • k

    You keep saying that Nick needs to develop its own internal talent, but it looks like a lot of these shorts are coming from people that work for Nick. Also: talent needs to be discovered before it can be developed. Do you think the people that work there were born and raised there at the studio? Everyone comes from somewhere.

  • Mr. Sig

    Unless they cut down Spongebob’s air time and give the other shows plenty of space, no one will ever want to pitch a show to Nickelodeon.

    • StephaneDumas

      Nickelodeon depended and relied too much on Spongebob and to a latter extent, the Fairly Oddparents just like General Motors who relied too much on trucks and SUV. If they had allowed more seasons of short series like Wayside school and Kappa Mikey and/or allowing pilots to go full series like the Modifyers and Constant Payne; things might have been different.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTGUqPdmKy4
      https://vimeo.com/9383918

      Will Nick became irrelevant like A&P Supermarket? We have to wait and see their next moves.

  • Darissa Townes

    Okay, I’m no expert in the professional field of animation, but I find this rather harsh. I get what you’re saying about how Nick should look at their current folks rather than looking out for new talent, but look at it this way; by taking ideas from the inside, they risk making similar products. These guys know exactly what Nick wants from shows, but what Nick likes may not be what they want anymore. By looking out at unclouded talent and their pitches, even if the ideas never get to pilot, there’s a good chance that the people pitching will stay in the loop with Nick and provide them with the fresher minds that they want. Compare this to CN and Disney who only seem to give shows to Calarts grads and anyone who touched Adventure Time (not to bash Calarts, but their influence on the animation industry is hard to brush off as a coincidence). Rather than closing their doors off to only a specific few, Nick allows anyone to talk to them. Creative folks wanting to work in tv will have to deal with rejection, but getting even the chance to talk to Nick and get a negative response is better than not being allowed to say anything while the same specific group gets to speak. Say what you will about Nick and their tastes, but at least they’re literally open to hear you out.

    • Paul G. Christoforos

      You said it.

  • bobbyflavor

    Nick already had a hit in Legend of Korra and they sabotaged it by moving it’s time slot from Sat. morning to Fri night. It lost half it’s ratings. (4 mil to 2 mil)

    • Justin

      And what does that have to do with this article?

      • ValjeanLafitte

        He’s saying that Legend of Korra *was* “the next SpongeBob”, but Nick ruined it with their scheduling shenanigans.

        • The_Purple_People_Eater

          A successful series doesn’t make something “the next SpongeBob.” There won’t be another. He’s an icon that is part of our culture. That would never be the case for Avatar. Not even Adventure Time has been so lucky. SpongeBob is up there near Mickey Mouse.

          • ValjeanLafitte

            You’re thinking too literal if you think that Amid meant that Nickelodeon was actually looking for the next big “icon”. Obviously they can hope for that, but all they really want is something that’s a toyetic smash like Spongebob, and to a less extent, Korra was.

          • The_Purple_People_Eater

            Actually I was replying to the people within the relevance of this post and the original comment. Never did I make reference to Amid…A lot of people online seem to suffer with poor reading comprehension or misunderstanding context.

          • ValjeanLafitte

            “Actually I was replying to the people within the relevance of this post and the original comment”

            Except those comments were made in the context of Amid’s post, so my reference to Amid was actually on-point. So yeah… don’t talk to me about poor reading comprehension when you yourself seemed to miss the relevance of my “Spongebob” remark.

        • Justin

          Legend of Korra is *nothing* like Spongebob. Spongebob has way more than 52 episodes, does not have a story arc or epic fight scenes, little to no continuity, etc. And even with Legend of Korra did not get moved online, it would have had four seasons anyway.

  • Lizz Hickey

    as one of the people making one of these shorts, i can tell everyone that we had complete freedom to make our short just like when i made one at cartoon network. maybe people remember an old nickelodeon being different, but my experience so far has been amazing. instead of being closed minded about something that has had a past, why not embrace the future and understand that things can change and people are trying. do you even know what’s going on? is your name on that list?

    we can’t keep saying that nick is trying to find “the next spongebob”. i mean, all studios have their own “spongebob”, with other shows, ideas, and pitches still happening.

    • AmidAmidi

      Lizz, There’s many excellent artists involved in making the shorts. That’s not the issue, and never has been. But the studio has been running on fumes for the last decade, and the mass exodus of talent from Nick is why they’re hosting this ridiculously broad search for talent in the first place. Whatever they’re doing, the results from the past few years of this program are not encouraging.

      • Lizz Hickey

        cartoon network is also doing a broad search for talent in other countries. i can see why studios are doing that, there’s talent all over the world.

        • Slim Cognito

          My main problem with Nick is how they tend to either sideline or cancel shows that don’t immediately get SB-esque ratings. They seem to be doing that with Harvey Beaks. They need to give their shows fair shots at building an audience.

          • Lizz Hickey

            how do you even know about their ratings. are you an executive? why is this assumed everywhere. some shows probably just don’t make the cut. i’m sure it happens everywhere. listen, more content is going online because it’s cheaper and faster to make/air. times in tv and internet and animation are changing. now studios have to evolve with the internet. i can’t even imagine what it’s like to make that shift. anyways, this is my last comment. just know that you don’t know everything. and i don’t either.

          • Mack

            Ratings are available for anyone to see.

          • Slim Cognito

            I didn’t mean to come off as a know it all or any of that. I understand. I just noticed that I stopped seeing ads for a few of their shows after a little bit.

          • Guy

            FYI advertising and programming decision are made at a network level, not a studio level. I.e. completely different people that run the shorts program.

      • Lizz Hickey

        i don’t know how to reply to this ever changing edited comment, so, hopefully we’ll just see what this next series of shorts brings — and i hope people enjoy what we’re working so hard on.

      • Paul G. Christoforos

        AMEN.

      • partyrobotmachine

        who would want to have a show on nick anyway all they do is show spongebob you don’t see them showing Harvey beaks much

    • Funny how I always hear nice things from every creator of every Nick short, including myself. And that´s the bottomline. The artists who get to do their shorts and have that experience are happy. I bet most of them would do it all over again. So the execs must be doing something right. The only people who are bitter about it are the ones who have nothing to do with it, and have already solidified their preconceptions about Nickelodeon.

  • DanK7

    Such bile you write. Much laziness too. You didn’t even provide a link to the short that was posted today. http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/nickelodeon-2016-animated-shorts-program-2015-finalists-1201695536/

    • Crispy Walker

      Your short IS charming and the color palette is gorgeous. I especially like how it sorta feels like a Totoro-influenced American TV show pilot. Even the little Takeshi Miyazaki like mushrooms with eyes and little critters that littered the foreground / background were fun to look at. I’d be interested in seeing where this goes. Good luck. (Also, I appreciate that you made a short without a fart joke — that seems to be a rarity)

      If there is anything positive to say for Nick’s short program, at least they’re letting people experiment with various visual styles, and not constraining them to that Butch Hartman look that they seemed to have done like 75% of their shows in since 2001. This short has a nice unique look. Ziptronik Megablast looked beautiful and kept me watching, despite the story being nearly incomprehensible and the humor rather unfunny. Werebeast, while seeming to try and re-create the formula that works on Regular Show to little effect, at least surpasses its reference in visual style. Ugly Mutt as an idea has potential, though the pilot isn’t long enough to make anything but dumb jokes with it — and even that manages to have a unique visual cohesion. The stories are what will keep viewers, and that’s where many of these are quite obviously lacking — but at least they’re really pushing their own boundaries when it comes to what they’re willing to try visually with the shorts they are producing. I hope eventually they strike upon something that works. Without healthy competition among the three major cartoon players on TV, things will begin to get stale and stagnant again (something already apparent in Cartoon Network’s affinity towards noodle-arms and an aping of the visual style and humor present in Adventure Time in all their other shows. Thankfully Steven Universe has found a way to distinguish itself from its predecessor.)

      • DanK7

        Not my short film. I just work at the studio that animated it.

        • Crispy Walker

          oops. It was late when I watched / wrote all that lol. I thought the names matched up for some reason.

    • ea

      Cute short, but why call it “My Friend Pancake”? People are going to think it’s a Flapjack ripoff.

  • mechasus

    Sucks, I had this idea about Background Tree No. 16 who lies to all his friends about being an interdimensional superhero and makes nothing but bodily function jokes.

  • A good third of this list are people who currently work at Nickelodeon, so the program clearly doesn’t reject people who already work at Nick Animation Studios. And a quick glance at some of the others shows that the only one who hasn’t dealt with TV animation in any capacity before is Kevin Li, and he’s an animation student who has produced some short films. So I’m not sure where the anger is coming from, dude.

  • Justin

    Anyone else feel that Nick is finally starting to pull their head out of their butt, even if slightly? Between Harvey Beaks, TMNT, and Miraculous LadyBug, *maybe* Nick is finally starting to get their act together.

  • UpstartThunder

    This article sounds very bitter indeed. I say well done Nick for trying and bothering to give people an opportunity. I’m not even sure how you can actually bash Nickelodeon for this.
    My Friend Pancake is great fun. I look forward to seeing the other shorts on the list. Especially Pony. How exciting!

  • flemberblog

    It’s weird how negative you are about this. Most of the networks do these animated short drives, it’s a great way to not only search new talent, but give creators already in the industry the chance to try out their ideas. Personally I’ve been through the development process with a number of different networks and production companies and it’s long, and thankless, and expensive for everyone, usually with a disappointing outcome. Through the process, i worked with tons of in-house artists, amazingly talented people, who all wanted to make their own shows and had genuinely brilliant ideas, but they couldn’t because they were stuck working on mine (or others), and all for nowt.
    You seem to have some sort of beef against Nickleodeon which does a disservice to all the creators working hard on their shorts. Talent must be discovered AND developed. What a weird article this is.

  • Here we go again…

    Amid, did you notice that MANY of this year´s US shorts were created by people already working on Nick? It´s right there in the list that you copy and pasted in the article. There´s people from Havey Beaks, Pinky Malinky, Loud House… It´s actually the majority of people in the US shorts program.

    As for the international shorts program, I can only say nice things about it. I was selected in 2014 alongside my Canadian friend Graham Peterson, and we´ve just finished out 11-minute pilot animatic a couple of months ago. Now, if “Monster Pack” goes further into production or not, it´s up to Nick. But I can atest that I had a wonderful experience with them. We had tons of creative freedom, we met a lot of new industry people and learned a bunch in the process. Nickelodeon paid everything on time, all the contracts and agreements were clear and over the table, and they always treated us with great respect and consideration.

    Now, this is coming from a Brazilian dude, living in São Paulo, thousands of miles away from the heart of an industry he loves so much. Now, do you when or how I would have a chance like this? I can safely say it changed the course of my career.

    It´s really easy to throw complaints around, looking from the outside in. But the truth is there´s no right or wrong formula for creative development. Nick is looking at its own artists, for sure. Take “Loud House”, for example, which is currently in production (or, again, just look at the list you pasted in your own article). But talent is being nurtured everywhere around the globe – in different studios, in animation houses that work in advertising or in places like the comic book industry. And it´s great that these people are given an outlet by Nickelodeon to submit their ideas. The guidelines are super clear, and no one is FORCING people to send Nick their oh-so-precious pitches. You send them if you want to send them. And that should be the bottomline here.

    I can conclude, at this point, that you have a personal grudge against Nickelodeon. It really is the only explanation here. Because every year it´s the same thing, the same complaints. Even when your complaints make no sense anymore (like the one about in-house talent).

    Well, that´s it. See you next year, when you do the Nick Shorts 2017 rant.

    • AmidAmidi

      It’s great that you only have nice things to say about it, but Nick’s corporate agenda is a little broader in scope than your personal satisfaction level, and the success of its program cannot be judged on whether you had a good time or not.

      Commissioning dozens of people to make a single short is not a way of developing talent, regardless of whether they work at the studio or not. It’s a publicity stunt that doesn’t address the studio’s long-term creative brain drain.

      I don’t expect those who have participated in the program to take kindly to these criticisms, but you should understand that none of these criticisms of the pitch program are aimed at the artists who participate in the program. If you can get free money from a clueless corporation to make your own content, by all means do so.

      • I´m not naíve enough to think Nick doesn´t have an agenda. But so does every single big network out there. You can´t fault them for that.

        As for the development process, it seems like pretty standard stuff. Cartoon Network produces a bunch of pilots that go nowhere, or take years and years of development to reach greenlight status (just look at Lakewood Plaza Turbo, which just released a second short years after the first one). And it seems to be pretty similar for live-action – especially comedy. When it comes to pilot season, networks produce a bunch of shows that go nowhere.

        And when you make a statement like “if you can get free money from a clueless coporation, by all means do so”, you ARE dismissing my work. And you are dismissing the works of dozens of people involved in the Shorts program. Because you seem to find ridiculous and clueless that Nick is throwing money into our ideas. And, yeah, I don´t love every idea that´s out there. But there are a lot of GREAT ones. A lot of experimental ones. Ideas that I wouldn´t accuse any coporation fo being clueless if they invested in them. So, yeah, you really are being totally dismissive of the artists too.

        Anyways. It´s really easy to stand on sidelines and mock the people involved in the process. And you seem to have a grudge against Nick especifically, even though I can´t point to the reason why.

        Now, tell me: if the shorts program is a good experience for the creators, and it seems to be working nice enough for the executives (since they keep on doing it), then why in god´s name are you complaining? This is backstage stuff, and it should concern these two parts. Now, if you don´t care for Nick´s latest show that´s out TV, then as a viewer, please feel free to troll the forums all you want. But last time I checked you were neither producer nor creator. And both parties seem to be fine with Nick´s current process.

        • ValjeanLafitte

          “Because you seem to find ridiculous and clueless that Nick is throwing money into our ideas.”

          Except that’s not what he’s saying at all. Amid isn’t judging the quality of your short, saying that it’s ridiculous that Nick threw money into it. What I believe he is saying is that Nickelodeon has been putting on this same song and dance every year for over a decade, all in search of their next Spongebob or Fairly Oddparents, and its produced absolutely zilch. Does that mean that there is an abundance of “bad” ideas being born from this program? Not necessarily, but it should tell the Nick executives that the system isn’t working.

          I can’t speak for Amid and the CB staff, but I think their stance is that it’s the network execs, not the artists, that are clueless. It’s been nearly ten years since Nickelodeon boneheadedly rejected Adventure Time *twice*, and while CN has been enjoying the success of shows like Regular Show, Steven Universe, and the aforementioned Pendleton Ward show, Nick’s only notable hit since then has been Korra, which, as another commenter pointed out, they more or less sabotaged by moving to a worse time slot.

        • Paul G. Christoforos

          Amen. If it’s good for the creator, then it’s fine for the network; and if it’s not good, then we’re doomed, creator, network and all!

  • Johnson

    But what home-grown talent can Nick turn to? Butch Hartman? After what he did to his own Fairly Oddparents?

  • Bernie Sensations

    I LOVE Nickelodeon. I also love your never-ending, crazy, unexplainable hatred for them. WIN WIN.

    • Paul G. Christoforos

      Bernie’s right, Amid. Me, like all millenials of our time period, grew up on such amazing perennial classics like Doug, Hey Arnold, Rugrats, and best of all, Ren & Stimpy!

  • Hössberger

    Another clear-headed and unbiased article from the Bill O’Reilly of animation. Keep up the GREAT work!

  • The_Purple_People_Eater

    Well that’s pretty obvious. I didn’t claim that though. Not sure why you made this point.

  • I would love to submit stuff for Nickelodeon. There shows are twisted funny.

  • Benedict Bowen

    So, the featured comment is from some random ranter, and not from any of the artists below who actually went through the process? Come on, that’s absurd. The description of how it works doesn’t even tally with reality.

  • Nick

    Considering that Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino’s talents weren’t exactly developed at Nickelodeon, I think such a concept is a tad bit fallacious. Sure both worked at Nick for some brief stints but it seems that their talent was developed in other places, not just at Nickelodeon. I think that Nick is doing the right thing in giving other people the opportunity to make their creations a reality, however, their real problem isn’t where they’re getting their talent from but rather WHO they are choosing and WHAT ideas they’re green-lighting. I think the fact that they refuse to budge on their 11-14 age market is a real problem. That’s why CN is crushing them, they really don’t care about age demographics, which is why a show like Steven Universe can appeal to anyone from high schoolers to young 30-somethings. Their problem is that they are simply letting CN and Disney take the risks and try something different and then try to find properties that mimic whatever the big show is that this year (doesn’t My Friend Pancake looks an awful amount like Gumball and Gravity Falls?). The problem is not with the lake it’s with the fisherman.

    • Benedict Bowen

      Nick Jr has a pitch session open now. In fact they’ve had one every year. As for recent breakout shows that nurture previous talent, how about Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom? They rely on work beyond the reach of high schoolers and young thirty-somethings, and it’s likely many have not heard of their hits simply as they don’t have very young kids. There’s a huge market that Nick do well with; crossover appeal to adulthood is something CN does very well, but it’s not the be all and end all.

  • Ďuďu Fridák

    I’m not surprised.
    At all.

  • J

    It’s also difficult in an office environment if someone pitches an idea and then gets promoted all the way up to show runner/series creator. It creates tensions because people still remember the job that person used to do. By getting ideas from outside, they can bring someone in as an authority figure right away without any baggage of “well, you used to only be a story artist, etc”. This is a management tactic, not just a creative tactic.

  • J

    It’s also difficult in an office environment if someone pitches an idea and then gets promoted all the way up to show runner/series creator. It creates tensions because people still remember the job that person used to do. By getting ideas from outside, they can bring someone in as an authority figure right away without any baggage of “well, you used to only be a story artist, etc”. This is a management tactic, not just a creative tactic.

  • barrett

    “Nick is looking for ideas that are “original, humor-based and character-driven.” So, if you’ve been developing an unoriginal and unfunny idea about a background prop, don’t even think about submitting it.”

    Dammit, I love you Amid, you snarky bastard.

  • Barrett

    I was just browsing the shorts link. Some of the premises seem more like jokes that would be included in an animated cartoon’s internal universe, rather than something you’d actually try to pitch.
    “Earmouse and Bottle”? Really? Might as well be “Pickle and Nickel” from the series “F is for Family!” Sanjay and Craig isn’t that far off from that anyway.

    It would be really wonderful if Nick either took the time to develop 2-3 really promising new creators, or let experienced people within the studio who are interested in pitching move forward with something. That seems to be what Cartoon Network did with folks like Rebecca Sugar and Skyler Page and it’s worked well for them (the later ugliness with Page notwithstanding.) I attribute it to Viacom cluelessness. In all likelihood, the people who know what to do to fix things are either prevented from doing so, or have been replaced in top positions with people who fall in line with Viacom’s directives.