The Way Nickelodeon Presents Its Creators Highlights the Network’s Creative Stagnation

Nickelodeon has rolled out a new set of promos for their upcoming slate of animated shows in a series of behind-the-scenes clips embedded in their Nick Studio 10 pre-teen programming block. Here, viewers are introduced to new series like Breadwinners and Rabbids Invasion, and reacquainted with returning players like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Monsters Vs. Aliens, Sanjay and Craig and The Legend of Korra.

In the Nick Studio 10 spots, a pair of hyperactive tweens scramble from one studio cubicle to another to chew the scenery with unidentified mononymous animation “experts” with names like “Bret,” “Ciro,” and “Claudia”. The entire experience results in a headache-inducing panderfest that is desperately trying to connect to its youth demographic.

The direction of this presentation style is the polar opposite of Cartoon Network’s recent profiling of their upcoming slate of auteur-driven, character-based properties from smart, hipster-ish millenials. While CN is at least making an effort to nurture bright ideas from the next generation of talent, Nick hopes to distract from rebooted ideas and threadbare concepts with quick cuts, dubstepping ducks and rectally-focused gags that take the form of toilet plungers, cow farts and “booty kicks.”

Ultimately, Nickelodeon would be hard pressed to sell this collection of spinoffs, adaptations and desperate grabs in a sincere, straightforward way. When placed alongside CN shows like Steven Universe or Uncle Grandpa, something like Rabbids Invasion, which began as a manic, unintelligible video game, has trouble competing.

Nick management continues to wallow in its inability to find a clear creative path that distinguishes itself from its competitors. These dips in quality are cyclical in TV animation—just a few years Cartoon Network was in a similar position—but Nick’s stumbles have been an ongoing concern for over a decade. These promos are the outward manifestation of the network’s inability to come up with shows that connect with their base, and explain better than anything why the entire network subsists on the back of a single decade-and-a-half old series, as evidenced by the network’s recent ratings: