Jumpstarting its presence at Annecy this year, Nickelodeon announced today that it’s launching a new initiative named Intergalactic Shorts Program, to be headed up by Conrad Vernon, newly hired as executive producer of the project.

Conrad Vernon.

The presence of Vernon, who has directed films like Sausage Party, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, and Shrek 2, as well as the upcoming The Addams Family, gives Nickelodeon a much-needed boost of creative integrity and his presence could even convince people who were previously reluctant to work with the studio to submit concepts for the program.

Ramsey Naito, Nickelodeon’s EVP animation production and development, will oversee the program, and two industry directors, Derek Evanick (Harvey Beaks) and Diana Lafyatis (Adventure Time), will lend their expertise as the venture’s creative braintrust.

The group will be in charge of selecting U.S. projects, while international pitches will be handled by Nina Hahn, SVP international production and development at Nickelodeon.

“Our shorts program is intergalactic because we want to create a universe of new stars ready to make the next big animated hits of the future,” Naito said in a written statement to Variety, which first reported the story. “Our doors are open to the best ideas out there and around the world, and we can’t wait to get started building this new home for visionary talent.”

Nickelodeon says this global call for shorts differs from previous ones because the network is looking for concepts that have appeal beyond the traditional Nickelodeon audience. Per the press release: “The target demo for content submitted to the Intergalactic Shorts Program is kids 6-11, with a secondary focus on content appealing to adults 18-49, as well.”

Nickelodeon has not decided yet how it will distribute the shorts, though it states that the projects produced “will have opportunities to air on different platforms.” In recent years, some of the shorts it has produced as part of its various programs have languished in obscurity. In some cases, they were released to the public years after production had been completed.

Nickelodeon will reveal further details on the submission process for its Intergalactic Shorts Program in the coming weeks.

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