With an emphasis on the multicultural perspectives the company is trying to champion, Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins announced on Thursday a new slate of children’s programming that expands some of its well-known franchises and folds in other established properties.
Robbins, who started developing the line-up when he became president last October, said that there is a new creative team at Nick aiming to create attractive content as they compete with new platforms in an ever-changing media landscape. Their vision, said Robbins, is “to fill up every screen, of every size, to make an impact on as many consumers as we can and to be at the forefront of conversation for today’s kids and families.” With the network’s internal research finding that the average U.S. household today has a dozen connected devices, Nick will make its shows available in different formats and different platforms, so that kids can access the programming anywhere.
Based on their research’s insights, the network wants to accommodate the viewing needs of what it calls the “most diverse generation ever” of kids. It identified Hispanics as the “fastest growing segment.” Its insights also found that the top priority of kids today is “shared experiences with their parents and family.” Its focus on Hispanic audiences is reflected in several of its new projects, both animated and live-action, that are currently being developed or will release soon, such as The Casagrandes, Santiago of the Seas, and a live-action Dora the Explorer movie opening theatrically in August.
Here are Nickelodeon’s newly announced animated ventures:
SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout + Spinoffs
This summer Nickelodeon will celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary with a one-hour special blending live-action and animation titled Spongebob’s Big Birthday Blowout. The program, which premieres Friday, July 12, will feature the main voice cast playing live-action doppelgänger versions of the animated characters they’ve given life to over the years.
Additionally, Nickelodeon has announced plans to “expand the SpongeBob SquarePants universe” with spinoffs focused on the core characters. The new animation will appear in different formats such as series, specials, and feature-length movies.
A spinoff of The Loud House, the series will follow a multigenerational Mexican-American family as they welcome 11-year-old Ronnie Anne, her brother Bobby, and their mother into the city. The series, first announced last spring, is set to debut in October. Recently, the company also revealed their deal with Netflix to produce a Loud House feature film to stream exclusively on the platform.
Following the success of the live-action Paddington films, Studiocanal and Heyday Films will produce a cg-animated series with British actor Ben Whishaw returning to voice the title character. David Heyman, who was behind the two theatrical installments so far, is also on board to produce this new episodic iteration alongside Karen Davidsen (formerly at Disney and HIT Entertainment) and Simon Quinn (animation producer, Isle of Dogs). Rosie Alison, who’s also worked on the Paddington movie franchise, serves as executive producer, while Rob Silva is a co-producer.
Jon Foster and James Lamont (Paddington features, The Amazing World of Gumball) are developing and writing the show, while Adam Shaw of London’s Blue Zoo animation studio is directing the series. Currently in production, the series will be aimed at pre-schoolers and is set to debut on Nickelodeon in 2020. StudioCanal and Heyday are also now developing Paddington 3.
Created and produced by Lego Group, this new CG-animated series follows the diverse community of “everyday heroes” living in Lego City as they band together to defeat a mysterious criminal who is causing chaos in their city.
Santiago of the Seas
Previously known as The Swashbuckling Adventures of Capitán Calavera, this interactive animated series will teach lessons regarding Spanish-language and Latino-Caribbean culture. The story centers on 8-year-old pirate Santiago Montes.
Blue’s Clues & You!
Premiering in November, this modern take on the vintage educational show stars Broadway actor Joshua Dela Cruz as the new live-action host, and upgrades the original series’ digital 2d After Effects animation with slicker cg animation.