Monday, March 19, 2012 Discusses The Possibilities Of What UK-Irish Boy Band One Direction's Brand New Nickelodeon Show May Be

One Direction's development deal with Nickelodeon: the inside scoop


I’ve learned some very important details about One Direction's development deal with Nickelodeon that may clear up some of the confusion about what project(s) One Direction will do with Nickelodeon.

I contacted the Nickelodeon publicists who announced Nickelodeon's development deal with One Direction to see if they had any comment on what I’ve learned, and the publicists had no comment.

As previously reported, One Direction’s announced collaborations with Nickelodeon are a guest-starring appearance on “iCarly”; hosting Nickelodeon programs on Saturday nights throughout March 2012; and performing on the 25th annual Kids' Choice awards on March 31, 2012.

One Direction came in third place on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2010.

Now here is what has not been announced:

Sources tell me that although Nickelodeon is keen to sign up One Direction to star in a scripted series (such the type of show that Nickelodeon boy band Big Time Rush has), One Direction will not go down this route for several reasons.

Instead, One Direction and their handlers wisely signed a development deal with Nickelodeon to explore their options on what type of TV show will best suit One Direction and appeal to the group’s fans. (More details on those options are at the end of this article.)

But first, here are the main reasons why One Direction won’t be doing a scripted TV series on Nickelodeon:

Touring Issues

A lot is riding on One Direction’s upcoming 2012 world tour, which is expected to be massive. So far this year, One Direction has done concerts in the U.K., Ireland, the U.S. and Canada, and April 2012 dates in Australia and New Zealand have been announced. The group also wants to headline shows in the U.S. and Canada, as well as do concerts in countries where One Direction hasn’t toured yet. There simply isn’t enough time to do a scripted TV series when One Direction’s main work priorities in 2012 will be touring, as well as recording its second album, which is being planned for a 2013 release.

Credibility Issues

This should come as no surprise, but the members of One Direction and their representatives don't want to lose credibility with One Direction fans, because they knew that a lot of the fans would be resistant to the idea of One Direction becoming actors in a juvenile Nickelodeon series. There is already a Nickelodeon boy band that does a scripted series (Big Time Rush), and One Direction does not want to be compared to Big Time Rush, or be perceived as being the 21st century version of the Monkees. It's an issue of losing credibility not just with fans but with the music industry. Starring in a scripted Nickelodeon series is not the kind of thing that gets the respect of Grammy voters.

Control Issues

Quite simply, One Direction and their representatives don't want to give a lot of control over the band's image and profits to Nickelodeon. Much of One Direction’s 2012 world tour will be filmed, and there are negotiations involved in what rights Nickelodeon will have to air the footage versus what Sony Music (the parent company of Syco Music/Columbia Records, which is One Direction’s record company) wants for release on home video and on the Internet.

One Direction is also considering the possibility of doing a documentary film to be released in cinemas. (Sony Pictures Entertainment would release the film.) Many people think that a One Direction documentary film would be even bigger than “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never,” which was the highest-grossing documentary film of 2011. (The U.S. box-office revenue for “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” totaled $73 million, according to Box Office Mojo.)

There are also issues about One Direction merchandising and who gets what cut of the profits. Let’s put it this way: One Direction doesn’t want Nickelodeon’s logo all over things like One Direction T-shirts and calendars.

"Breakout Star" Issues

When One Direction guest starred on the Nickelodeon sitcom “iCarly,” the members of the group (Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, Zayn Malik and Niall Horan) got a taste of what Nickelodeon might do to them if they starred in a scripted TV series for Nickelodeon. One Direction play versions of themselves in the “iCarly” episode titled “iGot Jungle Worms” (premiere date to be announced), and the script writers decided to put the spotlight on Styles by making him a potential love interest for Carly (played by Miranda Cosgrove).

It’s already been well-documented that One Direction does not want anyone in the group to be considered the “leader” or the “lead singer.” (But the reality is that Styles is the One Direction member who gets most of the attention from fans.) The rumors are true: Certain people at Nickelodeon see Styles as the breakout star of the group, much like Justin Timberlake was with ‘N Sync. If One Direction had signed up to do a scripted series with Nickelodeon, the scripts would have leaned heavily in Styles’ favor — and that’s something that One Direction collectively does not want.

Nickelodeon has been overshadowed by rival Disney Channel in making international stars from its TV shows (For example, Disney Channel alumni Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff are lot more famous than most past and present Nickelodeon stars.) So it’s not too surprising that Nickelodeon would want to create a scripted TV series for One Direction in order to latch on to what certain people at the network think is the next Justin Timberlake. This doesn’t fit into One Direction’s current plans though, and that is why One Direction is not doing a scripted series with Nickelodeon.

And on another level, when it comes to “breakout star” issues, One Direction did its first North American tour (from February 24 to March 9, 2102) as the opening act for Big Time Rush, but it was clear that One Direction was the main attraction on the tour. One Direction has no interest in being compared to Big Time Rush (and vice versa), which is another reason why One Direction won’t be starring in a scripted series on Nickelodeon.

However, that does not mean that Big Time Rush and One Direction will not work together again. Big Time Rush member Carlos Pena Jr. said in a Teen magazine interview that One Direction and Big Time Rush will be collaborating on a song and music video to be announced.

And now, here are the options being considered for what One Direction will do in a starring project for Nickelodeon:

Musical Variety Show

Nickelodeon could go for a "One Direction and guests" type of show concept, which would have One Direction and guests performing separately and/or together. This could be a one-off TV special or recurring miniseries of specials. This variety show would also have the type of comedy bits that One Direction loves to do in its video diaries.

Reality Series

Speaking of One Direction video diaries, I’m told that Nickelodeon has been impressed with the video diaries, which is one of the reasons why the network was hot to sign up One Direction to a TV deal. A proposed One Direction reality show might have comedy bits but the overall concept would be to have a non-fiction approach so fans can get an inside look at the band’s lives.

Any One Direction reality show would center on touring, since that’s what the band will be doing for most of 2012. The tone of the show would still need to be worked out (such how much would be “reality” and how much would be “comedy”), and nothing has been decided yet.

Documentary special

This may or may not happen since there are issues with Sony Pictures Entertainment being interested in a possible One Direction documentary to be released in cinemas.

Concert special

This would be slightly different than a documentary special, because it could just focus on one concert instead of an entire tour. It remains to be seen what kind of tie-in this would have with Sony’s home entertainment department, which is releasing the DVD “Up All Night – The Live Tour” in 2012.

Scripted TV-movie

This project is probably the least likely to happen. Although Tomlinson, Styles and Horan are the members of the group who are most comfortable with acting, Payne and Malik aren’t as comfortable with being actors. Big Time Rush already did “A Hard Day’s Night”-type of Nickelodeon movie with “Big Time Movie.” Again, One Direction wants to avoid comparisons to Big Time Rush.

One Direction and their handlers definitely pay attention to what fans have to say on the Internet, so it’s important to let the band know through Twitter, Facebook and on the official One Direction website what kind of Nickelodeon TV show the fans want One Direction to do the most. It really comes down to One Direction respecting the fans and giving them what they want without compromising what One Direction wants. The members of One Direction have said in many interviews that they want to stay true to who they are, so any Nickelodeon project that they do should be a reflection of those priorities.

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