Thursday, December 02, 2021

Nickelodeon Renews Global Hit 'Spyders' for Seasons 3 and 4


Credit: Noy Dekel.

NEW YORK/TEL AVIV–JULY 27, 2021–Nickelodeon today announced that its hit international original series, Spyders, started filming seasons 3 and 4 following the show’s worldwide success.

Through its first two seasons, Spyders has delivered strong performances, airing in key Nickelodeon international markets in over 130 countries, including the UK, Australia, Spain, Brazil, Mexico the Netherlands and more. Upon its 2020 debut in Israel, the series became the most successful kids show on Israeli cable network HOT’s TeenNick channel. Around the world, season one launched with stellar results, outperforming slot averages in most key markets. The second season performed even stronger, resulting in a pick-up of two additional seasons, currently in production.

This series represents a breakthrough in the Israeli television industry, becoming the first original co-production between Nickelodeon International and Israeli production company "Ananey Studios", a division of ViacomCBS. Through a unique collaboration with Israeli cable network HOT and Nickelodeon, "Ananey Studios" worked with both partners from Spyders’ conception to adapt the show to appeal to Israeli and international markets.

Credit: Noy Dekel.

Spyders follows Daniel (16), Nikki (15) and Tommy (12) who discover their parents, Anna and Noah Fisher, are highly skilled undercover agents who work for ECCO (Environmental Counter Crime Organization) and are tasked with fighting criminals who endanger nature or the environment. In previous seasons, the three kids uncover their parents’ top-secret operation and decide to form a task force of their own, named Spyders.

The beloved Spyders will return in 2022 for two more fun-filled, action-packed seasons.

In season 3, Nikki, Daniel and Tommy travel to an RV campsite to stop a deadly earthquake launched by criminals who want to steal raw diamonds from an underground deposit inside Belleview nature reserve.  With the clock ticking, the Spyders must use their wits and skill to uncover who is behind the earthquakes from within their camp before they cause total devastation.

In season 4, the Spyders return to Belleview reserve to find a mysterious criminal who is secretly spreading toxic amoebas that are rapidly destroying all the plant life in their wake. The Spyders ask a local biologist to create an organic pesticide that can stop the impending disaster. But when the problem persists, they discover a shocking truth behind the mass poisoning.    

Spyders is a comedy-adventure series based on an original idea by the founders of Life of Dad, the largest online community of Dads, Tom Riles, David M. Guest and Patrick Quinn. It was developed and written by award winning showrunner Michal Cooper-Keren (North Star, Spell Keepers).

The series' actors include Kim Or Azulai, Kobi Maimon, Nati Kluger, Yaron Brubinsky, Meirav Shirom  Amit Hechter, Naya Federman, Yonatan Gottlieb, Eden Saban, , Tal Musari, Yehuda Bohbot, Gilad Kletter, Michal Levy, Ruth Asarsai, Uri Yaniv, Nicole Podobliani, Alon Gavish and others.

Ilan Rosenfeld is the co-head writer of the third season and Nadav Ben Simon is the writer of the fourth season.

Following the success of the first two seasons of Spyders, Nickelodeon International's management team is now looking to produce not only more global Israeli kids hits, but also hunting for success in the drama, documentary and even animation fields.

“Israel is producing a lot of great content to the world, and the merger with ViacomCBS has been amazing for us, because now we are in a big family that really puts content in front of everything else,” Orly Atlas-Katz, CEO of Ananey and Executive Vice President (EVP), ViacomCBS Networks Israel, told The Hollywood Reporter. “And the mission of ViacomCBS is to unleash the power of content to everyone on all platforms. So we fit like hand in glove for this vision. Prior to the acquisition, we were quite a big company in Israel and also had some success abroad. But since we became part of the family, it has become bigger and bigger.”

Atlas-Katz says her team has cooperated with Israel pay TV giant Hot and Nick International to ensure the show appeals to Israeli and international audiences, and that process has worked smoothly. “We write a script, we send it to our partners at Nick International, we get notes and if we don’t agree on something, we discuss it,” she explains. “For example, for us, it was very important to have a cast that is famous and has influencers on social media in Israel. But it is also very important for them to have diversity and all kinds of stuff in the casting. So we came up with an amazing cast for the third and fourth seasons.”

Atlas-Katz says the global success has opened the door for more Israeli kids content and has at times surprised even her team. “I was surprised by the English-speaking countries,” especially because Spyders is dubbed into English, she says. “It was huge in Australia and in the U.K. It used to be the English-speaking countries preferred their content in their own language, especially with kids. And they have so much content in English.”

Other Ananey kids program successes also began in Israel only to find a more global fanbase. One such Ananey story has been The Greenhouse, the first-ever Israeli series to be acquired by Netflix for a remake (titled Greenhouse Academy) by Ananey’s Nutz Productions unit. The show, about a brother and sister who lose their mother in a spaceship crash and go to an elite school for gifted future leaders where they face challenges and must help save the country from a disaster, aired on Nickelodeon U.K. in an English dubbed version. It was also sold to HBO Europe and Belgium’s Medialaan/VTM KZoom channels.

Ananey’s pre-school DIY series Craft Party, which emerged as a top 5 hit on kids TV network CBBC in the U.K. that gave it a remake after the original became one of the highest-rated shows on Nick Jr. Israel, drama The Hood about a blue-collar neighborhood in a rich district, and fantasy-mystery show Spell Keepers have also ended up drawing international audiences.

Atlas-Katz told THR that her team is looking to continue the momentum with an eye on global hits, with talent relationships a key focus and ingredient of success. While ViacomCBS’ investment in content is important, “for us, it is mainly about the connection with showrunners in Israel,” the executive says. “We have great relationships and are working closely with big names, because in the end, it’s all about the story. For example, on Spyders, we have Michal Cooper Keren who is amazing. It is her second show with us, and she is already writing the next project for kids for us.”

Asked about the secret sauce or key ingredient of Spyders and other Ananey kids shows, Atlas-Katz points to three things. “In our teen dramas, we always have a cliffhanger at the end of an episode, which fits streaming and linear, because kids must see the next episode. It’s something that we are really focusing on.”

She continues: “The second thing is that Israeli writers have layers when they are writing a story. On Spyders, for example, we got a lot of reaction from parents who watch with their kids, because you have a layer for kids, but you also have a layer for the parents. Family viewing is very important and a key factor in kids programming today.”

Finally, “we always focus on kids saving the situation,” explains Atlas-Katz. “It means that kids can solve anything. And it’s something that kids really appreciate because it is empowering and they feel really, really strong after watching it.”

Ananey also produces outside the young adult and kids space and is hoping to find more global success in other areas. For example, Atlas-Katz says the firm is currently working on seven animation projects and plans to do more documentaries after recently producing the original documentary Vaxxed Nation for ViacomCBS’ Smithsonian Channel, providing a closer look at how Israel became a world leader in vaccinating its population against COVID-19. The documentary premiered July 11 on Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. and U.K. “When ViacomCBS acquired Ananey, we understood and saw the trend of docs on Netflix and in other places, so we jumped into this as well. And our first one is already all over the world, so we are happy with it.”

Ananey is also looking to make a global splash with a drama hit. “Our goals include producing for the international market adult drama and kids stuff,” says Atlas-Katz. “We are going to produce more and more and we really hope for a big success. We are hoping that the Fauda will come out of Ananey. It was considered a huge success of Israeli content, and we are definitely planning to be the next one to launch some big series for adults that is successful all over the world.”

ViacomCBS is the first port of call for Ananey when it looks for a partner or buyer for its content, but the firm is also open to doing business with other  companies. “But I’m happy that ViacomCBS sees Israel as an important part of their strategy,” says Atlas-Katz. “And I think now all the big platforms, especially with streaming, understand that people want to see content from all over the world.”

*The above ratings are all Live Action Demo, K9-14.


About Nickelodeon International

Nickelodeon, now in its 42nd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. Nickelodeon is one of the most globally recognized and widely distributed multimedia entertainment brands for kids and family, available in nearly 400 million households across 180 countries and territories, via more than 80+ locally programmed channels and branded blocks. Outside of the United States, Nickelodeon is part of ViacomCBS Networks International, a division of ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC). For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of ViacomCBS Inc.

About Ananey Studios

Ananey Studios an international studio that serves as the production arm of ANANEY - a ViacomCBS Company (FKA Ananey Communications Group), a leading Israeli media group that owns a variety of innovative content brands and 12 TV channels that include a lifestyle division and an exclusive representation of ViacomCBS brands in Israel. Ananey Studios produces over 500 hours of content per year, which is aired on the company’s channels in addition to a variety of local and international platforms. The award-winning studio produces content in a broad spectrum of genres and target demos - from live-action to animation, dramas to sitcoms, documentary and fiction; with a special place reserved for teen and young-adult dramas, our main specialty.

About HOT

HOT Telecommunications is the leading telecom group in Israel, providing a wide range of telecom services: Cable & OTT TV, high-speed cable internet, mobile and fixed telephone services, and B2B services. As the largest TV company in Israel, with over 1 million subscribers HOT provides the best viewing experience with cutting edge technology (4K resolution and Multi Wi-Fi experience), more than 200 linear channels, and a Mega VOD service with over 50K titles.


Originally published: July 27, 2021 at 19:28 BST.

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