Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Nickelodeon News Round-Up - Issue 11

Welcome to the NickALive!'s last Nickelodeon News Round-Up of 2013! Below is a selection of articles from around the internet which feature news, commentary and information about Nickelodeon, including news stories NickALive! didn't get time to report throughout the year.

C21Media is reporting that Foxtel has just added Nickelodeon Australia, Nick Jr. Australia, MTV, ESPN and ESPN2 to its mobile service Foxtel Go.

The Music Network is reporting that MTV Australia is moving most of its broadcasting operations to London, as the global channel centralises most roles in the UK. These include programming, production, creative, production management, research, operations and acquisitions, according to a statement from the network. MTV's parent company, Viacom International Media called this "leveraging its international infrastructure and streamlining certain aspects of its Australian and New Zealand business." Fifteen people will lose their jobs, as a result. The company said it would continue to employ sales, marketing and talent/artist management staff in Australia. VIMN emphasised Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand will not be affected by this move. The move comes on the eve of VIMN’s plans to re-launch its MTV channels globally with a new on-air identity. Viacom has been steadily downsizing MTV's presence in Australia and New Zealand. In 2010, the two operations were merged into one, based in Sydney, and 23 NZ staffers retrenched. That year also MTV's Australian/NZ operation came under VIMN alongside the UK, Ireland, and Central Eastern Europe. MTV arrived in Australia in April 1987 on the Nine Network, hosted by Richard Wilkins, and aired on Friday and Saturday nights. It ran for six years until Nine decided not to renew its deal with Viacom in 1993, citing the high cost of production and licensing. In June 1996, MTV was launched by the Austereo-owned ARC Music Television as a 24-hour music channel on Optus. It was early days for pay-TV, and ARC was soon relaunched and rebranded as MTV Australia. In December 2002, MTV was added to the Foxtel platform and to Austar two years after that.

The Star Online in Malaysia is reporting that Nickelodeon acquired the international broadcast rights to Third Rock Creation's "Cingkus Blues", a tale of a cat and a rat (who are also best friends) in 2012, while Inspidea Sdn Bhd's "Akis" was the first Malaysian animation to be commissioned by the channel.

Wales Online has a short biography of young Rhondda skater Cei Evans, 12, who competed against three others to win the title of Best Skater at the Nickelodeon's Fruit Shoot Skills Awards 2013. He was presented with his Skillie trophy by two famous names in the music industry – JLS star JB Gill and solo artist Alexandra Burke.

The Netflix UK & Ireland Facebook Fanpage is reporting that Netflix's deal with Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) will be coming to an end on Sunday 5th January 2014, with shows from Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central are being removed from the streaming video subscription service on that date. Your favourite Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. shows, including the Daytime Entertainment Emmy Award-winners "Dora The Explorer" and "Blue's Clues", BAFTA Award-winner "SpongeBob SquarePants", plus "Team Umizoomi", "Bubble Guppies" and "Go Diego Go!", will still be available to watch on other SVoD providers, including Amazon's LOVEFiLM and BSkyB's Sky Go Extra!

FanLaLa looks back at Nickelodeon boyband Big Time Rush's highlights in 2013.

The Enfield Independent remembers when Nickelodeon UK's "Jordan & Perri's Ultimate Block Party" visited the Ilford Irish Dancers in the publications Review of the Year.

Comic Vine takes a look at Nickelodeon and Playmates' brand new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" Classic Collection action figure toy line, currently available at Toys "R" Us stores in the USA. As of right now, they've brought back the old school figures of the four mutant Heroes in a Half-Shell brothers (Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello), their sensei, Master Splinter and their enemy, Shredder. Each toy comes complete with retro 1980's packaging!

ToyNews takes a look at the movies planned to be released during Summer 2014, including Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dunes' upcoming "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie, and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" merchandise. Kids bedroom furniture specialists Worlds Apart currently has a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" range, including Freezeez, a Turtle Shell Raiser Feature Tent, a Turtle Readybed and a Turtles Hero by Go Glow. Talking about the future of Nick's TMNT, Lucy Wynn-Jones, head of licensing at Worlds Apart, said: "With Turtles, the Flair toys are doing really well and I think everything else with Turtles will really pick up in 2014." Lucy adds: "Both Disney behind Spider-Man and Nickelodeon behind Turtles are putting in a huge amount of marketing themselves that will drive consumers and we’ll be supporting with TV marketing on both of those as well with the Spider-Man Go Glow pal and Turtles Go Glow hero. Lucy also announces that Nickelodeon haven't got any current plans to release a dedicated toy line based on their upcoming "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film: "For me, the big one is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It will be huge. There isn’t actually a specific movie line, but they are using the movie to drive the whole property which is a smart move".

Scarlett Johansson ("The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie") is currently on course to make history by potentially becoming the first actor to win an Oscar purely based on a vocal performance. Johansson's work in Spike Jonze's critically acclaimed 'Her' is earning her rave reviews around the world, most recently the best actress prize at the Rome Film Festival. In the film she plays the voice of an operating system, which its user (played by Joaquin Phoenix) develops feelings for. However, this isn't the first time that an actor has gained notice for their vocal talents. From animated and CG characters to voiceovers in live-action films, the list of great voice performances is endless. But it remains problematic for Hollywood come awards season without a specific category of award devoted to the vocal performance. Additionally, voice actors are generally relegated from acting categories with their roles being viewed as either secondary or assisted by the animated (whether hand-drawn or digital) characters they are playing. The case for Scarlett Johansson is slightly different. After all, she never once appears on-screen and her invisible presence is not enhanced by an animated character. It is all down to her voice and voice alone. Johansson's chances of winning an Oscar, let alone being nominated, are difficult to predict. Most recently, the Golden Globes dented her chances by disqualifying her from nomination. The biggest awards ceremony, however, remains open to the idea and Johansson will most likely campaign for the Best Supporting Actress category (which currently looks weaker than the other acting categories). On the other hand, naysayers have been quick to point out that it is her celebrity status that has boosted her chances where so many other, more experienced, voice actors have gone unnoticed. As the buzz surrounding Johansson's performance continues to divide awards ceremonies and create debate amongst critics and fans alike, now is the perfect time to look back at some of the other voice actors that also deserved awards recognition. Yahoo! Movies UK has unveiled a list of the top 10 voice actors who they think deserve Oscar nominations, including Nickelodeon voice actors Tom Kenny, the provides the voice of many of Nick's iconic characters, including the voices of SpongeBob and Gary the Snail in "SpongeBob SquarePants", in which he also portrays the live-action character Patchy the Pirate and the French narrator portrayed as Jacques Cousteau, plus the voices of "Heffer Wolfe" and various other characters in "Rocko's Modern Life", Cupid in "Fairly Odd Parents", and the voices of Dog and Cliff in "CatDog", and the Nick voice actor Christine Cavanaugh, the original voice of Chuckie Finster in "Rugrats"!

Yahoo! OMG UK has named Nickelodeon Star Ariana Grande ("Sam & Cat", "VICTORiOUS", "Swindle") as one of the best new pop acts of 2013! Yahoo! OMG UK went on to praise Ariana by saying "when she launched a music career which channelled Mariah Carey at her mid-90s peak that most people began to recognise her versatile talents. A much more impressive vocalist than any of her fellow tween idols-turned-pop stars, her US chart-topping debut album, 'Yours Truly,' proved that it was possible to sell records without licking a sledgehammer or twerking in your underwear"! According to TourDates.co.uk, in a recent interview BANG Showbiz, Ariana Grande said "No twerking for me!".

However, it isn't all good news for Ariana. AceShowBiz.com is reporting that Ariana Grande is being sued over her collaboration hit with Mac Miller, "The Way". A U.K.-based company called Minder Music accuses Grande and Miller of illegally using a phrase from a 1972 track titled "Troglodyte" by disco and funk group The Jimmy Castor Bunch. Grande's song opens with phrase "What we're going to do is go back, back into time." Meanwhile, "Troglodyte" begins with Jimmy Castor saying, "What we're gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time." Similar phrases have also been used in songs by N.W.A, Christina Aguilera, and more. However, Minder Music says the phrase is "iconic" and can't be used without license, and have launched a lawsuit.

Classicalite is also reporting that Ariana also confirmed in a Tweet on her official Twitter profile page that she has no plans to retire from acting anytime soon! Ariana was recently reported to have said she only took up acting to get a record deal. She also reportedly told reporters that she's never liked acting.

Licensing.biz is reporting that Nickelodeon & Viacom Consumer Products has unveiled a line of MTV headwear with premium American athletic brand, Starter Black Label. The range launches in stores across the UK and Ireland, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Netherlands, Spain and South Africa from January 2014. The caps cover a myriad of colourful styles, patterns and textures, and feature a selection of iconic MTV logos. These include MTV Classic, Yo! MTV Raps, MTV Unplugged and Pimp My Ride. Stores stocking the line will include JD Sports and Surfdome in the UK, La Boutique Officielle and Sarl Katz/Urban Locker in France and Unhuman and Phu Beny in Poland. "MTV is excited to be working with Starter Black Label," said Mark Kingston, GM, SVP, NVCP Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia. "The synergy between the brands is undeniable and we are proud to work with a brand with such a similar music heritage. [...] The designs, showcasing the classic MTV logo, capture the fun nature of MYV while maintaining the street style relevance of Starter Black Label. [...] We hope this is the first of many more collaborations between Starter and MTV."

The Times series is reporting that Nickelodeon UK Presenter Nigel Clark recently attended a special concert by the Al Pascal Music performing arts school to raise money for a cancer charity! Children from Al Pascal Music, in Warwick Road, New Barnet, took to the stage to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Singers as young as seven did not late stage fright put them off as they performed in front of hundreds of parents. The event, held over two days at the All Saints Arts Centre, Oakleigh Road North, also featured a face painter, a circus performer and mulled wine. An ambassador for the Teenage Cancer Trust also visited the event.

C21Media is reporting that Newen Distribution recently sold "Mysterious Cities of Gold" – a remake of Newen subsidiary Blue Spirit's 1980s series made for TF1 – to Nickelodeon Northern Europe (including Germany), Kix in the UK and Panda in Portugal.

Just Jared Jr. is reporting that Miranda Cosgrove announced during a interview on The Today Show to promoting the DVD release of "Despicable Me 2" that’s she's back in the studio and making new music! Yeah, I actually have been in the studio a lot recently, so I’m hoping to release some new stuff really soon," the 20-year-old actress shared.

Nickelodeon boyband Big Time Rush has announced a brand new mini live tour for 2014! Tour dates are listed below:

Feb 7, 2014 - Grand Praire, TX- Verizon Theatre
Club Rush Presale: Tues, Dec 11th - 10am (CST)
On-Sale: Saturday, Dec 14th- 10am (CST)

Feb 8th, 2014 - Houston, TX- Bayou Music Center
Club Rush Presale: Tues, Dec 10th - 10am (CST)
On-Sale: Friday, Dec 13th- 12p (CST)

Feb 11, 2014 - Mexico City- Arena Ciudad De Mexico
On-Sale: Sunday, Dec 15th- 10am (CST)

Feb 12, 2014 - Guadalajara- Telmex Arena
On-Sale: Sunday, Dec 15th- 10am (CST)

Feb 13, 2014 - Monterrey- Arena Monterrey
On-Sale: Sunday, Dec 15th- 10am (CST)

Feb 15, 2014 - Santiago, Chile- Movistar Arena
On-Sale: Sunday, Dec 15th- 10am (CST)

*All dates and times subject to change

Complex Xtra has unveiled a exclusive interview with Nick Star Ariana Grande. The Guardian has also unveiled a exclusive interview with the Nickelodeon celebrity.

Nickelodeon fanblog Nickutopia is reporting that Ariana Grande has announced that she is now a Vegan.

Nickelodeon Star Nickelodeon Star Jennette McCurdy recently pulled a prank on her "iCarly" co-star Nathan Kress during the production of a brand-new "Sam & Cat" special episode in which Nathan and Ariana's "Victorious" co-stars Matt Bennett and Elizabeth Gillies guest star in! During a rest period, Nathan was in his dressing room holding a few interviews, when Jennette popped by to scare him! Jennette documented her joke in a special Vine video, which you can watch below!:

South Bay Galleria recently teamed up with the national "Malls & Retailers Unite Against Bullying" campaign and tween icon and anti-bullying activist Daniella Monet, to bring the community together for a special anti-bullying event. Best known for her portrayal as Trina Vega in Nickelodeon's hit live-action series "Victorious", Monet met and greeted young kids and tweens as they learned the importance of eliminating bullying at a special event held on Saturday, October 5th 2013 at South Bay Galleria.

Metro reports that English footballer Sammy Ameobi, who currently plays for Newcastle United as a winger, recently got into the party spirit after the Magpies' shock win at Manchester United by posting a selfie dressed as a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle"! The striker, 21, donned full 'Leonardo' gear as he posed in a lift with Newcastle team-mate Paul Drummett, who was hitting the town as "Bo Selecta"'s Craig David. The pair were clearly in high spirits following on from the Toon's first win at Old Trafford in almost 42 years – courtesy of Yohan Cabaye’s strike – and were ready to savour the occasion.

Kidscreen is reporting that Ireland-based Monster Entertainment's "I'm A" series has been sold into the UK with "I'm a Creepy Crawly" and "I'm a Dinosaur" having been picked up by the CSC channel Tiny Pop, while BBC Alba has acquired the rights to "I'm a Monster". The first iteration of the franchise, "I'm an Animal" is currently under license to Nickelodeon in the UK. Other post-MIP Junior sales include the licensing of I’m an Animal to South Korean broadcaster United Media while Norwegian Airlines have recently licensed further episodes of "I'm an Animal", "I'm a Creepy Crawly" and "I'm a Dinosaur". Currently, the "I’m A" series has been sold to more than 150 broadcasters around the globe. The show’s format, which entails creatures introducing themselves and their worlds, has already spawned four different series with a fifth series titled "I'm a Fish" currently in development. The series has also spawned the "I’m a Creepy Crawly" app that will hit the market in the near future.

EURweb recently reported that former Nickelodeon Stars Ashley Argota (Lulu in "True Jackson, VP" and Kelly Peckinpaw in "Bucket and Skinner") and Ben Giroux (Donny DePeetro in "Bucket and Skinner's Epic Adventures") stared in The Pasadena Playhouse's 2013 pantomime "Aladdin and His Winter Wish"! Ashley played "The Princess" and Ben played "Wishee Washee"! Other stars in ""Aladdin" include Jordan Fisher from Disney's "Teen Beach Movie" as "Aladdin" and Richard Karn from "Home Improvement" as "The Sultan". In 2012, Nickelodeon Star Ariana Grande starred as 'Snow White' in The Pasadena Playhouse's first ever Panto "A Snow White Christmas".

edp24.co.uk is reporting that Nickelodeon UK presenter Anna Williamson attended the The 2013 Bernard Matthews Youth Awards, in association with the Eastern Daily Press, which took place recently at Open in Norwich, and celebrated some very special 11 to 18 years olds from Norfolk and Suffolk. Anna Williamson was the awards' host and she said was she was "very, very proud" to share the stage with the inspirational young people who she described as fantastic ambassadors of their generation. "They really are everything we should be celebrating about Great Britain - young, talented, inspirational people. They have all done incredible things," she said.

With an array of new distribution platforms emerging and new children's channels growing audience shares in the US and beyond, TBI Vision's Jesse Whittock and Stewart Clarke investigate to what extent Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network still dominate the kids TV market and what challenges lie ahead for the Big Three. Additionally, Viacom International Media Networks’ COO Pierluigi Gazzolo has also hinted that the "My Nick Junior" app, which launched in France last year through CanalSat and could now launch in up to four new territories, is a product that the will “revolutionise” the business. It allows parents and children to customise and personalise content through pre-sets such as 'education' or 'maths' to source relevant programming.

Licensed textiles firm Character World is on track for another record year thanks to new licensing deals and its European expansion drive, reports the Manchester Evening News. The business, which is based in Cheadle Hulme, near Stockport, designs, produces and supplies to retailers including Argos, Littlewoods, Express Gifts, JD Williams and Amazon, a range of licensed bedroom accessories and furniture for Disney, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros, Hasbro and Hello Kitty makers Sanrio.

C21Media is reporting that the non-profit organisation Women In Animation (WIA) has Jenna Boyd, SVP, animation development for Nickelodeon, to their new advisory committee.

iKids talks about Tryout.net, the newly launched platform is designed to connect kids and parents to entertainment brands, as well as talent opportunities. The free and subscription-based website serves as a tool for parents and kids to pursue various interests — from finding registered soccer coaches, to following favorite rock bands. But there’s also an inherent user-generated content element that lets brands directly interact with interested fans via contests and other social media offerings, in a fully COPPA 2.0-compliant setting. Based in Israel and California, the three-month-old company of the same name has so far raised US$750,000 in funding and attracted more than 15,000 users within a month of going live. Tryout is not a true social network since users can’t see other members’ profiles, but it is akin to Facebook in the way enables users to follow brands they like. For instance, Nickelodeon brand Big Time Rush hosted Tryout’s first contest, which drove 3,000 kids to enter right off the bat. Participants (primarily six to nines) learned about the contest via Big Time Rush’s social media efforts, and 32% of them ended up watching videos on the band's Tryout-hosted channel.

Den of Geek reviews the UK Blu-ray release of the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie Collection".

Meet the woman behind Nick Jr.'s "Blue's Clues" and internationally-recognized children’s education specialist, Dr. Alice Wilder.

Brian Robbins, a American actor, film director, film producer, television director and television producer, the founder of AwesomenessTV and a production executive on the Nickelodeon movies "Good Burger" and "Fred: The Movie" and the hit Nickelodeon series "Kenan & Kel", "All That", "Cousin Skeeter", "The Amanda Show", "The Nick Cannon Show", "Fred: The Movie", "Supah Ninjas" and "AwesomenessTV", recently revealed to The Guardian what he would have done if he was in charge of Nickelodeon in 2013 to help grow the networks ratings, for example, to respond to changing habits of their audience, and disruptive competition from the YouTube world?

Saban's "Power Rangers" recently held a 20th Anniversary art exhibition and pop-up shop at Toy Art Gallery in Los Angeles. Curated by Sweet Streets, the "Power Rangers" exhibition, "20 Rangers for 20 Years", highlighted popular artists and designers from around the world and their one-of-a-kind painted 31" Ranger statues, provided by Saban Brands' partner, leading U.S. toy company, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. The exhibition took place Dec. 7-8, starting off with a launch event at Toy Art Gallery on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 7-10 p.m. The event featured music by Iheartcomix DJs Franki Chan and $U$PECT as well as Asian-fusion food by the Jogasaki Sushi Burrito food truck. Each customized Ranger statue was made available for purchase on-site at Toy Art Gallery and online at shop.toyartgallery.com during the event and throughout the weekend. A percentage of the proceeds from all artwork sales will be donated to the Challengers Boys & Girls Club. Also, JAKKS Pacific, Inc. will be donating toys to the Challengers Boys & Girls Club as part of their contribution to the exhibition. Bandai America Incorporated, "Power Rangers"' master toy partner, provided product for display, including one-of-a-kind toys from their archives and upcoming "Super Megaforce" toys. The gallery also hosted a "Power Rangers" pop-up shop featuring products for purchase from Mishka, who debuted a capsule of three "Power Rangers" T-shirts, two designed by Daniel Dussault and one by L'Amour Supreme. These shirts were sold at the "20 Rangers for 20 Years" exhibition and following at its stores in Brooklyn, Los Angeles and San Francisco and also online at mishkanyc.com. The pop-up shop also included products from a variety of additional "Power Rangers" partners including Buckle Down, Acme Archives, Loyal Subjects and more. "20 Rangers for 20 Years" featured hand painted Ranger statues from 64 Colors, Bei Badgirl, Cope2, CRASH, Frank Kozik, Indie 184, Jim Mafood, Jryu, Kano, L’Amour Supreme, Malcolm Stuart, Mathew Curan, MEGGS, Mikie Graham, Olek, Pretty In Plastic, Shojono Tomo, Superdeux, TADO, Simone Legno of Tokidoki and more. In addition, special pieces from Saban Brands artists were also on display throughout the weekend. A "Power Rangers 20th Anniversary" inspired mural was also painted in celebration of the exhibition. Curated by Branded Arts and Space Twenty Three, the mural features a larger-than-life Red Ranger, painted by MEGGS at Sportie LA’s Fame Yard along Melrose Avenue. "The 20 Rangers for 20 Years" exhibition was free and open to the public. #20Rangersfor20Years.

EntertainmentWise is reporting that, during her visit to London in November 2013, Nick celeb Ariana Grande treated fans who had flocked to London to see their idol with a special performance at Leicester Square's intimate Rise night club. Guests were blown away as fellow pop superstar Nathan Sykes made a very special appearance, joining Ariana on stage for duet rendition of "Almost Is Never Enough". The crowd went crazy as the boy band member emerged to lend his chart topping mega star beau a helping hand as they pulled off an emotional performance of the track which brought them together earlier this year! You can watch a video of Ariana and Nathan's live duet below:

Saban Brands also recently announced that Zui, the largest aggregator of kid-friendly content on the web, has launched a new mobile app for its kid-safe internet browser, KidZui. Operated by Zui, KidZui is a downloadable browser that provides access to a kid-safe Internet experience to more than six million websites, online videos, pictures and games. Designed to make the Internet both fun and safe for kids, the KidZui mobile app provides the entertainment and security that parents and kids have come to love from KidZui, on the go. The free-to-download KidZui app is now available for iOS download on Apple's App Store and will soon be available for Android as well. In addition to the new app, KidZui has launched a new software upgrade and refresh to the desktop version. The KidZui browser has several new features and functions making the program quicker and easier to use. It has been updated with an aesthetically pleasing and simplified design along with improved functionality to enhance user experience that is remarkably stunning when used on Apple's iPad. Updates to KidZui Include: Favorites: Easy to use "favorite" (bookmark) feature, allowing kids to save sites and articles for future reference; Games: Mobile version will include HTML5 games for fun and safe game play; Images and Video: Image and video quality has been improved, providing a beautifully enhanced experience and Content Library: Already consisting of millions of pieces of content, the library has been updated to included new fresh material for kids to enjoy. Content available through both Zui and KidZui is curated through a unique patented editorial process which provides users with quality content that is age appropriate. The Zui editorial staff also reviews and adds access to new content each month to keep the browser fresh and engaging for kids. KidZui is also COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and CARU (Children's Advertising Reviewing Unit) compliant.

TBI Vision has named Nickelodeon one of the three global kids channel operators that hold sway in Asia.

MarketWatch is reporting that Nickelodeon's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" has help rescue a toy company! Toyco Playmates Toys Limited holds the exclusive rights to manufacture "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" (TMNT) action figures based on the top-rated show on Nickelodeon. Revenue for the first six months of 2013 mushroomed to 2,300 percent for Playmates compared to the same period in 2012 to HK$596.2 million ($US$76.9 million). Playmates also swung to a profit of HK$211.0 million (US$27.2 million) for the first half of 2013 from a loss in the year prior period.

Pendle Today has unveiled a review of Jumbo Puzzle's brand new "Peppa Pig" and "Fireman Sam" jigsaw advent calendars. The cleverly designed puzzles made by Jumbo toys are bright and festive and over the month reveal a special festive theme. Children can have fun working out what's coming.

C21Media is reporting that the Canadian animation studio Guru Studio has promoted its senior producer of animation to the role of Vice President (VP) of production. Amy Robson joined Guru in 2005 and since then has overseen the production of both the TV and interactive components of Guru's "Justin Time" (52x11′) toon. Robson will now oversee all current and future productions at the studio, which include work on third party properties such as Nickelodeon's "Paw Patrol"; Mattel's "Ever After High" (from the makers of Monster High); and the Treehouse-BBC-Kindle co-production "Dinopaws". Guru, for its part, recently established a new 20,000-square-foot studio to house an expanding team of 3D and Harmony designers and animators, as well as an interactive department that will produce ancillary and complementary online content for both original and third party properties. Robson's experience includes producing series for Corus/Nelvana, "The Backyardigans" and "Guess with Jess". She began her career in Australia, later moving to London, where she produced the visual effects for "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban".

Licensing.biz is reporting that Hit Entertainment and Fisher-Price have created a hands-on, STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and maths) exhibit featuring the world of "Thomas & Friends". The new exhibit will debut in the Minnesota Children's Museum in summer 2014 and will introduce young children to Thomas the Tank Engine and other characters from the Island of Sodor. The June 2014 opening will mark the beginning of a ten-year tour of children's museums across the country. It is the first time that Thomas & Friends is being offered as a museum experience in the US. The exhibit will be designed, developed and built by Minnesota Children's Museum in partnership with Hit Entertainment. Fisher-Price will be the presenting sponsor. The 1,500 square foot interactive version of the Island of Sodor will allow children to climb aboard a full size model of Thomas. They will be able to build their own trains and race them along a giant track, work together to sort and load cargo and tend to engines in Tidmouth Sheds.

Licensing.biz is also reporting that Pre-school entertainment company, Hit Entertainment has partnered with Hamleys to launch its new Thomas and Friends Tracks4Thomas campaign. The new campaign is a digitally led initiative utilising social media interactions to power Thomas on a virtual journey. The Fat Controller launched the initiative at Hamleys' flagship Regent Street store to crowds of families before making his way to Evalina London Children's Hopsital, part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, to deliver gifts. The Fat Controller also made further appearances at events at Hamleys stores across the UK and Ireland including Cardiff on November 17th, Glasgow on November 24th and Dublin on December 1st. Fans can add pieces of virtual track to the characters' routes, helping Thomas and the Fat Controller make their way around the country by visiting Tracks4Thomas and logging on via Facebook or Twitter. The initiative was part of "Thomas & Friends Christmas Journey".

SW Londoner is reporting that 14-year-old actor Alex Haug, who recently starred in a Nickelodeon advert, recently starred in "The Naughty Step", a horror film created by talented young filmmakers. Barnes Film Academy (BFA), a holiday workshop for budding Spielbergs, allows students aged 10-15 to take part in every step of the filming process, from acting to working behind the scenes and post-production. Beaming with pride is Samuel Cullis, project leader at Barnes Film Academy and head of media studies at Harrodian School in Barnes, who guided students to create ‘The Naughty Step’. “I want to make the film industry available to young students who are getting more and more technical,” says Mr Cullis. He adds he has always loved film and it was due to his own lack of film opportunities when he was younger that he decided to provide youngsters with this creative chance. The movie recently premiered at a historic cinema and recording studio in Barnes.

Ariana Grande's brother, Frankie James Grande, recently shared a exclusive online streaming video clip on YouTube which goes behind-the-scenes of Ariana's performance at 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thursday 28th November 2013! Ariana sang on Nickelodeon's "Dora The Explorer" parade float alongside Nick Stars Dora and Boots the Monkey. The video, below, features clips of Ariana, Frankie, The Wanted's Nathan Sykes and Ariana & Frankie Mom, Joan Grande:

Also, below is a video of Ariana Grande's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2013 performance:

Unreality TV is also reporting that Ariana Grande has revealed that as a young teenager, she suffered her fair share of upsetting life experiences. The 20-year-old singer, who grew up in Boca Raton, Florida, was picked on and bullied and in a new interview she's opened up about how ‘unhappy’ she was at times because she couldn't stand up for herself.

Moviehole is reporting that Robert Rodriguez's small-screen spin-off of "From Dusk Till Dawn" has added Brandon Soo Hoo and Eiza González to it's cast. Brandon Soo Hoo played cousin Connor on Nickelodeon's "Supah Ninjas" and Eiza González, a Mexican singer, songwriter and actress, starred as Clara Molina / Roxy Pop in Nickelodeon Latin America's original telenovela "Sueña Conmigo" (in English "Dream With Me").

Digital TV Europe is reporting that new kids-focused on-demand app Hopster has secured Entertainment One Family series including "Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom" for its debut. SVOD service Hopster was first unveiled at MIPJunior this year and has secured a batch of deals for shows such as "Babar and the Adventures of Badou", "Little Bear", "Max & Ruby", "SuperWhy", "Paddington Bear", "Monster Math Squad", "64 Zoo Lane" and "Louie". It has now added "Ben & Holly", "Humf" and "Tractor Tom" from eOne Family in a deal comprising a total 180 episodes. The app targets kids aged 2-6 and comes from former Viacom International Media Networks Russia general manager Nick Walters. Its management includes Sander Striker from Vdio, Joost and Apache; Mahesh Ramachandra who has worked for the UK's Galleon Entertainment; and Bradley Archer, also a former Nickelodeon executive. Hopster has also announced the additions of Tate Kids editor Sharna Jackson as its creative director and another former Nick exec Adam-James Foulkes as producer for its games division. The Hopster advisory board includes Nickelodeon UK's former managing director Howard Litton, investor Peter Read, president and CEO of Pearson English Bhavneet Singh and Tony Orsten of twofour54 and Paramount Pictures.

Kidscreen is reporting that the kids and family entertainment distributor Cake has inked a new deal for season one of the Coolabi-produced "Poppy Cat". German broadcaster KiKA has agreed to take on TV rights for all German-speaking territories. The 52 x 11-minute preschool series, which was just greenlit for a second season, has already been sold into 150 territories worldwide and is based on the international bestselling books of the same name by Lara Jones. The series airs on Sprout (US) and commissioning channel Nick Jr. (UK) and has already been placed with Disney Junior in Spain and Latin America, Other broadcasters include Al Jazeera Children’s Channel, e-vision (U.A.E), SVT (Sweden), S4C (Wales), EBS Korea, OKTO Singapore, Nickelodeon Australia, TVO (Canada), Knowledge Network (Canada), NRK (Norway), RTÉ (Ireland), CITV (UK) and France 5. The show’s second season will be delivered for spring 2014.

In a recent Adweek interview for a article talking about kids networks developing new apps and how, by and large, the kids-targeted cable nets are developing apps with the tacit understanding that distribution and measurement will eventually catch up with them, Steve Youngwood, Nickelodeon's EVP and GM of digital, said advertisers have been "incredibly understanding" about having to accept guarantees made against internal data.

Scoop News is reporting that successful international screenwriter, script adviser and teacher of screenwriting Kelly Marshall will teach the Master of Arts in Scriptwriting course at Victoria's International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) in New Zealand next year (2014). Marshall is taking a year's leave from her position as Course Leader of the Master of Arts in Screenwriting at the University of the Arts in London. Ken Duncum, Director of Scriptwriting at the IIML, is delighted that Marshall has been confirmed as his replacement for 2014. Working as a writer in both live action and animation, Marshall’s work has been screened on BBC, Nickelodeon, Granada TV, Scottish TV, Carlton TV and Channel 5, and she currently has four original TV and feature film projects in development. The International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) was established to promote and foster contemporary imaginative writing.

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Gene Simmons, the bass guitar player of the iconic heavy metal band KISS, talks to Fatherhood Channel about how he came up with the idea and created his mid-2000's Nickelodeon cartoon series "My Dad the Rock Star". The main character of the show is Willy Zilla, a teenage boy learning the ins and outs of life. Only it's not so easy when you are the son of the eccentric rock star Rock Zilla, an eccentric pop icon dealing with fatherhood. All the boy wants is to be accepted for himself, rather than who his Dad is. He thinks he sees his chance when Rock Zilla retires and moves to Silent Springs. However, Rock Zilla still manages to make a mess out of everything. It's a good thing that Willy and his two new friends can handle all the adventures. "My Dad the Rock Star" is also currently available to buy on DVD on Amazon.com!

Below is a online streaming video clip featuring the opening titles and theme tune to Nick's "My Dad the Rock Star":

C21Media is reporting that a broadcaster in China has acquired Nelvana’s CGI-animated preschool series "Franklin and Friends" for its kids' channel. China's state broadcaster Chinese Central Television (CCTV) has taken the 52x30' toon about a turtle character and has already begun airing it on the CCTV Kids Channel (CCTV-14). The broadcast deal follows Corus Entertainment-owned Nelvana’s content acquisition and representation deal with Beijing-based Ciwen Media Group. The deal granted the Chinese firm exclusive distribution and merchandise representation rights to several Nelvana brands. "Franklin and Friends" will now be available in 400 million households on CCTV Kids, said Colin Bohm, VP, television, head of Corus Kids. Coproduced by Canada's Nelvana and Singapore’s Infinite Frameworks, the toon is based on the children’s book series by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark. The series airs on Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. (Nick Junior) in the US, TF1 in France, and Corus preschool channel Treehouse in Canada. The news was announced at MIPCOM 2013.

C21Media is also reporting that the animated series "Zack & Quack" (52x11') has secured a number of pre-sales here in Cannes with broadcasters in Canada, Latin America and Europe. Deals have been sealed with Treehouse in Canada, Discovery Kids Latin America, France Télévisions, YLE in Finland and Turkey's Minika. DVD partners have also been secured in North America, with Phase 4 DVD in the US and Corus DVD in Canada coming onboard. The show is being shopped by Zodiak Kids, part of Zodiak Rights, which has already licensed the toon to Nickelodeon as its global broadcaster. It is expected to debut on Nick Jr channels worldwide from early 2014. Produced by Zodiak's own studio The Foundation in partnership with creators QQD and South Korean animation studio High 1 Entertainment, Zack & Quack follows the adventures of a boy and his best friend, an impulsive young duck.

Will Arnett, who will be playing Vernon Fenwick, April O'Neil's cameraman and rival, in Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Pictures and Platinum Dunes' upcoming "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie, talks about to character in the film and what made him decide to be in the movie. As well as starring Will Arnett, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", released in cinemas and theaters around the world in 2014, also stars Megan Fox as April O'Neil; Alan Ritchson as Raphael; William Fichtner as Shredder; Whoopi Goldberg as Bernadette Thompson, a female version of Burne Thompson, April's boss at Channel 6 News; Noel Fisher as Michelangelo; Abby Elliott; Jeremy Howard as Donatello; Danny Woodburn as Splinter; Minae Noji; and Pete Ploszek as Leonardo. "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" is directed by Jonathan Liebesman and produced by Michael Bay. Additionally, Flicks And The City is reporting that William Fichtner has announced in a exclusive video interview, below, that he has signed a contract to be in three Nickelodeon "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movies. William also tells movie news blog Flicks And The City about how he got involved in the new "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie, his experiences on the set, how this live-action movie is so different to previous on-screen TMNT, what it's like playing Shredder and Eric Sachs, why we'll be surprised by his character’s back-story and relation to the Turtles, the look of his character, and that he thinks there’ll definitely be TMNT sequels:

Plus, in a exclusive video interview with Digital Spy, Will Arnett has said that filming fight scenes in the upcoming "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie left him "exhausted and bruised". Asked about whether he was a fan of the show growing up, Arnett told Digital Spy and other reporters: "It's funny, it's one of those things... it fell between the cracks for me, a little bit, because I was just a little old". "But I have a much younger brother and he was a fan, so I was kind of exposed to it when I was a teenager". "I knew who they all were and what happened was, almost simultaneous to me being in discussions to become part of the picture, my own sons became massive, like seemingly overnight, massive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans. It was so strange." He added: "I started meeting with these guys and then... I actually watched the cartoon, the animated show on Nickelodeon with my sons, and I was like, 'This is a great story and there's something here', and so I got involved. Watch Will Arnett's interview here on digitalspy.co.uk!

Kidscreen is reporting that, a week after greenlighting three direct-to-DVD feature-length specials for its "Thomas & Friends" ("Tale of the Brave"), "Fireman Sam" ("Heroes of the Storm") and "Mike the Knight" ("Journey to Dragon Mountain") brands, HIT Entertainment has announced the sale of more than 120 hours of preschool content to broadcasters across Europe, Australia, Latin America and Asia. For Fireman Sam, season eight has been picked up by France 5, while Universal France has snapped up the home entertainment rights for series six to eight). Also in France, Lagardère Group has secured the rights for series 13, 16 and 17 of "Thomas & Friends". This move will see the program rebranded for the group's family network Gulli and preschool channel Tiji. Spanish broadcaster Boing has picked up series 15 to 17 of "Thomas & Friends" and will also be airing King of the Railway. In addition, Canal+ SVoD platform CanalPlay Infinity has acquired "Fireman Sam" series six and seven along with Angelina Ballerina series three to six. Meanwhile, 26 episodes of the first series of Mike the Knight are headed for Netflix Netherlands. In the Nordic regions, AB Svensk Filmindustri (SF) has secured home entertainment and digital distribution rights for a range of HIT properties, including "Bob the Builder", "Thomas & Friends", "Fireman Sam", "Pingu", "Mike the Knight" and "Angelina Ballerina". As well as being released on DVD, these properties will appear on its SVOD service, Children's SF Favourites, which is available in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. In Central Europe, cartoon channel Minimax, owned by ChelloMedia, and Polish channel Minimini have picked up "Mike the Knight" series two and the ninth series of "Fireman Sam". Over in Australia, ABC continues its long-standing relationship with HIT Entertainment, as the broadcaster has acquired series 17 of "Thomas & Friends" and the 60-minute special "King of the Railway". The channel has also picked up series two of "Mike the Knight". "Mike the Knight" will also make its debut in Southeast Asia as Mediacorp picked-up the first series for Singapore television channel Okto. As part of the deal, Mediacorp also secured rights for series 17 of "Thomas & Friends". "Thomas & Friends" is also forging full steam ahead in Latin America, where Discovery Kids has acquired series 17 of "Thomas & Friends" as well as rights to broadcast "King of the Railway". Licensing.biz is reporting that HIT Entertainment is expanding its content portfolio with three straight to DVD hour long specials for its popular brands, Thomas and Friends, Fireman Sam and, for the first time, Mike the Knight. Production is currently underway for all three titles, "Thomas and Friends: Tale of the Brave", "Mike the Knight: Journey to Dragon Mountain" and "Fireman Sam: Heroes of the Storm". The hour long special Thomas adventure and the "Mike the Knight" feature will premiere in 2014, while the "Fireman Sam" title is scheduled for a 2015 release. The new titles will form part of HIT Entertainment's renewed focus on tent pole events and its on-going commitment to investing in new content to 'extend the ways in which audiences connect with its brands.' Michael Carrington, VP content and head of production, HIT Global Brands, said: "I am delighted to announce these three new 60 minute specials. Furthermore, the entertainment firm has also green lit a new CGI series of Thomas and Friends, marking the eighteenth series of the popular pre-school show.

C21Media has unveiled a online video of C21's ScheduleWatch conference session held at MIPJUNIOR 2013 in Cannes in October, which features kids TV buyers revealing their acquisitions requirements for the coming year. Produced in association with C21 and hosted by managing director & editor-in-chief David Jenkinson, the hour-long ScheduleWatch: What Do Buyers Want? session was recorded by MipJunior and can be viewed here on c21media.net. Panelists included Frank Dietz, head of acquisitions & coproductions at Super RTL, Germany; Jules Borkent, senior VP of global acquisitions and international programming for Nickelodeon; Adina Pitt, VP of content acquisitions and coproductions at Cartoon Network; and Paul DeBenedittis, senior VP of programming, scheduling, multi-platform and acquisitions, Disney Channels Worldwide.

The Belfast Telegraph profiles Colin Williams, the founder and creative director of Sixteen South Television, a children's television production company making programmes for broadcasters across the globe, including the brand new mixed media animated preschool series "Driftwood Bay" for Nickelodeon UK's preschool channel, Nick Jr. UK and Ireland. Sixteen South Television also produces the preschool series "Pajanimals" which also airs on Nick Junior UK.

Toy World Magazine is reporting that Zodiak Kids and its master toy partner, Vivid Imaginations, have struck a distribution agreement with Famosa for Zodiak's pre-school brand, "Tickety Toc". The three-year deal will see the Spanish firm distributing Vivid Imaginations’ line of Tickety Toc toys throughout Spain and Portugal. Included in the range are plush, figures, games and playsets. The agreement follows the recent appointment of Biplano, who represent the brand in Spain and Portugal. Clan TV, the Spanish free TV children's broadcaster, will broadcast "Tickety Toc" from January 2014. "Tickety Toc" also airs on Nick Jr. Spain (Espana). Jonathan Busher, SVP international at Vivid, said: "Tickety Toc is a wonderful pre-school show and we are thrilled to partner Famosa in launching the toys to market early 2015." Zodiak Kids controls all worldwide rights for Tickety Toc except in Korea and Japan.

Latina recently unveiled a exclusive interview they had with Nickelodeon Star Carlos Pena, Jr. ("Big Time Rush").

C21Media is reporting that free-to-air broadcasters in Asia and Europe have picked up Zodiak Kids’ preschool series "Tickety Toc". The 52x11' series has been picked up by PBS in Thailand, Mediacorp in Singapore, Four NZ in New Zealand, Pixel in Ukraine, MTV in Hungary and Ultra/Ultra Mini in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Pocket Gamer is reporting that Nickelodeon Kids & Family recently released their hit "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rooftop Run" on the Android and is now available to purchase on Google Play! Separately, Nickelodeon has also released their award-winning Nick App on Amazon's Kindle Fire in the USA!

C21 is also reporting that German broadcaster Super RTL has picked up the recent CGI series based on Beatrix Potter's classic "Peter Rabbit" character. The cartoon, titled simply "Peter Rabbit" (50x11′), is a coproduction between Irish studio Brown Bag Films, Penguin Books and Silvergate Media and was commissioned by UK preschool channel CBeebies and Nickelodeon in the US.

Broadband TV News is reporting that Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) recently launched its fully owned and operated service in Russia with the re-launch of MTV. The news was announced by David Lynn, EVP and managing director, VIMN UK and marks a major milestone in VIMN’s 15-year history in the market. Previously operated under licence, the new-look MTV brings VIMN’s portfolio of owned and operated channels in the Russian market to 11. MTV Russia in available in both SD and HD through local distribution partnerships with Rostelecom, NTV Plus and Megafon. The channel will be available via basic tier packages to more than 2.3 million households across the country. MTV Russia offer Russians the full MTV brand experience for the first time ever, featuring a mix of local content – including locally commissioned and produced flagship music show, MTV Top 20 – alongside the brand’s global programming dubbed in Russian. These include the likes of "Catfish", "Awkward", "I Used to Be Fat", "Jersey Shore", "Pimp My Ride" and "Beavis & Butt-head". In addition it will showcase both local and international music, and reflecting Russia's thirst for live music, franchises such as "MTV World Stage", together with music videos, will account for 35% of the overall schedule.

Kidscreen is reporting that Entertainment One (eOne) has named Character Options as its master toy partner for preschool property "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom" in the UK. Under the terms of the three-year agreement, Character Options (which also has master toy rights to eOne's "Peppa Pig" in the UK) debuted a new toy line at November 2013 preview, with plans for a nationwide retail launch from July 2014. Character's "Ben and Holly" toy line will feature new-look packaging and include a variety of figure packs, vehicles, a deluxe castle playset and other assorted playsets, talking and feature plush, a Hide and Seek Holly with magic wand. In addition, some novelty items will reflect popular elements of the show such as a Bump and Go Gaston the Ladybird and a flying wand and wings role-play set. Character will support the retail launch with a TV, print and digital marketing campaign. "Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom" airs on Nickelodeon UK's preschool channel, Nick Jr. UK and Ireland, and on Channel 5's Milkshake! preschool programming block. Licensing.biz further reports that Hannah Mungo, head of UK licensing at Entertainment One, said: "This agreement marks an exciting new chapter in the licensing programme of Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom". "We have a long and successful partnership with Character Options and we're confident that they will deliver an outstanding toy line that appeals o the brand's core audience". "Their retail and marketing expertise in the UK toy industry is second to none and we look forward to seeing their products in stores next year". Character will support the retail launch with heavyweight marketing campaign including TV, press and digital advertising targeting parent and pre-schoolers. Jon Diver, Character Group's joint MD, added: "We're excited to be extending our partnership with eOne on Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom. "The show's magical themes offer endless sources for inspiration and through many years of working with the animation studio Astley Baker Davies we understand how best to translate beautiful animation into toys". "It's our ambition to create a fresh, new toy line that will replicate the success we've had with Peppa Pig while harnessing the charming qualities that make Ben and Holly's a unique brand in it's own right". Character will join the brand's licensing programme of 36 partners in the UK spanning categories such as publishing, apparel, accessories, DVD, live events and digital.

Gigwise profiles American rock band Haim, which features members who, before before finding fame as 'The Sound of 2013', first tasted fame in a pop girlband called "Valli Girls", who performed at the 2005 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Nickelodeon's 18th Annual Kids' Choice Awards.

TV Land has announced in a press release that the network recently closed a half-hour workplace comedy script deal with multimedia studio Electus, an operating business of IAC (NASDAQ: IACI) which was announced today by Keith Cox, Executive Vice President, Development and Original Programming for TV Land. The script revolves around a 30-something woman as she navigates the executive ranks among her old-school male counterparts while her 20-something male assistant tries to make it amid his female-dominated peers -- two fish, a big corporate pond, and very little water. The untitled script will be written and executive produced by Jon Sherman ("Frasier") with Electus' Chairman and Founder, Ben Silverman and Jimmy Fox also executive producing. In addition to the Electus project, TV Land also recently announced a sitcom pilot, "Jennifer Falls," starring Jaime Pressly, and a second for a single camera show, "Younger," written by Darren Star. This December, TV Land debuted its newest original series, "Kirstie", which stars Kirstie Alley, Michael Richards, Rhea Perlman and Eric Petersen. TV Land's other original sitcoms, "Hot in Cleveland," "The Exes" and "The Soul Man," also recently wrapped their summer seasons.

"Bob the Builder" creator Keith Chapman is back on the kids TV scene with new Nickelodeon series "Paw Patrol". He tells TBI Vision's Jesse Whittock about his latest projects, the importance of a US partner and why his former firm, Chapman Entertainment, went under last year. The article also talks about how Nick launched a video poster for the show in New York's Times Square over the summer and created a partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Chapman Entertainment series including "Fifi and the Flowertots" grew into strong brands without a Big Three US broadcaster attached, but ultimately the numbers didn’t add up. DreamWorks Classics bought the brands at auction this summer, but Chapman is looking forward. “We made 325 episodes of top quality animation representing £25 million of production in Britain through British studios; those shows will always be around – Fifi, for example, has never moved from its primetime slot, not once. But I’ve moved on and it’s all about the exciting new projects now”. "Camp Yeti" is another of these new concepts. Co-developed with Manchester’s Studio Liddell, the 52x11mins series is set in a world Chapman describes as “an original new world that would be the most exciting place in the world for a child to go to” comprising rollercoasters, river rapids and tree top walkways. It follows three fun-loving young yetis that spend their days playing and taking part in outdoor activities. “Preschoolers are lacking a bit of confidence these days so we wanted to build a show that include fulfilment and that allows them to express themselves with a bit of freedom,” says Chapman. “The brief was to create a show that has Pixar quality CG fur on a children’s TV budget. That was the challenge and we’ve managed it.” A major coproduction partner has been secured for further development and the plan is for it to hit TV screens toward the end of 2015. Chapman has nothing but praise for the new UK animation tax credit scheme, which will likely help the project. “The industry has almost climbed Everest to get them, and we’ll use them for Yeti. Quite a few companies have benefited already [from the scheme]; it helps the industry and creates jobs for animation students coming out of university.” Another project is "Marzi Mars", a series following a Martian boy and his friends that come to Earth to explore and find answers to their questions. Chapman is developing the 52x11mins stop-frame show with another Manchester studio, Phil Chalk's Factory Transmedia. Chapman is also working on a puppet series he describes as "Fawlty Towers meets The Muppets", along with Northern Ireland's South Sixteen Television. That project brings Chapman and his former director of production and development at Chapman Entertainment Emily Whinnet back together, as she joined South Sixteen as head of development earlier this year. “I met [South Sixteen owner] Colin Williams and got on well with him,” Chapman says of the unnamed show’s conception. “We’ve got a similar a similar advertising mindset.” Chapman worked in the advertising industry after leaving an earlier role as a product designer at Jim Henson International before getting Bob away, while Williams ran a creative agency before launching South Sixteen in 2008. Taking a commercial approach to a children’s TV show is now vital to the funding model, says Chapman, a view mirrored by his former Chapman cohort Lynn, who launched his new series, Airside Andy, at MIPTV in April.

The Daily Mail is reporting that Antonio Banderas will voice a swashbuckling pirate in the animated portion of "SpongeBob SquarePants 2".

Viacom's official corporate blog, Blog.Viacom, is reporting in a recent post that the golden age on television is now. October 2013 meant only one thing if you're working in the content business – a congregation of the industry's finest as they swarm (in their thousands!) into Le Palais des Fesivals on the oastline of Cannes, South of France, for a week of pitches, proposals, presentations and panel sessions (with plenty of wining and dining for good measure!) – otherwise known as MIPCOM 2013. The theme of this year's market? "The Golden Age of TV" – a time, described by keynote speaker Jeffrey Katzenberg, Dreamworks CEO, of exponential opportunities, whereby big screen meets small screen, platform meets platform, and touch screens enable content creators and audiences alike to touch the world. As a key player in this so-called "golden age," Viacom International was at the market in full force with members from its expert leadership team flying in from as far as New York, Latin America, Australia and across Europe to represent the catalogue of animation, live-action and general entertainment content spanning the brand pack, as well as a handful of "must see" new additions. Heading up her expert sales force was MIP veteran Caroline Beaton, SVP International Sales, who was joined by David Lynn, EVP VIMN UK and Kerry Taylor, GM & SVP MTV International along with a number of international brand veterans who were ready to showcase the latest and greatest that Viacom Intl has to offer. From Nickelodeon's latest animation "PAW Patrol", to MTV's social-reality fix "Generation Cryo" (and everything in between) there was a lot of ground to cover... Creating a buzz at the beginning of the week was the big reveal that MTV will be producing local versions of hit social reality show "Catfish: The TV Series", to be produced in the UK, Mexico and Brazil – having also signed a format option deal in Germany. Following the incredible interest around the show at MIPTV earlier in the year, the show’s popularity was referenced on more than one occasion in the “golden age” debate as a timely example of big screen success conceiving a small screen phenomenon. Kick-starting the MIP Junior weekend, Nickelodeon's Jules Borkent, SVP Content & Acquisitions, joined fellow peers from Disney and Cartoon Network on a panel to address the question on every creator’s lips, “What Do Buyers Want?” Moderated by C21 Editor in Chief, David Jenkinson, the panellists discussed the fundamental role of excellent storytelling, relatable characters, new platform opportunities, and – topping the wishlists of all three – comedy, comedy, comedy, or more neatly summed up by Jules – "Smart, Hearts, Farts"! And representing Nick's international Consumer Products business, Mark Kingston, GM & SVP, presented to 200+ licensees and retailers a turtle-powered case-study on the global success of Turtles one year since launch. Moderated by Tony Listanti, Editor in Chief, License! Global and followed by Rosa Zeegers, Head of Business Development, Mattel, Mark explained how Viacom put the weight of its marketing muscle behind the hit franchise which, just one year on, has resulted in it becoming a top 10 program in key markets like Australia, Brazil, Canada and the UK. With new product lines, the blockbuster movie courtesy of Paramount hitting the big screen in Summer 2014, and seasons 2 and 3 still to come, the four ninja brothers are showing no signs of heading back to the shadows....and, according to Mark, will be kicking butt right through to 2015 and beyond! But that’s not all! Hugh Baldwin, Head of Programming, Nick Australia presented his digital strategy as part of a Digital Mastermind session, "PAW Patrol" creator, Keith Chapman, attended the market to support the launch of the new Nickelodeon animation series, and the team wrapped up the week by announcing a raft of signed content deals in Southern Europe. Key takeaways from the market? 1. - The golden age of TV is now; 2. Fight the fear: more platforms = more demand for content; 3. Embrace and engage: new platforms and distributors are not displacive but cumulative, creating incremental opportunities for all; 4. No one gets a laugh like Jimmy Fallon; 5. Never trust the weather forecast(!).

Nickelodeon Alumni News

C21Media is reporting that Canada's Tricon Films & Television has hired Jeffrey Hevert from eOne Entertainment to develop its factual programming in the US. Hevert joins Tricon's LA office in the new role of VP of factual development exactly a year after it was announced he was joining eOne from MTV. As VP of US alternative development and current programming at eOne, Hevert oversaw new projects and developed and executive produced pilots and series for the likes of A&E, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and WeTV. Hevert, who began his career as a documentary filmmaker, has also held roles at LA-based Stone & Company Entertainment, working on series for Bravo and Nickelodeon. Hevert will report to Tricon company president Andrea Gorfolova.

Deadline.com is reporting that ABC Family has named Tom Ascheim as their new president. Ascheim, who has served as EVP and General Manager of Nickelodeon Television and CEO of Newsweek, will start immediately. He succeeds Michael Riley, who announced his departure in September to relocate to the UK. The hire of Ascheim comes after an exhaustive search led by TOM ASCHEIMAnne Sweeney, co-chair, Disney Media Networks and president, Disney/ABC Television Group, that included vetting a number of internal Disney candidates (Riley also came from within the company) as well as outside ones. Those considered included Riley’s No. 2, EVP Original Programming and Development and Chief Creative Officer Kate Juergens, though, like she did when Riley’s predecessor Paul Lee left, she is expected to remain focused on the network’s programming as Sweeney reportedly searched for an executive with a strong business background. Ascheim certainly is a surprising choice. He wasn’t on people’s radar and is better known for his rocky tenure as Newsweek CEO than his TV experience. But he was on Sweeney’s radar from working together at Nickelodeon, leading to his dark-horse hire in the top ABC Family position over established TV executives who met for the job. “I knew Tom during my time at Nickelodeon, and always thought he was an incredibly smart, strategic executive,” said Sweeney, to whom Aschem will report. “Since then, he has only reinforced my opinion of his abilities. Whether in print, television, or the financial sector, Tom has gone from success to success.” Ascheim was a financial analyst before joining Viacom in 1990. His first role there was VP of Nickelodeon Business Development and Media Products and, after a series of internal promotions, he served as EVP and General Manager of Nickelodeon Digital Television Networks and ultimately as EVP and General Manager of Nickelodeon Television, where he managed the complete portfolio including Nickelodeon, Nick@Nite, Nike Jr., and Nick’s three digital networks. In 2007, Ascheim left Viacom to join Newsweek as CEO. He was at the helm for three years until becoming the first casualty after the merger with The Daily Beast. Ascheim then joined Sesame Workshop as Chief Strategy Officer, and served as EVP of Sesame Learning until he was let go in June when Sesame Workshop cut 10% of its workforce. He currently serves as President and Founder of the consulting firm TEA Lane Media.

Hot Press is reporting that London-based director, Scott Altman. Altman, who started out on large-scale film and television FX at Ardmore Studios at the age of 17, has worked for MTV International and UK on a number of Europe Music Awards, as well as Nickelodeon, was one of two winners of the "Hot Press" Shoot To Thrill competition! Scott Altman, who is currently pitching and directing shoots for a number of artists and major record labels, made one of winning 30-second Hot Press cinema ads that recently premiered in Dublin's Odessa Club and are now set to appear on 'silver screens' all across Ireland. Working independently since last winter, recently he has been busy working with renowned British fashion photographer Nick Knight on the VFX for a Kanye West music video. "In coming up with the concept for the ad, I was trying to encapsulate what best represented the Hot Press brand in 30 seconds, while also putting my own stamp on it." said Scott Altman, speaking at the event.

Kidscreen is reporting that Hopster, the UK-based Netflix-like TV and learning app, has hired former Nickelodeon UK producer Adam-James Foulkes, who studied at the University of Bikini Bottom, as their new producer. Foulkes is a 13-year veteran of Nickelodeon UK's digital team, where he drove the development of websites and mobile products for some of the channel's most popular children's brands.

Peel, the company dedicated to reinventing the remote control and connected living room experience, has announced Long Ellis as the new head of U.S. advertising sales. He will provide global leadership for Peel's advertising sales team; further develop marketing opportunities as well as work on strategic sales, pricing, planning and new client development. Ellis comes to Peel from Flurry, Inc. where he was the general manager and vice president of direct media, responsible for selling Flurry's value proposition to national advertisers and agencies, as well as developing publisher relationships with TV networks, studios and cable providers. Prior to Flurry, Ellis was the head of sales and TV for Google and the executive vice president of advertising sales at MTV Networks. At Google, Ellis increased revenue from $12 million to over $100 million within two years, while also building and managing a team of 30 sales people based across the United States. At MTV Networks, he was directly responsible for over 900 people and $3 billion in advertising revenue. MTV, VH1, Comedy Central, Spike, Nick at Night and Nickelodeon Networks all fell under this umbrella during his time there.

Bloody Moon Films has announced that it has obtained the movie rights to "The Totem", an iconic horror novel in 1979 penned by award winning author David Morrell. Nashville based Bloody Moon Films also announced that the film is now in pre-production, and that they have signed on horror film veteran and "Kenan & Kel" star Ken Foree (Roger Rockmore) as executive producer and he will play the role of George, the medical examiner.

Below is a special article from elle.com, who recently sent reporter Lauren Kay to a event in New York City to celebrate the launch of Mathew Klickstein's new book, "SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age":
My Night of Nickelodeon Nostaglia

Photo: Courtesy of Nickelodeon

Before my date last Friday night I slipped on my favorite Elizabeth and James LBD; it was a look that said: "composed and ladylike." Inside, though, my tweenage self was unabashedly ecstatic: I was heading to the 92nd Street Y in NYC for the fly-your-fun-flag event celebrating Mathew Klickstein's new book, SLIMED! An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age. The cherry on top: I was going as the date of Ferguson (a.k.a Jason Zimbler), the obnoxious ginger-haired brother from Clarissa Explains It All.

In mere hours I hoped to be mingling with my tween obsessions: Sean O'Neal from Clarissa Explains It All (the guy I wanted to be my best friend); Michael C. Maronna, one part of the beloved duo from Pete and Pete; and oh yeah, Marc freaking Summers from Double Dare. I was about to enter an early '90s time warp and I couldn't wait.

Sitting in the auditorium, it was clear that feeling was widespread: The communal coos of recognition from the packed auditorium rang out as we watched clips about how slime is really made, soaked in the opening riffs from Doug and Double Dare live, and heard stories from actors, producers, and directors about their time with Nickelodeon, as well as their current endeavors.

Marc Summers; Photo: Getty Images

Post-show, I headed with Zimbler to the VIP lounge for the after-party. I took a deep breath and approached one of my TV idols, Mr. Summers himself. "I get it every day," he said at my initial fluster when meeting him. "That show hit a nerve, and it's flattering people still remember and care."

Next, I spotted Trevor Eyster (Salute Your Shorts). He bopped around the lounge with kinetic energy, not unlike his character, the nerdy Sponge Harris—known for his bowl haircut and glasses. "I was an awkward geek, and it didn't take a lot of acting," he shared. "But really, I was one of the first of what was to become that lovable archetype: Before Steve Urkel and Harry Potter, there was Sponge."

Then, after meeting Phil Moore from Nick Arcade, Kelly Brown (Brad) from Hey Dude, and O'Neal (triumph!), I stepped outside the lounge hoping to steal a moment alone. Instead, I bumped into the legendary Billy West (the man responsible for both the voices of Ren and Stimpy—and loads more). "It got emotional," he said of the event. "I started to lose it doing the voices and telling the stories onstage."

I eventually found my date mingling among fans in the lobby, signing books and reminiscing with them. He was sharply dressed in a three-piece suit and purple Converse kicks instead of the ugly sweaters and awkwardly baggy Z. Cavariccis from his Funky Ferg days. He later admitted, "When people come up to me and say, 'Hey you were the annoying brother on Clarissa,' I think 'Yay! You watched the show and we shared something special for three years!'" He was right.

Photo: Lucas Balzer

From The Archives...

Finally, to finish the last Nickelodeon News Round-Up of 2013, NickALive! goes back in time! Below is Nickelodeon USA's official press release announcing Nick USA's Christmas highlights for Christmas 2000, to see how NickHeads celebrated NickMas thirteen years ago! From PRNewswire:

Nickelodeon's Knapsack Brims With Holiday-Themed Prime-Time Treats in The Merry Month of December

- New Holiday Episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants, The Wild Thornberrys, 100 Deeds of Eddie McDowd and Pinky & the Brain Embrace Spirit of the Season -

- Festive Fare to Fill Nick Slate, Weekdays at 8:30 p.m. -

- Holiday Episode of Noggin Original Series, 'A Walk In Your Shoes' to premiere simultaneously on Noggin and Nickelodeon on Sunday, December 17 at 6:00 p.m. -

NEW YORK, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Nickelodeon unwraps a bounty of prime-time presents to make kids merry throughout December, including new and favorite Yuletide episodes of various Nick series to be telecast Monday - Thursday, December 4-28 at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT). Among these are all new holiday episodes of "100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd" (December 5), "SpongeBob SquarePants" (December 6), "Pinky & the Brain" (December 14) and "The Wild Thornberrys" (December 27).

America's favorite TV babies, the "Rugrats," kick off the seasonal fun with "The Santa Experience" on Monday, December 4 (repeat: 12-25), and celebrate Chanukah, too, in "Rugrats'" Chanukah Special on December 20 (repeat: 12-26). The far-reaching fare spreads holiday cheer from the Skeleton Coast of Namibia in Western Africa on "The Wild Thornberrys" to the fictional Bikini Bottom on "SpongeBob SquarePants." And, a ubiquitous St. Nick guest-stars on Nick all month.

In addition, a special SNICK lineup on Saturday, December 23, treats viewers to holiday-themed episodes of "SpongeBob SquarePants" (8 p.m. ET/PT), "100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd" (9 p.m. ET/PT) and "All That" (9:30 p.m. ET/PT).

Following is the complete line-up of Nickelodeon's prime-time holiday programming. All shows air at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT unless otherwise indicated:

Monday, December 4

*Rugrats: "The Santa Experience" -- The families escape to a mountain cabin in search of "the perfect Christmas." Things get a little crazy when Tommy and Chuckie lay traps for St. Nicholas and a Santa-suited Chas tries to squeeze his way down the chimney. (repeat: 12/25, 8 p.m.)

Tuesday, December 5

100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd: "A Very Canine Christmas" -- Fed up with Christmas caring and sharing, Eddie bolts from his adopted family, but the dyspeptic pooch gets a new attitude when the Drifter who turned him into a dog sends him back in time to view his bad deeds of Christmases past. Meanwhile, the Taylors spend their first Christmas in California sweating out Eddie's disappearance, a heat wave -- and an earthquake. Finally, a glimpse at the dejected family moves the unseen Eddie to give them a miraculous gift before the Drifter sends him bounding back into their life. (repeat: 12/23 at 9 p.m.)

Wednesday, December 6

*SpongeBob SquarePants: "SpongeBob Christmas" [("Christmas Who?")] -- SpongeBob wants to bring Christmas to Bikini Bottom this year, and everyone gets into the spirit. When Santa is a no-show on Christmas morning, everyone blames SpongeBob for getting their hopes up. In a surprise ending, Squidward uncharacteristically saves the day, and Christmas comes after all. (repeats: 12/18 at 8:30 p.m. & 12/23 at 8 p.m.)

Thursday, December 7

The Wild Thornberrys: "Thornberry Christmas" -- Eliza takes desperate measures to help animals survive during tough times along the Skeleton Coast. However, the price she pays for her goodwill is her family's holiday cheer, including their Christmas dinner! (repeat: 12/19)

Monday, December 11

Hey Arnold!: "The Christmas Show" [("Arnold's Christmas")] -- Arnold draws Mr. Hyunh's name for the boarding house Secret Santa. To capture the true spirit of Christmas, Arnold tries to reunite the lonely boarder with the daughter he hasn't seen in over 20 years. When Arnold and his friends succeed, Mr. Hyunh and the boarding house clan have the best Christmas ever. (repeat: 12/25)

Tuesday, December 12
Doug: "Doug's Christmas Story" -- Doug must try to clear Porkchop when he is mistakenly accused of attacking Beebe, but the media, former Mayor White and Bill Bluff are all determined to make sure that Porkchop never bothers anyone again. Things look grim until Doug convinces the court to let Porkchop return to the scene of the crime to show them what really happened.

Wednesday, December 13
CatDog: "A Very CatDog Christmas" -- At the mall, CatDog sits on Santa's lap, and a bratty preschooler announces she wants CatDog for Christmas. Cat convinces Dog to accept the offer so they can live in opulence. Disillusioned by CatDog's selling out, Santa cancels Christmas.

Thursday, December 14
Pinky & The Brain: "The Pinky & the Brain Christmas Special" -- Brain uses Santa's workshop to design a mind-controlling doll that he can put into every home in order to make the occupants follow his every command.

Wednesday, December 20
*Rugrats Chanukah Special -- The Rugrats attend an annual Chanukah festival where Grandpa Boris and his old rival Schlomo perform in a play about the meaning of Chanukah. When the babies think the actor playing the evil king is the "meany" of Chanukah, they set out to protect Tommy's beloved grandpa, only to inadvertently help reconcile Boris with his old friend Schlomo. In a touching ending, the Rugrats initiate the beautiful candle-lighting ceremony to serve "as a night light for the people" and guide Boris and Schlomo back to the true meaning of Chanukah. (repeats: 12/26)

Thursday, December 21
Kenan & Kel: "Merry Christmas, Kenan" -- Kenan accepts a job filling in as a department store Santa after the other Santa meets with an unfortunate accident. He is excited about being finally able to afford the mountain bike of his dreams but thrown into turmoil when he meets a little boy who wants nothing for himself, just a bike for his little sister. The little boy inspires Kenan to learn the true spirit of Christmas.

HOLIDAY SNICK LINE-UP /Saturday, December 23

8 p.m.: SpongeBob SquarePants: "SpongeBob Christmas"

9 p.m.: 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd: "A Very Canine Christmas"

9:30 p.m.: All That - Comedy sketches put the Ho, Ho, Ho in Christmas:
Holiday cooking the Randy & Mandy way means stuffing the turkey with chocolate. The milkman abducts Santa in an evil attempt to sour Christmas, but Superdude arrives to save the day.

Wednesday, December 27
The Wild Thornberrys: "Happy Old Year" -- On New Year's Eve, after unintentionally hurting her father's feelings, Debbie runs off with a pair of volcano chasers. When Eliza finally finds her, the girls find themselves face-to-face with a mudslide from a recent volcanic eruption.

Thursday, December 28
100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd: "113 Dog Years" -- Eddie discovers that dogs age faster than humans, and he has to make the most of his time. Gwen persuades Spike into letting her sing in his band at the Taylors' New Year's Eve party.

Other holiday programming on Nickelodeon includes a special episode of the Noggin original series, "A Walk In Your Shoes" premiering simultaneously on Noggin and Nickelodeon on Sunday, December 17 at 6:00 p.m. ET/PT. Imagine what can happen when two real kids from different religious backgrounds 'switch lives' while the cameras roll! Noggin, the new network from Nickelodeon and the Sesame Workshop, chronicles the 'switch' during this special holiday episode. The show will be followed by an online chat with the two 'switchees' on noggin.com at 7:00 p.m. ET. This episode of "A Walk in Your Shoes" follows two girls, one Jewish, the other Catholic, who "switch lives" for four days while at religious summer camps. Their experiences demonstrate that by learning about one another, we are able to see how much we have in common and appreciate what makes each of us unique. The show is designed to help kids appreciate religious diversity and get a first-hand look at how people from different backgrounds see the world.

Nickelodeon, now in its 21st 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 company includes television programming and production in the U.S. and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in more than 77 million households, and has been the number one rated cable network for five consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

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