Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Nick Cannon Talks About His New Hit Nickelodeon Show "Make It Pop"

It's the final week of season one of Nickelodeon's brand-new musical comedy series Make It Pop, and ahead of Make It Pop's first season finale, premiering Friday 1st May 2015 at 7:00pm ET/PT, Billboard recently chatted exclusively with rapper/actor/TV executive Nick Cannon, the co-creator of Nick's all-new hit series, about the show, his love of "magnifying" sub-cultures and more!:
Nick Cannon's 'Make It Pop': How He Mixed K-Pop & Nickelodeon Culture for Hit Kids Show

Executive producer, Nick Cannon visits the set of of MAKE IT POP.
Stephen Scott/Nickelodeon

The rapper/actor/TV exec also teases his upcoming dancehall flick featuring Busta Rhymes, Beenie Man & more.

Nearly everything about Nickelodeon's new show Make It Pop sounds similar to what TV fans have already seen -- including the platform (musical-comedy, just in time for Glee's finale) and the setting (a boarding school a la Zoey 101) -- but its main inspiration is where things get unique. Make It Pop is inspired by Korean pop culture, with executive producers Nick Cannon and Thomas W. Lynch (The Secret World of Alex Mack, Class of 3000) betting on K-pop's colorful and bubbly aesthetic to draw viewers with new episodes every weeknight which has, so far, delivered strong, consistent ratings for Nick's young viewers.

While the audience may be new to the glossy world of Girls' Generation, f(x) and 2NE1, one of its creators is not. Cannon had worked closely with the Wonder Girls on their eponymous TeenNick film in 2012, introducing him to the highly stylized Korean entertainment world. Ahead of Make It Pop's first season finale on May 1, Billboard chatted exclusively with the rapper/actor/TV exec about the show, his love of "magnifying" sub-cultures and more.

Why is the world ready for a K-pop-inspired TV show?

I always say, "America's last to the party." Honestly. It's such a global phenomenon that I've witnessed over the years from traveling abroad. A few years back there was a girl group with a Nickelodeon movie called the School Gyrls, from that there was the Wonder Girls and that's when I was really introduced to Korean pop and thought, "This is amazing." I became a fan of the culture.

What specifically drew you to the culture?

The main reason is the admiration and respect for the fans, how they treat the artist and how they really become this real community. That's the thing that opened my eyes initially. And then when you see the quality in the music and the videos, the imaging and how detailed everything was; the pop-art feel. I thought it was just really cool, the way they presented it. Obviously, we've always had girl groups and boy bands and all that stuff in the states. But to see the detail, the hard work and the dedication in K-pop culture, I'd never seen anything like it.

So far, that mostly thrives online and on YouTube. What was your vision with Make It Pop and how do you make that translate on television?

I would say Make It Pop was inspired by that world, but not necessarily trying to be authentic because, ultimately, at the end of the day we're making a television show for Nickelodeon. I found there were similarities, like the colors, the fun, the music, uplifting stories, all those things were synonymous with the world and I just wanted to focus on all those aspects so, like, "Hey, we can bring all the things that people love about K-pop culture, love about Nickelodeon culture, bring those worlds together, and I think we have a hit show."

What were you looking for when it came to casting? You actually have Sun Hi played by Megan Lee, who was a pop singer in South Korea.

We were blessed to be able to have Megan Lee on the show. I want to say, man, over the course of about two years, I've seen thousands of young girls and actors for this show. To know that we were going to have three [stars]...we were not going to go through this until we have the right group of girls, and we definitely found the right group.

Did you learn anything from working with Wonder Girls?

The Wonder Girls' TeenNick Movie definitely helped. It was originally inspired by that. I was introduced to the K-pop world through the Wonder Girls. Those girls are so amazing. They were so professional, so well-versed in everything entertainment...very stylized, very fashionable, very funny, I wanted to implement all of those things into the show as well. Working with the Wonder Girls was great training for Make It Pop.

K-pop fans can be very defensive and there was a petition with almost 10,000 signatures demanding you cancel the show before it aired. Did you notice any negativity brooding?

It's interesting because while in development, I think there was a press release that went out that I was doing a K-pop show. I would go online seeing tweets here and there about this...I didn't understand why the fans were kind of upset. It intrigued me like, "Why would they be mad about a big show, that's not really even trying to be a K-pop show, but something that's inspired by paying tribute to their world?" because, obviously, they didn't know what the show was about. I could imagine that someone like myself, who's not in K-pop, you hear they're doing "a K-pop show," it wouldn't make you that excited.

But I reached out to a few of the people who were concerned -- that's the beauty of being online and social media -- [I asked], "Why are you guys upset?" And they were saying how much this world and these artists means to them. And I totally respected that. I assured the ones that I actually talked to that this show would do nothing but uplift the culture and pay respect to it... Ironically, since the show has aired, I've seen nothing but positive tweets and everything online, they're already starting fansites and stuff. I'm like, "Yo! We did our job. We did what we came to do."

I'm sure a lot of those fans would like to know, are you a personal fan of any other Korean acts?

I've had the opportunity of working close with JYP [Entertainment] and J.Y. Park, but I probably also would get in trouble if I chose anyone because you know how serious it is! I got to say everything that came from JYP and all of their acts have always been wonderful and the ones I've been supporting throughout the years.

What else are you up to this year?

I'm doing a lot of stuff. In the music space, with Wild 'N Out, we're actually releasing some music from a lot of the artists.

I'm starting photography for King of the Dancehall, a film I'm starring in, directing in and wrote in Jamaica that's about the dancehall culture. Myself, Busta Rhymes, Beenie Man, Ky-Mani Marley, everybody in that dancehall culture because I feel like that's another sort of culture that doesn't have the opportunity to kind of have its time in cinema. You see all these kind of watered-down dance movies, but you never seen one about Jamaican culture.

Sounds like it might be a new-age version of Dancehall Queen.

Yeah, yeah! I mean obviously, I was inspired by everything from Dancehall Queen to The Harder They Come, movies that really pay respect to Jamaican culture. Between the cast and what we're really trying to accomplish, I feel like we're going to be one that people will reference when talking about the world of dancehall.

I feel like I've done that quite a few times, in different aspects of my career. Like in Drumline, shedding like HBCU marching band sub-culture, Roll Bounce, even this thing with what we're talking about with K-pop, the Wonder Girls and Make It Pop. I feel like anytime I get an opportunity to shine a light, to put the middle American magnifying glass on a sub-culture and kind of pay respect to it, I feel like I'm doing my job in entertainment.

Make It Pop airs weeknights on Nickelodeon at 7:00pm EST.
Catch the exciting conclusion of Make It Pop, Friday 1st May 2015 at 7:00pm ET/PT, only on Nick USA!
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U-verse Continues To Assert Leadership In TV Everywhere Space; Adds Viacom Channels

Original AT&T Inc. Press Release via PRNewswire:

U-verse Continues To Assert Leadership In TV Everywhere Space

New U-verse App Update Widens the Gap Between U-verse and Cable Mobile Live TV Offerings

AT&T Logo

DALLAS, April 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- AT&T* U-verse® recently updated its U-verse App** to include 41 additional live channels and compatibility with a wearable. The U-verse App has more live channels available to watch outside the home than any cable provider with 236 live channels inside the home and 173 channels available outside the home.

New channels available to watch via the U-verse App both inside the home and on the go are:

* Al Jazeera America
* BET Gospel
* Boomerang
* Cartoon Network
* CMT Pure Country
* Centric
* Comedy Central
* Fox Sports 1
* Fox Sports 2
* Galavision
* EVINE (ShopHQ)
* MTV 2
* MTV Hits
* MTV Jams
* mtvU
* MTV Tr3s
* Nickelodeon
* Nick2
* Nicktoons
* Nick Jr
* NUVOtv***
* Palladia
* Spike TV
* TeenNick
* TV Land
* Univision
* UniMas
* VH1
* VH1 Classic
* VH1 Soul
* World Fishing Network

The new channels build upon U-verse's existing channel lineup available outside of the home, which already includes channels like ESPN, Fox News, HBO and USA Network. See the full U-verse App channel lineup here.

"We're proud of our leadership in the TV Everywhere space and the extensive lineup of content we're able to offer customers today," said GW Shaw, vice president of U-verse and Video Products, AT&T Home Solutions. "This is just the beginning of what we can do—we'll continue to add more content and features to fully mobilize the TV watching experience."

In addition to new live content, the update to the U-verse App includes new compatibility with Samsung Gear S™, the first 4G wireless network-connected wearable by Samsung and AT&T. Customers can pair their Samsung smartphones with their Gear S1 to:

* Use as a remote to control the TV
* Access the U-verse TV guide
* Search for shows
* Manage their DVR
* Get programming notifications

Learn more about the U-verse App here.

Geographic and service restrictions apply to AT&T U-verse services. For more information on AT&T U-verse — or to find out if it's available in your area — visit www.att.com/u-verse.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

**Requires qualifying device, U-family or higher TV plan and Wi-Fi or data connection. Content may vary by device, TV plan, and viewing location. Data charges may apply.

*** In the fourth quarter of 2015, NUVOtv will rebrand as Fuse.

1Samsung and Gear S are both trademarks of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) helps millions of people and businesses around the globe stay connected through leading wireless, high-speed Internet, voice and cloud-based services. We're helping people mobilize their worlds with state-of-the-art communications, entertainment services and amazing innovations like connected cars and devices for homes, offices and points in between. Our U.S. wireless network offers customers the nation's strongest LTE signal and the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network. We offer the best global wireless coverage.* We're improving how our customers stay entertained and informed with AT&T U-verse® TV and High Speed Internet services. And businesses worldwide are serving their customers better with AT&T's mobility and highly secure cloud solutions.

Additional information about AT&T products and services is available at http://about.att.com. Follow our news on Twitter at @ATT, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/att and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/att.

© 2015 AT&T Intellectual Property. All rights reserved. AT&T, the Globe logo and other marks are trademarks and service marks of AT&T Intellectual Property and/or AT&T affiliated companies. All other marks contained herein are the property of their respective owners.

Reliability and signal strength claims based on nationwide carriers' LTE. Signal strength claim based ONLY on avg. LTE signal strength. LTE not available everywhere.

*Global coverage claim based on offering voice and data roaming in more countries than any other U.S. based carrier, and offering the most wireless smartphones and tablets that work in the most countries.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140408/CG99935LOGO



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Nickelodeon USA Launches Official "So Little Time" Website

To celebrate Nickelodeon USA starting to show the popular live-action comedy series "So Little Time", starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, weeknights at 7:30pm from Monday 27th April 2015, Nick.com has launched the networks official "So Little Time" website, which NickHeads can visit at nick.com/solittletime!

Nick USA's all-new "So Little Time" webpage features information about Nickelodeon's new animated show, character bios for Riley and Chloe Carlson (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen), fantastic online streaming video clips and Nickelodeon USA's official message board/forum for the show!

"So Little Time" follows Chloe and Riley Carson (Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, "Full House", "Two of a Kind"), two young teens who experience the trials and tribulations of high school, first dates, and unconventional family and after-school jobs. "So Little Time" (26 episodes x 22 minutes) originally aired on Fox Family (later ABC Family) between 2001 and 2002.

Nickelodeon USA recently acquired the rights to the content library of Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen, featuring four series, seven TV movies and two music video specials starring the actresses. Following the debut of "So Little Time", the Olsens' catalogue will continue to roll out across Nickelodeon's ecosystem of multiple screens later this year.
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Sneak Peek Of New "Breadwinners" Episode "Bad to the Duck Bone", Premiering 5/3 On Nickelodeon USA

To celebrate Nickelodeon USA premiering the brand-new episode of Nickelodeon's popular original animated buddy comedy series (Nicktoon) "Breadwinners" titled "Bad to the Duck Bone"/"Rodeo Ducks" on Sunday 3rd May 2015 at 6:00pm ET/PT, as part of Nick USA's all-new Sunday night line-up, SwaySway and Buhdeuce have a bread-tastic sneak peek for yo beak of the all-new episode "Bad to the Duck Bone", which you can watch in the fantastic online streaming video clip from Nickelodeon's official YouTube channel below!:

Oh my baps! Can you believe what a taste of Dark Rye can do to a good ducky?! SwaySway goes bad to the beak to impress Jenny Quackles on this Sunday's new episode at 6pm/5c, only on Nickelodeon USA!

You just got a sneak peek up in yo beak!
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Sneak Peek Of New "Sanjay and Craig" Episode "King of Kids", Premiering 5/3 On Nickelodeon USA

Dudes, what's up? To celebrate Nickelodeon USA premiering and showing the brand-new episode of Nickelodeon's Emmy-nominated original animated series (NickToon) "Sanjay and Craig" titled "King of Kids"/"Ew De Hector" on Sunday 3rd May 2015 at 7:30pm ET/PT as part of Nick USA's all-new Sunday night line-up, the dude-snake duo have unveiled a fantastic super top secret sneak peek preview from the episode "King of Kids", which you can watch in the fantastic online streaming video clip from Nickelodeon's official YouTube channel below! Check it!:

The Sanjay and Craig fanboys have arrived!!! Go wild at the Frycade in a brand new episode of Sanjay and Craig, in which a group of young children start to idolize the dude-snake duo, Sunday at 7:30pm on Nickelodeon USA!

Plus, Megan Sparkles has unveiled a sparkling behind-the-scenes sneak-peek preview featuring a Animatic for the episode "Ew De Hector", in which Sanjay, Craig and Hector set up their own successful perfume stand to sell their new scent, 'Mansome', after Hector starts to bottle up his divine-smelling perspiration, which you can watch in the video clip below!:

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Nick Jr. UK To Debut "Puffin Rock", A Brand-New Animated Series Narrated By Chris O'Dowd, On Monday 18th May 2015

Nickelodeon UK, the number one commercial kids TV network in the UK, has announced and confirmed the very exciting news in the following press release, from VIMN's official Nickelodeon UK & Ireland Press Centre, that Nick Jr. UK and Ireland, Nickelodeon UK's top-performing preschool channel, will start to premiere and show "Puffin Rock", a brand-new funny, playful natural history animated preschool series narrated by Irish actor and comedian Chris O'Dowd ("Moone Boy", "The IT Crowd", "Bridesmaids") about a family of puffins living on a wild and beautiful Irish island, weekdays at 6:30pm (repeated at 7:30pm on Nick Jr. +1) from Monday 18th May 2015!

To celebrate, NickJr.co.uk has launched the channels official "Puffin Rock" show website, where parents and children can discover more about "Puffin Rock", as well as watch clips and complete fun creative activities.

Original Nickelodeon UK Press Release:


Explore the island of Puffin Rock in the new series premiering Monday, 18th May on Nick Jr.

London, 23rd April 2015 – Narrated by Irish actor and comedian, Chris O'Dowd, the brand-new animated series Puffin Rock follows a puffling called Oona, the heroine of the show, and her brother, Baba, as they embark on a range of adventures. Premiering on Monday, 18th May at 6:30pm, the show sees Oona's family of puffins discover the wild and beautiful Irish island on which they live.

Throughout the series, Oona, and Baba explore the island – making friends and hunting for food while trying to stay safe. In the premiere episode "Puffin Practice," Oona tries to teach Baba how to be a grown-up puffling, but Baba doesn't take the game seriously. Oona soon realises that she was forgetting the most important thing - to have fun being a puffling.

Co-produced by Oscar nominated Irish animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, global publisher Penguin Random House Children's, and Northern Irish children's media company, Dog Ears, Puffin Rock will air weekdays at 6:30pm on Nick Jr. The show stars 11 year old Kate McCafferty from Derry as the voice of Oona. McCafferty also sings the theme song for the series.

Online at nickjr.co.uk, parents and children can discover more about Puffin Rock, as well as view clips and complete fun creative activities.

Nick Jr.

Where every day's an adventure, Nick Jr. is a top-performing commercial pre-school entertainment brand in cable and satellite homes. Launched in 1999 as the world's first channel dedicated to pre-school children, Nick Jr.'s programming includes beloved shows Dora and Friends: Into the City!, Peppa Pig, Lily's Driftwood Bay, Zack & Quack and Paw Patrol. Online, clips, games, exclusive activities and downloads are all available at nickjr.co.uk Viewers also have the opportunity to catch up with the schedule through Nick Jr. +1. Nick Jr. is available on Sky 615, Virgin 715, through BT Vision and TalkTalk channel 318.

The Nickelodeon Network is a top-performing commercial kids TV network in the UK and Ireland with Nickelodeon channels available in over 14 million cable and satellite homes. Having launched in 1993 Nickelodeon UK comprises seven dedicated entertainment channels for kids aged 4-15 and their families, and is a joint venture between Viacom International Media Networks and BSkyB.

Puffin Rock is produced with the support of Northern Ireland Screen, Irish Film Board and Media European Fund.

- Ends –
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