Saturday, January 15, 2022

CBS Sports and Nickelodeon Set for NFL Wild Card Game on Nickelodeon on Super Wild Card Weekend on Sunday, Jan. 16


Kid- and Family-Focused Presentation to Feature Enhanced Graphics, Augmented Reality and Nick Characters; Airs Alongside CBS Sports’ Broadcast of Game on CBS

Slime-Filled Game to Include Special Halftime Exclusive Look of Big Nate, Nickelodeon’s Brand-New Animated Series on Paramount+

NFL x Nickelodeon Co-Branded Collection to Launch Tuesday, Jan. 11

Share it: @Nickelodeon @CBSSports #NickWildCard #NVP

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.—Jan. 10, 2022—CBS Sports and Nickelodeon’s special slime-filled presentation during the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend will feature the San Francisco 49ers taking on the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL Wild Card Game on Nickelodeon on Sunday, Jan. 16, at 4:30 p.m. (ET). The special presentation will air alongside CBS Sports’ broadcast of the game on The CBS Television Network, and is one of six games during Super Wild Card Weekend across Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

CBS Sports’ play-by-play announcer Noah Eagle, CBS Sports’ analyst and former NFL star Nate Burleson and Nick star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green (That Girl Lay Lay) will call the game from the booth for the second consecutive year. Nick star Young Dylan (Dylan Gilmer, Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan) makes his debut as sideline reporter.

Following the success of last season’s telecast, this year’s NFL Wild Card Game on Nickelodeon will feature enhanced original on-field graphics; advanced augmented reality including an AR blimp that will fly throughout the stadium; a special pregame and halftime presentation; guest appearances from Nickelodeon characters; and much more for kids and families. Iain Armitage (CBS' Young Sheldon) will return to help explain penalty calls during the game, and one of game’s top performers will once again be presented with the Nickelodeon Valuable Player (NVP) award which can be voted on at This season, NFL Slimetime – a weekly show on Nickelodeon airing Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. ET – included weekly NVP awards, featuring fun and slime-filled celebrations by the players. WATCH HERE.

At halftime, look for the special exclusive look of Nickelodeon’s brand-new animated series Big Nate, based on the best-selling children’s books and comic strip written and drawn by Lincoln Peirce. The series follows Nate, a sixth-grade kid who has a never-ending need to prove his awesomeness to the world and is set to debut on Paramount+ in early 2022.

The NFL Wild Card Game on Nickelodeon will be streamed via the NFL app on phones and tablets for free. CBS Sports’ telecast will also be streamed across digital devices via Paramount+, the CBS Sports app, NFL digital properties, and on mobile on the participating teams’ mobile properties and Yahoo Sports.


The NFL and Nickelodeon will launch the NFL x Nickelodeon collection ahead of CBS Sports and Nickelodeon’s special slime-filled presentation of the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend game on Sunday, Jan. 16, at 4:30 p.m. (ET). The collection celebrates both NFL and Nickelodeon fans and provides an opportunity for kids and families to showcase their fandom in a fun and elevated way.

The collection will feature designs and logos of NFL teams with a mix of ‘90s fan-favorite Nickelodeon characters from hit series such as Rugrats and Hey Arnold!, as well as pieces with the iconic SpongeBob SquarePants and Nickelodeon Slime.  The NFL x Nickelodeon collection will include t-shirts from Junk Food, socks from Rock ‘Em Socks, water bottles from Tervis, and bobbleheads* from FOCO (*pre-sale only).

Teams represented in the collection include: Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, and the Minnesota Vikings, among others..

The collection will be available on beginning Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m. (ET). The product will also be available at and, as well as and which will offer expanded assortments.

Nickelodeon Slimed Bobbles (All Numbered Out of 321)


The NFL Wild Card Game on Nickelodeon is produced by CBS Sports in association with Nickelodeon Productions. Sean McManus and Harold Bryant serve as Executive Producers of THE NFL ON CBS. CBS Sports’ Shawn Robbins is Coordinating Producer of the game along with Producer, Ken Mack and Director, Suzanne Smith.

Production for Nickelodeon is overseen by Ashley Kaplan, Executive Vice President, Nickelodeon & Awesomeness Unscripted & Digital Franchise Studio, ViacomCBS; Paul J Medford, Vice President, Unscripted Current Series; Luke Wahl, Vice President, Unscripted Creative; and Jennifer Bryson, Vice President, Production, Tentpoles, Events & Music & Specials.

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NFL Playoffs 2022: Nickelodeon, CBS Sports Are Back With Slime-Filled Wild Card Game, Real-Time AR Graphics

Unreal Engine-powered graphics will be available live and on first replays

After taking home a pair of Sports Emmys for last year’s NFL Wild Card Game coverage, CBS Sports and Nickelodeon are back with another innovative simulcast for Sunday’s 49ers-Cowboys matchup. The alternative presentation (the traditional broadcast will air on CBS) will once again be driven by a surfeit of enhanced graphics and augmented-reality elements featuring Nickelodeon characters and the network’s signature green slime. This year, however, these elements will be available in real time and on first replays for the first time.

“Everything has been enhanced this year, especially on the animation side,” says CBS Sports producer Shawn Robbins, who is coordinating producer for the game and Nick’s weekly NFL Slimetime studio show. “What the graphics team brought to the table last year was super fun and innovative, and they’re taking it to the next level this year. We’ll have higher-end animations and will be able to turn them around much quicker, which will really make a difference.”

‘Nickifed’ Broadcast Version 2.0: Enhanced AR Graphics Offer Player-Tracking

This year’s NFL Wild Card Game on Nickelodeon will feature enhanced original on-field graphics created by Nick’s in-house graphics team, upgraded AR elements (a blimp flying throughout the stadium, the return of the “Slime Zone” cannons on scoring plays, SpongeBob and Patrick graphics between the uprights reacting to field goals), and player-tracking graphics that use slime trails to show the routes of receivers on first replays.

Most important, many of the graphics can be integrated into the broadcast live or in near real time. Last year, the onsite production truck sent clips to Nickelodeon HQ in New York City, where the graphics team applied elements as fast as possible using Adobe After Effects, and then sent graphic back to the truck to be aired. This year, CBS Sports and Nickelodeon have partnered with The Famous Group to create a real-time/quick-turnaround AR graphics workflow based on Epic Games’ Unreal Engine.

An AR blimp graphic will be flying throughout the stadium during Nickelodeon’s broadcast.

“One of the goals that came down from our senior leadership for this year was to have the graphics be as close to real time as possible – or even live — for the viewer,” says Kurt Harman, VP, animation/motion graphics, Nickelodeon. “What we did last year worked great, and we will continue to use [that workflow] this year for some things, but we wanted to allow [viewers] to see these graphics live rather than in just replays or bumpers.

“Everything is running in Unreal Engine now,” he continues, “allowing us to do things in real time rather than with pre-renders, which we had to deal with last year. We feel like that is going to make this year’s game a version 2.0.”

Real-Time AR: Blimp Overhead, Upgraded Slime Zone, Return of SpongeBob

The most visible new element in this year’s Nick broadcast will be an AR-powered blimp (based on the iconic Kids Choice Awards blimp trophy) flying throughout the stadium during the game. Although there was briefly a pre-rendered blimp graphic in last year’s telecast, this year’s AR version running in Unreal Engine will cast lifelike shadows on the field, adjust to time of day, and allow cameras to zoom in and out while it’s in frame. In addition to dumping slime on the field and lighting up when teams enter the red zone, the blimp can open up its side and display video, such as replays, crowd shots, or graphics.

Nickelodeon and CBS Sports aim to have graphics integrated into the broadcast live and near-live more often than they did last year.

Viewers will also see a big upgrade to the popular Slime Zone graphics featuring four cannons in each corner of the end zone shooting out slime when a team scores.

“We had such a huge response to that last year that we felt like we needed to make it even bigger and better,” says Harman. “We’ve rebuilt and redesigned the cannons, and, since everything is running in Unreal Engine, a camera can actually zoom in on one of the slime cannons and see detail because the slime that’s coming out of it is a real-time liquid simulation. The cannons also respond to the lighting and time of day, so they’re going to look incredibly real.”

Slime Zone will also be used on field goals instead of solely on touchdowns. The SpongeBob SquarePants graphic between the goalposts on field-goal attempts will also be back, but it will more dynamic and react to the result of the kick in real time. Harman also promises plenty of other eye-catching new slime graphics and characters will debut during Sunday’s game.

First Replays and Half-Time Highlights: Slime Trails and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Nickelodeon graphics team has partnered with Second Spectrum and the NFL Next Gen Stats player-tracking system to create slime trails that visually show receiver routes on the field. These elements can be turned around quickly enough to be shown on first replays within the broadcast.

The blimp can open up its side and display video, such as replays, crowd shots, or graphics.

“We have some other things up our sleeve as far as telestration and slime trails on the field,” says Robbins. “Our main goal this year is to get those fun [elements] into the broadcast faster in first replays and in real time so there’s no waiting.”

Last year’s halftime show offered highlights featuring animated “Blockie” characters to mimic the exact formations and routes run by the players in the real highlights. Sunday’s broadcast will take a similar approach, but, instead of Blockies, the highlights will feature 3D-rigged models of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Nickelodeon animation team partnered with Beyond Sports on the highlights, which will feature full 11-man squads of Ninja Turtles wearing 49ers and Cowboys uniforms.

Nickelodeon’s Slime Zone will be back with enhanced slime cannons in all four corners of the end zones.

“The Blockies worked great last year for halftime highlights, so we’re excited to have [the TMNTs] in that spot this year,” says Robbins. “That’s a really fun environment that was created by the Nick animation team and the team at Beyond Sports. If there is a big pass from Dak Prescott to CeeDee Lamb for 80 yards, we’re going to be able to show that highlight to you as the Ninja Turtles reenacting to that play. And there’s definitely an opportunity for us to do things like that within the broadcast [in addition to halftime].”

In the Booth, in the Compound, and Back in New York

CBS Sports’ play-by-play announcer Noah Eagle, CBS Sports’ analyst and former NFL star Nate Burleson and Nick star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green will call the game from the booth for the second consecutive year; Nick star Young Dylan will make his debut as sideline reporter.

The SpongeBob SquarePants graphic, along with his pal Patrick, will be between the goalposts on field-goal attempts.

In the compound in Dallas, Robbins, producer Ken Mack, director Suzanne Smith, and the rest of the production team will be working out of Game Creek Video’s Columbia mobile unit. The Nick broadcast will have six dedicated cameras and access to all camera feeds from the main CBS broadcast. The Nick production team will also have several of its own EVS replay systems and access to replays from the main broadcast.

The Nickelodeon production team ran a full rehearsal with The Famous Group during the Falcons-49ers game on Dec. 19, tweaking the AR elements and ironing out details for the side-by-side production workflow required for Nick’s alternative broadcast.

Some graphics elements can be turned around quickly enough to be shown on first replays within the broadcast this year.

“Suzanne and Ken have to weave in the resources we have around what the main game crew are putting on the screen,” notes Robbins. “Yet it looks like we’re in full control of the game. They have to pay attention to what [CBS Sports director and producer, respectively,] Mike Arnold and Jim Rikhoff are doing in another truck and trying to direct and producer their own game at the same time. And Ken and Suzanne were masterful at putting that all together.”

Nickelodeon will also bring back the same graphics pipeline workflow as last year, leveraging its team of animators in New York and working remotely from home. The graphics team also now has a full library of elements to draw from after producing 18 weeks of Nickelodeon’s weekly NFL Slimetime during the season.

Noah Eagle, Nate Burleson, and Gabrielle Nevaeh Green will be back in the booth calling the game this year.

“At this point, we have 18 weeks’ worth of custom animations that we’ve done for the show, and we’re going to bring all of those things back to the game,” says Harman. “We will use them for funny and silly moments in bumpers going into commercial breaks and coming out of different segments of the show. Even though we have a lot of new [workflows] for AR, we’re also doubling down on that workflow.”

Despite winning Sports Emmys for both Outstanding Playoff Coverage and Outstanding Live Graphic Design in its inaugural year, the CBS Sports and Nickelodeon teams aren’t resting on their laurels and are primed to up the ante in 2022.

“The goal is for this to be a true co-viewing experience,” says Robbins. “Keep the football pure and honest and then work in all this fun and magic around the game — I think we’ve done exactly that. I could not be prouder of everyone involved. This started as just a simple idea, and it blossomed from there. To see everybody run with that idea and go in the same direction with it has been amazing. It’s definitely one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever been a part of.”


Slime Time: Nickelodeon ready for 2nd NFL playoff broadcast

Encores are tougher to pull off after receiving overwhelming acclaim for trying something new.

However, Nickelodeon and CBS Sports feel as if Sunday’s kids-focused broadcast of an NFL playoff game will be better than last year.

“I feel like it has been a year in the making. After the success of the last one, someone told me we would do another one at some point,” said CBS Shawn Robbins, the coordinating producer. “It’s one of those things that has been on your mind for 300-plus days, but now the day is coming up soon. So, it’s pretty exciting.”

After last year’s success, the NFL gave Nickelodeon and CBS one of the top matchups of the weekend with the San Francisco 49ers (10-7) visiting the Dallas Cowboys (12-5).

Both teams feature plenty of star power. Dallas has quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott while San Francisco has quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and defensive lineman Nick Bosa.

“You couldn’t ask for a better matchup. I mean, for the traditionalists, the history of these two franchises gets you excited,” Nate Burleson said.

Last year’s game — New Orleans’ 21-9 victory over Chicago — was a success on all levels. Fans and critics loved how the three-person booth of Noah Eagle, Burleson and Gabrielle Nevaeh Green was able to make the game appeal to parents and kids. A younger age group learned the basics of the game, but parents could still focus on the action.

Slime Time: Nickelodeon ready for 2nd NFL playoff broadcast

The game also averaged 30.65 million viewers, making it CBS’ most-watched first-round game since 2014. The 2.06 million average for the kids-oriented broadcast on Nickelodeon made it the network’s most-watched program in nearly four years.

The broadcast also won two Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Playoff Coverage and Outstanding Live Graphic Design.

Nickelodeon has also had a full year to prepare for the game. Their animators only had a test game before last year’s live broadcast, but this season they have done a weekly series called “NFL Slimetime” that airs on Wednesdays. Nickelodeon and CBS also did a test game on Dec. 19 when San Francisco faced Atlanta.

Robbins said the animations have improved from last year and there will be more use of augmented reality graphics.

“We’ve upped the game at every level in the animation department. They are going to be so much more high end, the slime zone is going to look different. It’s going to be an upgraded version of what you saw definitely the first time around,” he said.

It also helps that Eagle, Burleson and Nevaeh Green are back in the booth. Eagle does radio play-by-play for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers while Burleson is on “The NFL Today” and “CBS Mornings.” The 16-year-old Green, who has starred on multiple Nickelodeon shows, drew lots of positive reviews for the way she was able to keep kids and parents engaged.

Another Nick star, Young Dylan of “Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan” will be the sideline reporter after co-hosting “NFL Slimetime” with Burleson throughout the season.

The explanations of penalties from Iain Armitage of CBS’ “Young Sheldon” will also return.

Of course, there will also be slime involved during the game. Besides the virtual slime cannons in the end zones, there will be a slime booth at AT&T Stadium on Sunday where Prescott or Garoppolo can get slimed if they are so inclined.

“With this playoff game, I feel like we are going to be dialed in. I think we’re going to provide another great showing,” Burleson said.


Originally published: January 10, 2022 at 15:46 GMT.

Additional source: CHICITYSPORTS.

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