Thursday, June 09, 2022

Face's Music Party: Nickelodeon Premieres New Music Variety Show


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BURBANK, Calif., May 5, 2022 -- Nickelodeon's beloved '90s Nick Jr. mascot Face returns to the network in Face's Music Party, a brand-new music variety show premiering Monday, June 6, at 11 a.m. (ET/PT). The interactive series that combines animation and live action (13 episodes) will feature a reimagined Face (voiced by Cedric Williams, Hunter x Hunter, The Promised Neverland) as host and VJ, playing modern pop hits and revamped nursery school classics to create the ultimate music party. Face's Music Party will debut as part of the ongoing "Music Mondays"-themed preschool programming block and air regularly Mondays at 11 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.

In the premiere episode, "Robots/Imagination," Face showcases popular robot-themed music videos as well as the coolest songs about imagination. Each episode of Face's Music Party will center around themes that inform the song playlist and consist of four segments: a kid-friendly music video from popular contemporary artists; remixed sing-alongs of iconic nursery rhymes; exploration time in Face's music box, where kids can play and learn about an instrument, sound or musical concept; and a high energy dance-along finale, with kid dancers demonstrating moves to viewers at home.

Beginning Monday, June 6, and airing on Mondays throughout the summer, fans can tune into the Nick Jr. preschool block on Nickelodeon for "Music Mondays," a five-hour programming block (7 a.m.-12 p.m. ET/PT) featuring music-themed episodes of PAW Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines, Bubble Guppies, Peppa Pig, Baby Shark's Big Show! and more, leading up to a premiere episode of Face's Music Party at 11 a.m. "Music Mondays" will continue to air on the Nick Jr. channel from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. (ET/PT).

Face first debuted on Nick Jr. on Sept. 5, 1994 and served as the animated host and mascot of Nickelodeon's preschool programming block for over a decade. A good friend to all preschoolers, Face greeted Nick Jr. viewers daily in interstitials, musical shorts, show intros and bumpers. With endless color changes, funny voices and silly expressions, Face could also appear in almost any location, use props to play dress up and play with other characters on screen. Face's playful voice and sound effects, such as the signature imitation three-note "brr brr brrr" trumpet, were a mainstay on Nickelodeon until Sept. 10, 2004.

Face's Music Party is produced by Nickelodeon Animation in Burbank, Calif., in partnership with Jonas and Company, Inc. David Kleiler serves as showrunner and executive producer along with executive producer Hema Mulchandani and executive producer Jonas Morganstein. Production for Nickelodeon is overseen by Eryk Casemiro, Executive Vice President, Nickelodeon Animation, Global Series Content. Niki Williams serves as Nickelodeon's Executive in Charge of Production for the series.

Nickelodeon, now in its 43rd year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon is a part of Paramount's (Nasdaq: PARA, PARAA) global portfolio of multimedia entertainment brands.


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Treehouse in Canada will premiere Face's Music Party on Friday, June 10 at 11:15 a.m. ET/PT.

‘Face’s Music Party’: A Kids Variety Show With An Indie Twist

Nickelodeon’s iconic 1990s mascot Face is back in Face’s Music Party, a new hybrid variety show for kids which debuts on Nickelodeon today.

Each high-energy episode Face’s Music Party is based on an overarching theme – robots, imagination, bugs, etc. – and broken up into distinct acts which can be watched individually or enjoyed as part of a larger whole. One major advantage of the show’s variety format is that Nickelodeon can, and will, put individual skits and songs on YouTube for kids to watch at any time. Another key benefit though, from the creative side of production, is that the show’s team was able to reach out and commission work from independent artists and musicians from around the world.

The series is produced by Nickelodeon Animation in partnership with Jonas & Company, Inc. David Kleiler serves as showrunner and executive producer. Jonas & Co.’s Jonas Morganstein and Hema Mulchandani are also executive producers, while Kleiler and Morganstein direct. The two directors spoke with Cartoon Brew about the reimagining of the Nick icon.

A Brief History of Face

Face debuted on Nick Jr. in 1994 and served as the animated host and mascot of Nickelodeon’s preschool programming block for more than a decade. Face would treat Nick Jr. viewers to musical shorts, show intros, and bumpers between programming. The character combined funny voices, silly expressions, and a wide palette of colors as well as props to play dress-up and engage with other characters on screen. Face was a constant on Nick Jr. for a decade, eventually going off the air in 2004.

A Platform for Global Talent

The new series has a core group of animators working remotely who create the show’s animated sequences starring Face, however, each episode also features musical numbers from independent animators all around the world.

“We try to shine a light on talent, animators and designers who don’t often have a venue” Jonas Morganstein, who oversees the indie segments, explained in a conversation with Cartoon Brew. “We try really hard with some untested animation talent too. Some of the people we work with have a ton of experience, but some have almost none. We want to let them express themselves. That’s really key.”

Each musical insert, based on a classic children’s song like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes,” “Puff the Magic Dragon,” or “Ants Go Marching,” is interpreted in the artist’s personal style, whether it be 2d animation, cg, paper cut-out, or stop motion. Animators involved in these segments include Angela Stempel, Hobo Divine, Monique Wray, Eleanor & Giovanni, Jordan Bruner, Loulou João, and Chris McDonnell, among numerous others.

“The easy thing to do would be to go out and license the videos of these songs on Youtube that are already at millions of hits, made by some online creators who have been doing this for 10 years,” David Kleiler said. “But we can’t just drop and drag those into the show, there’s no way we were gonna do that. So we want to reinvent these songs; we want them to sound like they are made by real humans, not some AI.”

He went on to explain, “There is a lot of music out there that if you’re a parent, you just don’t like it. You don’t want your kid listening to it anymore because it feels more like a wind-up toy that repeats itself over and over rather than anything worth watching. So, we want to be the answer to that, the antidote to that.”

Face Lift

Updating the Face character to be capable of hosting a full half-hour show was one of the first hurdles over which the production crew had to jump. For the makeover, they turned to veteran character designer Joe Moshier (character art director on Vivo, and character designer on The Emperor’s New Groove and How to Train Your Dragon 2).

“He’s an amazing character designer who had to solve a few very subtle things that were problematic with adapting the old design to our format and sustain the character on screen for longer periods of time,” Morganstein explained. “If you look at the old Face, the eyes are very far apart and there is a huge empty space in the middle. So, on Joe’s suggestion, we moved the eyes in and made them bigger and warmer to fill some of that empty space.”

Face explorations by Joe Moshier.

Face explorations by Joe Moshier.

Face explorations by Joe Moshier.

Face explorations by Joe Moshier.

Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes?

Although Face has a new look, there are some old rules that the showrunners want to stick too. One such guideline, occasionally stretched, is that Face shouldn’t have human appendages. That means the character’s animators need to constantly come up with other ways of creating a charismatic host and narrator.

“We thought about the dynamic characters of Tex Avery or Stephen Hillenburg, and the way they shift and become different things at times,” said Morganstein. “Our Face does something similar according to the character’s emotions at any given time, otherwise we would constantly just have two eyes and a mouth on screen.”

“Bugs Bunny was a big factor,” Kleiler agreed. “Jonas and I talk about those kinds of influences all the time.”

New Look, Same Face

While there were plenty of physical changes that needed to be made for Face to work as the host of its own show, the character’s personality needs to stay as charming, funny, and relatable as its predecessor. With no defined gender, race, or age, there is a lot of space in which to play.

“Face’s first job is obviously to introduce the segments, but we want the character to go on a journey with the audience and tell a story that they can relate to,” explained Kleiler. “We’re always trying to balance those roles for Face.”

“Face is ageless, but has a maturity close to the kids watching the show,” Morganstein elaborated. “Face is definitely not a teacher, not an authority figure, but more like an older cousin who has a sense of curiosity and wonder like the kids watching the show. Face is a flawed narrator that the kids can relate to.”

Production for Nickelodeon is overseen by Eryk Casemiro, executive vp of Nickelodeon Animation, Global Series Content. Niki Williams serves as Nickelodeon’s executive in charge of production on the series. Veteran voice actor Cedric Williams is the voice of Face, and the series animation director is Celia Bullwinkel.


‘Face’s Music Party’s Cedric Williams Introduces a New Generation to the Nickelodeon Mascot

Those who grew up in the nineties might remember Face, the animated host and mascot of Nickelodeon’s preschool programming block, who was first introduced in 1994.

Cedric Williams sure does. Williams, who voices Face in the network’s new Face’s Music Party, a music variety show premiering on Nickelodeon on Monday, June 6, has fond memories of the character. Having grown up with Face, the actor is enthusiastic about the opportunity to introduce Face to another generation of kids. He believes this new iteration is a great way for parents to connect with their children.

In addition to fostering that ever-important bond, Williams sees Face’s Music Party as a bright spot in what has been a tough time for young people. “The world has been through a lot,” he notes. “[The show] makes kids smile.”

It also gets them up and moving. Williams describes the interactive show that combines animation and live-action as a way to get kids on their feet. Each themed installment features music videos, sing-alongs, and other ways to get everyone dancing. The energetic dance sequences also give kids the chance to record themselves doing dances and put them on social media, factoring in the goal of reaching kids in the digital age.

Ultimately, though, the new voice of Face hopes that his updated take is as impactful as the first Face, who he considered a friend. Ideally, kids watching the show today will look back years from now and remember what they learned from Face. Williams wants the show to provide “inspiration and entertainment” to all who tune in.

“It doesn’t matter if you can dance or sing well,” he adds. “As long as you’re having a good time and being nice to others, that’s what it’s all about.”

So, clear some space and get ready to bust a move!

Face’s Music Party, Series Premiere, Monday, June 6, 11am/10c, Nickelodeon


Originally published: May 05, 2022 at 20:35 BST.

Press release via PR Newswire; H/T: 14News.

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