Nickelodeon, at its annual upfront presentation held Wednesday at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, unveiled plans for an unprecedented 650 new episodes — the top-ranked network’s most ever — of both brand-new content and returning hits, as well announcing premiere details for the highly anticipated animated series The Legend of Korra, a stop-motion SpongeBob SquarePants Christmas special, and an original animated series based on the Raving Rabbids video games.
Nickelodeon, the top producer of television animation in the United States, will roll out a new roster of over 300 new animated episodes in 2012, which includes:
* The Legend of Korra, in which the mythology of the beloved animated franchise from Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko continues. The series centers around a new Avatar named Korra, a 17-year-old headstrong and rebellious girl who continually challenges and bucks tradition on her quest to become a fully realized Avatar in a world where benders are under attack. The half-hour series will debut on Saturday, April 14 at 11 a.m. (all times ET/PT) as part of Nickelodeon’s Saturday morning block (8 a.m. to noon). The Legend of Korra will air regularly Saturdays at 11 a.m.
* Raving Rabbids, which will join the net’s animation lineup next spring, brings to television the hysterical physical comedy that has become so popular in Ubisoft’s Raving Rabbids video games. Nickelodeon has secured global broadcast rights for 26 new CG episodes of Raving Rabbids, which will be produced by Ubisoft.
* Monsters vs. Aliens, the all-new animated television series marking the third partnership between Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation. Green-lit for 26 episodes and based on the popular characters from the 2009 blockbuster hit feature film ($383 million worldwide gross), the new series will continue to follow the funny escapades of the beloved, well-meaning monsters.
* Robot & Monster, which will also be hitting Nickelodeon’s air for a 26-episode run for the 2012-13 season. Created by Josh Sternin, Jeff Ventimilia and Dave Pressler, this CG-animated buddy comedy is set in a unique world where gangs of Howling Cyber Monkeys roam the streets at night, everybody loves bacon, and robots and monsters live side by side, but typically don’t get along.
* It’s A SpongeBob Christmas! Nickelodeon’s first full-length stop-motion animated special is inspired by the classic Rankin/Bass (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town) specials, and the popular SpongeBob song released in 2009, “Don’t Be a Jerk, It’s Christmas,” written by Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob) and Andy Paley. In It’s A SpongeBob Christmas!, Plankton vows to get his Christmas wish – the Krabby Patty formula – by turning everyone in Bikini Bottom bad by feeding them his special jerktonium-laced fruitcake. The special features John Goodman as Santa Claus, and will air in December.