After a much-anticipated return, Nickelodeon will premiere The Legend of Korra Book 3: Change Friday, June 27, at 7p.m. (ET/PT) with two back-to-back episodes – “A Breath of Fresh Air” and “Rebirth” followed by a special bonus episode, “The Earth Queen.” Brand-new episodes will continue rolling out every Friday at 8p.m. (ET/PT) beginning July 11.
Bureaucrats in Wolverhampton, England refused to let SpongeBob Squarepants go on stage for the city’s Christmas lights turn-on ceremony because it was felt that his costume was to large for him to climb five steps to the platform.
Health and safety concerns also stopped him from being lifted onto the back of a float due to the crowd of 2,000 — including many families with young children — that showed up to see the cartoon character. That means SpongeBob couldn’t be carried around town.
Many young fans couldn’t see him Friday night because the children’s character could only be on ground level.
However, the yellow guy was allowed to meet and greet fans in Beatties and Market Square. Health and safety rules meant that he could spend just two 40-minute sessions with fans.
Bringing SpongeBob to the big event cost £1,845 ($3,000 U.S.).
John Williamson, 45, of Wolverhampton said that his nine-year-old daughter Lola was left in tears after she couldn’t see her idol.
“It’s ridiculous to ban a children’s character from a Christmas lights switch on,” he fumed. “You would hope the council wouldn’t be such health and safety scrooges and let the kids have a good look at their character.
“Lola had been talking about seeing Spongebob Squarepants for days, but was inconsolable when she couldn’t even get a glimpse of him.”
SpongeBob had been expected to turn the lights on alongside Coronation Street star Sherrie Hewson, but the soap opera star had to press the button by herself.
Wolverhampton City Council leaders called last week’s event a success.
“The Christmas lights switch-on was a great success, with huge crowds turning up to Market Square to enjoy the free event,” said Mark Blackstock, the council’s outdoor events manager. “Unfortunately, the character actor playing SpongeBob Squarepants was unable to climb the stairs on to the stage because of his costume.
“Health and safety considerations meant we were unable to lift him on to the stage using the tailgate of one of our vehicles because of the high numbers of people around the stage.
“This meant that SpongeBob Squarepants was unable to appear on stage during the event. But he did spend an hour and 20 minutes meeting fans both in Market Square and Beatties House of Fraser.
“As the actor could only be permitted to stay in his suit for 40 minutes at a time, again for health and safety reasons, we arranged the two 40-minute meet and greet sessions to enable the public to see him close up.
“During this time, he met as many young fans as possible at both locations, though we of course apologise to anyone who couldn’t see him on stage and was unable to meet him in person.”
Ten-year-old Jessica Drew, a pupil of Woodfield Junior School in Penn, joined her Girl Guide group to watch the lighting ceremony.
“The fireworks were really good and we enjoyed it, but we were disappointed that we didn’t see SpongeBob. We just thought that he hadn’t turned up because we never saw him once. There was no sign of him on stage at all,” she remarked.
Just two years ago, another costumed cartoon character let fans down at the city’s Christmas lights bash. Peppa Pig had to cut down on her meet-and-greets over concerns that she would overheat in her suit. The woman in the suit cut short the visit herself, saying that she had gone over her time limit in the costume.
Beatties staff offered to wear the suit themselves to prevent children and parents from being disappointed children and parents. However, they were told that they couldn’t take on Peppa’s role. At the time, Beatties said the meet-and-greet had lasted longer than expected in spite of health and safety rules.
Nickelodeon has named Jill Sanford vice-president of animation development for the Nickelodeon Group.
Sanford will be responsible for all aspects of development from concept to pilot, including all creative and production. The announcement was made by Jenna Boyd, the Nickelodeon Group’s senior vice-president of animation development, to whom Sanford will report.
“Jill’s creative expertise and proven track record of overseeing animated hits makes her a terrific addition to the Nickelodeon animation team,” said Boyd. “Her keen eye for identifying unique ideas and talent will be a huge asset as we continue to grow our hit Nick animation brand.”
In her new role, Sanford will research and develop show ideas, and will oversee scripts, creative, legal, casting and staffing for pilots. Additionally, she will help oversee the comedy shorts program and partner with Nick’s short form development team to find and shepherd the next generation of animated hits.
Prior to joining Nickelodeon, Sanford held several positions during her nine-year tenure at The Walt Disney Company, where she most recently served as the director of original series for Disney Television Animation. She was the lead current series executive for Disney Channel’s animation series Phineas and Ferb, Fish Hooks and other projects in development.
Prior to moving to Disney Television Animation in 2008, Sanford worked in both development and current series for live-action and animated series for Disney Channel. She also held positions at Fox Sports Net and commercial production company Hungry Man. Sanford earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American literature and culture from the University of California Los Angeles. She was also named to Multichannel News’ list of “40 under 40″ in 2011.
Get ready for Turtle power to surface on Nickelodeon this Saturday, Sept. 29, at 11AM (ET/PT) in a special one-hour television event in the all-new, CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series.
The series stars Jason Biggs (American Pie) as “Leonardo,” Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) as “Raphael,” Rob Paulsen (Planet Sheen) as “Donatello” and Greg Cipes (Teen Titans) as “Michelangelo.” Additional cast members rounding out this iconic hit franchise include Mae Whitman (Parenthood) as “April O’Neil,” Hoon Lee (Royal Pains) as “Master Splinter” and Kevin Michael Richardson (Penguins of Madagascar) as “Shredder.”
In the premiere episode, “Rise of the Turtles,” Master Splinter allows his teenage sons, the Mutant Ninja Turtles, to visit the surface for the first time, however they are given strict instructions to remain unseen. But when they spy a group of thugs attempting to kidnap a teenage girl (April O’Neil) and her father, the Turtles must leap into action. They soon discover that the surface world isn’t as simple as it first appears as they find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy involving alien creatures, robotic droids, missing scientists and come face to face with the same glowing green mutagen that mutated them in the first place.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea and may be coming soon to a theme park, zoo or aquarium near you? SpongeBob SquarePants.
Nickelodeon is teaming again with attraction powerhouse SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment and creative studio Super 78 to bring the smash hit cartoon series to life in SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D – The Great Jelly Rescue. With stunning 3-D graphics and a dramatic assortment of scents, sounds and physical interplay, the new attraction will offer an immersive, one-of-a-kind 4-D experience. Production of the film is currently underway, and the experience will debut around the world at select venues next spring.
Fans of all ages will join SpongeBob and his trusty pals Patrick and Sandy on a deep-sea adventure as they try to prevent their arch-enemy, Plankton, from harvesting the ocean’s jellyfish for his own evil use. The race is on as SpongeBob and gang encounter obstacles and mishaps as they try to foil Plankton’s villainous plot.
“SpongeBob is an international superstar and this exciting new attraction gives fans the opportunity to feel like they are part of his undersea world,” said Super 78 principal Brent Young. “This experience shares a conservation message using a charming storyline and special effects that engage all the senses. It even adds a fifth dimension of sorts that taps the capricious humor SpongeBob is famous for.”
“This is our third film partnership with Nickelodeon,” said Mike Frueh, senior vice-president of film distribution for SimEx-Iwerks. “Based on the success of the original SpongeBob 4-D Experience and most recently, Dora and Diego 4-D Adventure, we are delighted to be partnering with both Nickelodeon and Super 78 to bring a new SpongeBob 4-D experience to the 4-D screen.”
“SpongeBob SquarePants is an iconic and beloved property, with a global fan base,” said Gerald Raines, vice-president, of Nickelodeon recreation business development. “This new experience, which integrates 3-D technology and dazzling in-theater effects, will engage fans the world over with a positive and entertaining message.”
“The State Of TV Animation Development” will be the subject of a panel discussion at the general membership meeting of The Animation Guild on Tuesday, September 25.
“Development”: that enigmatic place where all television shows get their start. What’s happening in TV animation development today? How does it work, and what are they currently excited about? What are they looking for, and what makes a great pitch?
The panel will be hosted by TAG executive board member Karen Carnegie Johnson. Panelists will include Jenna Boyd (senior vice-president of animation development, Nickelodeon), Jonathan Davis (executive vice-president of comedy development and animation, Fox Animation), Eric Homan (vice-president, development, Frederator) and Michael McGahey (vice-president, development, Disney Television Animation).
Membership meetings offer TAG members an opportunity to reconnect with the Guild, interact with the Executive Board, raise concerns and hear about the state of the industry. While not mandatory, attendance and participation are key factors in keeping TAG abreast of matters in the workplace.
The membership decides how and when the union can act. Participation on your part is the foundation to the strength our contract and policies hold. Come and be a part of the process of keeping TAG’s leverage focused and strong.
Pizza and refreshments are available at 6:30 p.m. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
Membership meetings are held in the meeting hall of The Animation Guild. It’s located at 1105 North Hollywood Way in Burbank, California, between Magnolia and Chandler.
Nickelodeon and the National Football League continue their relationship with NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians, the second season of the first-ever original half-hour animated series developed by a major U.S. sports league and a cable network, the two entities jointly announced today.
The second installment of the Nicktoons series (24 episodes) – based on NFLRUSH ZONE, the NFL’s online world for kids – is set to premiere on Nicktoons this November and follows kid protagonist Ishmael (Ish) and his friends on a journey to protect the league’s 32 teams and the world from a plotting master villain.
During each episode, viewers will hear NFL players and coaches voicing their animated personas, including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who passed for an NFL record 5,476 yards in 2011; Detroit Lions All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson; Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl linebacker DeMarcus Ware; and New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
“We are proud to partner with the NFL to bring Nicktoons viewers a full-length second season of NFL Rush Zone,” said Keith Dawkins, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Nicktoons, TeenNick and Nick Jr. “Combining rich storytelling, animation, fantasy and kid-relatable content with teamwork, competition and the world of the NFL, NFL Rush Zone truly reflects the best of our two worlds.”
“We are thrilled to continue our relationship with Nickelodeon by expanding the NFLRUSH ZONE world that kids love through a first-of-its-kind, animated series,” said NFL Vice President of Fan Strategy and Marketing Peter O’Reilly. “Young fans and parents will relate to our unlikely heroes while also experiencing their favorite NFL teams and players in a whole new animated way.”
In addition to the new series, Nicktoons and the NFL will create exclusive video segments with NFL Network analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. During the weekly video segments, which premiere on Nicktoons following Sunday’s NFL action, Sanders will provide his top three plays from games played that week.
Season two begins with Ish and his family relocating to Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, where he discovers the NFL is facing a new foe, Wild Card, and his wingman, Drop Kick. The pair schemes to destroy the NFL and the world by targeting the 32 teams’ Megacores – the essence of each team, its fans and its community – and the Core itself. With the escalation of this conflict, Ish heightens his own training, skills and powers and is joined by an unlikely group of heroes, members of his local Youth Football Tackle league.
NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians will be accessible on Nicktoons.com and NFLRUSH.com following each episode’s on-air premiere. They will also be re-aired on NFL Network and produced in high definition for availability on video boards in NFL stadiums across the country.
NFL Rush Zone: Season of the Guardians is produced by Rollman Entertainment, Inc. The team is led by Rollman Entertainment CEO Eric Rollman, who previously served as president of Marvel Animation and worked on numerous animated TV series, including The Avengers: World’s Greatest Heroes, Marvels Super Hero Squad and Iron Man Armored Adventures.
Nickelodeon and the NFL initiated their partnership in 2010 with Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core, which launched as a short-form series. The 22-chapter micro-series followed 10-year-old unlikely kid hero Ish on his destiny to protect shards of a power source that were fortified in NFL stadiums across the country. Ish’s powerful enemy, Sudden Death, used an army of Blitz Botz in a plan to hunt down the shards and destroy the NFL in an attempt to take over the world. However, with a secret avatar, known as “The Sub,” Ish ultimately defeated Sudden Death in the season finale at Cowboys Stadium during Super bowl XLV.
The NFLRUSH ZONE, a role playing game on NFLRUSH.com, was launched in December 2007 and today has more than 2.5 million registered users. The NFLRUSH ZONE is an immersive virtual world where kids are able to create avatars, join their favorite team, play games, chat, and compete with friends in a safe and fun environment. All 32 teams are represented within the NFLRUSH ZONE with distinct team lands and team Rusherz and Avatars.
NFLRUSH ZONE will be accessible on mobile devices this season and will feature exclusive content associated with the animated TV series, including achievements and games linked to the show. Users will become NFLRUSH Zone Guardians, immersing themselves in the world as they “Enter the RUSH ZONE” with Ish and his fellow Guardians.
Russell Hicks, a 14-year Nickelodeon veteran and its chief creative officer since 2008, has been named to the new position of president of content development and production for the Nickelodeon Group.
Hicks will be based at Nickelodeon’s Burbank and Santa Monica, California offices, where he will lead the company’s animation and live-action development and production teams for all of Nickelodeon’s content platforms.
The announcement was made Wednesday by Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami, to whom Hicks will continue to report.
Prior to working at Nickelodeon, Hicks was vice-president of marketing of Cartoon Network/Turner brands for Warner Brothers, where he was responsible for the marketing and creative that turned Scooby Doo and the Power Puff Girls into cultural icons. Hicks started his career as an animator that led him to work on Teddy Ruxpin, the first talking teddy bear, for Worlds of Wonder toys. It is this combination of both animation and consumer products that has given Hicks his extensive knowledge of the children’s entertainment world.
The newly created position establishes centralized, West Coast leadership of all Nickelodeon’s content teams, and provides direct, on-the-ground oversight of the largest and most diverse development slate in the network’s history. Reporting to Hicks will be Rich Magallanes, senior vice-president of animation for current series; Margie Cohn, who will serve in the new role of president of content development, working across animation, live-action and digital; Paula Kaplan, who will now serve as executive vice-president of current series; Teri Weiss, executive vice-president of Nickelodeon preschool development and production; Alison Dexter, executive vice-president of Nickelodeon Productions; and Keith Dawkins, senior vice-president and general manager for Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr., Nicktoons and TeenNick channels.
“Russell has been one of the driving forces behind the Nickelodeon brand,” said Zarghami. “As we continue our ambitious evolution of Nickelodeon, Russell will ensure that our rich and diversified development slate, as well as our new and established producing partners, will all serve our creative vision for the network and deliver for our audiences. As the new development season begins, this is the perfect moment for Russell to take the helm.”
Nickelodeon’s recently announced development slate includes more than a dozen new animation, live-action and TV-movie projects as part of the network’s deep commitment to new content. The slate features top creative talent in front of and behind the camera and iconic characters from the network’s most popular series that will begin rolling out this fall and into 2013.
These projects include the CG-animated series Monsters vs. Aliens and the 2D Sanjay & Craig, as well as the highly anticipated return of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in September. For preschool, the network is adding the curriculum-based animated series Monty and Norville, and a pilot for Blaze and the Monster Machines.
Brown Johnson, who has served as the president of animation since 2008, will be leaving her role to pursue her own creative endeavors. Johnson oversaw the network’s successful partnerships with DreamWorks Animation SKG, as well as the brand-new, CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She also was responsible for leading Nickelodeon’s groundbreaking preschool programming, including Blue’s Clues and Dora the Explorer, for more than two decades.
“Brown’s contributions to Nickelodeon are many, including being the key architect behind our preschool leadership,” added Zarghami. “She leaves an indelible impact on generations of kids for which we will always be incredibly grateful.”
Hicks, as Nickelodeon’s chief creative officer, oversaw all of Nickelodeon creative, on-air promotions, consumer products, brand and advertising divisions, and led the product development and creative positioning of Nickelodeon’s brands and properties and ensured that it represented Nickelodeon’s “Kids’ First” philosophy and supported the company mission to provide surprising and playful experiences for its audiences. In 2009, he led an unprecedented creative review of the Nickelodeon brand and reimagined its logo to represent the growth the company had attained after 30 years, while also maintaining and reflecting the company’s core attributes.
Hicks attended California State University Fullerton, where he studied illustration and design.
Nickelodeon announced Friday that it has greenlit over a dozen new animation, live-action and TV-movie projects — featuring top creative talent in front of and behind the camera, iconic characters from its most popular series and an animated talking snake — that will begin rolling out this fall and into 2013.
The CG-animated series Monsters vs. Aliens and 2D-series Sanjay & Craig have been greenlit, with both productions based at Nickelodeon’s Animation Studio in Burbank, California. In addition, Nick preschool has added a new animated series, Monty and Norville, and two pilots, Blaze and the Monster Machines and Bad Seeds.
Nickelodeon, the top producer of television animation in the United States, is in production on three new series and two new pilots.
Sanjay & Craig (Nickelodeon series) — A classic tale of boy meets snake, this 20-episode, 2D-animated series follows two best buds who dedicate their lives to becoming the coolest, most rebellious dudes in the neighborhood. Sanjay & Craig is created by Jim Dirschberger, Jay Howell and Andreas Trolf, and executive produced by Nick alumni Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi (The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Alvin and the Chipmunks).
Monsters vs. Aliens (Nickelodeon series) — An extension of the blockbuster movie, the all-new CG-animated television series features the lovable monsters and a whole new group of nefarious aliens living and working together at Area 50-something. Greenlit for 26 episodes, the series will be executive produced by Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle and Brett Haaland (The Penguins of Madagascar).
Monty and Norville (Nickelodeon preschool series/working title) — Monty and Norville follows the adventures of a five-year-old troll named Monty and his dragon friend Norville. With the help of viewers at home, Monty can use his magic stick to make incredible things happen as long as he uses the right words. The new animated 26-episode series, created by Adam Peltzman (head writer, Blue’s Clues, The Backyardigans), will introduce a literacy curriculum to Nickelodeon’s preschool audience.
Bad Seeds (Nickelodeon pilot) — From SpongeBob SquarePants alumnus and Chowder creator Carl Greenblatt, Bad Seeds is about a good bird running with the bad crowd… and having a great time!
Blaze and the Monster Machines (Nickelodeon preschool pilot/working title) — Blaze and the Monster Machines is a CG-animated, interactive program about an eight-year-old boy named AJ and his incredible monster truck Blaze. AJ, Blaze and their friend Maddie fight their arch nemesis Crusher, along with a fleet of other trucks. The series features a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum and is created by Jeff Borkin (head writer, Team Umizoomi, Little Einsteins) and Ellen Martin (producer, Bubble Guppies, The Backyardigans).
Nickelodeon’s brand-new CG-animated buddy comedy, Robot and Monster, premieres on Saturday, August 4 at 11:00 a.m. (ET/PT). The series follows the friendship and adventures of the most unlikely best-friend duo, Robot, a mechanical and self-proclaimed genius, and Monster, a happy-go-lucky organic. These pals live in a strange world where robots and monsters, also known as mechanicals and organics, live side-by-side and everybody is united by a love for bacon.
Together, the relentlessly ambitious Robot and pathologically content Monster form an unlikely friendship. Forged in the fires of childhood, they are now inseparable as they try to find their way in the world.
In the premiere episode, “Monster’s Great Escape,” Monster is shocked to discover that Robot had played a practical joke on him during their youth. So, Monster decides to get even by pulling an elaborate prank on Robot. However, practical jokes don’t come naturally to Monster and the joke he pulls ends up being on himself. Next in “Game Boys,” Monster helps Robot achieve his life-long dream of playing in a Pole-O game, a combination between rugby and caber tossing. This could very well be the highlight of Robot’s life… assuming he survives.
Robot & Monster is written by Joshua Sternin and Jeffrey Ventimilia, real life best friends and comedy veterans who have written for such hits as Rio, The Simpsons, That 70’s Show and Surviving Christmas. David Pressler created the characters Robot and Monster. He is the artist and character designer who has used sculpture and illustration to fuse two of his primary passions, fine art and entertainment.