EXCLUSIVE: The Sopranos gang is officially back together! James Gandolfini, the Emmy-winning star of the HBO drama, is doing a cameo in Nicky Deuce, the Nickelodeon TV movie based on the children’s book co-written by Sopranos‘ Steve Schirripa, who also produces and stars in the project. In addition to Gandolfini and Schirripa, Nicky Deuce, currently filming in Montreal, features fellow Sopranos alums Michael Imperioli, Tony Sirico and Vincent Curatola for a reunion of most of the tough guys from the hit mob drama.
Nicky Deuce centers on Nicholas Borelli II (Noah Munck), a nerdy, over-protected teen who gets caught in the adventure of a lifetime when he is sent to Brooklyn to spend the summer with an uncle (Schirripa) and other members of his Italian American family he never knew he had. Confronted with some questionable dealings, Nicky uncovers family secrets and learns that the mean streets of Brooklyn aren’t always what they seem. In a comedic turn, Gandolfini, who shot his role over the weekend, will play Bobby Eggs, a two-bit guy from the neighborhood who gets unintentionally “scrambled” by the young Nicky. Nicky Deuce is set to premiere next year on Nickelodeon and Canada’s YTV.
Nickelodeon’s housecleaning continues. Two weeks after the kids cable network cancelled comedy series Victorious after three seasons, it has done the same with freshman How To Rock. This means that three live-action Nick series will end their run this fall, Victorious, How To Rock and iCarly. Like with Victorious, the news of How To Rock‘s demise was delivered by the series’ showrunner on his blog. In a post titled How To Rock The Future, How To Rock executive producer David Israel said that Nickelodeon had opted not to pick up a second season of the show and thanked the show’s cast, crew and fans. The move also follows Nick ordering a slew of new live-action and animated series and pilots, including two iCarly spinoffs, earlier this month as the network appears to be overhauling its lineup amidst a ratings slump.
Created by Jim O’Doherty based on the book How to Rock Braces and Glasses by Meg Haston, How To Rock stars Master P’s daughter Cymphonique Miller. The series got off to a solid start in February with 3.3 million total viewers tuning to the premiere, which won its time period across all TV with kids 6-11, tweens 9-14 and kids 2-11. The series remained a strong tween draw throughout the spring, and its second episode, How to Rock a Messy Bet, hit #1 for kids TV shows on iTunes. The series recently slipped in the ratings, but its total viewership has stayed above 2 million. Of the 26-episode first season of How To Rock, 17 episodes have aired. The next original airs Sept. 22, with the Christmas-themed season/series series airing Dec. 8. Here is Israel’s post:
How To Rock The Future
Hey, HTR Fans.
David Israel here. How to Rock’s showrunner and Executive Producer.
There have been rumors swirling around about the future of How To Rock so I thought it time to set the record straight. Nickelodeon has decided, unfortunately, not to give How To Rock a second season. I know this news will be very disappointing for many of you. Believe me, it’s disappointing for me, too.
Why isn’t the show coming back? There’s no one simple answer. Nickelodeon is going through a transition right now. You already know that iCarly and Victorious are not coming back. Nickelodeon has many new shows in production and development that they believe will better suit their audience. While I don’t love their decision, I have no choice other than to accept it.
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EXCLUSIVE: NickMom, Nickelodeon’s new primetime ad-supported comedy block on Nick Jr. for moms, will premiere on Oct. 1. In preparation for the launch, the companion Web site NickMom.com on Aug. 15 will expand into a fully fledged comedy and entertainment site with more short-form video, photos, editorial pieces and now games.
NickMom has locked in four original series for the launch: interview/hidden camera/sketch comedy hybrid Parental Discretion With Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, docu-comedy MFF: Mom Friends Forever, stand-up comedy NickMom Night Out, and What Was Carol Brady Thinking. Additionally, NickMom has picked up another new series, My 63 Moms. The docu-comedy series, originally targeted for the web site, will migrate to TV with a 13-episode order. It stars comedian and new mom Andrea Rosen, who visits other families to hear their stories and insights as she struggles to determine what’s right for her and her child. My 63 Moms, exec produced by Rosen as well as Linda Shaffer and Barbara Kanowitz of Hot Air Prods., will be added to the NickMom primetime block Q1 2013. “NickMom is a unique TV and digital destination that gives moms permission to wind down from the day and laugh out loud at the shared experiences of motherhood,” said NickMom’s SVP Bronwen O’Keefe.
Here are descriptions of NickMom’s four launch series: Read More »
Prolific Nickelodeon creator Dan Schneider will see both of his hit series for the cable network iCarly and Victorious get off the air after final runs this fall. “Nickelodeon will not be moving forward with production on a fourth season of Victorious following the final season that will premiere this fall,” the network said in a statement. “We are very proud of the show, its very talented cast, and our audience will continue to see many of them in upcoming new Nickelodeon projects.” The news comes on the heels of Nick just ordering two iCarly spinoff pilots from Schneider: Sam & Cat, starring series’ Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande, and Gibby toplined by Noah Munck.
Schneider took to Twitter and his blog to comment on the cancellation of the show starring Victoria Justice, making it clear it was not his decision. Here is his post:
Hey guys! If I misspell anything in this post, please forgive me – I’m in the back seat of a car, typing on my phone! Okay, first things first… There is a whole NEW season of Victorious coming your way. We just finished shooting 15 new episodes, and they’re amazing. If you love Victorious, I feel sure you will love the NEW episodes coming! By now, a lot of you have heard that Victorious will not be returning for a 4th season. That is true. This was the network’s decision – not mine.
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Brown Johnson, president of animation for Nickelodeon, announced today at TCA that the new animated comedy series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will premiere … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon has ordered three multi-camera comedy pilots. Family comedy Instant Mom, which has Tia Mowry in negotiations to star, is for nighttime channel Nick at Nite that targets adult/adolescent viewers, while the superhero-themed The Thundermans and supernatural The Haunted Hathaways are for the daytime children’s channel.
Instant Mom, from Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, was written by Warren Bell and Jessica Butler loosely based on their real life. It centers on a 25-year-old party girl (Mowry) who trades in cosmos for carpools when she marries an older man with kids. Bell, Butler and Kaplan executive produce the project, which intends to cast an all-black family. This marks Kaplan’s second pilot for Nick at Nite along with Wendell & Vinnie starring Jerry Trainor; it is 3-year-old Kapital Entertainment’s 15th pilot. For Mowry — who toplines with her twin sister the Style reality series Tia & Tamera – this marks a return to scripted comedy. She recently left BET’s The Game, where she co-starred for five seasons. Read More »
DirecTV’s 20M customers lost Viacom’s 17 channels — including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central — at about 11:50 PM ET. Now the finger-pointing is underway. Derek Chang, the satellite company’s EVP Content, Strategy and Development, says that Viacom ”sent us a letter last night that outlined our obligations to remove the channels by midnight or face legal action just as they were falsely telling viewers DirecTV was responsible. Let’s be clear, Viacom took these channels away from DirecTV viewers.” But Viacom says “DirecTV dropped the channels without giving Viacom advanced warning.” They last spoke at 11 AM on Tuesday, the company says. The big issue is price: DirecTV says that Viacom is demanding 30% more for its channels — equal to about $1B. It isn’t justified, Chang says, due to “the fact that the ratings for many of their main networks have plummeted and much of Viacom’s programming can be seen for free online.” Viacom counters that it ”proposed a fair deal that amounted to an increase of only a couple pennies per day, per subscriber, and we remained willing to negotiate that deal right up to this evening’s deadline. However, DirecTV refused to engage in meaningful conversation.”
Related: Does Viacom Have More At Risk Than DirecTV Does In Programming Standoff? Read More »
There’s nothing scientific about Bernstein Research’s report this morning based on its recent focus group interviews with 16 mothers. But it’s still interesting in the context of the investment firm’s campaign to disprove Viacom and Disney’s claim that they can license kids’ shows to streaming services such as Netflix without cannibalizing their lucrative, conventional TV channels — especially Viacom’s ad-supported Nickelodeon. The focus groups reinforced analyst Todd Juenger’s belief that the media giants should forego the easy money from Netflix and “do everything in their power” to promote their cable channels: “Even if it means swallowing a year of tough (financial results) for the long-term good.” Kids between the ages of 2 and 11 watch about four hours of TV a day, a source of “some degree of guilt” for most of the moms in Bernstein’s panels. They really hate ads which they say have an enormous influence on their kids — and not just by shaping their product preferences. “Many of the mothers were convinced that commercial viewing somehow shortened their child’s attention span,” Juenger reports. To avoid commercials, several said that they rent movies, steer kids to commercial-free platforms such as Read More »
PBS led the way with 13 wins as the Daytime Emmys’ Creative Arts Awards were bestowed last night at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown LA. Among the pubcaster’s wins was for Electric Company (outstanding children’s series, … Read More »
Bernstein Research analyst Todd Juenger has written several provocative reports in the five months since he began covering media for the investment company — but his blast today at Viacom ranks among his toughest yet. Juenger lowered his price target by $1 to $47 warning investors that, with the steep ratings declines at Nickelodeon and MTV, “it is no longer inconceivable that a distributor would drop Viacom, or at least engage in a public battle with them over price increases.” While the odds of a Viacom black out are low, the mere possibility could make a world of difference to Wall Street: If CEO Philippe Dauman can’t extract high-single digit annual fee increases from cable and satellite companies then “the Viacom story would unravel.” It’s hard to say when Viacom might run into trouble, if it happens at all. “The timing of (its) affiliate fee negotiations remain the best kept secret in media,” Juenger says. But he adds that prudent investors should lighten up on their Viacom holdings “before such an event took place.” Read More »
Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos walked a tightrope this morning as he tried to assure cable execs at the industry’s annual convention that he’s their friend. It’s debatable; Cox Communications chief Pat Esser, who joined Sarandos on a panel at The Cable Show, referred to the streaming service as a “frenemy.” But the Netflix exec assured the audience that his service — which is so important to cable’s broadband customers — is no threat to their traditional TV business. That includes Nickelodeon, where ratings are down 30% so far in Q2 vs the same period last year – many believe because kids now can watch SpongeBox Squarepants and iCarly on Netflix. “People’s tastes are so diverse that no specific network and no specific show has such high viewing concentration that you’d see that kind of cause-and-effect on ratings,” Sarandos says.
Related: Viacom CEO Says Netflix Isn’t Tied To Nickelodeon’s Ratings Drop
Sarandos adds that Netflix can take credit for helping shows such as AMC’s Mad Men. “In the gap between Season 4 and Season 5 we brought maybe 1M new viewers to AMC. There were people who had four years to watch the show and didn’t. Because we gave them a good opportunity and a well-priced model (they were able) to catch up on the show.” The lesson, he says, is that Read More »
Forecasts are all over the place ahead of the media company’s May 3 report on its performance in the first three months of this year. The question is whether the strengthening ad market will outweigh the declining ratings at two of Viacom’s most important networks: Nickelodeon and MTV. Miller Tabak analyst David Joyce joined the skeptics this morning. He downgraded Viacom to “neutral” and reduced his price target to $51 from $56, in part because he believes Viacom’s ratings problems make it “the most-at-risk programmer for the upcoming earnings season.” Joyce now expects Viacom to report that domestic ad sales fell 3.4% last quarter vs the same period in 2011 — a change from his previous prediction of a 2.5% gain. But Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Vasily Karasyov reached a different conclusion on Tuesday. Read More »
Nickelodeon has acquired worldwide rights to Breakthrough Entertainment’s upcoming tween comedy series Grounded. The live-action show is executive produced by Paula Hart of Hartbreak Films (Melissa And Joey) along with Breakthrough’s Ira Levy, Peter Williamson and Joan Lambur. The story … Read More »
The kids and family-focused cable channel laid out an aggressive plan of original and returning series, movies and more today as part of its advertiser update in New York. Highlights include a new music-themed series, Rags, debuting this spring; a revival of the 1990s game show Figure It Out that will air later this year; an animated series — The Legend Of Korra — based on the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated franchise that debuts April 14 as part of the channel’s Saturday morning kids block; 26 episodes of the new CG-animated series Raving Rabbids, based on the video game of the same name; and, as revealed first by Deadline earlier today, the pickup of the 26-episode comedy series Marvin, Marvin, starring Internet celebrity Lucas Cruikshank (his Fred shorts are popular among kids).
The network also confirmed that Nickelodeon is developing a new series about Rachel Crow, one of the stars from the first season of The X Factor.
Also announced: Hollywood Heights (formerly known as Reach For The Stars), based on a Televisa telenovela format; a show in development for Brit Pop band One Direction, which gets to make some noise locally when it performs on Nick’s Kids Choice Awards on March 31; and two new animated series, Monsters & Aliens, based on the DreamWorks Animation feature, and Robot & Monster. Nickelodeon also announced new episodes of such hits as iCarly, Big Time Rush and The Fairly Odd Parents, among others. Here’s the release: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon is betting big on Lucas Cruikshank. In a pretty quick turnaround, I’ve learned that the network has picked up comedy pilot Marvin, Marvin toplined by Fred star Cruikshank to series with a whopping 26-episode order. The network is … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon is finalizing a deal for a pilot order to a comedy starring iCarly‘s Jerry Trainor for its Nick At Nite nighttime block. Titled Wendell & Vinnie, the multi-camera project was created by Emmy-winning writer-producer Jay Kogen (Frasier). It stars … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: More than a decade after it went off the air, Nickelodeon’s 1990s game show Figure It Out is making a comeback. The cable network has ordered 40 brand new episodes of the family-friendly game show to begin production in April in Los Angeles for a premiere later this year. Every Figure It Out episode features a panel of celebrities trying to guess kid contestants’ unique talents and skills by asking ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions while being bombarded by messy visual and tactile clues. If, after three rounds, the panel still can’t figure out the kid’s feat, the contestant takes home the grand prize. Each game culminates in the reveal of the talent with an in-studio demo. “Figure It Out is a show that celebrates kids and their wonderful and often bizarre talents” said Marjorie Cohn, Nickelodeon’s president of development and original programming. “In this internet age where kids are expressing themselves online, it feels timely to give them a TV platform to showcase those talents in a uniquely Nickelodeon way.”
Created by Kevin Kay and Magda Liolis, Figure It Out originally aired on Nickelodeon for four seasons from July 1997 to December 1999 and was hosted by Olympic gold medalist swimmer Summer Sanders. The panel was a mix of Nick personalities and celebrities and included Kenan Thompson, Amanda Bynes, Aaron Carter, Chris Jericho, Coolio, Jack Hanna, Sherman Helmsley, Evander Holyfield, Joe Namath, Julius Erving, Michelle Trachtenberg, Mike O’Malley and Mya, among several others. The show also spawned 2 offshoots, Figure it Out: Family Style and Figure it Out: Wild Style. Read More »
Fourteen year-old The X Factor finalist Rachel Crow, whose shocking elimination created one of the biggest controversies on the Fox series’ first season, has signed an overall talent deal with Nickelodeon. Under the pact, the network is developing a comedy series … Read More »