EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon‘s top programming executive Marjorie Cohn is leaving. I hear that she has opted to depart the kids cable network after a 26-year tenure. Following a series of promotions, Cohn, a very well liked TV executive, most recently served as President, Content Development, Nickelodeon. She added animation and digital to her existing portfolio of live-action programming last year, following the departure of Brown Johnson when Russell Hicks was elevated to President, Content Development and Production for the Nickelodeon Group. Cohn has shepherded some of Nick’s biggest hits, including Rugrats, iCarly and SpongeBob. In the wake of her departure, Cohn’s direct reports are now expected to report to Hicks as Nick’s programming efforts have been shifting from New York, where Cahn has been based, to Los Angeles, where Hicks is. UPDATE: In addition to Cohn, also departing is EVP Nickelodeon Prods. Alison Dexter as part of a restructuring that eliminates the position as the production groups will now report to the live-action and animation executives. Here is the internal Nick memo from Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon and MTV Networks’ Kids & Family Group, outlining the changes:
Eight months ago, Russell Hicks took on his new role as our head of content development and production and relocated to Los Angeles. Since that time, we have focused our attention on serving the first generation of post-millennial viewers with exciting new content, introduced an innovative new brand experience through our App, and experienced new momentum in our ratings. READ MORE »
Here’s more proof that Wall Street has freed Viacom from the penalty box following last year’s steep ratings declines at Nickelodeon and MTV. The stock’s up 2.5% in late morning trading — and touched a record $65.25 — after Nomura Equity Research’s Michael Nathanson and RBC Capital Markets’ David Bank said that trends are improving for the entertainment giant. Nickelodeon’s ratings rose 1% in Q1 and with new shows including Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles establishing themselves “we expect that the ratings momentum at Nick should continue,” Nathanson says. That could pay off if, as the analyst expects, studios boost spending to promote new movies later this year. If that happens and Nick’s ratings continue to improve then it “can likely take back some [advertising] market share from Cartoon Network,” he says. Bank’s upbeat case for Viacom goes beyond Nickelodeon. He says that ratings momentum “accelerated in roughly half of Viacom’s ad revenue portfolio” including Nick At Nite, BET, and Comedy Central. What’s more, he says MTV should look a lot better when year-over-year comparisons no longer include Jersey Shore, which ended its run late last year. Read More »
The Writers Guild of America West has demanded a $3 million bond from Nickelodeon because of “chronically late residuals payment and inadequate reporting practices.” In a March 8 dated letter I have obtained, the WGA West … Read More »
UPDATED: At the Nickelodeon upfront presentation in New York this afternoon, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said that the kids cable network, which has gone through some rough times lately, “has hit the reset button” and is “reinventing itself.” There will be a big investment in animation, including the company’s upcoming feature offshoots of Nick toon series, the SpongeBob Square Pants 3D movie and the Michael Bay-directed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both slated for a 2014 release. Coincidentally, Nick’s upfront announcements today were all in the animation arena — a series pickup for Breadwinners, a new animated series based on the animated short by animator Gary “Doodles” DiRaffaele and writer Steve Borst (Mad), and a third season renewal for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. DiRaffaele and Borst, who came from Nickelodeon’s Animation Shorts Program, are also behind the Nickelodeon series about two booty-shaking ducks, which has received a 20-episode order. (watch the short below). Breadwinners joins recently picked up new live-action series The Haunted Hathaways, The Thundermans and Sam & Cat.
During the presentation, Nickelodeon Group president Cyma Zarghami acknowledged that the network has had a “tough year” where “new competitors came on strong,” a reference to upstart Disney Jr. She outlined the network’s strategy for getting back on track by targetting “post-millennial kids,” born in and after 2008. Read More »
Nickelodeon has given a 13-episode order to superhero family comedy pilot The Thundermans. As part of the pickup, the network has recast one of the two leads, with Jack Griffo replacing Tyler Peterson who played the part … Read More »
The popular Lalaloopsy dolls are getting a TV series. Nickelodeon has ordered 52 episodes of Lalaloopsy, an animated preschool series to premiere in spring 2013. Based on the best-selling toy line, the half-hour series chronicles … Read More »
This is worth noting considering how important Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is to the turnaround story at Nickelodeon, and Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman’s eagerness to accelerate sales of consumer products based on his company’s properties. The partners … Read More »
CEO Philippe Dauman announced the plan, but wouldn’t say much more about it. “I’m going to let Nickelodeon announce all the features of the app,” he said in response to a question in a conference call with … Read More »
Expectations were already low for the entertainment company, so investors likely will reserve judgment until they hear about how much progress it’s making with its turnaround effort. Viacom reported Q4 net income for continuing operations of $473M, -20% vs … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Nickelodeon has handed a 20-episode order to The Haunted Hathaways, a half-hour project from veteran comedy writer-producer Robert Peacock. Created by Peacock, The Haunted Hathaways features an unconventional blended family and can be described as … Read More »
Investors seem to think so as ratings improve at key networks led by Nickelodeon and MTV. Viacom shares — which closed Friday at $57.78 — are up 7.8% so far in 2013, and about 20% over the last six months. But analysts are divided about when the company might benefit from the upturn, and how significant it could be. Macquarie Equities Research’s Tim Nollen became more optimistic this morning as he raised his price target to $62 from $47 ahead of January 31, when the entertainment company releases its earnings results for the last three months of 2012. Solid performances by shows including iCarly and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles helped Nickelodeon beat Disney Channel in total-day viewers for 16 of the last 17 weeks, he notes — and Nick’s performance will look especially impressive in February when compared to last year when its ratings were down 30%. Although MTV’s ratings are still down by double-digit percentages, if that changes with shows including Snooki & JWOWW and Buckwild then it “would ease concerns that we and others have had about Viacom’s ability to replenish content,” Nollen says. Janney Capital Markets’ Tony Wible also cited the ratings last week when he upped Viacom to “buy” from “neutral” with a $65 target price. In addition, he’s upbeat about “a more promising Paramount slate, and a lean expense structure.” Read More »
In a symbolic passing-of-the-baton move, less than a week after Nickelodeon‘s veteran comedy iCarly ended its five-season run, the cable network is greenlighting a spinoff series from iCarly creator Dan Schneider starring series standout Jennette McCurdy. Nickelodeon has given a 20-episode order to comedy Sam & Cat, toplined by McCurdy and her close friend Ariana Grande, co-star of another Schneider-created Nickelodeon comedy ending its run, Victorious. Both are reprising their roles in Sam & Cat, in which the feisty Sam Puckett (McCurdy) and daffy Cat Valentine (Grande) become best buddies and unlikely roommates. They love their freedom and independence but quickly realize that fun and adventure do not come cheap. Rather than get traditional after-school jobs, Sam and Cat become teen entrepreneurs by starting their own baby-sitting business. Production on the series begins in January for a 2013 premiere. Read More »
One of the company’s most vigorous critics, Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger, thinks they will — or at least should. He downgraded his rating for Viacom this morning to “underperform” from “market perform” with a target price of $50 a share, below its close yesterday at $56.22. (Viacom opened this morning -2.5%.) He predicts that “MTV ratings will be down significantly” in the current fiscal year after falling 30% in the quarter that ended in September. Part of the problem is that MTV and other networks “have been starved as Viacom has funneled the majority of development dollars” into Nickelodeon — which was hit by a shocking ratings drop that began late last year. (Nick’s audience in the latest quarter was -27% vs the same period in 2011.) That’s significant because MTV’s performance could suffer later this year when the network’s hit Jersey Shore completes its final season — which follows the conclusion of another success, Teen Mom. “Looking at MTV’s 2012-13 programming lineup, it’s hard to believe there’s a high probability that any of these shows (on their own, or collectively) will offset the loss of Jersey Shore and Teen Mom 2,” Juenger says. “Returning shows like Awkward, Ridiculousness, and Teen Wolf have definitely not grabbed pop culture attention.” That could knock the wind out of MTV, which accounts for 18% of the ad sales at Viacom’s networks. Although Nickelodeon only has a few competitors, the analyst says that advertisers wanting to reach teens have “plenty of alternatives to MTV.”
Related: Hulu Seals Carriage Deal With Viacom, Adds Nickelodeon To Offerings Read More »
Hulu and Viacom‘s new deal will bring Nickelodeon programming to the Hulu Plus service for the first time beginning immediately with access to five recent episodes of the kids network’s live-action and animated series. The pact … Read More »
First it was PBS, and now Mitt Romney is dissing Nickelodeon. The Republican presidential candidate told the children’s channel that he is too busy to participate in its annual Kids Pick The President special. “He just officially declined on Thursday,” a Nickelodeon spokesperson told Deadline today. The Romney campaign did not respond to queries about not being involved in the special, which will air October 15. Romney will appear instead in clips from various campaign events of him addressing issues related to children. President Obama will be taking part: According to Nickelodeon, Obama recently watched video questions from children around the U.S. and gave responses in a session filmed at the White House. Read More »
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 … Read More »
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.
Read More »
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 »