December 1, 1977
Viacom International, Incorporated
Nickelodeon (usually abbreviated as "Nick," and originally named Pinwheel from December 1, 1977 to March 31, 1979), is a cable television network owned by MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom International. As of 2010, Nickelodeon is ranked as the #1 cable channel among the kids 2-11 and 6-11 demographics. For most of its history, the channel had been promoted as "The First Kids' Network," as Nickelodeon was the first American television network aimed at children, dating back to its days under the Pinwheel name. Nickelodeon's broadcast day runs on Sunday through Thursdays from 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Fridays from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific Time).
Nickelodeon's pre-history began on December 1, 1977 when QUBE, the first two-way interactive cable TV system was launched in Columbus, Ohio by Warner Cable (owned by Warner Communications, and an ancestor of Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment). One of the specialized channels available to subscribers of the QUBE system was Pinwheel, a cable channel offering children's programming, which ran for only about six hours each day, quite usual for the era.
Well-known programming on Nickelodeon includes SpongeBob SquarePants, The Backyardigans, iCarly, The Fairly OddParents, Victorious, The Penguins of Madagascar (co-produced with DreamWorks Animation and based on the popular Madagascar movies), Fanboy & Chum Chum and Planet Sheen (a spinoff of the Nickelodeon series The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius). Reruns of discontinued Nickelodeon shows also air including All Grown Up! (a spinoff of the popular 1991-2005 Nickelodeon series Rugrats) and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (based on the Nickelodeon-produced feature film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius). SpongeBob SquarePants and iCarly are the most frequently aired programs on Nickelodeon, with SpongeBob in particular typically airing about 7-9 times each day on average. iCarly currently ranks as of 2010 as the channel's highest-rated original series and the highest-rated cable program among children ages 2 and up, according to Nielsen Media Research. Nickelodeon also continues to air bi-monthly special editions of the long-running magazine series Nick News, hosted by Linda Ellerbee since its debut in 1992 (until the early 2000s, Nick News had aired on Nick on an almost weekly basis on Sunday nights).
Nicktoons are animated television series produced by and aired on Nickelodeon. Until 1991, the animated series that aired on Nickelodeon were largely imported from foreign countries. Nicktoons continue to make up a substantial portion of Nickelodeon's lineup, with roughly 6–7 hours airing on weekdays and around nine hours on weekends including a five-hour weekend morning block. Since the late 2000s, after the channel struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation in 2006 to develop the studio's animated films into weekly series, there has been a gradual shift towards Nicktoon series using three-dimensional computer animation rather than traditional or digital two-dimensional ink and paint; the introductions of The Penguins of Madagascar and Fanboy & Chum Chum to the channel's lineup reflect this.
Unlike its competitors Disney Channel, Disney XD, Cartoon Network and The Hub, Nickelodeon does not air movies on a regular basis; however, it does produce its own original made-for-cable television movies, which usually premiere in weekend evening timeslots.
The channel occasionally airs feature films produced by the network's Nickelodeon Movies film production division (whose films are distributed by sister company Paramount Pictures); however, despite the fact that the film division bears the Nickelodeon name, the Nickelodeon cable channel does not have access to most Nickelodeon Movies-produced films released through Paramount. Some are based on a Nickelodeon series, such as The Backyardigans' International Super Spy. Nickelodeon does have broadcast access to most feature films based on or that served as the basis for original series produced by the channel (such as Barnyard: The Original Party Animals and The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie); the majority of live-action feature films produced under the Nickelodeon Movies banner are licensed for broadcast by various television outlets, primarily cable networks (however, Nickelodeon has aired a small number of live-action features from Nickelodeon Movies including Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and Good Burger, which have aired on the channel's Nick at Nite nighttime block).
Nickelodeon also advertises hour-long episodes of its original series, such as iCarly, True Jackson, VP and Victorious, as movies; though these technically do not qualify as such as the "TV movie" versions of Nickelodeon's original series are shorter than the standard length of a television movie (approximately 45 minutes without commercials, compared to the typical 75-100 minutes for television movies), the hour-long episodes of the channel's multi-camera comedies are shot using that camera setup (whereas feature films and television movies are standardly shot in a single-camera setup), laugh tracks are used and the programs are shot on videotape instead of film (though the video frame rate of its multi-camera comedies are reduced to the 24p film frame rate, using the filmizing process).
Nickelodeon owns several sister channels, the most out of any children's network (more than competitors Disney and Cartoon Network). A list of them is available below.
Nicktoons is a digital cable and satellite television network that launched on May 1, 2002 as Nicktoons TV; it was renamed as Nicktoons in May 2003, before rebranding Nicktoons Network from 2005 until reverting to its previous name in September 2009. The network airs a mix of current and older animated series produced for Nickelodeon (ranging from SpongeBob SquarePants to The Ren & Stimpy Show), along with series produced exclusively for Nicktoons and some limited live-action programs from Nickelodeon.
The Backyardigans has never aired on this channel. However, commercials for premieres and merchandise were broadcast on this network.
Nick Jr. is a digital cable and satellite television network aimed primarily at children between 2 and 7 years of age, featuring a mix of current and some former preschool-oriented programs from Nickelodeon, and original series exclusive to the channel; it originally launched on February 2, 1999 as Noggin, a joint venture between MTV Networks and the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop), the latter of which sold its stake to Viacom in 2002. On September 28, 2009, the network was relaunched as Nick Jr., named after the former preschool program block of the same name that aired on Nickelodeon from January 1988 to February 2009. The network debuted Nickmom, a four-hour nightly program block aimed at mothers in September 2012, which was controversial at its start due to its more lenient content standards (including some profanity, crude humor and suggestive references) than what is otherwise permitted on Nick Jr., particularly as the network operates a singular Eastern Time Zone feed, which results in the Nickmom block airing at the same time in all six U.S. time zones (being broadcast as early as 5:00 p.m. in the Hawaii–Aleutian Time Zone). While traditional advertising appears on the channel during the Nickmom block, the network otherwise only runs programming promotions and underwriter-style sponsorships in lieu of regular commercials.
The Backyardigans was aired on Noggin and Nick Jr. regularly until mid-2013. It came back in 2015. Premieres were not broadcast on this network; the Nickelodeon base channel aired all new episodes.
TeenNick is a digital cable and satellite television network that is aimed at teenagers and young adults, which originated as a nighttime block called "The N" on Noggin (in a similar scheduling structure as Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite) on April 1, 2002 and was spun off into a standalone channel on December 31, 2007, when it took over the satellite transponder of Nickelodeon Games and Sports. On September 28, 2009, the network was rebranded as TeenNick, named after the former TEENick block that aired on Nickelodeon from July 2000 to February 2009. Although TeenNick has more relaxed program standards than the other Nickelodeon channels (save for Nick at Nite and the Nickmom block on Nick Jr.) – allowing for moderate profanity, suggestive dialogue and some violent content – the network has shifted its lineup almost exclusively towards current and former Nickelodeon series (including some that are burned off due to low ratings on the flagship channel) that have stricter content standards. It also airs some acquired sitcoms and drama series (such as Degrassi: The Next Generation, which has aired on the network since 2003 as The N) and until the rebrand, also incorporated some original programming. On July 25, 2011, TeenNick began airing The '90s Are All That, a block of Nickelodeon's most popular 1990s programming, targeting the network's target demographic from that era.
The Backyardigans did not air on TeenNick. Commercials for premieres and merchandise were broadcast in between programming.
TV Land is a basic cable and satellite channel that debuted on April 29, 1996. Based on the Nick at Nite block, it originally aired classic television series from the early 1950s to the 1970s, but beginning in 2004, has broadened its programming inventory to include series from the 1980s and 1990s (and more recently, the 2000s). In 2008, TV Land began producing its own original series; originally these were reality series, however the network ventured into scripted originals with the 2010 debut of Hot in Cleveland. On December 17, 2006, Viacom's MTV Networks Kids & Family Group division took over operational responsibilities for TV Land from Nick at Nite (concurrent with Nickelodeon taking operational duties for Nick at Nite), though TV Land continues to be operated as part of the company's Viacom Media Networks unit.
The Backyardigans never aired on TV Land. Unlike TeenNick and Nicktoons, where commercials featuring the show were broadcast, no advertisements were shown on this network.
Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids
Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids (commonly referred to in on-air usage as Nickelodeon GAS or Nick GAS), was an American digital cable and satellite television channel that was launched on March 1, 1999 as part of MTV Networks' suite of digital cable channels. Nick GAS was essentially a children's version of (and Viacom's answer to) Game Show Network (now branded as GSN), which had launched in December 1994. The channel ceased operations on December 31, 2007 on digital cable providers. However, Dish Network kept an automated loop of the network on the air on channel 177 for fifteen months until April 23, 2009, when it was replaced with the west coast feed of Cartoon Network.
Nick.com is Nickelodeon's main online portal. It features online games based on Nickelodeon television shows. It also features virtual clubhouses, seasonal costumes for your avatar, and additional trivia games featuring questions about TV shows airing on the channel.
Nick Arcade was one of Nick.com's sister websites, featuring PC downloadable games. The games were not free, though, and you needed to pay at least $19.99 per game. If you paid for it, you could get unlimited access to the game on your PC as long as you want. Some games, including all Backyardigans games, had free try-outs. It closed down in 2011, Nick Arcade games could still be found on Shockwave.com until 2014, when Defy Media brought it from Viacom.
Nick Shop is also one of Nick.com's sister websites. It does not feature games, instead it features collectible merchandise you pay for.
Nickelodeon Movies is the channel's motion picture production arm founded in 1995. It has produced films based on Nickelodeon animated programs including Rugrats and SpongeBob SquarePants, as well as other adaptations and original projects. The studio's films are released by Paramount Pictures. Nickelodeon Movies initially did not introduce a new logo when Nickelodeon's current logo came into effect as part of its September 2009 rebrand; Nickelodeon Movies eventually instituted a new logo on January 1, 2010, which officially made its debut with the release of the film The Last Airbender on July 1, 2010.