At a time when young television viewers are increasingly abandoning the traditional TV screen, Brian Robbins will make it very difficult for children to give up on Nickelodeon.
The veteran producer, named Nickelodeon's president in October, has not spent his first months in the role of noodling over the formula for the network's famous green slime. He has worked to fill his programming with new shows, although he and other leaders understand Nickelodeon's audience, are more likely to watch video on YouTube and Netflix via smartphones, as they have to watch the TV in the living room.  Robbin's goal – easy to say but difficult to achieve ̵
"There are certainly headwinds and for all linear TVs. In many ways, children's business has been more affected by it," Robbins told Variety who pointed to young viewers' rapid adoption of streaming and mobile devices in In recent years. Yet he notes, "If you make content and show that the children will see, they will show it."
Viacom-owned cables are ready to take some big fluctuations after a long run. Nickelodeon's assets are crucial to the parent's earnings, making Robbins' mission to rehabilitate the brand much more urgently.
Among the new property headlines for Nickelodeon are the first spin-offs of characters from its mainstay animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants." Nickelodeon has acquired the rights to develop series featuring Paddington, the popular British bear, and characters from the recent slate of the Lego movie. There are also some revivals of Nick favorites in the works – and new steps to make Nickelodeon content available on platforms that kids like to see.
Robbins reveals its first Nickelodeon programming slate, just as the television industry looks to the start of its annual "upfront" derby when US television networks are trying to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the upcoming season. Kid-focused networks have suffered in recent months: Nickelodeon – which still has a larger overall audience than its primary linear competitors, WarnerMedia's Cartoon Network and Disney Channel – so the audience between 2 and 11 years dropped 24% in the fourth quarter compared to to the previous year. Cartoon Network's audience in that age group was 37% in the period while Disney Channel was out of 30%.
However, Robbins brings a long history of Nickelodeon programming. He was the producer of the channel's popular sketch program, "All That" and its many spin offs, as well as series on other networks, such as the WB / CW dramas "Smallville" and "One Tree Hill. More recently, Robbins AwesomenessTV, the teen-focused content plant acquired by Viacom in 2017.
Millions of dollars are at stake for Nickelodeon when the first season begins, Nickelodeon mimics about $ 729 million in advertising revenue in 2018, according to Kagan, a market research firm that is a part by S & P Global Intelligence Nickelodeon empire, which also includes Nick Jr. and other cable networks, is the largest division of the parent company Viacom, and its performance is being so much investigated by investors.
"Brian Robbins is a great leader who, thanks to his work on the Awesomeness, understands the psyche of his audience, "says Michael Nathanson, a media industry analyst with the MoffettNathanson company." But his challenge on the linear The site is quite large. "
Robbins realizes that Nickelodeon has to make changes that recognize the major changes in the audience's visual habits.
"The cable model was a rinse and repeat model. Today we live in a binge-viewing world. Give me a new show. Give me a new show. I want to see it, eat it up and move on to the next show, "Robbins said. "What used to be OK was to have one or two hits and then make a zillion episode of them and then repeat them. It was enough to satisfy the child audience because they had no choice. I think today we should Make a lot of quality franchises, but don't necessarily feed one million episodes of these shows. We have to keep a constant number of new shows coming and not necessarily making a show with 80 episodes. "
He plans to bring new talent for the network from some of the places that have attracted young viewers elsewhere. "Ryan's Mystery Playdate", for example, is a live action series that follows Ryan, the children's star in "Ryan ToysReview" on YouTube along with his parents and some animated friends. The series has its players working through physical challenges as well as puzzles to reveal the mystery of the title. "Playdate" is slated to debut in spring.
And he hopes to entice children with some star force. WWE's John Cena will host new game show episodes "Are you smarter than a 5 th Degrees." Producer Simon Fuller and OneRepublic singer Ryan Tedder will produce a scripted music series set in a boarding-high school, with brand new music and performances in each episode. The Lego series, "Lego City", is a CG animated comedy that follows many characters as they seek to stop a master criminal. "Paddington", with actress Ben Whishaw voting for the title Brown, follows the famous bear through London adventures.
Some franchises are getting ready for new venues. Nickelodeon already revealed an agreement to make films with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "The Loud House" characters for Netflix. A live action "Dora The Explorer" movie is slated for release in August, with Isabela Moner in the title role and Benicio Del Toro as her nemesis, Swiper. "We know that linear television is the most important to us, but beyond that, the idea is to fill every screen of any size," Robbins said.
Robbins is eager to expand Nickelodeon's slate with evidence that children and parents are looking together to deliver the consistent demographic value appreciated by some advertisers. Such an entry is "The Substitute", a hidden camera prank show that has celebrities going undercover as replacement teachers; A $ 25,000 donation will be made to the school hosting each new episode. "America's most musical family" will mount a nationwide search for the most talented family in America. And Nickelodeon intends to revive "Are you afraid of the dark", the anthology series boasting scary stories, like a new miniseries that will coincide with a movie based on the show slated for October 20.
The purpose of Robbins is also to bring more diversity to Nickelodeon's air. "Santiago of the Seas" is an interactive series designed for 2020, following the adventures of a friendly heart, 8-year-old pirate, and has a Spanish-language and Latin-Caribbean culture plan. "The Casagrandes" is a companion to "The Loud House" and focuses on a chaotic generation family.
The decision to extend "SpongeBob" may be Robbin's most surprising feature. The series has been a pile of Nickelodeon since 1999, which means it has several generations of fans to reach.
"It's our Marvel Universe," Robbins said. "You have this amazing show running for almost twenty years."
While he promised that Nickelodeon would always make "SpongeBob," Robbin's ample space sees to explore other characters. Among the options on the table is to "tell an original story about SpongeBob and Patrick, or perhaps tell a Sandy Cheek's stand-alone story, or can Plankton have its own?" Robbins mused. "I think the fans are clinging to it."
(pictured: "SpongeBob SquarePants")