Nick Adds Nine, Sells Ads on The N

As it celebrates its 25th anniversary, kid cable network Nickelodeon has announced the addition of nine new shows to its 2004-05 lineup. In addition to live-action, coming-of-age comedies, newcomers include the animated action series Avatar, a Dora The Explorer spin-off titled Go, Diego, Go! and fellow preschool toons The Backyardigans and Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends.

Nick has ordered 13 episodes of Avatar, which centers on a twelve-year-old boy named Aang, who is chosen to restore world order when the Water, Earth and Air Nations are threatened by a hostile Fire Nation. Aang must change his irresponsible and selfish ways as he learns to master the powers of the four elements in order to conquer the Firebenders. The show is created by are Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino.

Heading up the new recruits on Nick Jr. is Go, Diego, Go!, an animated play-along series starring Dora the Explorer’s cousin, Diego Marquez. The eight-year-old, rough-and-tumble action-adventure hero will take viewers on high-stakes animal rescue missions punctuated by English and Spanish language lessons. Diego will be joined by his 11-year-old sister, Alicia, and a group of loyal animal friends as kids are encouraged to use scientific thinking and investigative strategies to help animals in trouble. The series is created and executive produced by Dora the Explorer alumni Chris Gifford and Valerie Walsh.

The Backyardigans is an animated musical adventure series about five high-spirited preschool creatures who rely on their vivid imaginations to embark on epic adventures. In every episode, the backyard transforms into a new fantastic, photoreal landscape that serves as the backdrop for original, story-driven musicals. The show is created by executive produced by Janice Burgess (Little Bill) and is executive-produced and directed by Robert Scull (Little Bill, Whoopi’s Littleburg).

Following the success of the CG special Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids, Nick Jr. has ordered 20 episodes and two specials of Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, produced by Nelvana. Based on the best-selling book series by children’s author David Kirk, the series stars Sex and the City‘s Kristin Davis as the voice of Miss Spider, who, along with hubby Holley and their Sunny Patch Kids, must get along with a hodge-podge of various creatures despite their differences.

Nick Jr. is also adding a series of five Blue’s Room specials, a literacy-based, live-action puppet spin-off of Blue’s Clues. In addition, Nickelodeon has ordered more episodes of The Fairly OddParents, All Grown Up, My Life as a Teenage Robot, ChalkZone and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.

Nickelodeon has also announced that The N, its nighttime network for tweens and teens, will become ad-supported beginning May 28. Featuring such shows as the animated Daria and live-action offerings Degrassi: The Next Generation, Radio Free Roscoe, Girls V. Boys, Just Deal and Clueless, The N has been a commercial-free, digital and satellite television network and website since its inception in April of 2002. It is slated to be in more than 41 million households by the fourth quarter 2004 and will initially be selling six minutes of advertising time per hour.