5:31am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Two Spinoffs, Animated Pilot From 'SpongeBob' Scribe Part of Ambitious Nickelodeon Slate
Nickelodeon has pulled back the curtain on its plans for 2013 and beyond, greenlighting a number of series and pilots from the creative teams behind Frasier, Reba, SpongeBob SquarePants, iCarly and Victorious.
As the children's-themed network prepares to launch live-action comedy See Dad Run with Scott Baio and the animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the fall, it handed out orders to four live-action series and five pilots. In addition, Nick on Friday picked up three animated series and two animated pilots.
The assorted entries hail from both new and established creators, with spinoffs from Dan Schneider's iCarly and Victorious among them. For his part, iCarly co-star Noah Munck will have his hand in three of the new installments.
The ambitious push comes as Nickelodeon attempts to remain competitive in an increasingly crowded landscape where outlets including Netflix and the Internet are among the rivals. For the first time in 16 years, Nick's top competitor, Disney Channel, ended 2011 as the No. 1 kids network.
Here's a look at Nick's upcoming slate:
Wendell and Vinnie (Nick at Nite series): iCarly’s Jerry Trainor stars as Vinnie, a lovable goofball uncle who becomes the guardian to his buttoned-up 12-year-old nephew Wendell (Buddy Handleson, Shake It Up). Nicole Sullivan (The King of Queens, The Penguins of Madagascar) also stars as Vinnie’s high-strung older sister Wilma. The comedy series, greenlighted for 20 episodes, was written by Jay Kogen (Frasier, George Lopez) and will be executive produced by Aaron Kaplan (GCB, Terra Nova).
You Gotta See This (Nickelodeon series): Nickelodeon combines the best of the web, behind-the-scenes footage, celebrity interviews, pranks and bloopers in its new show premiering in the fall. Hosted by Chris O’Neal and Noah Crawford (How to Rock), the half-hour series rolls all the must-see clips of the week into one package. Nickelodeon is in production on this 20-episode series in Los Angeles.
Swindle (Nickelodeon movie/working title): An original TV movie with daring heists, crazy disguises, pie fights and sumo wrestlers, featuring an ensemble cast of Nickelodeon stars. When an evil collector cons Griffin out of a million-dollar baseball card that could have saved his best friend’s home, he unites a ragtag group of his classmates who need to work as a team to take down the swindler. Swindle is based on a popular children’s book by Gordon Korman. Production will commence this fall in Vancouver.
Nicky Deuce (Nickelodeon movie/working title): Based on a popular children’s book by The Sopranos’ Steve Schirripa and Charles Fleming, Nicky Deuce stars iCarly’s Munck as Nicholas Borelli II, a nerdy, over-protected teen who transforms into the title character. Nicholas gets caught in the adventure of a lifetime when he spends the summer with an uncle he never knew he had. Production begins in the summer in Montreal.
Sam & Cat (Nickelodeon pilot/working title): In the comedic spinoff from iCarly and Victorious creator Schneider, feisty Sam Puckett (Jennette McCurdy) and daffy Cat Valentine (Ariana 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.
Gibby (Nickelodeon pilot/working title): Munck reprises his role as Gibby in the spinoff from iCarly creator Schneider. In the comedy pilot, Gibby takes a job at The Bixby, a recreational center where kids of all ages hang out, socialize, play sports and take unique classes. Gibby becomes a mentor to four quirky middle-schoolers, helping them break out of their shells and embrace life in true “Gibbehhh” style.
The Haunted Hathaways (Nickelodeon pilot/working title): Life in the Big Easy gets a little more complicated and way more spirited when the Hathaway siblings move into a house occupied by a family of ghosts. The pilot is written by Robert Peacock, who served as writer-producer on several series including Reba, Blue Collar TV and Coupling.
The Thundermans (Nickelodeon pilot/working title): Written by Jed Spingarn, the series follows 13-year-old Phoebe Thunderman, who just wants to be normal -- but that’s impossible when she comes from a family of superheroes. While most superheroes are lucky to have one power, Phoebe happens to have 12. A longtime producer for Nickelodeon, Spingarn most recently served as co-executive producer of Big Time Rush. Prior to that, he was a producer on Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and Johnny Bravo.
Instant Mom (Nick at Nite pilot/working title): Instant Mom centers on a 25-year-old party girl who trades in Cosmos for carpools when she marries an older man with kids. The project is executive produced by Aaron Kaplan (GCB, Terra Nova) with Warren Bell (Ellen, According to Jim, What I Like About You) and Jessica Butler (According to Jim, In Plain Sight) serving as writers/executive producers.
Sanjay & Craig (Nickelodeon series): A classic tale of boy meets snake, this 20-episode, 2D-animated series follows two best buds who dedicate their lives to becoming the coolest, most rebellious dudes in the neighborhood. Sanjay & Craig is created by Jim Dirschberger, Jay Howell and Andreas Trolf and executive produced by Nick alumni Will McRobb and Chris Viscardi (The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Alvin and the Chipmunks).
Monsters vs. Aliens (Nickelodeon series): An extension of the 2009 movie, the CG-animated series features the lovable monsters and a whole new group of nefarious aliens living and working together at Area 50-something. Greenlighted for 26 episodes, the series will be executive produced by Bob Schooley, Mark McCorkle and Brett Haaland (The Penguins of Madagascar).
Monty and Norville (Nickelodeon preschool series/working title): The series follows the adventures of a 5-year-old troll named Monty and his dragon friend Norville. With the help of viewers at home, Monty can use his magic stick to make incredible things happen as long as he uses the right words. The new 26-episode series, created by Adam Peltzman (head writer of Blue’s Clues, The Backyardigans), will introduce a literacy curriculum to Nickelodeon’s preschool audience.
Bad Seeds (Nickelodeon pilot): From Chowder creator and SpongeBob SquarePants alumnus Carl Greenblatt, Bad Seeds is about a good bird running with the bad crowd -- and having a great time.
Blaze and the Monster Machines (Nickelodeon preschool pilot/working title): The CG-animated, interactive program revolves around an 8-year-old boy named AJ and his incredible monster truck Blaze. AJ, Blaze and their friend Maddie fight their archnemesis Crusher along with a fleet of other trucks. The series features a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum and is created by Jeff Borkin (head writer of Team Umizoomi, Little Einsteins) and Ellen Martin (producer of Bubble Guppies, The Backyardigans).