Nick Cannon to Host 'Lip Sync Battle Shorties' for Nickelodeon

Nick Cannon football - Getty - H 2017
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Nickelodeon

Nick Cannon is doubling down on hosting duties.

The America's Got Talent alum has been tapped to emcee Lip Sync Battle Shorties for Nickelodeon, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Additionally, YouTube star JoJo Siwa will serve as Cannon's sidekick, helping provide commentary on the performances.

In each episode, three real-life kids personalize their performances by planning their own costumes, choreography, staging and, most important, songs. Each episode also features a special celebrity appearance, a final performance from all the kids and the Shorties Dance Crew, a 10-person, in-house backup crew who have mastered everything from break-dancing to ballroom dancing.

The spinoff originally premiered as a special in 2016, and has amassed more than 20 million views on Nickelodeon's YouTube channel. 

Lip Sync Battle Shorties will return with Halloween and holiday specials before the first 10-episode season launches in early 2018. Casey Patterson Entertainment, Matador Content and Eight Million Plus Productions produce the series, with Casey Patterson, Jay Peterson, John Krasinski and Stephen Merchant attached as executive producers.

Cannon's Lip Sync gig comes six months after his abrupt exit from his longtime gig hosting America's Got Talent. In February, the comedian said he would not return to the NBC reality competition for season 12 after he alleged executives at the network threatened to fire him over a racial joke he made in a Showtime stand-up special that aired the same month.

"I was to be punished for a joke. This has weighed heavy on my spirit. It was brought to my attention by my 'team' that NBC believed that I was in breach of contract because I had disparaged their brand," wrote Cannon on his Facebook page. "I find myself in a dark place having to make a decision that I wish I didn't have to, but as a man, an artist, and a voice for my community I will not be silenced, controlled or treated like a piece of property. There is no amount of money worth my dignity or my integrity."

Cannon was eventually replaced by Tyra Banks for season 12, which is currently airing on NBC. Cannon joins regular Lip Sync Battle host LL Cool J, who is joined by sidekick Chrissy Teigen on Spike (soon-to-be Paramount Network).

“I'm excited to host the first season of Lip Sync Battle Shorties.  It’s always a pleasure to work with my family at Nickelodeon," Cannon said. "It's going to be a lot of fun watching the kids lip-sync their favorite songs and perform like their favorites artists.” 

The hosting gig brings Cannon back to Nickelodeon, where he got his start alongside the likes of Kenan Thompson and Amanda Bynes on the channel's sketch show All That. Cannon also continues to host Wild 'n Out, which he also created, for Nickelodeon's sister cable network MTV.

“Nick Cannon grew up on Nickelodeon and into one of the best hosts and comedic actors on TV," said Patterson and Peterson about the comedian. "Along with his passion for music, he brings with him such an amazing understanding and enthusiasm for kid performers. We feel very lucky to have Nick at the helm of Shorties, we're ready to rock!” 

Added Nickelodeon live action and movies senior vp Bronwen O'Keefe: “With Nick Cannon at the helm, every episode of Lip Sync Battle Shorties will be an over-the-top Nickelodeon event, with real kids in the driver’s seat, battling head-to-head in the ultimate competition show."