Noggin, the N fill the long days after the split


Sister networks Noggin and the N, which share the same channel space, have completed programming plans to follow their split into separate, 24-hour networks at the end of the month.

Noggin, which is remaining commercial-free after the Dec. 31 split, will keep the channel space where it now airs from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. ET.

The N, which airs the other 12 hours of the day, will feature advertisements during the hours of 3 p.m.-3 a.m. only after it relocates to the channel space previously occupied by Nickelodeon Gas, which is becoming an online-only service for TurboNick.

To kick off the split, Noggin and the N will each air marathons on New Year's Eve. Noggin will air a primetime movie marathon from 6-11 p.m. Dec. 31, featuring the premiere of "Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure" as well as "Dora Saves the Mermaids," "Save the Wonder Pets!" and "Great Jaguar Rescue."

The N will kick off the split with "24 Reasons to Love the N in 2008," a 12-hour marathon premiering at noon Dec. 31 that will feature programs from the network's five-year history and a sneak peek at programming for 2008.

"Both brands will now have a little more room to spread their wings and serve their audience with a wider variety of programming," said Amy Friedman, senior vp original programming and development/creative director at the N.

Among the offerings from the preschooler-targeted Noggin, which becomes a stand-alone network at 6 p.m. ET Dec. 31, is "Pinky Dinky Doo," which has been greenlighted for a 26-episode second season. Based on the book series by Jim Jinkins, "Pinky" is Noggin's first original animated series dedicated to enhancing early literacy.

The channel also is set to premiere the 26-episode animated preschool series "Toot & Puddle," based on the books by Holly Hobbie, in fall 2008.

Meanwhile, teen-centric the N, which becomes a 24-hour network at 6 a.m. ET Dec. 31, has a slew of original and acquired scripted and unscripted programming lined up for 2008, including new reality series "Queen Bees" and "The N's Student Body" and new scripted comedy "The Assistants" (formerly "Interns").

To fill out its new daytime schedule, the N will air repeats of TEENick shows including "Kenan & Kel," "Unfabulous" and "Just Jordan." And the N has acquired all six seasons of "Saved by the Bell" and all eight seasons of "That '70s Show." "Bell" is set to premiere Jan. 14, and " '70s" debuts in June.

Other scripted premieres include "Degrassi: The Next Generation's" seventh season (8 p.m. Jan. 18); the return of "About a Girl" (8 p.m. Jan. 19); and "South of Nowhere's" fourth season (April). The N also is set to premiere in February "Degrassi in Kenya," a half-hour special documenting cast members building a new schoolhouse in the country.

While the N is getting a new logo, the overall programming philosophy is staying pretty much the same.

"We use the term 'electricity and possibility' of being a teen,'" Friedman said. "It's really about the electricity of the teen experience -- both the positive and the negative -- and also the possibility."

As for the new shows, "Queen Bees," premiering in July, is designed to "rehabilitate" mean girls. "Student Body," hosted by Laila Ali, deals with health and obesity issues among high school students. It debuts in August. "Assistants," premiering in October, takes a comedic look at four assistants working for a big-shot Hollywood producer.

"The N going 24 is a great opportunity to provide around-the-clock teen programming to our growing audience as we continue to roll out new series, specials and acquisitions," said Sarah Tomassi Lindman, the N's senior vp and GM.

The N also is beefing up its Web site, which will start hosting "viewing parties" on the day of the split.

Other programming now featured on Noggin includes the original series "Jack's Big Music Show," "Oobi" and "The Upside Down Show" as well as Bill Cosby's "Little Bill," "Franklin" and such Nick Jr. programs as "Dora the Explorer" and "Go, Diego, Go!"

"Noggin's expansion into a 24-hour network reinforces Nickelodeon's commitment to preschoolers and their caregivers, to be there whenever they need us," said Brown Johnson, executive vp, executive creative director, Nickelodeon Preschool, and general manager of Noggin.

Year-to-date, Noggin's viewership has grown by 7% in its core kids 2-5 demo compared with the same period a year ago, while the N's viewership in its target demo of persons 12-17 has grown by 10%.