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A tunnel of slime bringing talent onstage on a conveyor belt. Stars sliding down a giant slide. Podiums that shoot confetti and blow orange smoke.
Those are just some of the new elements of the stage at this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards, which airs live from 8-10 p.m. Saturday on Nickelodeon.
The concept for this year’s design is that kids will be taking over the set, making it the first time in the show’s 30-year history that kids will be part of the set and scenery. Other fun elements of the set, which incorporated LED video, will see a large hydraulic arm lifting up from the stage floor, and a secret section of the stage will rise 12 feet and shoot slime.
The Hollywood Reporter got a first look at the stage (above) and asked executive producer Jay Schmalholz (who also serves as Nickeodeon’s senior vp unscripted development and live events) a few questions about what viewers can expect this year.
What was the inspiration behind this year’s design?
Kids and the element of surprise are always key factors in designing the Kids’ Choice Awards sets. This year, we are incorporating many new surprises, including conveyer belts, new dance moves, slime fountains, slides and other top secrets we can’t reveal. What sets this show apart from others is that we are able to make the set a gigantic play space for kids by tapping into their imagination. We have to think like kids because that’s where we get our inspiration.
This is the first time in which kids are part of the set and scenery. What does that entail?
One thing that is always important to us is to incorporate real kids and make them the stars of the show by giving them the best seat in the house. This year, we have a living set, which means that real kids are built into towers and will be incorporated into performances and the special moments in the show, creating the ultimate party atmosphere.
How many gallons of slime are you using this year?
There’s nothing better than thinking about ways to deliver slime, surprising celebrities and wowing the crowd. We work all year-round to develop new sliming techniques, so it’s less about volume and more about how we deliver the slime. When you come to the show, it’s always about anticipation and hoping that you may be the one who gets slimed.
I know the slime recipe is a closely guarded secret, but has it changed this year (or over the years)?
Yes, the slime recipe is always evolving. In fact, slime has become a global phenomenon. Kids are making it at home everywhere, which is awesome. But what makes it unique for us is how we deliver it. And for Nickelodeon, to be slimed has become a rite of passage for kids and celebs everywhere.
There are lots of cool new details this year, like the tunnel of slime, hydraulic arm and confetti-shooting podiums. How do you and the team come up with these features every year? Is there a lot of pressure to outdo yourselves from year to year?
One of my favorite parts of the job is working with the best special effects teams, set designers and slime specialists to deliver great, surprising, unsuspecting moments for kids. We do a lot of research and testing at a slime lab, where we test the most outrageous ways to douse celebs and kids.
Having celebrities enter the stage on a slide or through a tunnel of slime on a conveyor belt are fun new features. Were you worried that it might be hard convincing stars to use those? Has it been easy so far?
All the celebrities who come to the Kids’ Choice Awards are really excited about kids, slime and being among the excitement. They know the show is always unpredictable, and they also know what to expect. The Hollywood community loves being a part of this show. It’s unlike any other and easily the most fun awards show on television for kids and their families.
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