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[07/23/04 - 12:00 AM]
TCA Summer Press Tour: Nickelodeon
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- The cable portion of the TCA's summer press tour began on Wednesday in which the networks outlined their plans for the 2004-05 season and beyond.

Here's the breakdown of Nickelodeon's presentation (via press release):

Emma Roberts Makes Her Television Debut in New Nickelodeon Series Unfabulous Premiering Sunday, September 12, 8:00 p.m.

Live-action Series from Creator/Executive Producer Sue Rose Uses Music and Comedy to Explore the Real and Ideal of Teenage Life

LOS ANGELES, July 23 -- Thirteen-year-old Emma Roberts makes her television debut as Addie Singer, an awkwardly adorable teen who uses music to navigate day-to-day life and the ever-uncertain trials of adolescence in Nickelodeon's newest comedy series Unfabulous. Created and executive produced by Sue Rose (Angela Anaconda, Pepper Ann), Unfabulous will premiere in its regular timeslot on Sunday, September 12 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT) as part of an all new TEENick line-up.

"Emma Roberts brings this character to life with just the right balance of comedy, quirkiness and heart as Addie journeys down the bumpy road of adolescence," said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Television. "In a familiar mark of teenage life, Addie's pendulum swings back and forth everyday between being fabulous and being unfabulous as she tries to discover who she really is."

"Making Unfabulous with Nickelodeon and Emma Roberts is a dream project for me," said show creator/executive producer Sue Rose. "Nickelodeon is a leader in the tween live-action genre because they seek original voices and encourage innovative storytelling. And working with Emma is the icing on the cake. She's extremely talented, a doll and a joy to work with. Her honesty and charm add dimension to the character and bring a realness to the show."

Addie Singer is a quick-witted, self-aware 13-year-old who is just trying to get through junior high school one day at a time. She's a typical teen with one exception: her penchant for sometimes silly, but poignant song-writing. Her home-grown music helps her make sense of the unexpected, unwelcome, uncomfortable and sometimes unexplainable events that go hand-in-hand with adolescence. Joining her on the tumultuous journey to teenhood is her often outrageous best friend Geena and her offbeat, activist guy pal, Zach (Jordan Calloway). Her parents, Jeffrey (Markus Flanagan) and Sue (Molly Hagan) Singer, always stand by their daughter, though they often feel powerless to help her in her adolescent struggles. And her hunky, older brother Ben makes fitting in look like a piece of cake next to Addie's less than triumphant efforts to do the same. All of the music featured in the series will be written by singer/songwriter Jill Sobule (90s hits "Supermodel" and "I Kissed a Girl") and performed by Roberts.

Poised to join the ranks of young Hollywood, Roberts is the daughter of actor Eric Roberts and the niece of Julia Roberts. Already an accomplished film actress, she has been featured in several significant roles on the big screen. After nailing her very first acting audition, the late director Ted Demme cast her as the daughter of Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in New Line Cinema's 2001 box office hit Blow. Soon after, Roberts starred in the Sundance short film Big Love, also starring Sam Rockwell. She also will appear in a lead role opposite Joey Lauren Adams in Grand Champion, an independent feature film scheduled for release in summer 2004. Roberts also stars opposite Richard Kind (Spin City) in Miramax's Spymate, also scheduled for release in summer 2004.

Unfabulous marks Sue Rose's first partnership with Nickelodeon and her producing debut in live-action television. Prior to Unfabulous, Rose created and executive produced Disney's Pepper Ann, co-created, executive produced and voiced Angela Anaconda, and is co-creator of Fido Dido, the animated spokes-character for 7-Up International. For her outstanding work in television animation, Rose has been nominated for both Emmy and Annie Awards. Rose has been honored by such organizations as Girls Inc., First Americans in the Arts and Parents' Choice for her strong, female lead characters and quality programs.

Nickelodeon's two new fall series, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide and Unfabulous, launch back-to-back on Sunday, September 12 (7:30-8:30 p.m. ET/PT) in TEENick and round out the Sunday night live-action programming block's all-new lineup, book-ended by the hit comedy series Drake & Josh (7 p.m. ET/PT) and Romeo (8:30 p.m. ET/PT). Intertwining the series comprising TEENick are music, games and comedy segments, all hosted by deejay J-Boogie and co-hosted by kids' favorite stars of music, TV and movies.

Nickelodeon, which is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary this year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in 88 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than eight consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

All That's Jamie Lynn Spears to Star in New Nickelodeon Comedy Series Zoey 101

Spears' Spirited Zoey Brooks Tests the Waters at Newly Co-ed Boarding School in Show from Creator/Executive Producer Dan Schneider

LOS ANGELES, JULY 23 -- All That alumnus Jamie Lynn Spears stars as 13-year-old Zoey Brooks, a winsome leader whose independent nature is put to the test at the newly co-ed Pacific Coast Academy in Nickelodeon's new live-action comedy series, Zoey 101. The show, shot on location in Malibu, California, comes courtesy of creator/executive producer Dan Schneider's (All That, Drake & Josh) Schneider's Bakery. Zoey 101 will join Nickelodeon's popular Sunday night TEENick block beginning in early 2005.

"The subject of boys and girls is interesting to all pre-teens," said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Television. "Exploring the premise of what happens when girls show up at a formerly all boys boarding school is an exciting, innovative way to tell coming of age stories."

"Zoey 101 is a perfect vehicle to spotlight Jamie Lynn's talent as an actress," said creator/executive producer Dan Schneider. "Pacific Coast Academy (PCA) will be like a living fantasy school for kids. Both girls and boys will embrace Zoey's fun and adventurous spirit, and they'll want to follow her and her friends on this cool adventure. It's kind of like 13-year- olds going to this fun, magical college, living on their own, in charge of their own lives."

Excited, upbeat and anxious to be on her own, Zoey arrives at the elite beach-side boarding school that's steeped in male tradition and attended by her adoring 10-year-old brother Dustin (Paul Butcher). The young teen joins her trailblazing "sisters" at the newly co-ed school where she promptly makes friends with her bubbly roommate Nicole (Alexa Nickolas), the affable, equitable Chase (Sean Flynn, grandson of screen legend Errol Flynn) and Michael (Christopher Massey), Chase's outgoing, more grounded best friend. Among the dazzling California campus' tennis courts, pools and palm trees, though, are some students who resent the new co-ed contingent. In the episode premiere, athletic Zoey aims to make the basketball team, to the chagrin of loathsome boys like Logan (Matthew Underwood). In surprising and singular fashion she wins points with her peers, including her seemingly surly second roommate Dana (Kristin Hera), and enlists their help to meet their new challengers both on and off the court.

One of the newer members of the All That cast, Spears sealed her spot on the sketch comedy series after impressing executive producer Dan Schneider with her characterization of an 84-year-old female bodyguard, inspired by her own grandmother. Spears also appeared on the small screen with her older sister Britney in a Pepsi commercial and in concert, Britney Spears: Live from Las Vegas. Her feature credits include a role in the MTV Films/Paramount Pictures movie Crossroads.

Series creator/executive producer Dan Schneider headed Nickelodeon's All That sketch comedy series from 1994-98. He returned to All That as the show entered its seventh season and was instrumental in overseeing Spears' debut on the series in 2002. Over the years, Schneider has created, produced and written numerous Nickelodeon hits, including the series Kenan & Kel, The Amanda Show and the feature film Good Burger (Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies). Schneider created and produced last summer's Are You All That: Nickelodeon's Search for the Funniest Kid in America, which empowered kids to choose Nick's next series star and to walk away with a regular gig on All That. He is also executive producer/creator of the hit live-action comedy Drake & Josh, which premiered on Nickelodeon in January 2004. His recent credits also include creating and executive producing the WB series What I Like about You starring Amanda Bynes, which is currently beginning its third season. In addition, Schneider recently signed a deal with Warner Brothers to write a new movie titled Kiss The Bride Goodbye, which has been described as "Home Alone meets a wedding."

Nickelodeon, which is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary this year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in 88 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than eight consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

New Nickelodeon Comedy Series 'Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide' Premieres Sunday, September 12, 7:30 p.m.

'Every-Kid' Ned Shares Tips on Conquering Middle School Minefields in Back-to-Back Live-Action Comedic Adventures

Devon Werkheiser Takes Title Role; Lindsey Shaw and Daniel Curtis Lee Fill Out Motley Trio of Best Pals in Mold-Breaking Series from Scott Fellows

LOS ANGELES, July 23 -- Nickelodeon's new live-action comedy series Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide chronicles the wacky adventures of Ned Bigby (Devon Werkheiser) and his best pals Moze (Lindsey Shaw) and Cookie (Daniel Curtis Lee) at James K. Polk Middle School, as "every-kid" Ned shatters the fourth wall to share tips and tricks on navigating junior high hurdles. The series premieres in its regular time period in TEENick, Sunday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.

The insightful seventh grader aims to not only survive but thrive and have fun in this fast-paced show from executive producer/creator Scott Fellows (The Fairly OddParents, 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd) which breaks the live-action mold with two 11-minute back-to-back romps each week.

"Ned explores real situations with exaggerated solutions that allow kids to connect first and then laugh along as the ridiculous solutions unfold," says Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Television.

In creating the show, Fellows informs he filled it with "cartoony gags, the stuff I loved as a kid and the stuff kids still love. Cartoons move fast; they're funny and kids like to see them over and over like a favorite song. So I just borrowed the format and imagined a show I'd love to watch as an 8, 11 or 13-year-old. Since school is where it's at, at that age, all the stories take place there. And Ned creates a survival guide so future generations don't have to go through the trial, error and humiliation that he does."

Ned's not super cool, and he has no superpowers. He is, however, witty, well-groomed, upbeat and self-aware. Moreover, with more than a little help from his two best friends -- pretty, tall, confident Moze and self-proclaimed cyborg Cookie whose glasses are connected to a hard-drive - he's equipped to conquer middle school minefields. From crushing bullies to crushes, from off- the-wall, mean and cool teachers to pop quizzes, elections and detentions, Ned knows that nothing, including the seventh grade, is as bad as it seems, and friendship matters most. Sometimes his fantasies help get him through the day, and when he slips into a secret agent mode or a cartoon adventure, Moze, Cookie and TV viewers go along for the ride.

In the series premiere, Ned helps kids survive the "First Day" back to school, a daunting event that's chock full of change. Moze astounds best buds Ned and Cookie by secretly enrolling in an elective in order to cultivate a female friend for a change. In a desperate scheme to reunite the heretofore inseparable trio, the guys transfer from cooking to art and wind up in life science with nutty Mr. Monroe (Jim Bullock, Too Close for Comfort) as an "alternative couple" with a baby. Also, convinced his fluffy coat is a "chick magnet," Cookie refuses to shed it and suffers the consequences.

In the premiere's second segment, "Lockers," Smelly Timmy "Toot-Toot" drives locker neighbor Ned to seek another space for his stuff. Ned finally negotiates a deal through future lawyer Claire Sawyer to switch lockers with super-nerd Lisa Zemo who has 23% smelling capacity. Moze decorates her locker to attract girlfriends, but her competitiveness fuels a contest. Cookie can't get to class on time because of his "locker at the end of the universe," and he's even clocked down the corridor by sportscasters Van Earl Wright and Willie Gault.

Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide is a production of Nickelodeon and Jack Mackie Pictures.

Nickelodeon's two new fall series, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide and Unfabulous, launch back-to-back in TEENick - Sunday, September 12 (7:30-8:30 p.m. ET/PT) --and round out that Sunday night live-action programming block's all-new lineup, book-ended by the hit comedy series Drake & Josh (7 p.m. ET/PT) and Romeo (8:30 p.m. ET/PT). Intertwining the series comprising TEENick are music, games and comedy segments, all hosted by deejay J-Boogie and co-hosted by kids' favorite stars of music, TV and movies.

Nickelodeon, which is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary this year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in 88 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than eight consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.

Nickelodeon's 25th Anniversary Culminates with World's Biggest Playdate Ever for Kids

Nickelodeon to Host 'Worldwide Day of Play' Celebration Oct. 2, Including Unprecedented TV Blackout Encouraging Kids to Go Out and Play

Network to Pre-Empt Saturday Afternoon Schedule, Returning with Live On-Air Event and Global Activities Celebrating Importance of Active, Healthy Lifestyles

Global Event Part of Nickelodeon's Ongoing 'Let's Just Play' Campaign, Includes Grants Program, Multi-Media Content, Local Activities and Country-Wide Partnerships with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and National PTA

LOS ANGELES, July 23 -- Nickelodeon plans to celebrate 25 years of being on the air by going off the air for the first time in its history, on Saturday, Oct. 2, when the network will encourage kids globally to spend the afternoon playing on the first-ever Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play. As part of its commitment to being an ally and advocate for kids, Nickelodeon and its international channels are launching this multi-media, global event to promote healthy lifestyles and the importance of physical activity and play.

At 12 p.m. (all times ET/PT) on Oct. 2, Nickelodeon will go dark for three straight hours. After resuming its broadcast, the network will return with a roster of multi-media activities advancing the message of healthy living, including: a live, televised event in the United States; video updates from local Worldwide Day of Play celebrations being held everywhere from California to New York and around the world; and specially produced, fun and informative on-air and online healthy-living messages.

"Pre-empting programming on a Saturday is one part of our overall commitment to empower kids to get up, get moving and achieve a healthy life balance," said Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Television. "These on-air events and the Worldwide Day of Play itself are the next steps in our goal to help kids get the resources needed to live and learn about active, positive lifestyles."

Nickelodeon, which marked its 25th birthday this year, plans for the Worldwide Day of Play to be a multi-platform, multi-national campaign to include live events in its first year in the following countries and international territories: India, the Philippines, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and the United States. Additionally, online and on-air messaging promoting healthy lifestyles also will be available across Nickelodeon's international channels in Latin America (Nick Latin America) and the United Kingdom (Nick UK).

"The Worldwide Day of Play takes the pro-social work we've been doing with our 'Let's Just Play' campaign and puts it on a global platform," said Marva Smalls, Executive Vice President, Nickelodeon Public Affairs. "As part of our efforts to confront the obesity issue and to make a difference in kids' lives, the messages we're sending are designed to empower kids with information they can use to make better, healthier choices in their lives."

Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play U.S. On-Air Plan for Oct. 2:

From 12-3 p.m. on Oct. 2, Nickelodeon's air will be dark, pre-empting shows like Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, and Hey, Arnold!, with designed, full-screen billboards showing kids playing, the Worldwide Day of Play logo and health-related messages encouraging kids to "Go Play."

From 3-6 p.m., Nick will feature its regularly scheduled programming with kid favorites SpongeBob SquarePants and The Fairly OddParents, building up to a two-and-a-half hour special celebration from 6-8:30 p.m.

Beginning at 6 p.m., live interstitials from Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play events in Hollywood and in cities across the United States, and India, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Australia will wrap around a selection of Nicktoons, leading up to the 8 p.m. finale. Included in the interstitials will be ways for kids at home to be active while they're inside, as well as musical performances.

At 8 p.m., Nickelodeon will present the day's culminating live event which is physical competitions between teams made up of Nickelodeon stars, athletes, real kids and Olympic athletes, topped off with a musical performance. The competitions will be physical challenges, reminiscent of Nick's Double Dare meets Survivor. The on-air special will celebrate all of the kids who spent the day playing and pledged to make play a part of their lives.

Additional Multi-Media Content:

On Nick.com, kids can register and become an official player, make play pledges and download their official player number for the Worldwide Day of Play. Nick.com also will roll out new playful activities for kids each week throughout the summer. NickJr.com will provide parents with information on Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play events, offer easy activity ideas to get their kids playing and moving, and include a printable Play Pledge for families to track family participation in the campaign.

Nickelodeon Magazine features a "Words That Move" essay contest in the June/July issue; ideas for outdoor activities kids can do to fulfill their play pledges and get moving in the September and October issues; and extensive coverage for the Worldwide Day of Play and the winners of the "Words That Move" contest in the October issue. In addition, beginning in September, Nickelodeon Magazine will include a Health and Fitness page in every issue. Nick Jr. Family Magazine's upcoming issues will include suggested activities parents and kids can do together and information on the Worldwide Day of Play.

Nickelodeon's "Let's Just Play" Campaign:

The Nickelodeon Worldwide Day of Play is part of Nickelodeon's "Let's Just Play" campaign, which, now in its second year, is the network's pro-social grassroots campaign encouraging kids to engage in healthy, active lifestyles. In its first year, Let's Just Play, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, traveled to seven U.S. cities, where more than 50,000 kids collectively spent the day outside in a safe, healthy environment. Let's Just Play regularly employs Public Service Announcements-which have featured Denzel Washington, Hillary Duff, Clay Aiken, and Wade Robson, among others-community events, partnerships and grassroots efforts to reinforce the pure value of play and to challenge community infrastructures to support re-investment in recreational resources for kids.

This year's Let's Just Play campaign, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and first-time partner The National PTA, will travel to Fayetteville, AR; Syracuse, NY and Florence, SC. At each event, Nickelodeon will invite hundreds of kids and families to play in a local park or area, offering everything from traditional activities such as relay runs and wheel barrow races to Nickelodeon-themed "slime bucket brigades."

The Let's Just Play summer-long, on-air initiative kicked off with the "Players of the Week" campaign, where viewers are asked to send in videos and photos demonstrating their favorite ways to be active and play. Each week, Nickelodeon names a "Player of the Week" and airs his or her video or photo on-air. Nickelodeon also airs several Let's Just Play-inspired public service announcements and interstitial spots called "Your Sneakers Need You" and "Your Team Needs You" to reinforce that active play is an important way for kids to spend their leisure time.

"Let's Just Play" Grants Program:

Nickelodeon also announced the first call for entries in June for the newly established Let's Just Play grants program in the United States, which will offer awards to schools and after-school programs to help provide resources to create and expand opportunities for physical play. Elementary schools, middle schools and after-school programs across the country are eligible to enter the grants program by participating in the Worldwide Day of Play within their own local communities. Criteria for entries, step-by-step details about how to apply and other information is available on http://www.everythingnick.com.

Nickelodeon has a history of empowering kids through grassroots initiatives, beginning with the Peabody Award-winning "The Big Help," the network's first pro-social campaign. During its 10-year run, the program led to 50 million kids pledging 383 million volunteer hours to clean up community parks, help restore waterways, plant new trees and more.

Nickelodeon, which is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary this year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in more than 88 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than eight consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.





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