Nickelodeon (often shortened to Nick) is an American pay television channel which was first tested on December 1, 1977, before nationally launching on April 1, 1979 as the first cable channel for children. It is owned by ViacomCBS through its domestic networks division and its Nickelodeon Networks division. It is based in New York City. The network’s programming is primarily aimed at children and teenagers aged 2–17, while some of its program blocks target a broader family audience.
The channel was first tested in 1977 as part of QUBE, an early cable television system broadcast locally in Columbus, Ohio. QUBE’s Channel C-3 aired Pinwheel, an educational show developed by Vivian Horner. Pinwheel performed well with QUBE subscribers, and Horner sought to expand her program into a full channel on national television. The channel, now named Nickelodeon, launched to a new countrywide audience on April 1, 1979, with Pinwheel as its inaugural program. The network was initially commercial-free and remained without advertising until 1984. QUBE’s owner, Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, eventually sold Nickelodeon, along with its sister networks MTV and VH1, to Viacom in 1986.
Throughout its history, Nickelodeon has introduced sister channels and themed programming blocks. On January 4, 1988, Nickelodeon launched Nick Jr., a weekday-morning block aimed at preschool children. On August 11, 1991, the network introduced another flagship brand, the Nicktoons: original animated productions created specifically for the network. The Nicktoons brand would eventually evolve to introduce its own sister channel, launched in 2002. In 1999, Nickelodeon partnered with Sesame Workshop to create Noggin, an educational brand consisting of a cable channel and an interactive website. Two blocks aimed at a teenage audience, TEENick (previously on Nickelodeon) and The N (previously on Noggin) were merged into a standalone channel, TeenNick, in 2009.
As of September 2018, the channel is available to about 87.167 million households in the United States.
Main article: History of Nickelodeon
The channel’s name comes from the first five-cent movie theaters called nickelodeons. Its history dates back to December 1, 1977, when Warner Cable Communications launched the first two-way interactive cable system, QUBE, in Columbus, Ohio. The C-3 cable channel carried Pinwheel daily from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, and the channel was labelled “Pinwheel” on remote controllers, as it was the only program broadcast. Initially scheduled for a February 1979 launch, Nickelodeon launched on April 1, 1979, initially distributed to Warner Cable systems via satellite on the RCA Satcom-1 transponder (the owner of the satellite, RCA Americom, later became GE Americom as a result of General Electric’s acquisition of RCA Americom’s parent company, RCA Corporation, before merging with Luxembourg based Société Européenne des Satellites to form SES Global, now SES S.A, which one of the descendants of the Satcom series, the SES and AMC satellite constellations, stil operate, Nickelodeon presently broadcasts on AMC-11). Originally commercial-free, advertising was introduced in January 1984.
Main article: List of programs broadcast by Nickelodeon
Programming seen on Nickelodeon includes animated series (such as SpongeBob SquarePants, The Loud House, The Casagrandes, and It’s Pony), live-action, scripted series (such as Danger Force, Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan and All That), and original made-for-TV movies, while the network’s daytime schedule is dedicated to shows targeting preschoolers (such as Bubble Guppies, PAW Patrol, and Blue’s Clues & You!).
A re-occurring program was bi-monthly special editions of Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, a news magazine series aimed at children that debuted in 1992 as a weekly series and ended in 2015.
Main article: Nicktoons
Nicktoons is the branding for Nickelodeon’s original animated television series. Until 1991, the animated series that aired on Nickelodeon were largely imported from foreign countries, with some original animated specials that were also featured on the channel up to that point. Though the Nicktoons branding has seldom been used by the network itself since the 2002 launch of the channel of the same name, original animated series continue to make up a substantial portion of Nickelodeon’s lineup. Roughly 6 to 7 hours of these programs are seen on the weekday schedule, and around nine hours on weekends, including a dedicated weekend morning animation block.
In 2006, the channel struck a deal with DreamWorks Animation to develop the studio’s animated films into television series (such as The Penguins of Madagascar). Since the early 2010s, Nickelodeon Animation Studio has also produced series based on preexisting IP purchased by ViacomCBS, such as Winx Club and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Main article: List of Nickelodeon original films
Nickelodeon does not air theatrically released or direct-to-video movies on a regular basis; however, it does produce its own original made-for-TV movies, which usually premiere in weekend evening timeslots or on school holidays.
The channel occasionally airs feature films produced by the network’s Nickelodeon Movies film production division (whose films are distributed by sister company Paramount Pictures). Although the film division bears the Nickelodeon brand name, the channel does not have access to most of the movies produced by its film unit. Nickelodeon does have broadcast rights to most feature films based on or that served as the basis for original series produced by it (such as Barnyard: The Original Party Animals); the majority of the live-action feature films produced under the Nickelodeon Movies banner are licensed for broadcast by various free-to-air and pay television outlets within the United States other than Nickelodeon (although the network has aired a few live-action Nickelodeon Movies releases such as Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and Good Burger).
Nickelodeon also advertises hour-long episodes of its original series as movies; though the “TV movie” versions of Nickelodeon’s original series differ from traditional television films in that they have shorter running times (approximately 45 minutes, as opposed to 75–100 minute run times that most television movies have), and use a traditional multi-camera setup for regular episodes (unless the program is natively shot in the single-camera setup common of films) with some on-location filming. Nickelodeon also periodically acquires theatrically released feature films for broadcast on the channel including Universal’s Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, several Monster High films, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles Forever (which was later released by Nickelodeon Movies through Paramount for DVD release), with the Barbie and Monster High films usually aired under a brokered format in which Mattel purchases the time in order to promote the release of their films on DVD within a few days of the Nickelodeon premiere, an arrangement possible as Nickelodeon does not have to meet the Federal Communications Commission rules which disallow that arrangement for broadcast channels due to regulations disallowing paid programming to children.
The network’s main programming is usually broadcast from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays (the sign off time varies with holidays and special programming), Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific Time).
Nick Jr. – Nickelodeon currently programs shows targeted at preschool-age children on Monday through Fridays from 7:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time (7:00 to 10:00 a.m. during the summer months, other designated school break periods, and on national holidays). The block primarily targets audiences of preschool age as Nickelodeon’s usual audience of school-age children are in school during the block’s designated time period. Programs currently seen in this block include Blaze and the Monster Machines, Bubble Guppies, PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig, Ryan’s Mystery Playdate , Blue’s Clues & You! , and Santiago of the Seas.
Nick Saturday Nights – a primetime live-action block airing from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. It launched on September 22, 2012, as Gotta See Saturday Nights. Recent episodes of certain original series may air when no new episodes are scheduled to air that week. The schedule features All That, Tyler Perry’s Young Dylan, Danger Force, Nickelodeon’s Unfiltered and Group Chat (all first-run episodes are cycled on the schedule, giving it a variable schedule). Premieres of the network’s original made-for-TV movies also occasionally air during the primetime block, usually in the form of premiere showings.
SNICK – “SNICK” (short for “Saturday Night Nickelodeon”) was the network’s first dedicated Saturday primetime block that aired from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. Geared toward pre-teens and teenagers, it debuted on August 15, 1992 (with the initial lineup featuring two established series that originally aired on Sundays, Clarissa Explains It All and The Ren & Stimpy Show, and two new series, Roundhouse and Are You Afraid of the Dark?). The block mainly featured live-action series (primarily comedies), although it periodically featured animated series. SNICK was discontinued on January 29, 2005, and was replaced the following week (February 5, 2005) by a Saturday night edition of the TEENick block.
Nick in the Afternoon – “Nick in the Afternoon” was a daytime block that ran on weekday afternoons during the summer months from 1995 to 1997, and aired in an extended format until December for its final year in 1998. It was hosted by Stick Stickly, a Mr. Bill-like popsicle stick character (puppeteered by Rick Lyon and voiced by actor Paul Christie, who would later voice the Noggin mascot Moose A. Moose). The block was replaced for the summer of 1999 by “Henry and June’s Summer” (hosted by the animated hosts of the anthology series KaBlam!). The Stick Stickly character was later revived for “The ’90s Are All That” on TeenNick, which debuted in 2011.
U-Pick Live – “U-Pick Live” (originally branded as “U-Pick Friday” from 1999 to late 2000, and originally hosted by the Henry and June characters from KaBlam!) was a block that aired weekday afternoons from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time from October 14, 2002, to May 27, 2005, which was broadcast from studios in New York City’s Times Square district, where Nickelodeon is headquartered. Using a similar concept that originated in 1994 with the Nick in the Afternoon block, “U-Pick Live” allowed viewer interaction in selecting the programs (usually cartoons) that would air on the block via voting on the network’s website. The concept of user-chosen programming was later used as part of a Friday edition of TeenNick’s “The ’90s Are All That” block that ran in 2011.
TEENick – “TEENick” was a teen-oriented block that ran from March 6, 2001 to February 1, 2009, which ran on Sundays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time; a secondary block on Saturdays launched in 2004, taking over the 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time slot long held by SNICK. It was originally hosted by Nick Cannon, and then by Jason Everhart (aka “J. Boogie”). Beginning in January 2007, Noggin’s own teen-targeted block The N ran a spin-off block called “TEENick on The N.” The TEENick name, which was dropped on February 1, 2009, later became the name of the channel TeenNick on September 28, 2009.
ME:TV – “ME:TV” was a short-lived live hosted afternoon block that ran during the summer of 2007, which ran on weekday afternoons from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time.
Nick Studio 10 – “Nick Studio 10” was a short-lived late afternoon programming block that ran from February 18 to June 17, 2013, which ran weekdays from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. The block featured wraparound segments based on episodes of the network’s animated series, which were shown in an off-the-clock schedule due to the segments that aired following each program’s individual acts.
Guest appearance of mascots including characters from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, SpongeBob SquarePants and Paw Patrol from Nickelodeon during the Nickelodeon Slime Cup SG event held in City Square Mall, Singapore in July, 2017
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards – The Kids’ Choice Awards are a 90-minute-long annual live awards show held on the fourth Saturday night in March (formerly the first Saturday in April until 2008). The award show (whose winners are selected by Nickelodeon viewers though voting on the channel’s website and through text messaging) honors popular television series and movies, actors, athletes and music acts, with winners receiving a hollow orange blimp figurine (one of the logo outlines used for much of the network’s “splat logo” era from 1984 to 2009).
Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports – A spin-off of the Kids’ Choice Awards, “Kids Choice Sports” is held in July with the same KCA voting procedures and differing categories for team sports and athlete achievements for the previous year (featuring categories such as “Best Male Athlete”, “Best Female Athlete”, “King Of Swag”, and “Queen Of Swag”), along with the award featuring a sports-specific purple mohawk. Its inaugural ceremony aired on July 17, 2014, and originally suspended the international channels so people could only watch it on the main channel.
Nickelodeon HALO Awards – The HALO Awards features 5 ordinary teens who are Helping And Leading Others (HALO). Its inaugural ceremony aired on December 11, 2009. The awards show is hosted by Nick Cannon and airs on Nickelodeon and TeenNick every November/December.
Worldwide Day of Play – The “Worldwide Day of Play” is an annual event held on a Saturday afternoon in late September that began on October 2, 2004, to mark the conclusion of the “Let’s Just Play” campaign launched that year, which are both designed to influence kids to exercise and participate in outdoor activities; schools and educational organizations are also encouraged to host local events to promote activity among children during the event. Nickelodeon and its sister channels (except for the Pacific and Mountain Time Zone feeds and the Nick 2 Pacific feed that is distributed to the Eastern and Central Time Zones), some of the network’s international channels and associated websites are suspended (with a message encouraging viewers to participate in outdoor activities during the period) from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time on the day of the event. Since 2010, the Worldwide Day of Play event became part of The Big Help program, as part of an added focus on healthy lifestyles in addition to the program’s main focus on environmental issues.
Nickelodeon-produced blocks on broadcast networks
Nickelodeon en Telemundo – On November 9, 1998, Telemundo debuted a daily block of Spanish dubs of Nickelodeon’s series (such as Rugrats, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Hey Arnold!, Rocko’s Modern Life, KaBlam! and Blue’s Clues); the weekday edition of the block ran until September 5, 2000, when it was relegated to weekends in order to make room for the morning news program Hoy En El Mundo; Nickelodeon’s contract with Telemundo ended in November 2001, after the network was acquired by NBC.
The historical Nick on CBS logo used until its discontinuation in 2004.
Nick on CBS/Nick Jr. on CBS – On September 14, 2002, Nickelodeon began producing a two-hour Saturday morning block for CBS (which was co-owned with Nickelodeon at the time as a result of then-network parent Viacom’s 1999 acquisition of CBS) to comply with the Children’s Television Act. The block featured episodes of series such as As Told by Ginger, The Wild Thornberrys, Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, and Pelswick which debuted on most CBS stations. The block was retooled in 2004 as a preschool-oriented block featuring Nick Jr. shows (such as Blue’s Clues, Dora the Explorer, and Little Bill); “Nick Jr. on CBS” was replaced in September 2006 by the KOL Secret Slumber Party block (produced by DIC Entertainment, which was subsequently acquired by Cookie Jar), as a result of CBS and Viacom’s split into separate companies earlier that year.
Related networks and services
Nick at Nite
Main article: Nick at Nite
Nick at Nite (stylized as “nic[email protected]”) is Nickelodeon’s nighttime programming service, which debuted on July 1, 1985, and broadcasts Weekdays from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 6:00 a.m Eastern and Pacific Time.
Originally featuring classic sitcoms from the 1950s and 1960s such as The Donna Reed Show, Mr. Ed and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, programming eventually shifted towards repeats of popular sitcoms from the 1980s to the 2000s such as Home Improvement, The Cosby Show and Roseanne. Nick at Nite has also occasionally incorporates original scripted and competition series, with some in recent years being produced through its parent network’s Nickelodeon Productions unit. As of 2016, programs airing on Nick at Nite include Full House, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and George Lopez, as well as original series such as See Dad Run and Instant Mom. Since 2004, Nielsen has broken out the television ratings of Nick at Nite and Nickelodeon as two separate networks.
Current sister channels
Main article: Nicktoons (TV channel)
Nicktoons is a pay television network that launched on May 1, 2002, as Nicktoons TV; it was renamed Nicktoons in May 2003 and rebranded as Nicktoons Network in 2005 before reverting to its previous name in September 2009. The network airs a mix of newer live-action and animated shows from Nickelodeon (like Henry Danger, The Fairly OddParents, The Loud House, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles along with original series airing exclusively on Nicktoons).
Main article: Nick Jr.
Nick Jr. is a pay television network aimed primarily at children between 2 and 7 years of age, featuring a mix of current and some former preschool-oriented programs from Nickelodeon, and original series exclusive to the channel. It launched on September 28, 2009 as a spin-off of Nickelodeon’s long-running preschool programming block of the same name, which had aired since January 4, 1988.
The channel replaced Noggin, which was relaunched as a streaming service in 2015 and acts as a separate sister brand. Noggin’s programming is distinct from the Nick Jr. channel’s; it mainly carried pre-teen-oriented programs at its launch, and its 2015 streaming service features a variety of exclusive series. On October 1, 2012, the Nick Jr. network debuted NickMom, a four-hour nightly program block aimed at mothers. The block was controversial upon its launch due to its more lenient content standards (including some profanity, crude humor and suggestive references) than what is otherwise permitted on Nick Jr., particularly as the network operates a singular Eastern Time Zone feed, which resulted in the NickMom block airing at the same time in all six U.S. time zones (being broadcast as early as 5:00 p.m. in the Hawaii–Aleutian Time Zone). While traditional advertising appeared on the channel during the NickMom block, the network otherwise only runs programming promotions and underwriter-style sponsorships in lieu of regular commercials. The block was discontinued on September 30, 2015.
Main article: TeenNick
TeenNick is a pay television network that is aimed at adolescents and young adults, named after the TEENick block that aired on Nickelodeon from March 2001 to February 2009. The channel acts as a merger between the TEENick block and “The N” on Noggin. Although TeenNick has more relaxed program standards than the other Nickelodeon channels (save for Nick at Nite and the NickMom block on Nick Jr.) – allowing for moderate profanity, suggestive dialogue and some violent content – the network has shifted its lineup almost exclusively towards current and former Nickelodeon series (including some that are burned off due to low ratings on the flagship channel) that have stricter content standards. It also airs some acquired sitcoms and drama series.
Main article: NickRewind
On July 25, 2011, TeenNick began airing The ’90s Are All That, renamed The Splat in October 2015, a block of Nickelodeon’s most popular 1990s programming, targeting the network’s target demographic from that era.
Through several name changes, the block is now called “NickRewind” and focuses on programming from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s (even though the block mostly focus on the latter two), and airs nightly from 10PM to 6AM Eastern.
Main article: NickMusic
NickMusic is a pay television network in the United States mainly featuring music video and music-related programming from younger pop artists that appeal to Nickelodeon’s target audience. It launched on the channel space formerly held by MTV Hits on September 9, 2016.
Main article: TV Land
TV Land is a pay television channel that debuted on April 29, 1996 as “Nick at Nite’s TV Land”. Based on the Nick at Nite block, it originally aired classic television series from the early 1950s to the 1970s, but beginning in 2004, has broadened its programming inventory to include series from the 1980s and 1990s (and more recently, the 2000s). In 2008, TV Land began producing its own original series: originally these were reality series; however, the network ventured into scripted originals with the 2010 debut of Hot in Cleveland. On December 17, 2006, Viacom’s MTV Networks Kids & Family Group division took over operational responsibilities for TV Land from Nick at Nite (concurrent with Nickelodeon taking operational duties for Nick at Nite), though TV Land continues to be operated as part of the company’s Viacom Media Networks unit.
Former sister channels
Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids
Main article: Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids
Nickelodeon Games and Sports for Kids (commonly branded as Nickelodeon GAS or Nick GAS), was a pay television network that launched on March 1, 1999, as part of the suite of high-tier channels launched by MTV Networks. It ran a mix of game shows and other competition programs from Nickelodeon (essentially formatted as a children’s version of—and Viacom’s answer to—the Game Show Network). The channel formally ceased operations on December 31, 2007, and it was replaced by a short-lived 24-hour version of Noggin’s teen-oriented block The N. However, an automated loop of Nick GAS continued to be carried on Dish Network due to unknown factors until April 23, 2009.
Main article: NickMom
NickMom (stylized as nickmom) was a programming block launched on October 1, 2012, airing in the late night hours on Nick Jr. The block attempted original programming targeted towards young mothers until 2014, then began to carry acquired films and sitcoms, along with the 2010 version of the TV series Parenthood. Due to Viacom’s 2015 cutbacks involving acquired programming and low ratings, the NickMom block and associated website were discontinued in the early morning hours of September 28, 2015.
Nick 2 logo (2010).svg
Nick 2 was the off-air brand for a secondary timeshift channel of Nickelodeon formerly available on the high-tier packages exclusively on cable providers as a complement to the main Nickelodeon feed, repackaging Nickelodeon’s Eastern and Pacific Time Zone feeds for the appropriate time zone – the Pacific feed was distributed to the Eastern and Central Time Zones, and the Eastern feed was distributed to the Pacific and Mountain Time Zones – resulting in the difference in local airtimes for a particular program between two geographic locations being three hours at most, allowing viewers a second chance to watch a program after its initial airing on the Eastern Time Zone feed or to watch the show ahead of its airing on the Pacific Time Zone feed of the main channel (for example, the Nick at Nite block would respectively start at 9:00 p.m (Sundays-Fridays) & At 10:30 p.m (Saturdays) Eastern on Nick 2 Pacific or 12:00 p.m. (weekdays) 10:00 a.m (weekends) Pacific weeknights on Nick 2 Eastern). Nick 2 would never broadcast in high definition. The service existed from around 2000 until November 2018, launching as Nick TOO.
The timeshift channel was originally offered as part of the MTV Networks Digital Suite, a slate of channels exclusive to high-tier cable packages (many of the networks also earned satellite carriage over time), and was the only American example of two feeds of a non-premium service being provided to cable and IPTV providers. A Nick TOO logo was used on the channel until 2004, when MTV Networks decided to stop using customized branding on the feed (a logo for Nick 2 was only used for identification purposes on electronic program guides as a placeholder image); most television listings thus showed the additional channel under the brandings “Nickelodeon Pacific/NICKP” or “Nickelodeon Eastern/NICKE”.
DirecTV and Dish Network also offer both Nickelodeon feeds, though they carry both time zone feeds of most of the children’s networks that the providers offer by default.
Viacom Media Networks discontinued the Nick 2 digital cable service on November 22, 2018, likely due to video on demand options making timeshift channels for the most part superfluous. Both time zone feeds continue to be offered on Xfinity, unbranded.