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Nickelodeon, Milkshake! add to schedules

Season two of It’s Pony will debut on Nickelodeon next year

Nickelodeon has renewed UK original It’s Pony and acquired two comedies from Xilam Animation, while fellow ViacomCBS-owned network Channel 5 in the UK is set to expand the programming slate of its preschool block Milkshake!.

Nickelodeon has greenlit a 20-episode second season of It’s Pony, which follows the comedic adventures of Annie and her best friend, who happens to be an enthusiastic, impulsive and carefree pony.

Season two will premiere in the UK in 2021, followed by a roll-out across Nickelodeon’s international markets.

Created by Ant Blades, It’s Pony is inspired by a short from Nickelodeon’s 2015 International Animated Shorts Program.

Meanwhile, Nickelodeon has agreed a global deal for shortform CGI series Athleticus (60×2’15”) and taken the exclusive pay TV rights to animated comedy Mr Magoo in the UK, where it launches on Nicktoons this week.

The deal for Athleticus covers exclusive pay TV rights to two seasons covering Asia Pacific, EMEA and Latin America.

The broadcaster has also acquired all TV rights to Athleticus in Benelux, Italy, Vietnam, Philippines and Argentina.

Targeting family audiences, Athleticus is produced by Xilam’s recently acquired CGI-studio Cube Creative and features wild animals taking part in competitive sports. The series is created and directed by Nicolas Deveaux.

Meanwhile, Channel 5 is set to further expand the content pipeline for its preschool programming block Milkshake! after putting forward development funding for craft show Pop Paper City.

The series is being produced by LoveLove Films and has also won development funding from the BFI’s Young Audiences Content Fund (YACF).

Channel 5 has also recommissioned Milkshake! Monkey’s Amazing Adventures and Milkshake! Bop-Box and acquired episodes of Fireman Sam.

The news was revealed earlier this week by Louise Bucknole, VP of kids’ programming at ViacomCBS Networks UK, at the virtual Children’s Media Conference.

It follows last year’s announcement that Channel 5 would be doubling its content investment in Milkshake!, taking production from 160 to over 300 episodes overall, resulting in 50 new UK originated hours per year from 2021.

In addition, it was announced earlier this week by the BFI that Channel 5 has commissioned Circle Square, Milo, Winnie & Wilbur and The World According To Grandpa with support from the YACF.

The six new Milkshake! shows that will be supported by the BFI’s YACF include three high-end animations (Winnie & Wilbur, Milo, Circle Square) and three live-action series (Mimi’s World, Meet the Experts and The World According to Grandpa), all airing from later in 2020 and into 2021.

The three live-action series will mark the first time drama has been commissioned for Milkshake! and the first live-action entertainment formats to have been ordered for the brand in over five years. The network said this highlighted one of the many benefits of the fund.

“Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, we’re in a strong position at Milkshake! and are beginning to see new creative formats coming to fruition, following the investment from Channel 5 and support from the BFI Young Audiences Content Fund,” said Bucknole.

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