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C21May iPad

Nickelodeon unboxes new slate

YouTube star Ryan of Ryan ToysReview

US children’s cable network Nickelodeon has unveiled a raft of new programming including an ‘unboxing’ series and a music-based show from Idol creator Simon Fuller.

Ryan’s Mystery Playdate has been created and produced by US-based pocket.watch and follows YouTube star Ryan, of unboxing channel Ryan ToysReview, plus his parents and animated friends Gus the Gummy Gator and Combo Panda.

The show sees them work together to tackle a series of imaginative physical challenges and unbox puzzles to reveal the identity of his mystery playdate.

Meanwhile, Fuller is working with songwriter Ryan Tedder on an as-yet-untitled scripted music series set in a boarding high school for the performing arts, with original music in every episode.

Nickelodeon is also bringing back family gameshow Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader, with new episodes to be hosted by John Cena who will also serve as an executive producer.

The quizzer, which tests adults’ knowledge with questions from elementary school curriculums, begins production in LA this spring with MGM and is slated to premiere later this year.

Also on the slate is hidden-camera prank show The Substitute, produced by The Intellectual Property Corporation, and America’s Most Musical Family (working title), a competition series from the same prodco that follows the nationwide search for the most talented family in America.

Anthology series Are You Afraid of the Dark? is also returning as a miniseries, following youngsters as they gather around a campfire in the woods to share scary stories. The miniseries will coincide with the forthcoming Are You Afraid of the Dark? theatrical movie from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Players and Nickelodeon Movies, which bows later this year.

Weekly sketch comedy show All That will also return, while Nick has also ordered one-hour special SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout to mark the 20th anniversary of the character.

A number of spin-offs are also in the works, focusing on the core characters, with new series, specials and feature-length movies being developed. A new SpongeBob SquarePants theatrical film, It’s A Wonderful Sponge, from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Movies, launches in 2020.

The programming joins existing shows such as the second season of Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a TV adaptation of the Paddington movies, announced yesterday.

The shows were unveiled by Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins, who put them into development after he took on the role in October. Programming will start debuting this summer.

“We have a laser focus on who kids are today and what they want, so we are making a wider variety of shows and series for them, and we’re working with brand-new kinds of talent and producers,” said Robbins.

“We have a new creative team in place and a renewed energy that we’re harnessing to bring the buzz back to Nick.

“Our vision for a new Nickelodeon is to fill up every screen, of every size, to make an impact on as many consumers as we can and to be at the forefront of conversation for today’s kids and families.”

Nick said the slate was for “today’s kids who are multicultural, family-focused and in control of their entertainment choices across platforms.”

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