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A television pilot (also known as a pilot or pilot episode) is a standalone episode of a television series that is used to sell the show to a television network. At the time of its creation, the pilot is meant to be the testing ground to gauge if a series will be successful, and is therefore a test episode of an intended television series. It is an early step in the development of a television series, much like pilot lights or pilot studies serve as precursors to the start of larger activity, or pilot holes prepare the way for larger holes. Television networks use pilots to discover whether an entertaining concept can be successfully realized. After seeing this sample of the proposed product, networks will then determine whether the expense of additional episodes is justified. They are best thought of as prototypes of the show that is to follow, because elements often change from pilot to series.

Listed here are the pilot episodes of television shows that were picked up by Nickelodeon. Since production dates for most pilots are unclear, the list is ordered by the full shows' premiere dates.

Pilot episodes

Nicktoon pilots

Image Series Pilot title Produced Notes
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Doug "Doug Can't Dance" 1990 Was aired as part of the second episode of the series, but is not the exact pilot, as some scenes and designs were changed and removed.
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Rugrats "Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing" 1990 Was never aired on television but the scene at the end where Tommy and Spike are watching TV was repurposed for a station ID. The full pilot was eventually included as a bonus feature on the Rugrats: Decade in Diapers - Volume 1 VHS and the Decade in Diapers DVD.
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The Ren & Stimpy Show "Big House Blues" August 10, 1990 Was later aired as part of the eighth episode of the series with some scenes cut out. Clips from this pilot made up all of the clips used in the intro sequence. The original version can be seen on The Ren and Stimpy Show: The First and Second Seasons DVD set.
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Rocko's Modern Life "Trash-O-Madness" October 29, 1992 Was later aired as part of the sixth episode of the series, with some new scenes added in. The original version was included as a bonus feature on the Rocko's Modern Life: Season 2 DVD set. And the Blue's Clues: Blue's Safari VHS.
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Aaahh!!! Real Monsters "Monsters, Get Real" 1994 Was aired and expanded as part of the show's second episode.
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Hey Arnold! "Arnold" 1994 Originally made in 1994, this pilot was shown in theaters in front of Harriet the Spy. It was remade as the episode "24 Hours to Live", and some clips were also used in the Helga montage at the end of "Stuck in a Tree". The original version was included as a bonus feature on the Hey Arnold!: The Ultimate Collection DVD set.
Snowbound title card.jpg The Angry Beavers "Snowbound" September 24, 1994 The pilot has been uploaded online.
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CatDog "Dog Gone" April 4, 1998 Was aired as part of the first episode of the series.
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The Wild Thornberrys Untitled 1998 Was aired once, during the Big Help-a-thon in 1998 (video here). It has never been released on video.
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SpongeBob SquarePants "Help Wanted" 1997 Later aired as part of the first episode of the series. The opening was completely different from the final one, featuring an "action theme" soundtrack, composed by Brad Carow.
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Rocket Power "Rocket Beach" 1998 Clips from this pilot were prominently used in the show's first opening sequence.
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As Told by Ginger "The Party" 1998 Was included as a bonus feature on the As Told by Ginger: Far From Home DVD, and eventually aired on TeenNick's The Splat on October 9, 2015.
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ChalkZone "ChalkZone" July 19, 1998 Originally aired as part of the first episode of Oh Yeah! Cartoons. It was later integrated into the first episode of the ChalkZone series, "Rudy's First Adventure".
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The Fairly OddParents "The Fairly OddParents!" September 4, 1998 Originally aired as part of an episode of Oh Yeah! Cartoons. It was later aired as part of an episode of the series itself, with Timmy's lines redubbed by Tara Strong. The original version was included as a bonus feature on The Fairly OddParents: School's Out! The Musical DVD.
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The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius "Runaway Rocketboy!" September 7, 1998 Was included as a bonus feature on The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Confusion Fusion DVD.
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Invader Zim Untitled December 24, 1999 Was included as a bonus feature on the Invader Zim: Volume 1 - Doom Doom Doom DVD set, and eventually aired on NickToons on December 24, 2011.
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My Life as a Teenage Robot "My Neighbor was a Teenage Robot" January 5, 1999 Originally aired as part of an episode of Oh Yeah! Cartoons. It was later remade as the series' first episode, "It Came From Next Door".
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Back at the Barnyard "The Barnyard" 2000 A test pitch that has not been fully released. Parts of the animation were used in the first teaser trailer for the Barnyard movie.[1][2]
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Avatar: The Last Airbender Untitled 2002 Was included on the Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Complete Book 1: Water Collection DVD set, with an audio commentary by creators by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The pilot was also made available for purchase with and without the commentary on iTunes.
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Catscratch Rough Draft 2004 A reel of test animations has been uploaded to Doug TenNapel's YouTube channel.
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El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera "A Fistful of Nickels" 2008 Was aired as the first segment of the 18th episode of the series.
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Tak and the Power of Juju Untitled 2007 The pilot was uploaded on YouTube in 2014 (video here)
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The Mighty B! "So Happy Together" 2008 Later aired as part of the first episode of the series. During the production of this pilot, the show was called SuperScout (see the pilot's model sheet).
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Fanboy & Chum Chum "Fanboy" August 14, 2009 Was originally aired as part of an episode of Random! Cartoons.
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Planet Sheen "Red Acres" 2010 A pilot script has been confirmed by DNA Productions' Mike Gasaway here along with some concept art. "Red Acres" was pitched to several networks before eventually being retooled with Sheen as the protagonist (but with otherwise the same concept). Ego Plum, who later composed all of the music for Harvey Beaks, wrote several unused songs for the Planet Sheen pilot.[3]
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Winx Club "Magic Bloom" 2001 Rainbow-Viacom released half a minute of footage at the Lucca Comics convention in 2018. Originally completed around 2001.

According to casting director Steve Maisel here, there was a separate Winx Club pilot produced by Nickelodeon in November 2010. It is unknown if he was referring to the first Nickelodeon special or something different.
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Robot and Monster "Robot and Monster: Best Friends Forever" 2009 The pilot was greenlit in 2009,[4] following a long development period.
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Sanjay and Craig Untitled January 2011 A clip of the pilot was posted by Jim Dirschberger here.
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Breadwinners "Breadwinners" 2012 Has never aired as an episode of the series, but was uploaded to YouTube.
PIG GOAT BANANA MANTIS title card.png Pig Goat Banana Cricket "Pig Goat Banana Mantis" August 13, 2012 The pilot premiered is available to watch on YouTube on Nick Cross' channel.
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Harvey Beaks "Bad Seeds" 2013 Was later remade as the show's first episode, "Pe-Choo!"
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The Loud House "Bathroom Break!!" 2013 Originally titled "The Loud House" and produced as part of 2013's Animated Shorts Program. It was later featured on Nick.com with its current title.
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Bunsen is a Beast Untitled 2016 A clip of the pilot has been released on Butch Hartman's YouTube channel.
WTTW Chapter 1.png Welcome to the Wayne "Chapter 1" 2014 A web short uploaded to Nick.com on November 14, 2014.
Pinky Malinky Pilot.jpg Pinky Malinky "Pilot" 2009 This pilot was produced by Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe in 2009, and it was released as part of Cartoon Network's shorts program. The series was eventually picked up by Nickelodeon and Netflix.
It’s Pony Untitled Pilot.png It's Pony Pilot February 4 2018
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Glitch Techs The Beginning August 12, 2018 A small clip of the pilot was from Animation Magazine.

TeenNick pilots

Image Series Pilot title Aired Notes
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Are You Afraid of the Dark? "The Tale of the Twisted Claw" October 25, 1991 Later aired as the fourth episode of the series.
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Drake & Josh "Pilot" 2004 Was aired as the first episode of the series. An earlier version of the episode was filmed in 2001, with Stephen Furst playing Walter Nichols instead of Jonathan Goldstein.
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iCarly "iPilot" 2007 Was aired as the first episode of the series.

Nick Jr. pilots

Image Series Name Notes
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Blue's Clues "Blue Prints" Clips of this pilot were shown as part of the Behind the Clues: 10 Years with Blue documentary as well as Nick Jr.‘s Twitter account, but the full pilot has not been released.
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Dora the Explorer "Beaches"  Was aired as the fourth episode of the show. A clip of this pilot has been uploaded by Funline Animation.
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The Backyardigans "Me and My Friends" A short clip of this live-action pilot, filmed in 1998, was featured in a Nickelodeon Studios Orlando retrospective.
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"Nick Digital Pilot" A clip of this pilot has been uploaded as part of an animator's demo reel.
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Wonder Pets! "Linny the Guinea Pig in Space" This was the first short of "Linny the Guinea Pig" interstitial shorts that eventually became the Wonder Pets! series.
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"Linny the Guinea Pig Under the Ocean" This was the second short of "Linny the Guinea Pig" interstitial shorts that eventually became the Wonder Pets! series. This short, along with "Linny the Guinea Pig in Space", was first released in the 2004 issue of the Dora the Explorer DVD, Egg Hunt.
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Ni-Hao, Kai-Lan "Downward Doghouse" Most of the characters remained the same between series minus some design changes. Three episodes of the short series are known to exist ("Follow That Slipper", "Where's Hoho?", and "Dragon Dance"). Of these three, "Dragon Dance" has been found and can be viewed below. Promotional screenshots using the Downward Doghouse designs are available on the Internet. Some storyboards for an episode featuring Rintoo, and using the final designs from Ni Hao, Kai-Lan, but still using the "Downward Doghouse" title have also surfaced.
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Team Umizoomi "The Umizumiz" The shows idea was thought up of in 2006 and the pilot was completed in 2008. The full pilot was never released or has never surfaced the internet but some bits of the pilot can be found in the character animation reel for Jumping Tadpole. (video here)
Dora-s-Explorer-Girls-Our-First-Concert-Pilot.jpg
Dora and Friends: Into the City! "Dora's Explorer Girls: Our First Concert" This stand-alone special aired in 2011, serving as the pilot for the spinoff years later. The pilot was later released on DVD on May 25, 2012.
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Blaze and the Monster Machines "Untitled" This pilot was never aired, but was developed around 2012. Nothing is really known about this pilot, but around this time the show was basically about an eight-year-old boy named AJ, and his incredible monster truck Blaze, and their friend, a girl named Maddie, fighting their arch nemesis Crusher along with a fleet of other trucks. https://deadline.com/2012/08/nickelodeon-announces-new-series-pilots-312957/
Fresh Beat Band of Spies Nickelodeon Preschool Nick Jr Pilot.jpg
Fresh Beat Band of Spies Pilot This pilot has aired on television in 2010 and has been uploaded here. The pilot was later aired as the first episode of the show.
Shimmer and Zac Rough Designs 2013.jpg
Shimmer and Shine "Pilot" The pilot episode of Shimmer and Shine was produced from January to November 2013. The show itself had begun production three years prior in 2010. The pilot, which was screened exclusively at Nickelodeon Animation Studio, was never shown on television. All six main characters appeared in the pilot. An official logline or plot outline for the pilot has not been released.

Noggin/The N pilots

Image Series Notes
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Sponk! A pilot concept was shown to Noggin LLC in 1999.[5] It may have been test footage rather than a full episode.
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O'Grady Eight two-minute webisodes were made before Noggin LLC bought the idea for the show.
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The Upside Down Show Nickelodeon screened the pilot at the MIPTV event in April 2005. The pilot used a different set and different costumes for the hosts. Puppet was a purple humanoid creature at the time. The story of the pilot was rewritten and used for the eighth episode, "Beach."
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Jack's Big Music Show A pilot (just called "Jack's Big Show" at the time) was made in 2003. In the pilot, the character Mary was voiced by Cathy Richardson instead of Alice Dinnean.[6] Laurie Berkner also appeared.[7] No footage or images have been found.

Backdoor pilots

A backdoor pilot is an episode of an already existing series, in which the focus is given to a different set of characters, as a way of introducing the audience to the main cast of a possible spin-off.

Image Episode Spun off into Notes
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Rugrats: "All Growed Up" All Grown Up! Originally produced as a special hour-length episode in the seventh season of Rugrats to commemorate the show's tenth anniversary.
The Blue Puppy.png Blue's Clues: "The Legend of the Blue Puppy" Blue's Room Originally aired as a full-length half-hour episode in the sixth season of Blue's Clues. The segments are what the series is set from.
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Rugrats: "Pre-School Daze" Rugrats Pre-School Daze Originally aired as a full-length half-hour episode in the eighth season of Rugrats.
The Loudest Mission - Relative Chaos.png The Loud House: "The Loudest Mission: Relative Chaos" The Casagrandes Originally aired as a full-length half-hour episode in the second season of The Loud House.
3rdFilm OpenScenes 41.png The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years Originally released as the third movie of SpongeBob SquarePants. The flashback scenes are what the series is set from.

References

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