Original Nicktoons logo

The original Nicktoons logo.

This article is about the cartoons themselves. For the cable channel, see Nicktoons (channel).

Nicktoons is a franchise of television cartoon shows that are produced by and aired on Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon had aired foreign-made animated films since its inception. It first experimented with its own animated programming in 1980, when the channel's first president Geraldine Laybourne commissioned a series with animated elements, Video Comic Book, and produced a fully-animated show titled Video Dream Theatre. The second series was left unaired when Laybourne did not receive the reaction she wanted from test audiences. Throughout the next decade, animated fare on Nickelodeon comprised mostly of reruns of older cartoons or more foreign series.

The idea for another attempt at original animated shows on the network began in the late 1980s. Starting in 1989, profits from other programs funded "Nicktoons", with the first three cartoons (Doug, Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show) aired on Sunday, August 11, 1991. This format was repeated every Sunday, eventually leading to the production of more Nicktoons at Nickelodeon Animation Studios. A spin-off channel named after Nicktoons was established on May 1, 2002.

Since 2002, the official slogan for the brand has been "Not just cartoons, they're Nicktoons."


Pinwheel, the first Nickelodeon series which began in 1977, was formatted as an hour-long program with two forms of segments: original content with its cast of puppet and human characters, and showcases of foreign-made short films. Many of these films were animated cartoons dating back to the 1950s. These were the first form of animated content on what would become Nickelodeon.[1]

For its first years, Nickelodeon continued to play foreign-made cartoons in a similar fashion as part of two anthology series called First Row Features and Special Delivery. In 1980, the channel aired its first original series that was not live-action: Video Comic Book. It could best be described as a "motion comic" that consisted of illustrated scenes with animated elements, like speech bubbles and moving backgrounds.[2]

Nickelodeon's first attempt at a fully-animated show occurred later in 1980, when Geraldine Laybourne produced test pilots for Video Dream Theatre. It holds the title of Nickelodeon's first true cartoon. However, it was left unaired when test audiences did not give the reactions Laybourne wanted.[3]

Throughout the 1980s, the amount of acquired animated shows increased on Nickelodeon, with reruns of cartoons and anime such as Bananaman, Danger Mouse, The Little Prince, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold.[4] Blocks dedicated to animated programming like Looney Tunes on Nickelodeon ran from the mid-1980s well into the late 1990s. When Nick Jr. premiered as a block in January 1988, much of its shows were imported cartoons.

Profits from Nickelodeon's expanding audience at the time helped it fund its own original cartoons: the first three "Nicktoons", Doug, Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show. Nickelodeon executive Vanessa Coffey discovered all three of these programs after traveling to Los Angeles in 1988. Her goal was to find "three projects that looked completely different" in order to counter the homogeneous, toy-centric cartoons of the 1980s.[5]

Throughout the 1990s, Nickelodeon continued with its "experimental" approach to animation. Hey Arnold! creator Craig Bartlett explained that the network gradually shifted away from creator-driven content during the later years of Herb Scannell's tenure as Nick president. In his opinion, the animation department "grew more and more corporate, and less like you had a personal touch."[6]

Nickelodeon's animation production studio was originally known as Games Animation, located in Studio City, California. In 1993, Nickelodeon approached Joe Murray to create its first fully original in-house series: Rocko's Modern Life.[7] In March 1998, the then-new Nickelodeon Animation Studio was opened in Burbank, California.[8] In September 1999, Nickelodeon opened a digital animation studio in Manhattan, which took over animation of Nick Jr. series such as Blue's Clues.[9]

In May 2002, Nicktoons TV, a sister channel named after Nicktoons, was created.

In 2016, Nickelodeon moved its animation facilities to a different building in Burbank that houses both animated and live-action properties.

List of Nicktoons

Current Nicktoons

The following Nicktoons are still in production.

Logo Title Premiere date Season(s) Episodes Co-production
SpongeBob SquarePants (2009 logo)
SpongeBob SquarePants May 1, 1999 12 234 United Plankton Pictures
The Loud House logo
The Loud House May 2, 2016 4 73[10] Jam Filled Entertainment
Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles July 20, 2018 1 26[11] Flying Bark Productions
Pink Malinky Logo
Pinky Malinky[12] January 1, 2019 2 28 Jam Filled Entertainment
The Casagrandes Logo
The Casagrandes October 14, 2019 1 26 Jam Filled Entertainment

Past Nicktoons

The following Nicktoons are no longer in production, although some of them may still air on some other channels.

Logo Title Premiere date End date Season(s) Episodes Co-productions
Doug logo
Doug August 11, 1991 January 2, 1994 4 52 Jumbo Pictures
Ellipse Programmé
Rugrats logo
Rugrats August 11, 1991 June 8, 2004 9 172 Klasky-Csupo
The Ren & Stimpy Show August 11, 1991 November 14, 1996 5 52 Spumco
Rocko's Modern Life logo
Rocko's Modern Life September 18, 1993 November 24, 1996 4 52 Joe Murray Productions
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters October 29, 1994 December 6, 1997 4 52 Klasky-Csupo
KaBlam! October 7, 1996 January 22, 2000 4 48 Flying Mallet Inc.
Hey Arnold!!
Hey Arnold! October 7, 1996 June 8, 2004 5 100 Snee-Oosh
The Angry Beavers April 19, 1997 November 11, 2001 4 63 Gunther-Wahl Productions
CatDog April 4, 1998 June 15, 2005 4 66 Peter Hannan Productions
1547765 373490af11 o
Oh Yeah! Cartoons July 17, 1998 May 26, 2001 3 34 Frederator Studios
The Wild Thornberrys September 1, 1998 June 11, 2004 5 92 Klasky-Csupo
Rocket Power logo
Rocket Power August 16, 1999 July 30, 2004 3 71 Anvision
Klasky Csupo
As Told by Ginger October 25, 2000 November 14, 2006 3 60 Klasky-Csupo
The Fairly OddParents March 30, 2001 July 26, 2017 10 161 Frederator Studios
Billionfold, Inc.
Invader Zim comic logo
Invader Zim March 30, 2001 August 19, 2006 2 27 N/A
Action League Now! title card
Action League Now! November 25, 2001 February 10, 2002 1 12 Chuckimation
Flying Mallet Inc.
Chalkzone = Logo
ChalkZone March 22, 2002 August 23, 2008 4 40 Frederator Studios
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius logo
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius July 20, 2002 November 25, 2006 3 61 O Entertainment
DNA Productions
Th agu logo
All Grown Up! April 12, 2003 August 17, 2008 5 55 Klasky-Csupo
Th teenagerobot logo
My Life as a Teenage Robot August 1, 2003 May 2, 2009 3 40 Frederator Studios
250px-Danny Phantom logo
Danny Phantom April 3, 2004 August 24, 2007 3 53 Billionfold, Inc.
300px-Avatar The Last Airbender logo.svg
Avatar: The Last Airbender February 21, 2005 July 19, 2008 3 61 DR Movie
JM Animation
MOI Animation
Catscratch Logo
Catscratch July 9, 2005 February 10, 2007 1 20 N/A
The X's Logo
The X's November 25, 2005 December 13, 2006 1 20 N/A
Mr Meaty Logo
Mr. Meaty September 22, 2006 May 23, 2009 2 20 3J's Productions
El Tigre The Adventures of Manny Rivera logo
El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera March 3, 2007 September 13, 2008 1 26 Mexopolis, Inc.
Tak and the Power of Juju August 31, 2007 January 24, 2009 1 26 THQ
Back at the Barnyard September 29, 2007 November 12, 2011 2 52 O Entertainment
The Mighty B! April 26, 2008 June 18, 2011 2 40 Paper Kite Productions
Polka Dot Pictures
Th-makingfiends logo
Making Fiends October 4, 2008 November 1, 2008 1 6 N/A
Th penguins logo
The Penguins of Madagascar November 29, 2008 December 19, 2015 3 149 DreamWorks Animation
2696733435 0ab97f8e8d z
Random! Cartoons December 6, 2008 August 14, 2009 1 13 Frederator Studios
Fanboy & Chum Chum October 12, 2009 July 12, 2014 2 52 Frederator Studios
Planet Sheen October 2, 2010 February 15, 2013 1 26 O Entertainment
T.U.F.F. Puppy October 2, 2010 April 4, 2015 3 60 Billionfold, Inc.
Winx Club Logo
Winx Club[13] June 27, 2011 April 10, 2016 7 182 Rainbow SpA
Kung Fu Panda - Legends of Awesomeness logo
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness September 19, 2011 June 29, 2016 3 80 DreamWorks Animation
The Legend of Korra logo
The Legend of Korra April 14, 2012 December 19, 2014 4 52 Ginormous Madman Productions
Studio Mir
Robot and Monster logo
Robot and Monster August 4, 2012 February 14, 2015[14] 1 26 Smasho! Productions
Lowbar Productions
Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles September 29, 2012 November 12, 2017 5 124 Lowbar Productions
220px-Monsters vs. Aliens logo
Monsters vs. Aliens March 23, 2013 February 8, 2014 1 26 DreamWorks Animation
Sanjay and Craig logo
Sanjay and Craig May 25, 2013 July 29, 2016 3 60 Forest City Rockers
Breadwinners February 17, 2014 September 12, 2016 2 40 N/A
Harvey Beaks Logo
Harvey Beaks March 28, 2015 December 29, 2017 2 52 N/A
Pig Goat Banana Cricket logo
Pig Goat Banana Cricket July 16, 2015 August 11, 2018 2 40 N/A
Bunsen Is a Beast logo
Bunsen Is a Beast January 16, 2017 February 10, 2018 1 26 Billionfold, Inc.
Welcome to the Wayne logo
Welcome to the Wayne[15] July 24, 2017 May 31, 2019 2 20 Yowza! Animation
The Adventures of Kid Danger
The Adventures of Kid Danger January 19, 2018 June 14, 2018 1 12 Powerhouse Animation
Schneider's Bakery

Future Nicktoons

Logo Title Premiere date Ref(s)
No Image
Pony October-December 2019
Wonder Park logo
Wonder Park 2020 [11]
No Image
Rugrats (2020 TV series) 2020 [16]
Glitch Techs New Logo (with Nickelodeon logo)
Glitch Techs 2020 [17][18]
No Image
Kamp Koral 2020
No Image
Man of the House TBA
No Image
Meet the Voxels TBA

Acquired shows

Please see Non-original shows broadcast by Nickelodeon for a list of cartoons that have aired on a Nick channel but were not produced by Nickelodeon.

Movies based on Nicktoons

Theatrical films

Image Title Release date Co-production Based on
The Rugrats Movie November 20, 1998 Paramount Pictures / Klasky Csupo Rugrats
Rugrats In Paris Poster
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie November 17, 2000
Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius film
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius December 21, 2001 Paramount Pictures / O Entertainment Jimmy Neutron
Hey arnold the movie xlg
Hey Arnold!: The Movie June 28, 2002 Paramount Pictures / Snee-Oosh / Nickelodeon Animation Studios Hey Arnold!
Wild thornberrys movie ver2
The Wild Thornberrys Movie December 20, 2002 Paramount Pictures / Klasky Csupo The Wild Thornberrys
Rugrats Go Wild Poster
Rugrats Go Wild June 13, 2003 Rugrats
The Wild Thornberrys
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie November 19, 2004 Paramount Pictures / United Plankton Pictures SpongeBob SquarePants
Barnyard ver2
Barnyard August 4, 2006 Paramount Pictures / O Entertainment Back at the Barnyard
The Last Airbender Poster
The Last Airbender July 1, 2010 Paramount Pictures / Blinding Edge Pictures Avatar: The Last Airbender
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water February 6, 2015 Paramount Pictures / Paramount Animation / United Plankton Pictures SpongeBob SquarePants

Upcoming theatrical films

Image Title Release date Co-production Based on Source
The SpongeBob Movie It's a Wonderful Sponge Comic-Con poster
The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge May 22, 2020 Paramount Pictures / Paramount Animation / United Plankton Pictures SpongeBob SquarePants [19]
No Image
Rugrats January 29, 2021 Paramount Pictures / Paramount Players Rugrats

Direct-to-video and made-for-TV films

Image Title Release date Co-production Based on
The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour Poster
Jimmy Timmy Power Hour May 7, 2004 O Entertainment / DNA Productions / Frederator Studios Jimmy Neutron and The Fairly OddParents
Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 2: When Nerds Collide! January 16, 2006
Jimmy Timmy Power Hour 3: The Jerkinators! July 21, 2006
TalesFromTheCrib SnowWhite DVD
Rugrats Tales from the Crib: Snow White September 17, 2005 Paramount Home Entertainment / Klasky Csupo Rugrats
TalesFromTheCrib JackAndTheBeanstalk DVD
Rugrats Tales from the Crib: Three Jacks and a Beanstalk September 5, 2006
A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! July 9, 2011 Pacific Bay Entertainment / Frederator Studios / Billionfold, Inc. The Fairly OddParents
A Fairly Odd Christmas poster
A Fairly Odd Christmas November 29, 2012
A Fairly Odd Summer August 2, 2014
TMNT Half-Shell Heroes Blast to the Past picture
Half-Shell Heroes: Blast to the Past November 22, 2015 Nickelodeon Animation Studios Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie November 24, 2017 Snee-Oosh Hey Arnold!

Television on net films

Image Title Release date Co-production Based on
Rocko’s Modern Life Static Cling poster 2
Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling August 9, 2019 Joe Murray Productions Rocko's Modern Life
Invader Zim Enter the Florpus 2019 poster
Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus August 16, 2019 Maven Animation Studio Invader Zim

Upcoming television on net films

Image Title Release date Co-production Based on Source
No Image
The Loud House Movie 2021 Jam Filled Entertainment The Loud House [20][21]
No Image
Untitled Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie TBA Flying Bark Productions Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles [20]


  • SpongeBob SquarePants currently holds the record for longest-running Nicktoon, which had previously been held by Rugrats, surpassing that show's run (in terms of number of episodes) when SpongeBob aired its 172nd episode on April 10, 2012. However, with two spin-offs, Rugrats still has the most shows featuring its characters.
    • The Rugrats Pre-School Daze miniseries holds the record for shortest-lived Nicktoon (18 days in the U.S. and just 5 in the United Kingdom) and the least amount of episodes (4).
  • The Fairly OddParents was the first Nicktoon to ever reach its 10th season, even before SpongeBob SquarePants, which was still in its ninth season, when the first episode of Season 10, "The Big Fairy Share Scare!" premiered.
  • The ninth season of SpongeBob SquarePants took almost five years to air all 26 episodes, lasting from July 21, 2012 to February 20, 2017. This is the longest time a single Nicktoon season has lasted on the main Nickelodeon channel.
  • Several Nicktoons have never finished airing on the main Nickelodeon network. As an example, two episodes of As Told by Ginger remain unaired in the United States as of 2019.
  • In North America, almost all Nicktoons are distributed on home video by Paramount, which has been a subsidiary of Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom since 1994.
  • Most Nicktoons are majority-produced in the United States with their final animation processes outsourced to service companies in Asia. Exceptions include:
    • The Nickelodeon episodes of Doug, co-produced with the French studio Ellipse Programmé.
    • The Nickelodeon episodes of Winx Club, co-produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio and their Italian sister company (through Viacom), Rainbow Group. Nick Animation handled script writing, voice recording, animation approval, and some of the music production while coordinating with the Italian team.
  • The Nicktoons brand also extends to other media, such as video games featuring the Nicktoon characters (including the Nicktoons Unite! series).

See also


  1. "Finding Ni Hao" (Pinwheel excerpt) (April 2008).
  2. Nickelodeon Nation: The History, Politics, and Economics of America's Only TV Channel for Kids (February 2004).
  3. The Washington Post: The kids' channel that 'Double Dares' to be different (September 25, 1988).
  4. Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship (2007).
  5. Nicktoons 25th anniversary oral history of Rugrats, Doug, Ren & Stimpy (August 11, 2016).
  6. Nickelodeon grew up and blew up in 1996 (August 9, 2016).
  7. Makin' Toons: Inside the Most Popular Animated TV Shows and Movies (2003).
  8. Studio Tour: Nicktoons (April 1998).
  9. David Kilmer (September 22, 1999). Nickelodeon opens animation studio in New York. Animation World Network.
  10. Welcome to our new series of crew profiles (November 18, 2015).
  11. 11.0 11.1 [ Nickelodeon Upfront 2017 – Nickandmore!].
  12. Produced at Nickelodeon Animation Studios; Distribution rights owned by streaming service Netflix.
  13. Script writing, animation approval, and voice recording done at Nickelodeon Animation Studio in co-production with sister company (through Viacom) Rainbow Srl. Sources:, show credits, Jonathan Foss, Morgan Decker, etc. Nickelodeon's packaging guide officially calls the show a Nicktoon.
  14. TheFutonCritic: Robot and Monster.
  15. Nick Greenlights ‘Welcome to the Wayne,’ First TV Series Based On Digital Series (April 23, 2015).
  16. 'Rugrats' Revived at Viacom With New Nickelodeon Series, Feature Film (July 16, 2018).
  17. Nickelodeon Picks Up Season Two of “The Loud House” & New Series “Glitch Techs”.
  18. Dan Milano on Twitter.
  19. Paramount Sets ‘SpongeBob 3’ for 2019, Delays ‘Monster Trucks’ to 2017 (November 10, 2015).
  20. 20.0 20.1 Nickelodeon Sets 'Loud House', 'Ninja Turtles' Animated Films at Netflix.
  21. 'Loud House' Ratings Drive Graphic Novel Sales
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