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.
The official slogan for the brand (since 2002) was "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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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."
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. In March 1998, the then-new Nickelodeon Animation Studio was opened in Burbank, California. In September 1999, Nickelodeon opened a digital animation studio in Manhattan, which took over animation of Nick Jr. series such as Blue's Clues.
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
The following Nicktoons are still in production.
|SpongeBob SquarePants||May 1, 1999||12||234||United Plankton Pictures|
|The Loud House||May 2, 2016||4||73||Jam Filled Entertainment|
|Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||July 20, 2018||1||26||Flying Bark Productions|
|Pinky Malinky||January 1, 2019||2||28||Jam Filled Entertainment|
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||August 11, 1991||January 2, 1994||4||52|| Jumbo Pictures|
|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||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!||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|
|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||August 16, 1999||July 30, 2004||3||71|| Anvision|
|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|
|Invader Zim||March 30, 2001||August 19, 2006||2||27||N/A|
|Action League Now!||November 25, 2001||February 10, 2002||1||12|| Chuckimation|
Flying Mallet Inc.
|ChalkZone||March 22, 2002||August 23, 2008||4||40||Frederator Studios|
|The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius||July 20, 2002||November 25, 2006||3||61|| O Entertainment|
|All Grown Up!||April 12, 2003||August 17, 2008||5||55||Klasky-Csupo|
|My Life as a Teenage Robot||August 1, 2003||May 2, 2009||3||40||Frederator Studios|
|Danny Phantom||April 3, 2004||August 24, 2007||3||53||Billionfold, Inc.|
|Avatar: The Last Airbender||February 21, 2005||July 19, 2008||3||61|| DR Movie|
|Catscratch||July 9, 2005||February 10, 2007||1||20||N/A|
|The X's||November 25, 2005||December 13, 2006||1||20||N/A|
|Mr. Meaty||September 22, 2006||May 23, 2009||2||20||3J's Productions|
|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
|Making Fiends||October 4, 2008||November 1, 2008||1||6||N/A|
|Rugrats Pre-School Daze||November 16, 2008||December 4, 2008||1||4||Klasky-Csupo|
|The Penguins of Madagascar||November 29, 2008||December 19, 2015||3||149||DreamWorks Animation|
|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||June 27, 2011||April 10, 2016||7||182||Rainbow SpA|
|Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness||September 19, 2011||June 29, 2016||3||80||DreamWorks Animation|
|The Legend of Korra||April 14, 2012||December 19, 2014||4||52|| Ginormous Madman Productions|
|Robot and Monster||August 4, 2012||February 14, 2015||1||26|| Smasho! Productions|
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles||September 29, 2012||November 12, 2017||5||124||Lowbar Productions|
|Monsters vs. Aliens||March 23, 2013||February 8, 2014||1||26||DreamWorks Animation|
|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||March 28, 2015||December 29, 2017||2||52||N/A|
|Pig Goat Banana Cricket||July 16, 2015||August 11, 2018||2||40||N/A|
|Bunsen Is a Beast||January 16, 2017||February 10, 2018||1||26||Billionfold, Inc.|
|Welcome to the Wayne||July 24, 2017||May 31, 2019||2||20||Yowza! Animation|
|The Adventures of Kid Danger||January 19, 2018||June 14, 2018||1||12||Powerhouse Animation|
|The Casagrandes||October 2019|
|Rugrats (2020 TV series)||2020|||
|Man of the House||TBA|
|Meet the Voxels||TBA|
The following animated programs are shown on Nickelodeon, but are not actually made by the network itself and are not official Nicktoons.
**Now airing on the network's sister channel, Nick Jr.
***Now airing on the network's sister channel, Nicktoons.
|Logo||Title||Nick Premiere date||Country||Season(s)||Episodes||Production companies||Source(s)|
|ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks||August 3, 2015||United States|
|Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty||January 27, 2019||United States||1||5||Funrise|
|Lego City Adventures||June 22, 2019||United States||1||10||The Lego Group|
|Logo||Title||Premiere date||End date||Country||Season(s)||Episodes||Production companies||Source(s)|
|Pelswick||October 2, 2000||November 15, 2002||Canada||2||26|| Hong Kong Animation|
|Yakkity Yak***||November 9, 2002||December 12, 2003||Canada||1||26|| Studio B Productions|
|Wayside||June 25, 2007||September 1, 2008||Canada||2||26|| Teletoon|
|Rocket Monkeys||March 4, 2013||May 2, 2014||Canada||1||26 (aired in U.S.)||Teletoon|
|Rabbids Invasion***||August 3, 2013||June 23, 2017||France||3||69|| Ubisoft Motion Pictures|
|Oggy and the Cockroaches||February 23, 2015||March 2015||France||1||26 (aired in U.S.)||Xilam|
|Regal Academy**||August 13, 2016||May 27, 2018||Italy||2||52||Rainbow S.r.l.|
|Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir||December 6, 2015||October 22, 2016||France||1||26 (aired in U.S.)||ZAG Entertainment|
|Kuu Kuu Harajuku**||October 3, 2016||February 2, 2018||Australia|
Moody Street Productions
Red Flags Fly
|Mysticons***||August 28, 2017||September 15, 2018||United States|
|2||40 (aired in U.S.)||Topps Animation|
Movies based on Nicktoons
|Image||Title||Release date||Co-production||Based on|
|The Rugrats Movie||November 20, 1998||Paramount Pictures / Klasky Csupo||Rugrats|
|Rugrats in Paris: The Movie||November 17, 2000|
|Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius||December 21, 2001||Paramount Pictures / O Entertainment||Jimmy Neutron|
|Hey Arnold!: The Movie||June 28, 2002||Paramount Pictures / Snee-Oosh / Nickelodeon Animation Studios||Hey Arnold!|
|The Wild Thornberrys Movie||December 20, 2002||Paramount Pictures / Klasky Csupo||The Wild Thornberrys|
|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||August 4, 2006||Paramount Pictures / O Entertainment||Back at the Barnyard|
|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||May 22, 2020||Paramount Pictures / Paramount Animation / United Plankton Pictures||SpongeBob SquarePants|||
|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|
|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|
|Rugrats Tales from the Crib: Snow White||September 17, 2005||Paramount Home Entertainment / Klasky Csupo||Rugrats|
|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||November 29, 2012|
|A Fairly Odd Summer||August 2, 2014|
|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!|
Upcoming television on net films
|Image||Title||Release date||Co-production||Based on||Source|
|Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling||August 9, 2019||Joe Murray Productions||Rocko's Modern Life|||
|Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus!||Summer 2019||Maven Animation Studio||Invader Zim|||
|The Loud House Movie||2021||Jam Filled Entertainment||The Loud House|||
|Untitled Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie||TBA||Flying Bark Productions||Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|||
- 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.
- From August 1993 to October 1996, all Nicktoon videotapes (and all Nickelodeon videotapes in general) were distributed by Sony Wonder.
- Shout! Factory has held the home video distribution rights to Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, The Angry Beavers, CatDog, The Wild Thornberrys, and Danny Phantom since May 2011. Shout! also had the video rights for Hey Arnold! and Rocko's Modern Life from then until 2018, at which point their rights reverted to Paramount.
- After DreamWorks Animation ended all partnerships with Viacom, distribution rights for their three Nicktoon co-productions (The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, and Monsters vs. Aliens) transferred to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Fox released all of the Legends of Awesomeness and Monsters vs. Aliens DVDs.
- 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.
- ↑ "Finding Ni Hao" (Pinwheel excerpt) (April 2008).
- ↑ Nickelodeon Nation: The History, Politics, and Economics of America's Only TV Channel for Kids (February 2004).
- ↑ The Washington Post: The kids' channel that 'Double Dares' to be different (September 25, 1988).
- ↑ Nickelodeon and Consumer Citizenship (2007).
- ↑ Nicktoons 25th anniversary oral history of Rugrats, Doug, Ren & Stimpy (August 11, 2016).
- ↑ Nickelodeon grew up and blew up in 1996 (August 9, 2016).
- ↑ Makin' Toons: Inside the Most Popular Animated TV Shows and Movies (2003).
- ↑ Studio Tour: Nicktoons (April 1998).
- ↑ David Kilmer (September 22, 1999). Nickelodeon opens animation studio in New York. Animation World Network.
- ↑ Welcome to our new series of crew profiles (November 18, 2015).
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 NickAndMore: Nickelodeon Upfront 2017.
- ↑ Produced at Nickelodeon Animation Studios; Distribution rights owned by streaming service Netflix.
- ↑ Script writing, animation approval, and voice recording done at Nickelodeon Animation Studio in co-production with sister company (through Viacom) Rainbow Srl. Sources: Viacom.com, show credits, Jonathan Foss, Morgan Decker, etc. Nickelodeon's packaging guide officially calls the show a Nicktoon.
- ↑ TheFutonCritic: Robot and Monster.
- ↑ Nick Greenlights ‘Welcome to the Wayne,’ First TV Series Based On Digital Series (March 23, 2015).
- ↑ Eric Robles on Instagram.
- ↑ Nickelodeon Picks Up Season Two of “The Loud House” & New Series “Glitch Techs”.
- ↑ 'Rugrats' Revived at Viacom With New Nickelodeon Series, Feature Film (July 16, 2018).
- ↑ Alvin and the Chipmunks.
- ↑ Rocket Monkeys.
- ↑ Kuu Kuu Harajuku.
- ↑ Mysticons.
- ↑ Paramount Sets ‘SpongeBob 3’ for 2019, Delays ‘Monster Trucks’ to 2017 (November 10, 2015).
- ↑ Netflix Family on Twitter: "‘90s kids, dreams do come true! The Rocko's Modern Life movie is coming to Netflix this summer, for you to share with your own kids (yes, it's been that long) #RockosModernLife…"
- ↑ Charlie Adler on Twitter: Rocko’s Modern Life Static Cling Premiers on Netflix 8/9! Can’t wait!! @carlosalazraqui it is amazing!!! #RockosModernLife
- ↑ ‘Invader Zim’ Aims to Conquer Earth Again in Nickelodeon Animated TV Movie.
- ↑ NX on Twitter: "Yay! We're Doomed! @jhonenv's Invader Zim movie, #EnterTheFlorpus, lands on @Netflix this summer!…"
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 Nickelodeon Sets 'Loud House', 'Ninja Turtles' Animated Films at Netflix.
- ↑ 'Loud House' Ratings Drive Graphic Novel Sales