Nickelodeon Animation Studio

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Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Type Studio
Industry Animation
Founded 1990 (1990) (as "Games Animation")
1998 (1998) (as "Nickelodeon Animation Studio")
Founder(s) Vanessa Coffey
Mary Harrington
Headquarters Studio City, Los Angeles, USA (1990–1998)
Burbank, California, USA (1998–present)
Products Animated television series
Parent Nickelodeon and Viacom Media Networks
Divisions Nickelodeon Creative Advertising
Website nickanimationstudio.com

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, also known in Burbank as Nickelodeon Studios Burbank, is an American animation studio. The studio is owned and operated by Nickelodeon, and the studio produces many of the network's most popular animated series, including SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly OddParents, Planet Sheen, The Penguins of Madagascar and T.U.F.F. Puppy. It also produces productions for Nicktoons as well.

The Nickelodeon animation division foundations begin with the creation of three original animated programs in 1991, Doug, Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show. After a falling-out with Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi in 1992, Nickelodeon founded Games Animation to produce future animated endeavors, including their first fully in-house series Rocko's Modern Life. Games produced much of the mid-1990s output of the network, in partnership with notable companies such as Frederator Studios. In 1998, the studio moved from Studio City, California to Burbank in celebration of a new facility, and was renamed the Nickelodeon Animation Studio.

Aside from Nickelodeon, the studio has also produced cartoon series for Nick Jr., Nicktoons Network and other Viacom-owned networks such as Spike.

History[edit]

1991–1998: Games Animation[edit]

Games Animation logo used on early episodes of Hey Arnold!.

The Nickelodeon Animation Studio's earliest beginnings lie in the roots of the channel's Nicktoons endeavor. In 1990, Nickelodeon appointed Vanessa Coffey as Executive Producer of Animation, charging her with the quest of seeking out new characters and stories that would allow the channel a grand entrance into the animation business.[1] The high cost of high-quality animation discouraged the network from developing weekly animated programming. Although most television networks at the time tended to go to large animation houses with proven track records to develop Saturday-morning series, often generally pre-sold characters from movies, toys or comics, Nickelodeon desired differently. Inspired by the early days of animation and the work of Bob Clampett, Tex Avery and Chuck Jones, Nickelodeon set out to find frustrated cartoonists swallowed up by the studio system.[2] Nickelodeon president Geraldine Laybourne commissioned eight six-minute pilots at a cost of $100,000 each before selecting three. Seeking the most innovative talents in the field, the products of this artists' union – Doug, Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show – represented twelve years of budget-building toward that end.[1]

However, despite the best efforts, relations became strained with Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi. In fall 1992, Nickelodeon and Vanessa Coffey fired Kricfalusi. Nickelodeon asserted that the termination was due to production delays, whereas Kricfalusi suspected the real reason was that the network was uncomfortable with more crude humor.[3] Nickelodeon objected to most of his proposed plotlines and new characters—including George Liquor, an Archie Bunker-ish "All-American Male." After Kricfalusi and Nickelodeon missed several promised new-episode delivery and air dates, the network—which had purchased the rights to the Ren & Stimpy characters from Kricfalusi—negotiated a settlement with him.[3] The creative tug of war was closely watched by both animators and the television industry and covered in the national press.

In response, Nickelodeon formed its own animation studio, Games Animation.[4] The series was moved to Games and put under the creative supervision of Bob Camp, one of Kricfalusi's former writer-director partners.[3] Nick's plan was to hire bright, young animators and let them do almost anything they want.[4] Coffey soon stepped down as animation vice president for Nickelodeon, to pursue her own projects. She was replaced by Mary Harrington, a Nickelodeon producer who moved out from New York to help run the Nicktoons division that was a near-shambles after Kricfalusi was fired.[4]

In 1992, animator Joe Murray was approached by Nickelodeon with intentions of developing a new animated series for Games Animation. Murray's Joe Murray Productions and Games Animation rented office space on Ventura Boulevard in the Studio City neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California.[5] The production moved to a different office building on Vineland Avenue in Studio City. Executives did not share space with the creative team.[6][7] Games Animation's first in-house production, Rocko's Modern Life, premiered on the network in 1993.

The initial duty was to continue producing The Ren & Stimpy Show as Nickelodeon dropped Spümcø and its creator John Kricfalusi from their duties on the show. At the time, Games was located in an office building in Studio City, California. Apart from The Ren & Stimpy Show, Nickelodeon's other Nicktoons were done out-of-house at Jumbo Pictures (whose next deal with Nickelodeon would be a live-action/puppet series Allegra's Window for Nick Jr.) in New York City and Klasky-Csupo (who entered mainstream popularity as animation producers from Fox's longest-running animated sitcom The Simpsons from 1987 to 1992 when animation production duties were given to Film Roman, as well as Everett Peck's Duckman which was produced by Nickelodeon's sister company Paramount Television and aired on USA Network in 1994 through 1997).

Games Animation never had an official logo. Instead, every show the studio worked on had its own customized Games Animation logo. In 1993, Nickelodeon greenlit its first fully original in-house series, Rocko's Modern Life, produced by Games Animation with partnership of Joe Murray Studio. Games worked on the show for three years and employed over 70 people during the course of its run. The show was cancelled in 1996 by Nickelodeon due to its creator Joe Murray wanting to spend more time with his family. Following the cancellation, Games Animation produced the pilot of Hey Arnold!, along with its first 2 seasons.

1998–present: Nickelodeon Animation Studio[edit]

In 1996, Albie Hecht, then-president of Film and TV Entertainment for Nickelodeon, met with Nickelodeon artists for a brainstorming session on the elements of their ideal studio, and, with their feedback (and some inspiration from the fabled Willy Wonka chocolate factory), created "a playful, inspirational and cutting edge lab which will hopefully give birth to the next generation of cartoon classics." He added, "For me this building is the physical manifestation of a personal dream, which is that when people think of cartoons, they'll say Nicktoons."[8] Nickelodeon and parent company Viacom threw a bash to celebrate the opening of the new Nicktoons animation studio on March 4, 1998. During the launch party, a gathering of union labor supporters formed a picket line to protest Nickelodeon's independent hiring practices outside the studio's iron gates.[8]

Located at 231 West Olive Avenue in Burbank, California, the 72,000-square-foot (6,700 m2) facility, designed by Los Angeles architecture firm AREA, houses 200–300 employees and up to five simultaneous productions. It also contains a miniature golf course (with a hole dedicated to Walt Disney), an indoor basketball course/screening room, an artists' gallery, a studio store, and a fountain that shoots green water into the air.[8] The Nicktoons studio houses five, project driven production units. Each has its own color and design environment and includes a living room, writer's lounge and storyboard conference room. The studio also has a Foley stage (for recording live sound effects), a post-production area, sound editing and mixing rooms and an upstairs loft area with skylights for colorists.[8]

In September 1999, Nickelodeon opened a major new digital animation studio at 1633 Broadway in Manhattan. The New York studio primarily took over production of Nick Jr. animated properties.[9] At the same time, the Los Angeles facility animated the intro for The Amanda Show.

It was reported in 2005 that the studio was up for sale; this was later corrected, as the owner of the building was selling it.[10]

List of Nickelodeon Animation Studio productions[edit]

TV series[edit]

Nickelodeon (Main shows)[edit]

Title Creator(s) Production year Co-production(s)
Doug Jim Jinkins 1991–1994 Jumbo Pictures
Cartoon Pizza
Rugrats Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain 1991–2004 Klasky Csupo
The Ren & Stimpy Show John Kricfalusi 1991–1996 Spümcø
Rocko's Modern Life Joe Murray 1993–1996 Joe Murray Productions
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Gábor Csupó and Peter Gaffney 1994–1997 Klasky Csupo
Hey Arnold! Craig Bartlett 1996–2004 Snee-Oosh, Inc.
The Angry Beavers Mitch Schauer 1997–2001 Gunther-Wahl Productions, Inc.
CatDog Peter Hannan 1998–2004 Peter Hannan Productions
The Wild Thornberrys Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, Steve Pepoon,
David Silverman, and Stephen Sustarsic
1998–2004 Klasky Csupo
SpongeBob SquarePants Stephen Hillenburg 1999–present United Plankton Pictures
Rocket Power Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó 1999–2004 Klasky Csupo
As Told by Ginger Emily Kapnek 2000–2009 Klasky Csupo
The Fairly OddParents Butch Hartman 2001–present Frederator Studios
Billionfold, Inc.
Invader Zim Jhonen Vasquez 2001–2006
ChalkZone Bill Burnett and Larry Huber 2002–2008 Frederator Studios
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius John A. Davis 2002–2006 O Entertainment
DNA Productions
All Grown Up! Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó 2003–2008 Klasky Csupo
My Life as a Teenage Robot Rob Renzetti 2003–2009 Frederator Studios
Danny Phantom Butch Hartman 2004–2007 Billionfold, Inc.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko 2005–2008
Catscratch Doug TenNapel 2005–2007
The X's Carlos Ramos 2005–2006
El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera Sandra Equihua and Jorge R. Gutierrez 2007–2008 Mexopolis
Tak and the Power of Juju THQ 2007–2009 THQ
Back at the Barnyard Steve Oedekerk 2007–2011 Omation Animation Studio
The Mighty B! Amy Poehler, Cynthia True, and Erik Wiese 2008–2011 Paper Kite Productions
Polka Dot Pictures
Fanboy and Chum Chum Eric Robles 2009–2014 Frederator Studios
Planet Sheen Keith Alcorn and Steve Oedekerk 2010–2013 Omation Animation Studio
T.U.F.F. Puppy Butch Hartman 2010–present Billionfold, Inc.
The Legend of Korra Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino 2012–present Ginormous Madman
Robot and Monster Dave Pressler, Joshua Sternin, and J.R. Ventimilia 2012–present Smasho! Productions
Lowbar Productions
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird 2012–present Mirage Studios
Lowbar Productions
Sanjay and Craig Jim Dirschberger, Jay Howell, and Andreas Trolf 2013–present Forest City Rockers
Breadwinners Steve Borst, and Gary DiRaffaele
(credited as "Gary Doodles")
2014–present
Bad Seeds C.H. Greenblatt 2014/15
Pig Goat Banana Cricket Dave Cooper, and Johnny Ryan
(credited as "J. Ryan")
2014/15 Nick Cross Animation
The Loud House Chris Savino 2016
Sky Rat[11] Craig Bartlett TBA Snee-Oosh, Inc.

Nickelodeon (Licensed shows)[edit]

Title Production year Co-production
The Penguins of Madagascar 2008–present DreamWorks Animation
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness 2011–present DreamWorks Animation
Monsters vs. Aliens 2013–2014 DreamWorks Animation
Rabbids Invasion 2013–present Ubisoft Motion Pictures

Nicktoons Network[edit]

Title Creator Production year Co-production(s)
Nicktoons Film Festival Nicktoons Network 2004–2009 Frederator Studios
Random! Cartoons Fred Seibert 2008–2011 Frederator Studios
Making Fiends Amy Winfrey 2008–2011 DQ Entertainment
Cyber Chicken Animation Studios

Nick Jr. Network[edit]

Title Creator(s) Production year Co-production(s)
Dora the Explorer Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh, and Eric Weiner 2000–present
Go, Diego, Go! Chris Gifford and Valerie Walsh 2005–2011
Ni Hao, Kai-Lan Karen Chau 2007–2011 HarringToons Productions
Team Umizoomi Soo Kim, Michael T. Smith, and Jennifer Twomey 2010–present Curious Pictures
Bubble Guppies Johnny Belt and Robert Scull 2011–present WildBrain (Season 1)
Nelvana (Season 2)
Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter (original books) 2012–present Brown Bag Films
Penguin Books
Silvergate Media
PAW Patrol Keith Chapman 2013–present Spin Master Entertainment
Guru Studio
Wallykazam! Adam Peltzman 2014–present
Dora and Friends Chris Gifford, Valerie Walsh, and Eric Weiner 2014–present
Blaze and the Monster Machines Jeff Borkin and Ellen Martin TBA

Digital series[edit]

Title Creator(s) Production year
Welcome to the Wayne Billy Lopez 2014–present

Short pilots[edit]

Nickelodeon (Successful)[edit]

Title Creator(s) Year(s) Co-production(s) Notes
Rugrats: Tommy Pickles and The Great White Thing Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, and Paul Germain 1990 Klasky Csupo
Ren & Stimpy: Big House Blues John Kricfalusi 1990 Carbunkle Cartoons
Spümcø
Doug: Doug Can't Dance Jim Jinkins 1990 Jumbo Pictures
Rocko's Modern Life: Trash-O-Madness Joe Murray 1992 Joe Murray Studios Company
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Gábor Csupó and Peter Gaffney 1993 Klasky Csupo
Arnold Craig Bartlett 1994 Re-tooled as Hey Arnold! for the series.
The Angry Beavers: Snowbound / Cuffed Together Mitch Schauer 1994 Gunther-Wahl Productions, Inc.
ChalkZone Bill Burnett and Larry Huber 1998 Frederator Incorporated Aired as part of Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Pilot for the show of the same name.
The Wild Thornberrys Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó, Steve Pepoon, David Silverman, and Stephen Sustarsic 1998 Klasky Csupo
The Fairly OddParents! Butch Hartman 1998 Frederator Incorporated Aired as part of Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Pilot for The Fairly OddParents.
Jimmy Neutron - Boy Genius: Runaway Rocketboy! John A. Davis 1998 O Entertainment
DNA Productions
As Told by Ginger: The Party Emily Kapnek 1998 Klasky Csupo
CatDog: Fetch Peter Hannan 1998 Peter Hannan Productions
Rocket Beach Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo 1998 Klasky Csupo Retooled as Rocket Power for the series.
My Neighbor Was a Teenage Robot Rob Renzetti 1999 Frederator Incorporated Aired as part of Oh Yeah! Cartoons. Pilot for My Life as a Teenage Robot.
SpongeBob SquarePants: Help Wanted Stephen Hillenburg 1999 United Plankton Pictures
Invader Zim Jhonen Vasquez 1999 Wumberlog Productions
All Growed Up Arlene Klasky and Gábor Csupó 2001 Klasky Csupo Is the Rugrats' third TV movie, and was re-tooled as All Grown Up!
Avatar: The Last Airbender Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko 2004
Catscratch Doug TenNapel 2004
El Tigre: A Fistful of Nickels Sandra Equihua and Jorge R. Gutierrez 2005
Fanboy Eric Robles 2008 Frederator Incorporated Aired as part of Random! Cartoons. Pilot for Fanboy and Chum Chum.
Planet Sheen Keith Alcorn and Steve Oedekerk 2010 Omation Animation Studio
Pig Goat Banana Mantis! Dave Cooper and Johnny Ryan 2012 Nick Cross Animation Retooled as Pig Goat Banana Cricket for the series.
Breadwinners Steve Borst, and Gary DiRaffaele (credited as "Gary Doodles") 2012 (Original version)
2013 (Nickelodeon version)
The Nickelodeon version was aired as part of their 2013's animated shorts program.
The Loud House Chris Savino 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
The Cupcakery of Doom Trevor Reece 2014 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2014 animated shorts program.

Nickelodeon (Failed)[edit]

Title Creator(s) Year Co-production Notes
Thunder Lizards Joey Ahlbum and Marc Catapano 1990 Ahlbum Animation, Inc.
Costant Payne Micah Wright 2001
Psyko Ferret Atul Rao, Kim Saltarski, and Greg van Riel 2001 Klasky Csupo
What's Cooking? Arlene Klasky 2004 Klasky Csupo
Chicken Town Niko Meulemans 2005 Klasky Csupo
Commander Bunsworth Aglaia Mortcheva 2005 Klasky Csupo
Junkyard Teddies Arlene Klasky 2005 Klasky Csupo
Kung Fu Spy Troll David Fremont 2005
Rollin' Rock Starz Gábor Csupó 2005 Klasky Csupo
SCHMUTZ James Proimos and David Hale 2005 Klasky Csupo
Wiener Squad Niko Meulemans 2005 Klasky Csupo
Zeek & Leo Niko Meulemans 2005 Klasky Csupo
Ace Bogart: Space Ape Neal Sopata 2006 Klasky Csupo
Big Babies Arlene Klasky 2006 Klasky Csupo
Eggheads Arlene Klasky 2006 Klasky Csupo
Grampa and Julie: Shark Hunters Jef Czekaj 2006 Klasky Csupo
Little Freaks Erin Ehrlich 2006 Klasky Csupo
My Stupid Cat Everett Peck 2006 Klasky Csupo
Ricky Z Arlene Klasky 2006 Klasky Csupo
Ronnie Biddles John Matta and Ken Daly 2006 Klasky Csupo
Emperor Scott Christian Sava and Mike Kunkel 2007 Blue Dream Studios
The Modifyers Lynne Naylor and Chris Reccardi 2007
The Wizzard of Krudd Mike Stern and Greg Miller 2007
Adventure Time Pendleton Ward 2008 Frederator Incorporated Aired as part of Random! Cartoons. Failed pilot for Nick, but successful for its competitor: Cartoon Network.
Mall Spies Al Madrigal 2008
Space Animals Fabrice Sénia 2008 Planktoon Studios
Leroy Dorsalfin Mike Geiger 2009 Mike Geiger Animation
Austin Oliver Greg Worswick 2013 Six Point Harness Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Baby Stache Gary Anthony Williams 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Cabrito and Chewy Allan Jacobsen and Chuckles Austen 2013 Six Point Harness Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Carrot and Stick Derek Iversen and Miles Hindman 2013 Six Point Harness Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Level 15 Wolf-Rüdiger Bloss 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Lucas Kyle Dunnigan 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Marty's Exotic Animals Andrew Friedman 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Odyssey Squad! Ben Adams 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Pam & Sid's Port-a-Party Annie Sertich and Mindy Sterling 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Tallie Peer Counselor Laura Sreebny 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Wing Dings T.J. Fuller 2013 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Zombie Brothers Eric Robles 2013 Screen Novelties Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2013 animated shorts program.
Bug Salad Carl Faruolo 2014 Aired as part of Nickelodeon's 2014 animated shorts program.

Produced for other Viacom-owned networks[edit]

Title Creator Production year Co-production Network Status Notes
Sugarless Erin Ehrlich 2005 Klasky Csupo The N Failed
Twinkle Dora Nagy 2005 Klasky Csupo Nick Jr. Failed

TV specials[edit]

Title Year Co-production
Rugrats: Runaway Reptar 1999 Klasky Csupo
CatDog: The Great Parent Mystery 2000 Peter Hannan Productions
SpongeBob Squarepants: Christmas Who? 2000 United Plankton Pictures
Rocket Power: Race Across New Zealand 2002 Klasky Csupo
The Fairly OddParents: Channel Chasers 2004 Frederator Incorporated
ChalkZone: The Big Blow Up 2004 Frederator Incorporated
All Grown Up!: Dude, Where's My Horse? 2005 Klasky Csupo
My Life as a Teenage Robot: Escape From Cluster Prime 2005 Frederator Incorporated
SpongeBob's Atlantis SquarePantis 2007 United Plankton Pictures
The Fairly OddParents: Fairly OddBaby 2008 Billionfold, Inc.
Frederator Studios
The Penguins of Madagascar: The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole 2011 DreamWorks Animation
It's a SpongeBob Christmas! 2012 United Plankton Pictures

Theatrical films[edit]

Title Release date Co-production(s) Budget Gross RT MC
The Rugrats Movie November 20, 1998 Klasky Csupo $24,000,000 $140,894,675 59%
Rugrats in Paris: The Movie November 17, 2000 Klasky Csupo $30,000,000 $103,291,131 75% 62
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius December 21, 2001 O Entertainment
DNA Productions
$30,000,000 $102,992,536 75% 65
Hey Arnold!: The Movie June 28, 2002 Snee-Oosh, Inc. $3–4 million $15,249,308 30% 47
The Wild Thornberrys Movie December 20, 2002 Klasky Csupo $35,000,000 $60,694,737 80% 69
Rugrats Go Wild June 13, 2003 Klasky Csupo $25,000,000 $55,405,066 41% 38
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie November 19, 2004 United Plankton Pictures $30,000,000 $140,161,792 68% 66
Barnyard August 4, 2006 O Entertainment
Omation Animation Studio
$51,000,000 $116,476,887 22% 42
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water February 6, 2015 United Plankton Pictures
Paramount Animation
$66 million

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Nickelodeon into animated work". The Prescott Courier. August 9, 1991. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  2. ^ Daniel Cerone (August 9, 1991). "Kids network finally adds kids' staple: cartoons". Eugene Register-Guard. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c Andy Meisler (November 21, 1993). "While Team 2 Works to Reform Ren and Stimpy". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Andy Meisler (October 17, 1993). "New Kings of TV's Toon Town". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Animators Feel Free With `Rocko'." The Palm Beach Post
  6. ^ "October 24, 2008." Joe Murray Studio. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  7. ^ "Where Rocko the series was produced," Joe Murray Studio
  8. ^ a b c d Wendy Jackson (April 1998). "Studio Tour: Nicktoons". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Nickelodeon Animation Studio to Open". The New York Times. September 20, 1999. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  10. ^ Amid Amidi (September 16, 2005). "For Sale: One Tacky Animation Studio". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved July 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ Craig Bartlett Offers Inspiring Keynote at Ottawa | Animation Magazine

External links[edit]