Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Company logo as of 2009
(as Games Animation)|
1998 (as Nickelodeon Animation Studios)
|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|
Nickelodeon Animation Studio is an 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.
- 1 History
- 2 List of Nickelodeon Animation Studio productions
- 3 See also
- 4 References
- 5 External links
1991–1998: Games Animation
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. 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. The series was moved to Games and put under the creative supervision of Bob Camp, one of Kricfalusi's former writer-director partners. Nick's plan was to hire bright, young animators and let them do almost anything they want. 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.
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. The production moved to a different office building on Vineland Avenue in Studio City. Executives did not share space with the creative team. 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 Studios
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." 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
List of Nickelodeon Animation Studio productions
Nickelodeon (Licensed Shows)
|The Penguins of Madagascar||2008-present||Dreamworks Animation|
|Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness||2011-present||Dreamworks Animation|
|Monsters vs. Aliens||2013-present||Dreamworks Animation|
|Rabbids Invasion||2013-present||Ubisoft Motion Pictures|
|Nicktoons Film Festival||2004–2009||Frederator Studios|
|Random! Cartoons||2008–2011||Frederator Studios|
|Making Fiends||2008–2011||DQ Entertainment and Cyber Chicken|
|The Rugrats Movie||1998||Klasky Csupo|
|Rugrats in Paris: The Movie||2000||Klasky Csupo|
|Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius||2001||O Entertainment and DNA Productions|
|Hey Arnold!: The Movie||2002||Snee-Oosh, Inc.|
|The Wild Thornberrys Movie||2002||Klasky Csupo|
|Rugrats Go Wild!||2003||Klasky Csupo|
|The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie||2004||United Plankton Pictures|
|SpongeBob SquarePants 2||2015||United Plankton Pictures and Paramount Animation|
- Cartoon Network Studios, the animation division of Cartoon Network
- Disney Television Animation, the animation division of Disney Channel
- "Nickelodeon into animated work". The Prescott Courier. August 9, 1991. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- Daniel Cerone (August 9, 1991). "Kids network finally adds kids' staple: cartoons". Eugene Register-Guard. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- Andy Meisler (November 21, 1993). "While Team 2 Works to Reform Ren and Stimpy". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- Andy Meisler (October 17, 1993). "New Kings of TV's Toon Town". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- "Animators Feel Free With `Rocko'." The Palm Beach Post
- "October 24, 2008." Joe Murray Studio. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
- "Where Rocko the series was produced," Joe Murray Studio
- Wendy Jackson (April 1998). "Studio Tour: Nicktoons". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- "Nickelodeon Animation Studio to Open". The New York Times. September 20, 1999. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- Amid Amidi (September 16, 2005). "For Sale: One Tacky Animation Studio". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
- Nickelodeon Animation Studio official site
- Nickelodeon Animation Studio at the Internet Movie Database