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Nickelodeon Animation Studios logo part 1.png

Company logo as of 2009

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Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Background information
Launched February 26, 1992
(as Games Animation)
March 4, 1998
(as Nickelodeon Animation Studios)
Owned by Viacom

Nickelodeon Animation Studios is an animation studio. It was originally founded in 1991 as Games Animation, and is best-known for producing several animated television series for Nickelodeon and Nicktoons Network such as its flagship properties; SpongeBob Squarepants, Mitchell Van Morgan, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The studio complex is located in Burbank, California.


1991–1998: Games Animation

File:Games Animation.jpg

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 26 episodes.

1998–2016: Nickelodeon Animation Studio

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 Template:Convert 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]

2016-present: Nickelodeon Studios

In 2016, Nickelodeon's animation facilities will move into a five-story glass structure that will be part of a larger new studio complex next to the current Burbank facilities, which will become part of the studio as a means of bringing animated productions currently produced elsewhere in Southern California under a single production facility.[11] Because it will house both animated and live-action productions, the studio will be renamed to simply Nickelodeon Studios.[12] (not to be confused with the original Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios Florida.) The studio will also house the Nickelodeon time capsule, first buried in Orlando, Florida in 1992 at the original Nickelodeon Studios and later at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in 2006, which will move to the new studio by the latter's closure on June 1, 2016.[13]

Shows produced

Show Co-production with Years
Doug Jumbo Pictures and Ellipse Programme 1991-1994
Rugrats Klasky Csupo 1991-2004
The Ren & Stimpy Show Spumco International and Games Amimation Inc. 1991-1996
Rocko's Modern Life Joe Murray Productions and Games Animation Inc. 1993-1996
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Klasky Csupo 1994-1997
KaBlam! Flying Mattel Inc. 1996-2000
Hey Arnold! Games Animation Inc. and Snee-Oosh Inc. 1996-2004
The Angry Beavers Gunther-Wahl Productions Inc. 1997-2001
Oh Yeah! Cartoons Frederator Studios 1998-2001
The Wild Thornberrys Klasky Csupo 1998-2004
CatDog Peter Hannan Productions 1998-2005
Mitchell Van Morgan MITCHELL Project 1998-present
Rocket Power Klasky Csupo 1999-2004
SpongeBob SquarePants United Plankton Pictures Inc. 1999-present
Pelswick Nelvana Entertainment Inc. and Suzhou Hong Ying Animation 2000-2002
As Told By Ginger Klasky Csupo 2000-2006
The Fairly OddParents Frederator Studios and Billionfold Studios (sinced 2005) 2001-present
Invader ZIM Nova Star Productions 2001-2002
The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius O Entertainment and DNA Productions 2002-2006
ChalkZone Frederator Studios 2002-2008
All Grown Up! Klasky Csupo 2003-2008
My Life as a Teenage Robot Frederator Studios 2003-2009
Danny Phantom Billionfold Studios 2004-2007
Avatar: The Last Airbender 2005-2008
Catscratch 2005-2007
The X's 2005-2006
Mr. Meaty 3Js Productions and CBC Television 2006-2007
Wayside Nelvana and Teletoon 2007-present
Tak and the Power of Juju THQ 2007-2008
Back at the Barnyard Omation 2007-2011
The Mighty B! Paper Kite Productions and Polka Dot Pictures 2008-2013
The Penguins of Madagascar DreamWorks Animation SKG 2008-present
Planet Sheen Omation 2010-2013
T.U.F.F. Puppy Frederator Studios 2010-2015
Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness DreamWorks Animation SKG 2011-present
The Legend of Korra Ginormous Madman 2012-2014
Robot and Monster Smasho! Productions and Lowbar Productions 2012-present
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mirage Studios and Lowbar Productions 2012-present
Sanjay and Craig Forest City Rockers 2013-present
Breadwinners Nickelodeon Animation Studios 2014-present
Mitchell X MITCHELL Project and Nickelodeon Animated Shorts Program 2014-present
Harvey Beaks Nickelodeon Animation Studios and Nickelodeon Animated Shorts Program 2015-present
The Loud House Nickelodeon Animation Studios and Nickelodeon Animated Shorts Program 2016-present

See also

  • Nicktoons

fr:Games Animation

External links

Template:Nickelodeon Template:Nickelodeon original series and Nicktoons Template:Paramount Animation Template:Rugrats

Mitchell Van Morgan
Created by Nickelodeon Group, MITCHELL Project & THQ Nordic

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Template:Animation industry in the United States

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  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
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