The Rise And Fall of Nickelodeon: How One Yellow Sponge Ruined it For Everyone

Who looks back fondly at the 1990's? It was the decade that brought us: Brittany, N'Sync, The Backstreet Boys, B.U.M. Equipment activewear, neon clothing and, if you were a kid, The Nickelodeon Network! In the late 80's and early 90's, for kids, Nick was THE network.

Who remembers "Cartoon Cartoon Fridays," "Clarissa Explains it All, and "All That?"

Nickelodeon was conceived in the late 70's in Columbus Ohio. It originally was a show called "Pinwheel" which was a smaller scale "Sesame Street" (minus the number and letters learning part). Warner Cable bought "Pinwheel" in 1979 and gave the show its present name.

After several years of experimenting with what their young viewers would like, they had their first big hit called "You Can't Do That on Television," a Canadian sketch comedy mostly featuring a child cast. YCDTOT was where we first saw the green slime that would be dumped on unsuspecting cast and guests. It became associated with Nick for many years.

Nick flourished in the 80's and 90's and added two new additional networks: Nick at Night, Nick Jr and their Kids Choice Awards (the Academy Awards for kids). In 1986 Nick changed ownership again. Warner Cable sold it to Viacom and with it a slew of new original programming.

"Salute Your Shorts," "Are You Afraid of the Dark," and "Pete and Pete" featured shows that dealt with kid's issues starring kids. Nick unofficially became the "Kids Network."

In 1991, Nick launched NickToons. It also featured three new original cartoons: "Rugrats," "Doug" and "The Ren & Stimpy Show." The success of these shows brought more cartoons to the new network. Meanwhile, Nick was adding more live shows as well as games shows to their parent station lineup. Nick was now a force to reckon with.

That's not the case anymore. Who ruined Nickelodeon? Believe it or not, according to the video, a little sponge did. Yes, we are talking about everybody's favorite yellow sponge who lived under the sea in a pineapple: SpongeBob Squarepants. In 1999, SpongeBob debuted and became a huge success, which spawned two very successful movies.

Prior to SpongeBob, Nick had been very successful in the 8:00pm time slot. It was giving families a place to tune in where they could watch show together with their children. The content on the shows on the big three networks were not something parents wanted to have their young children watching.

A.S. (After SpongeBob) corporate Nick saw their cash cow and put all their eggs in the SpongeBob basket. Gone were the cutting edge live shows and cartoons. Some shows did survive, but they all took a back seat to the yellow sponge. It's remained that way for 20 years now.

So, where is Nick in 2018? Stagnated. SpongeBob is still making them money, in fact, a third SpongeBob movie is in the works for 2019. But unfortunately, Nickelodeon is no longer the risk taker it once was. And that is a shame.

WXLF 95.3, 107.1 THE WOLF

WXLF 95.3, 107.1 THE WOLF

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