Television

Nickelodeon pitches new programming

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Nickelodeon, the Viacom-owned kids channel which launched in India in October 1999, has recently initiated a series of new programming blocks which it hopes will improve viewer recognition levels.

Nickelodeon has three programming blocks - Nick Jr., GAS and Toons on Toast.

Nick Jr., is targeted at younger viewers aged 2 to 5 years old and features Blues Clues, Eureeka's Castle, Gullah Gullah Island and the premiere of Little Bill. Blues Clues has won the Parents Choice Gold Award in the US. Blues Clues features an animated girl puppy Blue and her human friend Steve, who invite viewers to interact and learn through play. The series has made strides in pre-school television by exploring advanced subject matter such as sign language, geography, physics, emotions and anatomy.

Based on the popular book by the famous comedian Bill Cosby, Little Bill follows the adventures of an inquisitive, energetic and highly imaginative 5-year-old boy as he investigates the world.

Nick Jr. can be seen weekdays from 9 am to 11 am.

GAS (Games & Sports) offers up thrills and spills through Global Guts, Double Dare 2000, Legends of the Hidden Temple and Figure it Out. Global Guts is a game show that makes sport fantasies, come true for kids from around the world with wacky sporting events. Double Dare 2000 challenges kids and their families mentally and physically, against competing families. Legends of the Hidden Temple features mystery themes and physical action where two teams of kids compete to find an ancient artefact hidden on the set of a Mayan ruin. Hosted by former US Olympic champion, Summer Sanders, Figure it Out features Nick stars guessing each contestants hidden talents.

GAS airs weekdays from 3 PM to 5 PM

Toons on Toast serves up Nickelodeon's most popular animation shows in the morning with Rugrats, Hey Arnold!, The Wild Thornberrys and CatDog. Toons on Toast airs weekdays from 6 am to 8 am.

Nickelodeon projects itself as a multi-genre kids channel unlike Cartoon Network which is solely an animation channel. However, its pitch has failed to enthuse and it remains a fringe product at the moment with acceptance problems somewhat akin to that faced by Hallmark in the English movie segment.

Nickelodeon's problems are if anything much worse because of distribution problems. The channel has an exclusive distribution alliance with the Zee Group's Siti Cable Network. It is hoping the new programme blocks it has put together will provide a platform for the channel to obtain carriage on other MSOs as well.

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