BET, VH1 Win NAMIC Awards for Telling Diverse, Authentic Stories

Whose stories are being told on television? Now, more than ever, they’re our viewers’—their lives, experiences, and individual triumphs and hardships.

The National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) Vision Awards honor original TV programming that reflects the diversity of its audience.

NAMIC announced this year’s winners on Monday, April 24. Thirteen shows from three Viacom networks, including BET, VH1, and Nickelodeon, were nominated for awards. Out of these nominations, three programs—including BET’s Being Mary Jane, Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement and VH1’s Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens won their respective categories.

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Nick’s Number One! (And Number 2, and Number 3, and Numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10…)

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Behind a wide-ranging slate of live-action and animated shows, Nickelodeon swept ratings compilations of the top 10 children’s programs for the first quarter of 2017 among kids 2-11 and 6-11.

The accomplishment continues a torrid winning streak for Nickelodeon, which marks its third year as the top kids’ network among kids 2-11 and preschoolers. This is Nick’s seventh consecutive quarter winning those two demos, and its second in a row among kids 6-11. Ratings grew among all three demos during the quarter.

By locking in the top 10 children’s shows in two core demos, Nick pulled net double digits ahead of its competition. The net also owns four of the top five shows among kids 2-5: number one PAW Patrol; number two Shimmer and Shine; number four Team Umizoomi; and number five Blaze and the Monster Machines.

Underscoring Nick’s deep influence on kids’ culture, its annual Kids’ Choice Awards was the top-rated show for the week ending March 12 among kids 2-11, kids 6-11 and tweens 9-14.

Scroll down to see the 10 Nick shows that won the quarter in both the 2-11 and 6-11 demos:

Kids 2-11

#1 The Thundermans

#2 Nicky, Ricky, Dicky and Dawn

#3 SpongeBob SquarePants

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It’s the Kids Turn to Vote as Nick Releases 2017 Kids’ Choice Award Nominees

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Hey kids, it’s your turn.

For about four years now, American adults have been obsessed with a presidential election that happens… every four years. And though Nick gave you the chance to have your say in that race, they decided that they won’t make you wait another four years to stamp another ballot – it’s time to cast your votes for the 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards (KCA).

The awards show will hit your screens on Saturday, March 11, but voting is already going on across 28 categories, including some pretty cool new ones, including “Favorite Frenemies,” “Most Wanted Pet,” and “#Squad.” Start voting right now by clicking here. Want more KCA? There’s plenty here.

You can preview all the categories and nominees below, then vote. WWE superstar John Cena will host the event from Los Angeles. We’re not ready to announce who else will be there yet, but we can promise this much: there will be slime.

While you’re at it, check out Cena’s top five reasons why he’s pumped up to host the awards:


Nominees and categories for Nickelodeon’s 2017 Kids’ Choice Awards (*new categories):

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History Echoes and Present Zooms at Nick’s New Burbank Studio

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

In a rousing ribbon-cutting attended by Viacom executives and the real-life embodiments of SpongeBob and Squidward, Nickelodeon opened a vast expansion of its Burbank studio earlier this month, planting a modern and well-appointed workspace for 700 employees at the heart of one of the world’s entertainment capitals.

“The opening of our new offices in Burbank is a significant moment for Nickelodeon,” said Nickelodeon Group President Cyma Zarghami. “We are ushering in a new era of creative excellence and increased collaboration for everyone who works here. Since we first planted our flag on the West Coast in the early ‘90s, Nickelodeon in Burbank has been a beacon to the creative community, and our new complex now signals our increased commitment to giving our creators and employees the very best environment and resources to be successful.”

(L-R) Actor Benjamin Flores Jr. from Game Shakers, voice of SpongeBob SquarePants Tom Kenny, Mayor of Burbank Jess Talamantes, President of Nickelodeon Cyma Zarghami, President and CEO of Viacom Inc. Robert Bakish, Vice Chair of the Board Shari Redstone, voice of Patrick Star Bill Fagerbakke, and actor Cree Cicchino from Game Shakers attend the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Opening of Nickelodeon's State-of-the-Art Complex on January 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

(L-R) Actor Benjamin Flores Jr. from Game Shakers, voice of SpongeBob SquarePants Tom Kenny, Mayor of Burbank Jess Talamantes, President of Nickelodeon Cyma Zarghami, President and CEO of Viacom Inc. Robert Bakish, Vice Chair of the Board Shari Redstone, voice of Patrick Star Bill Fagerbakke, and actor Cree Cicchino from Game Shakers attend the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Opening of Nickelodeon’s State-of-the-Art Complex on January 11, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

The more-than 200,000-square-foot space expands upon Nick’s adjacent legacy studio with room to host more than 20 show productions, including smash hits The Loud House, SpongeBob SquarePants and Shimmer and Shine.

The building distills the essence of Nick’s kid-centric brand into a grown-up workspace dotted with customizable work stations and ample collaborative spaces. Archival libraries warehouse the brand’s deep well of iconic work, while rotating galleries showcase the best of contemporary artists’ efforts from both inside and outside of the company. Threaded throughout the five-story space is an 88-seat screening room, voiceover studios, a café, and rooms dedicated to fitness, music and gaming.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony To Celebrate Grand Opening…
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony To Celebrate Grand Opening…
Stuart Stuart

attends the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony to celebrate the Grand Opening of Nickelodeon's State-of-the-Art… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Stuart Stuart

Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Burbank, CA. Photo: Bruce Damonte/NICKELODEON© 2016 Viacom Internation… Read More

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Shake Your Fear of Coding with Nick’s Computer Science Pros

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Think you can’t code?

<Think again>

It’s Computer Science Education Week, and the cast of Nickelodeon’s new hit show Game Shakers is challenging the self-doubters among us to put in one Hour of Code to learn the symbols and rhythms of the wonderfully immersive world of coding. ​Believe it or not, that’s all the time you need to get going.

Don’t know where to start? Check out the videos below to learn a bit more about just how amazing code is and what it can do, or just click over to Nick’s coding site to see how easy those first steps to joining the ranks of the coders really are.

Hour of Code Game Shakers Announcement from Viacom on Vimeo.

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A Whole Lot to Like About Viacom’s Fourth Quarter and Year-End Earnings

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

When Viacom released earnings for the fourth quarter and full year of 2015 earlier this week, there was a whole lot to like. Those of you who are interested in the dollars and cents of it can read the full press release here, which provides year-to-year comparisons and a more minute breakdown of the numbers.

But what’s behind the dollar signs? Content. Really good content – the kind of stuff that deeply engages fans, weaving its way into the fabric of their lives. We’re talking about Nickelodeon’s new hit, Game Shakers, which is the number one live-action show for kids 2-11 and has inspired 3 million downloads of its Sky Whale game. Or Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, which has seen its 18-24 audience skyrocket since the new host claimed the desk in September. Or MTV’s iconic Video Music Awards piling up a massive 21.4 million tweets – a record for an entertainment program.

There’s plenty more. Great stuff is pouring out of all of our brands, from VH1 to Paramount to BET to MTV’s European Music Awards, and we continue to expand, with Viacom’s International operations launching 21 channels over the past year. Scroll through the slides below to see the headlines, and check out our full investor newsletter here to see the top-rated shows by each of our networks and more.

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Game-Shakers Russell Hicks & Dan Schneider Battle the Elements to Launch New Schneider Smash Game Shakers at MIPJR 2015

by Jennifer Needham, VIMN UK

Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s president of content development and production, along with globally renowned live-action hit-maker Dan Schneider (the mastermind behind some of Nickelodeon’s most popular TV shows, including iCarlySam & Cat, Victorious, Drake & Josh & Zoey 101) – have just returned from MIPJR & MIPCOM 2015, the world’s largest international dual-TV market in Cannes, France. There, they provided their invaluable expert insight into what makes a kids TV hit in today’s hyper-competitive market.  As part of their visit, the pair also unveiled Nickelodeon’s development slate, which includes Schneider’s latest smash, Game Shakers.

Despite the devastating storms that hit the French Riviera on the first night of the event, Hicks and Schneider proceeded, keeping spirits high as they hosted the Sunday morning session, where they addressed a room of more than 150 TV buyers, producers and media.

With a career spanning 21 years at Nickelodeon, Hicks – who oversees all live action and animation development for all of the Network’s content platforms – explained to moderator Kristin Brzoznowski (WorldScreen Managing Editor) “Kids gravitate towards great characters, characters they can relate to, who tell stories true to them.”  

“Kids don’t watch shows and think afterwards ‘That was an incredibly well written episode,’” Schneider explained.  “They think ‘that character’s super cool,’ and naturally want to watch more” – so it’s all about the characters and the situations we put those great characters in.”

“Kids want to see their own backyard, situations they’re familiar with – but also situations they’re not familiar with that are surprising,” Hicks said.

Referring to his new Nickelodeon series, Game Shakers, Schneider added, “There’s certainly a little similarity in the DNA of iCarly, in that you have four kids who create a videogame that takes off… that’s so much more fun than a show about a kid that plays videogames. It’s empowering.”  Hicks and Schneider identified the progressive nature of the show, with the games at the core of the series’ storylines simultaneously available to fans in real life via the App Store.

Addressing the variety of content now available to the first generation of so-called digital natives, Hicks added “There are so many distractions for kids and so many places they can get their shows. I find myself working harder than I ever did before to make the scripts and characters as entertaining as they can be.”  Hicks described opportunities created through launching short-form content through the Nick app and the potential to develop the most popular clips into a long-form series. “You can start it out small as a Web series and then say, ‘hey this is working’ and take it further.” 

Renowned for keeping ahead of the trend, Schneider – who was one of the first kids’ creators to incorporate social TV into smash hit shows, The Amanda Show and iCarly in 2007 – detailed the challenges of holding kids’ attention in an ever-expansive world of platforms and screens.  Speaking about the threat of the Web to content production, Schneider recalled, “I remember in the late 90s, producers would say the Web was going to take away from TV. I never saw it that way. I felt like it was a great thing. We don’t just have to put content on TV, we can put it online. I just see it as the more screens kids have, the more they need stuff to watch on those screens.”

When asked if linear TV is still the most important screen for kids, Schneider responded “I don’t think it matters – the more screens the better.”

“TV is not going away,” Hicks added. “We have a measurement issue, but as soon as they fix that problem, it will be even more apparent that kids love content everywhere.”

Following this session, the pair appeared as special guests at the official 2015 MIPJR Opening luncheon – sponsored by Nickelodeon – as well as an exclusive cocktail event hosted on Monday evening in the designated Viacom International Media Networks area.  Caroline Beaton, senior vice president of international programme sales, invited partners and media friends to meet with Schneider and Hicks to raise a glass to the fantastic new  portfolio of titles now available for the international market (from Harvey Beaks, and Shimmer & Shine, to 100 Things to Do Before High School, Game Shakers and many more).

Schneider and Hicks weren’t the only Nickelodeon representatives at MIPJR and MIPCOM. Jules Borkent, Nick’s senior vice president of content and acquisitions, took part in the popular What Do Buyers Want? session, along with fellow content execs from Disney, Turner and Lagardere, France and KiKa Germany.

Nickelodeon Senior Vice President of Content & Acquisitions Jules Borkent participates in the What Do Buyers Want? session at MIPJR 2015.

Nickelodeon Senior Vice President of Content & Acquisitions Jules Borkent participates in the What Do Buyers Want? session.

Caroline Beaton took part in a (bright and early!) OTT Show & Tell session spotlighting Viacom’s latest suite of apps, Viacom Playplex.

Senior Vice President of International Programme Sales Caroline Beaton shows off Viacom's latest suite of apps, Viacom Playplex, at MIPJR 2015.

Senior Vice President of International Programme Sales Caroline Beaton shows off Viacom’s latest suite of apps, Viacom Playplex.

Katie Keenan, head of acquisitions, VIMN UK and Channel 5, participated in the MIP finale Acquisitions Superpanel.

VIMN UK and Channel Five Head of Acquisitions Katie Keenan participated in the Acquisitions Superpanel at MPJR 2015.

VIMN UK and Channel Five Head of Acquisitions Katie Keenan participated in the Acquisitions Superpanel.

Viacom closed the event with two awards, as Borkent and Keenan received Content Trendsetter Awards from WorldScreen.