An Earlier 'Nite' For Nick

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Hoping to mine more co-viewing between parents and kids, Nick at Nite will expand its lineup into the 8 p.m. hour next month.

The network, which shares the channel space with kids kingpin Nickelodeon, will move up its start time one hour from 9 p.m., beginning July 5 with the launch of recently acquired off-network comedy Malcolm In The Middle, according to Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group president Cyma Zarghami.

Nickelodeon hopes the move will increase viewership among both kids and their parents for the adult-skewing, top 10-rated Nick at Nite, which averaged 1.5 million prime time viewers last month from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Year to date, Nickelodeon is averaging more than 2.7 million viewers during the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot and 609,000 viewers 18-49.

"This first generation of viewers not only is going to have a relationship with Nickelodeon but are doing a lot of co-viewing together with their kids," Zarghami said.

"So part of the strategy was to see if we could bring the kids closer to their parents and the parents closer to the kids through that early primetime time slot."

Zarghami said the launch of the award-winning Malcolm In The Middle, which starred a young Frankie Muniz (Big Fat Liar) as well as Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Jane Kaczmarek (Raising The Bar) will help foster co-viewing during the time period. The network picked up rights to all seven-seasons and 151-episosdes of the TwentiethTelevision-produced series.

"We think the combination of Malcolm in the Middle, George Lopez Show, Everybody Hates Chris (premiering in September) and Home Improvement, really sets the stage for the new modern family home in Nick at Nite," she said. "It feels fresh, it feels contemporary, and it feels really exciting to us."

The move comes on the heels of another Nickelodeon brand strengthening move announced in March that will see the rebrand of Nick's pre-school targeted Noggin and teen-oriented The N services to Nick Jr. and Nicktoons, respectively.