Nick 2001 Slate Offers 175 Hours of Originals

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NEW YORK -Nickelodeon will air 175 hours of new, original programming for its 2001 season, including four new animated and live-action series, officials said last week.

Nick will debut Taina,
a live-action show about a 15-year-old Puerto Rican girl from New York City who attends the Manhattan School of Arts, on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 8 p.m. The series was created and executive-produced by Maria Perez-Brown, who also developed the Nick Jr. series Gullah Gullah Island.
The next day, Jan. 15, Nick will premiere Bob the Builder,
an animated Nick Jr. show that follows the adventures of Bob and his gang of friends and machines as they work together to solve problems. In March, Nick will bow two more series, The Fairly Odd Parents
and the animated Invader Zim.The Fairly Odd Parents
is a comedy/fantasy about 10-year-old Timmy Turner's newly arrived fairy godparents. The other March show, Invader Zim,
was created by comic-book artist Jhonen Vasquez. It's about an alien who spies on the Earth by attending an elementary school.

Rugrats
will mark its 10th anniversary next year by introducing Chuckie's new mother and sister. The show will kick off its new season on Jan. 15, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with a six-hour marathon capped by the new-season premiere.

The new 30-minute Rugrats
shows will feature a three-segment format, with three-, eight- and 11-minute cartoons replacing the show's past two-segment setup.

Nick's The Brothers Garcia,
the first English-language sitcom with an all-Latino cast, will also return with 13 new episodes in March. Nick has made a special effort to develop original programming-such as Taina
and The Brothers Garcia-
that represents everyone in its audience, including Hispanics.

That's a savvy move in light of changes in the nation's demographics. Nick's research on "Kids in 2000" found that children are more ethically diverse than rest of the population, and that by 2020 nearly half of all kids will be non-white.

Currently, non-white kids watch more TV a week than white kids, according to Nick's research. African-American children average 26.17 hours a week, Latino kids watch 21.4 hours a week and white kids watch 19.34 hours.

Nick general manager Cyma Zarghami said the cable industry doesn't get as much attention or credit for offering ethnically diverse programming as it would like.

"It's always about what the broadcast networks are doing," Zarghami said. "We're trying to get noticed, too."

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