Nick Eyes Licensing `Spike'


Nickelodeon's consumer-products and licensing unit is branching beyond its
own network box into that of Spike TV, another cable channel at parent Viacom

With less than one week before The New TNN transforms into Spike TV,
Nickelodeon announced Tuesday morning that its enterprises division, led by
Jeffrey Dunn, will manage Spike's off-air retail and licensing activity.

Spike's first efforts in that direction will spin from its Thursday-night
animation block, which premieres June 26 and is highlighted partly by the return
of former Nick mega-hit Ren & Stimpy, now subtitled Adult Party

Nickelodeon also divulged that the first Spike licensing deals are done, all

Palisades Marketing LLC's Palisades Toys will develop action figures,
figurines and resin statues, while Balzout Inc. will manufacture T-shirts.

Other deals are being pursued for the rest of the animation block -- Gary
the Rat
starring Kelsey Grammer and Stan Lee's Stripperella. The
initial Spike products should hit store shelves everywhere around fall 2004.

"We'll start with the animation block and go from there," Dunn told
Multichannel News Day following Nick's own preview of product ventures at
the Licensing Show in New York.

He also left open the possibility that the Nick division could later handle
retail projects from other Viacom channels aside from MTV: Music Television and
VH1, including recently acquired Comedy Central.

Dunn said the enterprises division is "on track" to build about $3 billion in
retail sales revenue for Viacom this year, about 20 percent higher than roughly
$2.6 billion in revenue during 2002.

Nickelodeon's presentation, using a shopping-mall theme, concentrated solely
on animation-series news and licensing opportunities. Merchandise agreements
covering such live-action Nick hits as The Brothers Garcia, All
and Tania are happening, but the preview was toon-skewed because
"they lend themselves more to retail situations," Dunn acknowledged.

Two upcoming retail projects could see life later as Nick series, the way
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius did after feature-film success.

One is Tak and the Power of JuJu, a video game being prepared for
release this fall. The other is EverGirl, a line of department-store
merchandise geared toward tweens, which will launch in early 2004.

The Nick event also evoked some new programming tidbits:

\u0007 Jimmy Neutron will be paired with another primetime
computer-animated series in mid-or late 2004

\u0007 One of Nick Jr.'s new fall-2004 series will be The Backyardians,
about a unique family of creatures inhabiting someone's backyard.

\u0007 The animated SpongeBob SquarePants movie will premiere in November
2004, followed one month later by Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate
,another animated film co-released by Viacom-owned Paramount
Pictures and DreamWorks SKG -- the first Nick flick bringing in another
theatrical distributor. Jim Carrey will be in the voice-over