New York -- Bill Nye, television's "science
guy," is coming to Noggin, having signed a deal to develop and star in original
programs for the educational children's network.
His current series will also follow him to Noggin.
The network, a partnership of Nickelodeon and the
Children's Television Workshop, has acquired exclusive cable rights to all 100
episodes of Nye's popular Emmy-winning series, Bill Nye the Science Guy, officials
said at a press conference here last week. That deal is Noggin's first program
acquisition, according to Noggin general manager Tom Ascheim.
"This is the one show we've been hankering to
have," Ascheim said.
Noggin will get Bill Nye the Science Guy in
September next year, after it leaves the Public Broadcasting Service. The series airs now
on PBS and in syndication.
As part of his deal, Nye has been named Noggin's first
"Head Sparkologist," acting as a Noggin spokesman with a presence on-air and on
Noggin's Web site. Noggin's slogan is, "What sparks you?"
Nye will also make public appearances for Noggin, which
targets kids age 2 to 12, and will work directly with its affiliates.
"We will have the benefit of his intellect and
instincts," Ascheim said.
Noggin launched Feb. 2 to 1.3 million subscribers. The
24-hour, commercial-free network now has commitments for 4.2 million subscribers,
according to Ascheim. Noggin will debut on AT&T Broadband & Internet
Services' digital platform, Headend in the Sky, on Nov. 1, thereby getting rollouts
in such major markets as Dallas, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. The network has
also had analog launches in Detroit and St. Cloud, Minn.
Nye, a mechanical engineer by trade, said he won't
create new Science Guy episodes for Noggin under the development deal. Instead, he
will develop one or more completely new shows.
He said he's interested in doing a series pertaining
to mathematics, as well as one showing kids how to exercise "good judgment."
Nye's deal with Noggin was brokered by Ray Solley, his
agent at the William Morris Agency.
"We just think Noggin is the wave of the future,"
Solley said. "And it's looking for a way to differentiate itself from the
Solley said William Morris "is excited about working
with a digital network, and leveraging the strength of an agency with these new [digital]
Noggin's lineup includes shows such as Blue's
Clues, Doug, Allegra's Window, Sesame Street and The Electric Company. Noggin
debuted its first original program block, The Phred on Your Head Show,in
This month, Nye will release his third book, Big Blue
Ocean, which is published by Disney Press.