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Monday, April 22, 2024
<p>When Nickelodeon realized how many young adults craved a second childhood, it delivered in a big way. Last week, TeenNick began airing a block entitled The ‘90s Are All That from midnight to 2 a.m. on weeknights. Airing four shows every night, the block was in response to an overwhelming demand online from 18- to 34-year-olds who wanted to rewatch the TV shows they grew up with. Nickelodeon has made excellent use of social media in the project, discovering that 15 million Facebook fans wanted their ‘90s Nick shows back. The four shows pictured are “All That,” “Kenan and Kel,” “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Doug.”</p>

When Nickelodeon realized how many young adults craved a second childhood, it delivered in a big way. Last week, TeenNick began airing a block entitled The ‘90s Are All That from midnight to 2 a.m. on weeknights. Airing four shows every night, the block was in response to an overwhelming demand online from 18- to 34-year-olds who wanted to rewatch the TV shows they grew up with. Nickelodeon has made excellent use of social media in the project, discovering that 15 million Facebook fans wanted their ‘90s Nick shows back. The four shows pictured are “All That,” “Kenan and Kel,” “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Doug.”

Allison Corfield always had to make the same decision at 9:30 p.m.: Should she watch "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" It was a little too scary sometimes. But every night, she sat on a big, brown couch with her family and listened to stories told by the Midnight Society. 

"We had no Internet, iPhones or iPods, so that was our entertainment: Nickelodeon," Corfield said.

Last year, Corfield realized how much she missed the classic Nick theme song. Klasky Csupo animations ran through her head. She could recite the entire "‘Kenan & Kel' was filmed in front of a live studio audience" segment at any given moment.

Corfield, now 18, created a blog entitled "nineties-nickelodeon" on Tumblr.

Her blog gained 1,000 followers in one week. Corfield said she had 140 messages, many detailing how users got "teary" looking back at childhood shows. It now has 12,000 followers.

This type of online movement revealed that young adults wanted their ‘90s back, and Nickelodeon executives took note.

Last Monday, Nickelodeon's TeenNick channel began airing a new programming block called "The ‘90s Are All That." It plays four popular ‘90s Nickelodeon shows each weekday from midnight to 2 a.m. They repeat from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

"It feels like it never stopped airing," Corfield said. "You feel like you're 9 years old again."

According to a Nickelodeon press release, the idea began last summer. Nickelodeon interns found that 15 million Facebook fans wanted their ‘90s Nick shows back.

TeenNick is now airing sketch comedy "All That," comedy show "Kenan & Kel," live-action sitcom "Clarissa Explains it All" and animated series "Doug."

For people between the ages of 18 and 34, this is a chance to relive and engage with their childhood. On the block's website, 90sAreAllThat.com, viewers can watch episodes, enter sweepstakes and access polls. They can discuss what it would've been like to sit on the orange SNICK couch or if they dreamed of being slimed.

Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center of TV and Pop Culture at Syracuse University, said this is perfect timing. ‘90s Nickelodeon shows are difficult to find with limited availability on DVD and online.

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"For a lot of people, this is the first time they've seen this stuff since they were kids," he said.

When Thompson meets his freshmen students, he asks what shows they grew up with.

"For the last couple of years, the one thing everybody agrees on is all these Nick shows," he said.

Mitchell Kriegman, who created "Clarissa Explains it All" and developed "Rugrats," "Ren & Stimpy," "Doug" and "Rocko's Modern Life," isn't surprised by the responses.

He said Nickelodeon was the first full-time, 24-hour channel for children.

"The most amazing thing is when I go to meetings or I meet someone who's in their 20s, and they all revert back to being 14," he said. "They get so excited."

Kriegman has worked on "Saturday Night Live" and National Lampoon, but creating children's shows at Nick was groundbreaking. He said "Rugrats" was a point-of-view children's show to the extreme. "Ren & Stimpy" completely reinvented animation. "Doug," Kriegman said, was this generation's "Peanuts."

"It's mind-blowing no matter what age you watch [those shows]," he said.

Shows like "Clarissa Explains it All" were breakthroughs where Nickelodeon reinvented genres. Up until 1991, there were no TV shows with girl leads. The philosophy was that boys would not watch a girl-centered show.

"But [Clarissa] was everything," Kriegman said. "She played basketball, did ballet and dressed up as a monster. It's amazing to see how much these shows have grown in peoples' esteems."

Keith Dawkins, senior vice president and general manager of Nicktoons and TeenNick, said the programming block isn't just a collection of shows, but a "360 idea."

The programming block is embedded in the Internet. For those without TeenNick, Dawkins said the richness of the experience lives in the digital space. This fall, viewers can vote and influence the on-air schedule.

Nickelodeon's team is thrilled by its ratings, but Dawkins said the social media chatter is most impressive. Nickelodeon spent the past few months putting the ‘90s Are All That together to ensure the nostalgia was packaged in a contemporary, current way.

"The biggest person to answer won't be me or the programming department," Dawkins said. "It'll be the audience - you."

When Nickelodeon realized how many young adults craved a second childhood, it delivered in a big way. Last week, TeenNick began airing a block entitled The ‘90s Are All That from midnight to 2 a.m. on weeknights. Airing four shows every night, the block was in response to an overwhelming demand online from 18- to 34-year-olds who wanted to rewatch the TV shows they grew up with. Nickelodeon has made excellent use of social media in the project, discovering that 15 million Facebook fans wanted their ‘90s Nick shows back. The four shows pictured are “All That,” “Kenan and Kel,” “Clarissa Explains It All” and “Doug.”

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