Rookie trio to share Nick’s new 8:30 slot

As expected, Nickelodeon on Thursday formally announced a half-hour expansion of its successful primetime kids block that will find new series running nightly at 8:30 p.m. beginning in fall 1998 (Daily Variety, Nov. 13).

In claiming a second 30-minute piece of Nick at Nite’s turf, the Viacom-owned cabler will checkerboard several kid-targeted series, including a trio of debuting shows: “The Wild Thornberrys,” an animated adventure-comedy from Klasky-Csupo that includes voices provided by Tim Curry and Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others; “Cousin Skeeter,” a live-action comedy populated by humans and a nearly life-sized puppet from Tollin/Robbins Prods.; and the previously announced “Animorphs,” a live-action sci-fi series produced by Scholastic Prods.

Additionally, “The Journey of Allen Strange,” which premiered Nov. 8, will be part of the mix in next year’s primetime expansion. Show is produced by Lynch Entertainment.

Nickelodeon’s first foray into conventional prime on Oct. 7, 1996, has resulted in the network consistently outdelivering the broadcast webs in the 2-11 demographic from 8 to 8:30 p.m., beating all competition an average of four nights each week.

Said Nickelodeon prexy Herb Scannell in a statement: “The success of our strategy has proven us right, and this move to 8:30 is a logical extension of our core strategy of serving kids everywhere, particularly where they are underserved.”

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