Desire to 'reflect all kids' behind new lineup

NEW YORK — In advance of today’s upfront presentation for advertisers, kids cabler Nickelodeon on Wednesday unveiled nine new series — with a predominant focus on Hispanic culture.

Three of the new shows — which will premiere during the 2000-01 season — feature Hispanic leads, including the preschool program “Dora the Explorer,” the net’s first bilingual series.

“We came to the conclusion that there weren’t enough Hispanic images on the screen,” said Nick’s president Herb Scannell, who said the issue was personal for him since his mother is Puerto Rican. “The Hispanic population is a very fast-growing population. We want to reflect all kids.”

Nick has budgeted $200 million for programming its 2000-2001 season. The new series cost approximately $100 million, according to Scannell. The slate includes:

  • “The Brothers Garcia,” a live-action series that revolves around a Mexican-American family living in San Antonio, Texas. John Leguizamo will provide the voice of the show’s narrator.

  • “Taina,” a multigenerational, live-action series that features a 14-year-old Latina who attends a high school for the performing arts. Maria Perez-Brown (“Gullah Gullah Island”) exec produces.

  • “Noah Knows Best,” a live-action comedy about two teenage siblings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side; created by Ken Lipman (“The Secret World of Alex Mack”).

  • “Invader Zim,” an animated tale of an alien who spies on earth by attending an elementary school; created by comic book writer-artist Jhonen Vasquez and exec produced by Mary Harrington.

  • “As Told by Ginger,” an animated series from Klasky-Csupo (“Rugrats,” “The Wild Thornberrys”) about a sixth grade girl.

  • “Chalk Zone,” an animated series about a boy who discovers a magic piece of chalk that allows him to enter a world beyond the chalkboard, co-created by Larry Huber and Bill Burnett and exec produced by Fred Seibert.

  • “The Fairly Oddparents,” an animated series from Butch Hartman about a 10-year-old boy with fairy godparents.

  • “Dora the Explorer,” an interactive, adventure series featuring a 7-year-old Latina girl who lives inside a computer. The bilingual preschool series is exec produced by Brown Johnson, Chris Gifford and Valerie Walsh for Nick Jr.

  • “Maggie and the Ferocious Beast,” an animated preschool series from Nelvana about a 5-year-old girl with a big imagination.

Nick also announced that it has renewed 17 series, including “Rugrats,” “Blue’s Clues,” “Cousin Skeeter,” “SpongeBob Squarepants” and “Nick News.”

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