Nickelodeon prexy Cyma Zarghami introduced the kidvid cabler’s program lineup at Thursday’s upfront presentation at Gotham’s Hammerstein Ballroom, but first she introduced M. Night Shyamalan, who helms Paramount’s July 4 family tentpole, “The Last Airbender.”
Pic, based on the Nick cartoon and starring “Slumdog Millionaire” thesp Dev Patel and “Twilight” actor Jackson Rathbone, initially attracted Shyamalan because of connections to Hindu mythology. Shyamalan spoke highly of the pic’s lead, Noah Ringer, who was cast through an open call. “He’s homeschooled and he plays a monk in the movie.”
The net bused in an aud of photogenic dancing tweens (some from casting, some children of clients) to crowd the stage for Shyamalan and the stars of Nickelodeon’s latest original series, “Big Time Rush,” about a pop group that becomes an overnight sensation.
Earning the biggest cheers from the kids was Miranda Cosgrove, star of the net’s “iCarly,” but a close second was YouTube breakout and now Sony artist Justin Bieber.
Another “iCarly” star, Victoria Justice, was on hand to promote her new musical high school comedy skein “Victorious.”
Also on the net’s live-action agenda: new mystery series “House of Anubis,” the first live-action Nick series produced in Europe.
Repping the net’s animation slate was comic Jamie Kennedy, who stars in Nick’s “Fanboy and Chum Chum.” New additions to that lineup include DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda: The Series,” the Steve Oedekirk-produced “Planet Sheen,” “T.U.F.F. Puppy,” and “Bubble Guppies.”
Also announced were new seasons of “Rush,” “iCarly,” “SpongeBob Squarepants,” “The Penguins of Madagascar,” “Glenn Martin D.D.S.” and “Dora the Explorer.”