The animated characters of WWE’s web series “Slam City” are making the leap to television.
Nickelodeon has inked a deal with WWE to air the stop-motion animated series on Nicktoons’ NickSports primetime programming block, starting Oct. 22.
In “Slam City,” WWE’s roster of wrestlers are fired by new character The Finisher and forced to find day jobs in Slam City. John Cena becomes a car mechanic, while Randy Orton is a zookeeper, Sheamus is an usher in a movie theater and Alberto Del Rio is a barista in a coffee shop.
The first batch of 26 episodes, produced as two-minute installments, launched in March on WWESlamCity.com and Maker Studios’ YouTube channel Cartoonium in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. Later, the series streamed on the WWE Network, Mattel.com, Hulu, AOL On, Vudu, iTunes, Kabillion, Google Play, and Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo’s videogame consoles.
It’s been viewed nearly 20 million times across the platforms.
The NickSports block, which airs every Wednesday from 9-11 p.m., becomes the first time the show has played on TV. The block features a rotating lineup of sports-themed content including series, specials and documentaries from leagues and key athletes, as well as acquired theatrical movies.“True to the spirit of the NickSports programming block, WWE Slam City offers kids and their families a fun, fresh way to experience these exciting WWE Superstars, and the series is a great complement to our diverse, and ever expanding, sports lineup,” said Keith Dawkins, senior VP and general manager, Nicktoons, TeenNick and Nick Jr.
Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, founded by Seth Green, Eric Towner, Matt Seinrich and John Harvatine IV produce “Slam City,” along with “Robot Chicken” and Sony’s animated “Superbago.” Mattel’s Playground Prods. worked with WWE and Stoopid Buddy to develop and produce the property.
“Slam City” is part of WWE’s effort to grow its brand with kids and turn them into fans.
Last year, WWE’s TV shows, including “Monday Night Raw” and “Friday Night SmackDown” were viewed by nearly 3 million kids each week, making up 20% of its TV audience.
But “Slam City” also helped relaunch an existing line of smaller action figures for Mattel, which already produces the No. 2 action figure property in the U.S., and has spun off into games and other online content.
WWE Studios has also used animated programming to court kids, namely with straight-to-homevideo movies “Scooby-Doo WrestleMania Mystery,” and an upcoming “Flintstones” film.
On the marketing front, partnerships with Kraft Foods, Frito-Lay, Post Foods and the Got Milk campaign from the Milk Processor Education Program, are developed for kids and families, as are various literacy, education, anti-bullying initiatives and a 30-year relationship with the Make-A-Wish foundation.
“This exciting partnership will allow us to bring WWE’s passionate fan base to the NickSports programming block while also creating new WWE fans through Nickelodeon’s massive audience,” said Michelle D. Wilson, WWE’s chief revenue and marketing officer. “WWE programming reaches 3 million kids each week and we’re sure they’ll be excited to watch WWE on Nicktoons.”