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Nick bowing Gotham tune studio

$10 mil digital facility will be home to 'Blue's,' 'Bill'

Nickelodeon will open its new $10 million digital animation studio and development laboratory in Gotham next month.

The state-of-the-art facility will house Nick’s hit preschool show “Blue’s Clues” and the new animated primetime series from Bill Cosby, “Little Bill.”

The launch of Nickelodeon Animation Studio New York is part of MTV Networks” $350 million commitment to animated programming, most of which will be spent on Nickelodeon projects.

In March 1998, the kids cabler opened its Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, Calif. Nick also has a production studio in Orlando, Fla.

Encouraging innovation

In addition to developing pilots for the next generation of “Nicktoons,” the new Gotham facility will also encourage animators to take risks with new techniques, said Albie Hecht, Nick’s president, film and TV entertainment.

“This maintains our leadership in original programming, and it shows how big and broad we are as a producer,” Hecht told Daily Variety.

Nick currently has 22 animated and live-action series in production.

“We rival the output of the major Hollywood studios,” said Hecht.

Nick’s new animation studio will fill two floors at 1633 Broadway in Midtown Manhattan and take up 10,000 square feet. Housing 140 employees, including 70 animators/ digital designers, it will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Hecht said that he hoped that the high-tech, digital facility will enable Nick animators in different cities to contribute to the same project easily.

‘Virtual creation’

“I call it ‘virtual creation,’ ” said Hecht. “We’ll have the ability to design an animated show in our Burbank studio, ship it to New York for digital animation and then ship it to Orlando for post-production.”

Nickelodeon and MTV Networks are owned by Viacom, which recently agreed to merge with CBS.