Nicktoons sketches growth under G.M.

Net to revamp appearance, bow 'Johnnie,' 'Stuff'd'

Next week, digital kiddie channel Nicktoons will sport a new look and have a new general manager at its helm.

Channel has tapped Keith Dawkins as its first G.M. Along with his appointment comes news of four new shows to keep net on track to feature a slate that’s 25% original by 2005.

“The goal of this new channel is to create a home for the next generation of animation, a laboratory of new talent and animation styles,” said Cyma Zarghami, exec VP-general manager of Nickelodeon. “We’ve appointed a general manager to take Nicktoons to new creative heights and in Keith we’ve found the right person to create buzz and to build the channel’s momentum.”

To kick things off, Nicktoons will launch its new look on Monday. Channel’s on-air makeover was produced by the broadcast design unit of Klasky Csupo, which produces “Rugrats” and “The Wild Thornberrys” for Nick.

Two interstitial comedy series, “Johnnie Talk” and “Stuff’d,” will also bow that day. In “Johnnie Talk,” an unseen host interviews Nicktoons animators from the restroom. Like “Toy Story” in a hunting lodge, “Stuff’d” takes a look at what happens with the stuffed animals after humans leave.

Launched in 1999 as part of MTV Networks’ suite of digital channels, Nicktoons will roll out its first original series in 2004 along with three acquisitions from beyond the U.S. Nicktoons’ slate concurrently consists of Nickelodeon evergreens such as “Rugrats,” “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “The Fairly OddParents.”

“A quarter of our schedule right now is exclusive to Nicktoons, and we’re quickly moving to a position where we’ll be adding some new work by some creators who are enormously talented and are going to take animation to the next level,” said Dawkins.

Dawkins joins Nicktoons from VH1, where he was a supervising producer. Before that, he was a producer at Fox News and a member of net’s original launch team.