×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Next Mutation: Nickelodeon Reinvents ‘Turtles,’ ‘Blue’s Clues’ for a New Generation

Cowabunga, dude. “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is about to get a reboot at Nickelodeon, where the network is ready to introduce the characters to a new generation of viewers, one of several venerable properties the network is reviving. And the net knows this generation of kids will want new things from these series.

“In order to reach [our audience] we’re going to have to use our entire ecosystem,” says Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon Group. “And our ecosystem includes some social, some digital, a relationship with our retail and toy partners, so we have the ability to mobilize the scope of our business to help make something successful. It’s a different vision of prioritization now that we have so many more tools now.”

The re-imagined turtles will appear in “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” a 2D-animated series co-executive produced by Andy Suriano, who previously did character design for “Samurai Jack,” and Ant Ward, former supervising producer on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Veteran voice actor Rob Paulsen is voice-directing the new 26-episode series, which follows the turtles as they explore a mysterious world located underneath the streets of New York City.

Voice performers for the new show include Josh Brener (“Silicon Valley”) as Donatello, Omar Miller (“Ballers”) as Raphael, Ben Schwartz (“Parks and Recreation”) as Leonardo, Brandon Mychal Smith (“You’re the Worst”) as Michelangelo and John Cena as Baron Draxum, a warrior mutant who seeks to turn all of humanity into mutants.

“Nickelodeon has been great about integrating this series into a multiplatform experience, so we want to make sure our storytelling can extend beyond week to week episodes into all the other media components and social media components and live experiences,” says Suriano. “It’s exciting to be part of something kids will experience in many different ways, and this is a show that was big for so many generations of kids before that it’s fun to imagine how we can push it further.”

“We’ve earned the respect of the true fans with what we’ve done already and now we look to make it fun for new fans to discover and enjoy all the turtles,” Zarghami says.

Nickelodeon, whose core audience is kids 6 to 11 years old, has also slated a spinoff of its hit “The Loud Family,” “Los Casagrandes,” as well as a reboot of “Blue’s Clues” designed for younger, preschool-age children. The original show, created by Traci Paige Johnson, Todd Kessler and Angela C. Santomero, aired for six seasons.

Santomero, who also worked on “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” plans to update the look, but keep many of the original aspects of the show.

“Of course we want to engage, in some way, previous fans and we also want to make it relevant today,” says Santomero. “We believe that preschoolers are universally developmentally similar, but things are a bit different so we’re incorporating a new live-action host and new CG animation. We’re going to push the level of interactivity even further. We know that preschoolers are surrounded by media in all different areas and they’re interacting with apps and games that push education to the next level. But when we talk about it, it’s really more about giving kids a voice and practicing skills. And we’re interested in pushing that even further.”

The re-invented “Blue’s Clues” series will focus on an energetic puppy named Blue who asks her viewers into her animated world to help solve the day’s puzzles. A live-action host will guide the young viewers through the show.

Young kids are encouraged to interact with the action on-screen by answering questions and identifying clues.

“We still use research religiously,” Zarghami says. “This audience is different than the one before it for a lot of reasons. Being born into a digital world is part of what makes them different. So they have an expectation that if something is important that it is available to them everywhere.”

>Zarghami points out the shows chosen for reinvention have reached a level of cultural relevance that only comes after catching on with viewers, who then become adults but still love the show and the characters. And Nick knows as well as anyone how potent those associations can be, with the net’s SpongeBob Squarepants having found new life as an unlikely Broadway star.

“Each one of these properties that we’re reinventing have a couple of things in common, starting with [the fact that] they’ve been able to withstand the test of time,” she says. “They’ve been around for 10 years or more, they’ve all reached a level of ubiquity in the grown-up world. So, you’ll see sort of a random person at the airport wearing a [Teenage Mutant Ninja] Turtles T-shirt. And each one of these properties is a global success so they don’t just work in the domestic market, they work everywhere. Each one has managed to manifest itself well beyond television, whether its fruit snacks or toys or theatricals. When you have one of those, it feels like our responsibility to make sure we keep bringing them back for the new generation.”

More TV

  • Outlander 406

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Encounters William Again in 'Blood of My Blood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Blood Of My Blood,” the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 4. The action in “Blood of My Blood” picked up almost immediately after the previous week’s episode, as evidenced by the fact that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was still staying with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and [...]

  • The Flash -- "Elseworlds, Part 1"

    'Elseworlds, Part 1' Recap: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen Swap Skills, Visit Superman

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 1,” the first part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 9. After past crossovers that introduced beloved characters’ doppelgangers, a wedding and death, “Elseworlds,” the fifth annual “Arrowverse” event, had a lot to which to live up. Unlike previous years, [...]

  • Stranger Things

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Reveals Episode Titles, 2019 Release

    Netflix dropped a new teaser for the upcoming third season of “Stranger Things” Sunday, confirming that it will land on the streamer in 2019. The teaser also revealed the episode titles for the third season, which are as follows: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • Michael Che Defends Kevin Hart on

    Michael Che Ribs Academy Over Kevin Hart Controversy on 'SNL'

    Kevin Hart may have alienated some in Hollywood over his recently resurfaced homophobic tweets, but that didn’t stop “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che from cracking some jokes in support of Hart on Dec. 8’s “Saturday Night Live.” After briefly recapping that Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after the 2011 tweets came to light, [...]

  • THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY

    'The Umbrella Academy' Superheroes Series Premiere Date Set on Netflix

    The dysfunctional-family superheroes of “The Umbrella Academy” are landing on Netflix worldwide on Feb. 15, 2019. The live-action series is based on the “Umbrella Academy” comic books created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics. The Netflix original series comprises 10 one-hour episodes. “The Umbrella Academy” stars [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Jason Momoa"

    Robert De Niro Appears as Robert Mueller in 'Saturday Night Live' Cold Open

    Robert De Niro made a surprise appearance as special counsel Robert Mueller in “Saturday Night Live’s” cold open. De Niro popped out of a closet in a sketch that skewered President Donald Trump and the mounting legal pressure Mueller’s investigation has put on many of Trump’s associates. Alex Moffatt played Eric Trump in a bedtime-story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content