How’s this for a #tbt: Nickelodeon announces launch date for ‘90s-centric initiative ‘The Splat’


Just in time for #tbt, Nickelodeon has announced the launch date for its block of classic ‘90s programs it’s been teasing in recent weeks.

The Viacom-owned network will have viewers trotting down memory lane with the ‘90s-centric block dubbed “The Splat” starting Oct. 5 on TeenNick from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. ET/PT. Over the eight-hour chunk, viewers can watch a rotating lineup of recent vintage fare such as “Hey Arnold!” (1996), “Kenan & Kel” (1996), and “Rugrats” (1991) — among others.

The network is taking its flashbacking seriously — also revisiting classic programming stunts such as Nick or Treat, U-Pick and Super Toy Run, as well as the recreation of specific days of programming as they aired in the ‘90s. Even original promos will emerge from the vault.


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“Our research has told us that there are these cycles in time, and right now we are sitting squarely in this nostalgia for the ‘90s era,” Keith Dawkins, senior vice president and general manager of Nicktoons, TeenNick and Nick Jr, told The Times.

He continued: “We had a generation of former Nickelodeon kids who grew up on ‘Rugrats,’ ‘Doug,’ and ‘Ren & Stimpy,” and whatever else. We were the only brand speaking to them in a very unique way, and now that generation are twenty somethings and older and they’re working and they long for those shows that take them back to that time when their worlds weren’t overrun with adult problems.”

The programming tactic lands at a time when kids’ programmers are suffering considerable ratings erosion, as this generation of young viewers cuddles up to content offered by streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as other apps accessible on mobile tablets and smartphones.

Perhaps in answer to that, Nick’s retro initiative will have a multi-screen component, with seven social media platforms, including a dedicated YouTube channel, and a dedicated website that will aggregate “the most loved Nick content from the 1990s and beyond,” according to the network’s release. Those components launched earlier this month as a way to tease the return of heyday favorites.

“It was paramount for us to be able to say that we were going to deliver back to fans what they asked for — their favorite ‘90s content — and to deliver it in all the places they watch,” Dawkins said. “That might mean that the TV screen isn’t the first place they show up. But it has to feel that no matter what door or screen you show up at, that it’s a cohesive brand experience.”


This isn’t the first time TeenNick, Nickelodeon’s 24-hour TV network for teens and tweens, has gotten nostalgic. In 2011 it launched “The 90s Are All That,” a programming block brought about due to appeals via the Internet and social media platforms from young adults yearning to revisit the childhood fare they grew up with on Nickelodeon in the ‘90s. That block, which aired nightly from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m. ET/PT and didn’t have the multiplatform offshoots, will be replaced with “The Splat.”

And ‘90s Nick alum Kel Mitchell, who appeared in bygone comedies “All That” and “Kenan & Kel,” said he hopes the block translates into more happy adults walking around.

“The fans asked for this — they wanted those shows from their childhood that were their happy place growing up,” said Mitchell, who experienced just how fervent the fandom remains when he got back together with Kenan Thompson Wednesday night on “The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon” for a Good Burger reunion (a sketch that originated on “All That”).

“I think it’s cool,” said Mitchell, who returns as an adult to the network this season on “Game Shakers.” “Who doesn’t want to feel like a kid again? Get the pajamas, get a big bowl of cereal and sit real close to whatever screen you’re watching. For a few hours, forget that you have bills.”

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