Nickelodeon Bet Wisely On Our Nostalgia

Senior Writer
07.28.11 25 Comments

Taking a page from the campaign that eventually landed Betty White a hosting gig at Saturday Night Live, 20-somethings across Facebook created pages calling for the resurrection of their favorite Nickelodeon shows of the 90s. And even though this is the kind of behavior that leads to Hollywood rebooting every damn movie and TV show that was made in the last 30 years, Nickelodeon acknowledged these battle cries and launched “The ‘90s Are All That” on TeenNick.

This past Monday, the network began airing old episodes of Kenan & Kel, All That, Clarissa Explains It All, and the cartoon Doug. And wouldn’t you know it, the fans were right. The first ratings doubled those of any show that had previously occupied the midnight to 2 a.m. time slot, which means that both the nostalgic 90s babies and today’s babies enjoyed the show in union. Except the 90s babies were probably stoned. Hell, so were today’s.

For TeenNick, there was very little risk involved in creating the ‘90s programming block, because the overnight hours were rather low-rated.

On Monday, an average of 555,000 people tuned in between midnight and 2 a.m., fully double last year’s total during that time period, according to Nielsen data. Of the 555,000 viewers, 229,000 were between the ages of 18 and 34, the demographic that grew up watching the shows in the 1990s. Most of the others were under the age of 18. (Via The New York Times)

While I’d be considerably more enthusiastic if Nick brought back shows like You Can’t Do That on Television, Salute Your Shorts, or Hey Dude, we have seen before how late night cult followings can lead to new beginnings for old favorites (See: Futurama). However, Nickelodeon execs should remember that while the 20-somethings are ridiculously nostalgic over every little thing – OMG, remember slap bracelets?!?! – they also have 10-second attention spans. Take advantage of this now, because soon enough they’ll be banging down NBC’s door to bring back Blossom. God knows Jenna Voy Oy could use the cash.

P.S. – Who didn’t have a little cartoon crush on Patty Mayonnaise?

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