“The good old Snick couch!” Thompson is as excited as you are. “That brought back so many memories for me, immediately. Years and years of it, all around that couch. I think we had the couch in the ‘Kenan and Kel’ intro.” Filming that bit, Thompson said, “was very nostalgic.”
Sitcom “Kenan and Kel” will air weekdays on the network’s TeenNick channel alongside sketch comedy “All That,” “Clarissa Explains It All” (Nick’s first live-action comedy) and animated series “Doug” — four of Nickelodeon’s most iconic shows from the 1990s. Obsessives can also sign on to The90sAreAllThat.com to connect with other fans, access exclusive content and lobby for beloved shows they want to see on-air.
The block began to take shape last summer, when a group of young Nickelodeon interns gave a presentation to Nick executives. “Bringing back classic Nickelodeon is a real digital opportunity,” they said.
“When the numbers went from 9 million Facebook fans to 15 million fans, we said, ‘This is more than a digital opportunity. This is a TV opportunity,’ ” said Cyma Zarghami, president of Nickelodeon, citing the multiple sites viewers created to demand the return of these old shows. “We’re hoping to make it very interactive. . . . Part of the goal is letting people tell us what they want.”
Fans love ’90s Nick more than Kel loves orange soda. But why?
Nickelodeon quickly became the kind of weird, wacky channel kids would have dreamed up for themselves, right down to the orange splat logo. Kids don’t want squeaky clean. Kids want to be slimed. Kids want pies to the face. Kids want to see other kids being kids. Nickelodeon was the place that provided it.
“Nick was the first and only branded network for kids,” Zarghami said. “One of the reasons I think people remember Nick fondly is that we housed all the stuff they loved. . . . Our original mission was to lead people to believe that Nickelodeon was run by kids, and that if you walked down the halls of Nickelodeon, you would see kids who looked just like you playing there.”
Brian Robbins was the writer and creator of “All That,” a “Saturday Night Live”-style show that launched the careers of Thompson, Amanda Bynes and Nick Cannon. “There was really nothing like it on television,” Robbins said. “The show had a really urban, pop flavor. Everything up to that point was very soft, nice and sweet — very cookie-cutter. This was a very irreverent show.
“Kids felt ‘All That’ was all theirs. . . . It felt cool, like it spoke to them.”
But those kids who spent Saturday nights watching Snick are in their 20s and 30s now; isn’t it time to put away childish things? What is a devoted “Friday Night Lights” fan going to get out of “Double Dare”? What themes left unexplored by “Mad Men” are explained in total by Clarissa?