Should Disney Channel Pull a Nickelodeon?


I watched a lot of TV as a kid. Not only in amount, but also in genre. Travel Channel, ABC, TLC, Disney Channel, the occasional Cartoon Network (most of their stuff I deemed “for weirdos,” because I apparently never looked in a mirror). However, I spent most of my time on Nickelodeon. The live-action series consumed my time. All That introduced me to the wonders of sketch comedy and Taina introduced me to 3LW (aka two future Cheetah Girls and another human). Ned’s Declassified continues to be one of the quirkiest and funniest tween-geared shows of all-time while Zoey 101 may be one of the most referenced pop culture items in my life (did you see that new 10 minute clip? GENIUS!). Their game shows like Figure It Out and Double Dare shaped my childhood (Summer Sanders is #SquadGoals).

However, Nickelodeon shined brightest when it came to Nicktoons. Hey Arnold!, Rugrats, Doug, The Wild Thornberrys, As Told By Ginger, Rocket Power…these are some of the varied genius I had the pleasure of watching as a kid. The shows educated me, entertained me and shaped me.

So, when the new head of development for Nickelodeon, Chris Viscardi, recently announced they are going back into their Nicktoons library for reboots, sequels, and updates, I was a little hesitant. The idea excited me beyond belief, but I am one not to get too excited for TV announcements since most never seem to come to fruition. Fox announced they were doing a mini-series based on Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs” over a year ago and who knows what happened there.

However, my excitement grew and hesitation dropped over the past few weeks after the announcement that they are currently working on a Hey Arnold! TV movie and miniseries, FINALLY informing us what happened to Arnold’s parents. Last time they were going to tell us, it became Mayan temple, lava, Arnold’s born, END OF EPISODE.

In the initial announcement, they said this isn’t going to be geared to the millennials who grew up with the show as much as it will be in a Girl Meets World format, meaning the show will be geared towards the normal demographic for Nickelodeon, but enough of the show will still get the original viewers stoked (#StoopKid).

With the knowledge of this, I immediately started to think what else they could do to their library. Rocket Power live-action franchise? The Wild Thornberrys reboot? As Told By Ginger novel series?! The possibilities are endless and thrilling.

While I was thinking about Nickelodeon, I also began to wonder why hasn’t Disney started doing this with their catalog? Disney has not only their Disney Channel animated programs, but also their incredible and dearly missed One Saturday Morning shows. That is a lot of shows that can be re-purposed and new franchises can be reborn. I created a quick list of options (No need to pay me Disney. Just take them!):

  • Kim Possible is the obvious first choice to bring back. It’s following is in full force. People LOVED this kick butt girl who saves the world but also is a cheerleader who has a rocket scientist and brain surgeon as parents. If they brought back the original creative team and, hear me out, cast Rowan Blanchard in a live-action movie, they would have a gigantic hit on their hands. They could rake in the cash like it was November in Central Park. Heck, my friend and I dressed up as Kim and Ron for Character Day my senior year… and we weren’t the only ones.
  • The Proud Family continues to be my favorite animated series of all-time (can we make Jo Marie Payton a Disney Legend just or her genius voice over work as Suga Mama?) and continues to hold up. The show introduced me to sarcasm and Ramadan. Weird, I know, but it helped me appreciate different cultures and values so immensely. And also, Al Roker was a villain who had to hold a double dutch contest to be defeated. So random, yet so hilarious. The show was prevalent before “diversity” was the hottest buzzword for television networks. Don’t get me wrong, I am the biggest champion of diversity, so bringing this back is an obvious choice. I want Kyla Pratt back in the spotlight!
  • Recess is one of those animated shows that ran forever and it still wasn’t enough time. Bringing this back in any capacity, whether it be miniseries or TV movie or theatrical release or full-fledged series would be great. The king of the playground! The Ashleys! Spinelli! This show still gives me the laughs and the feels.
  • The Weekenders is such an under appreciated animated series that I was addicted to when I was younger. The plot was simple: every episode followed four friends as they traversed their weekends. They always ate pizza at the same pizza place that changed themes every episode. The humor was very educated and smart for a shows geared for kids so its return would be incredibly welcome. Also, Wayne Brady sang the theme song, so how bad can it be?
  • Doug. That’s all I have to say. Bring Doug back. And Pepper Ann. Both of them. I don’t care how, and I don’t have to give reasons why because they’re obvious. Bring them back. kthxbai.

There’s a market for recent nostalgia, Disney. If you can bring us a Life Size 2 (which I need tomorrow, BTW), you can bring back some animated series.

Marshal Knight
Marshal Knight is a pop culture writer based in Orlando, FL. For some inexplicable reason, his most recent birthday party was themed to daytime television. He’d like to thank Sandra Oh.