Nickelodeon Animation Studio (sometimes often shortened to Nick Animation) is an American animation studio
owned by ViacomCBS
. It has created many original television programs for Nickelodeon
, such as ''SpongeBob SquarePants
'', ''The Fairly OddParents
'' and ''Avatar: The Last Airbender
'', among various others. Since the 2010s, the studio has also co-developed its own series based on preexisting IP
purchased by ViacomCBS, such as ''Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
'' and ''Winx Club
''. In November 2019, Nickelodeon Animation Studio signed a multiple-year output deal for Netflix
, which will include producing content, in both new and preexisting IP, for the streaming platform.
The studio was founded in 1990, originally named Games Productions Inc. and later Games Animation.
It oversaw the production of three animated programs for Nickelodeon: ''Doug
'', and ''The Ren & Stimpy Show
''. In 1992, Nickelodeon began work on Games Animation's first fully in-house series, ''Rocko's Modern Life
''. Games Animation produced much of the network's mid-1990s output in partnership with other animation companies like Frederator Studios
and Klasky Csupo
. In 1998, the studio moved from Studio City, California
with the construction of a new facility. It was renamed Nickelodeon Animation Studio and later Nickelodeon Studios Burbank. In 1999, a second facility in New York City
was opened, named Nickelodeon Animation Studio New York.
1990–1998: Games Animation
The Nickelodeon Animation Studio's earliest beginnings lie in the roots of the channel's Nicktoons endeavor. In 1990, Nickelodeon hired Vanessa Coffey
as a creative consultant to develop Nicktoons,
charging her with the quest of seeking out new characters and stories that would allow the channel a grand entrance into the animation business.
The high cost of high-quality animation discouraged the network from developing weekly animated programming. Although most television networks at the time tended to go to large animation houses with proven track records to develop Saturday-morning series, often generally pre-sold characters from movies, toys or comics, Nickelodeon desired differently. Inspired by the early days of animation and the work of Bob Clampett
, Tex Avery
and Chuck Jones
, Nickelodeon set out to find frustrated cartoonists swallowed up by the studio system.
Nickelodeon president Geraldine Laybourne commissioned eight six-minute pilots at a cost of $100,000 each before selecting three. Seeking the most innovative talents in the field, the products of this artists' union – ''Doug
'' and ''The Ren & Stimpy Show
'' – represented twelve years of budget-building toward that end.
Coffey was hired as Nickelodeon's Executive Producer of Animation between the pilots and series production.
However, despite the best efforts, relations became strained with ''Ren & Stimpy'' creator John Kricfalusi
. In fall 1992, Nickelodeon fired Kricfalusi. Coffey asserts that John was in breach of contract for not delivering on time, creating disturbing content and going over budget. Kricfalusi suspected the real reason was that the network was uncomfortable with more crude humor.
Nickelodeon objected to most of his proposed plotlines and new characters—including George Liquor
, an Archie Bunker
-ish "All-American Male." After Kricfalusi and Nickelodeon missed several promised new-episode delivery and air dates, the network—which had purchased the rights to the ''Ren & Stimpy'' characters from Kricfalusi—negotiated a settlement with him.
The creative tug of war was closely watched by both animators and the television industry and covered in the national press.
In response, Nickelodeon formed its own animation studio, Games Productions Inc. The name was later shortened to Games Animation.
The series was moved to Games and put under the creative supervision of Bob Camp
, one of Kricfalusi's former writer-director partners.
Nick's plan was to hire bright, young animators and let them do almost anything they want.
Coffey soon stepped down as animation vice president for Nickelodeon, to pursue her own projects. She was replaced by Mary Harrington, a Nickelodeon producer who moved out from New York to help run the Nicktoons division that was a near-shambles after Kricfalusi was fired.
In 1992, animator Joe Murray
was approached by Nickelodeon with intentions of developing a new animated series for Games Animation. Murray's Joe Murray Productions
and Games Animation
rented office space on Ventura Boulevard
in the Studio City
neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley
region of Los Angeles
. The production moved to a different office building on Vineland Avenue in Studio City. Executives did not share space with the creative team.
[Where Rocko the series was produced]
," ''Joe Murray Studio''
Games Animation's first in-house production, ''Rocko's Modern Life
'', premiered on the network in 1993.
The initial duty was to continue producing ''The Ren & Stimpy Show
'' as Nickelodeon dropped Spümcø
and its creator John Kricfalusi
from their duties on the show. At the time, Games was located in an office building in Studio City, California
. Apart from ''The Ren & Stimpy Show'', Nickelodeon's other Nicktoons were done out-of-house at Jumbo Pictures
(whose next deal with Nickelodeon would be a live-action/puppet series ''Allegra's Window
'' for Nick Jr.
) in New York City
(who entered mainstream popularity as animation producers from Fox
's longest-running animated sitcom ''The Simpsons
'' from 1987 to 1992 when animation production duties were given to Film Roman
, as well as Everett Peck
'' which was produced by Nickelodeon's sister company Paramount Television
and aired on USA Network
in 1994 through 1997).
In 1993, Nickelodeon greenlit its first fully original in-house series, ''Rocko's Modern Life
'', produced by Games Animation with the partnership of Joe Murray Studio. Games worked on the show for three years and employed over 70 people during the course of its run. The show was canceled in 1996 by Nickelodeon due to its creator Joe Murray wanting to spend more time with his family. Following the cancellation, Games Animation produced the pilots of ''Hey Arnold!
'', ''The Angry Beavers
'', and ''CatDog
'', along with the former's first 26 episodes, and the second's 13 episodes. The latter was produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studios along with the other two by this point forward.
1998–2016: Nickelodeon Animation Studio
In 1996, Albie Hecht
, then-president of Film and TV Entertainment for Nickelodeon, met with Nickelodeon artists for a brainstorming session on the elements of their ideal studio, and, with their feedback (and some inspiration from the fabled Willy Wonka
chocolate factory), created "a playful, inspirational and cutting-edge lab which will hopefully give birth to the next generation of cartoon classics." He added, "For me, this building is the physical manifestation of a personal dream, which is that when people think of cartoons, they'll say Nicktoons."
Nickelodeon and parent company Viacom
threw a bash to celebrate the opening of the new Nicktoons animation studio on March 4, 1998. During the launch party, a gathering of union labor supporters formed a picket line to protest Nickelodeon's independent hiring practices outside the studio's iron gates.
Located at 231 West Olive Avenue in Burbank, California, the facility, designed by Los Angeles architecture firm AREA, houses 200–300 employees and up to five simultaneous productions. It also contains a miniature golf course (with a hole dedicated to Walt Disney
), an indoor basketball course/screening room, an artists' gallery, a studio store, and a fountain that shoots green water into the air.
The Nicktoons studio houses five, project driven production units. Each has its own color and design environment and includes a living room, writer's lounge, and storyboard conference room. The studio also has a Foley stage (for recording live sound effects), a post-production area, sound editing and mixing rooms and an upstairs loft area with skylights for colorists.
In September 1999, Nickelodeon opened a major new digital animation studio at 1633 Broadway
. The New York studio primarily took over production of Nick Jr.
At the same time, the Los Angeles facility animated the intro for ''The Amanda Show
It was reported in 2005 that the Burbank studio was up for sale; this was later corrected, as the owner of the building was selling it.
2016–present: Nickelodeon Studios
In 2016, Nickelodeon's animation facilities moved into a five-story glass structure that will be part of a larger new studio complex next to the current Burbank facilities, which became part of the studio as a means of bringing animated productions currently produced elsewhere in Southern California under a single production facility. Because it houses both animated and live-action productions, the studio has been renamed to simply Nickelodeon Studios (which is not to be confused with the original Nickelodeon Studios
at Universal Studios Florida, which closed in 2005). The studio also houses the Nickelodeon time capsule, first buried in Orlando, Florida
in 1992 at the original Nickelodeon Studios and later at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort
in 2006, which has moved to the new studio by the latter's closure and rebrand on June 1, 2016.
The new studio opened on January 11, 2017.
List of Nickelodeon Animation Studio productions
Nick Jr. shows
Other ViacomCBS networks
Digital short series
Nickelodeon (greenlit to series)
Nickelodeon (not greenlit to series)
Produced for other Viacom-owned networks
TV movies and specials
Digital movies and specials
All the films (except ''Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'' and the international release of ''Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure'') were distributed to home video by Paramount Home Entertainment
All the films are distributed by Paramount Pictures
and produced by Nickelodeon Movies
* Paramount Animation
, the animation division of Paramount Pictures
** MTV Animation
** MTV Films
* Cartoon Network Studios
, the animation division of Cartoon Network
** Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe
** Warner Bros. Animation
** Williams Street
* Disney Television Animation
, the animation division of Walt Disney Television
** 20th Century Animation
** 20th Television Animation
* Universal Animation Studios
, the animation division of Universal Pictures
** DreamWorks Animation Television
, the television animation division of DreamWorks Animation
Nickelodeon Animation Studio official site
Category:Nickelodeon-related production companies
Category:American animation studios
Category:American companies established in 1990
Category:Entertainment companies established in 1990
Category:Mass media companies established in 1990
Category:1990 establishments in California
Category:Companies based in Burbank, California