Nickelodeon is one of the biggest and most well-known child world brands. Having several sister channels, theme parks, hotels, and cruises, it has it all. If you are a young entrepreneur then the Nickelodeon channel may be familiar to you. But who owns Nickelodeon?
As of September 2018, the Nickelodeon channel has over 87 million households watching it in the United States. So, who was able to create this empire of fun and happiness? This article will explain who founded Nickelodeon and whether it is still under the same ownership. Let’s get started!
The Early History of Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon got its name from the beginning five cent movies called nickelodeon. The channel itself appeared in December 1977 under Warner Cable Communications. At the time it was called Pinwheel before officially launching as Nickelodeon on April 1, 1979.
The idea for the channel came from Dr. Vivian Horner, an educator as well as director of research on the PBS show The Electric Company. He did the first series for the channel called Pinwheel. The show became popular enough for Dr. Horner to expand it into the television show we know today.
Throughout the 80s, Nickelodeon struggled and lost $10 million in the four years it started. Management was replaced by MTV Networks president Bob Pittman who used people from his channel and turned Nickelodeon into a golden age.
With its newfound success, Nickelodeon started the Kids’ Choice Awards, opened Nickelodeon Studios, and would go on to become more established thanks to its creation of original animation.
The Golden Age
Thanks to its original animated programming such as Rugrats and Ren and Stimpy, Nickelodeon has expanded beyond just more programming. New shows like That’s all and The Amanda Show became a huge hit with millions earned. Shows like That’s all will launch careers like Kenan Thompson and Amanda Bynes.
As the 90s continued, they played their first theatrically released films, which also proved to be hits. Then on May 1, 1999, they released their most popular show in the channel’s history SpongeBob SquarePants. The Spongebob The franchise went on to generate over $13 billion for Nickelodeon.
The channel went on to success and many other shows, launching careers and catering to millions of children around the world. In 2016, they were studying their old properties and turning them into movies.
Nickelodeon will be under new management after Cyma Zarghami was President from 2006 to 2018. She was replaced by That’s all co-creator Brian Robbins. He has been the CEO of Paramount Pictures and is the Chief Content Officer, Kids & Family, Paramount+.
Today, the channel is working to expand to other platforms working with Viacom to launch Nickelodeon shows and channels on Pluto TV and Netflix. Nickelodeon also works with CBS and has a partnership with CBS Sports. In fact, Nickelodeon was a prominent part of CBS’ coverage of the Super Bowl. This sports partnership leads to NFL hosting games on the Nickelodeon channel.
The Owner of Nickelodeon
So who owns Nickelodeon? Dr. Vivian Horner founded the channel but never owned it. Actually, he left the channel in 1983. He then became a board chair member of the Bank Street College of Education and served on the Board of the National Foreign Language Center. In 1999, he credited Geraldine Laybourne with making a breakthrough on Nickelodeon. He says,
- “Laybourne really understands what kids want: Her Nickelodeon has attitude, like Angelica Rugrats. I appreciate it, but I prefer softer programming myself. I’m a little old. I’m not sure if I can make Nickelodeon a huge hit.”
Geraldine Laybourne is a program manager at Nickelodeon and pioneered the focus-group approach to their programming. Horner passed away from COPD at the age of 88 in May 2022.
Paramount Media Networks has owned Nickelodeon since the network’s inception. Originally known as Warner Cable Communications, Nickelodeon was created after having the potential to create new cable networks. With the success of Nickelodeon, Warner Cable Communications will rebrand and fall under Viacom.
Nickelodeon was one of the first children’s entertainment networks, but it didn’t know it yet. With cable companies figuring out the idea of tv channels, Nickelodeon became lightning in a bottle thanks to Dr. Vivian Horner.
Since then, Nickelodeon has been going strong and shows no signs of stopping. The channel shows that ingenuity, risk-taking, and hard work pay off in the end. While it may be under multiple ownerships, Nickelodeon hasn’t changed, always providing the best content for kids.
Not to mention launching the careers of many musicians and actors we know today, Nickelodeon is responsible for a large part of our entertainment and culture.