Nickelodeon: Then and Now

One major hallmark of life growing up in the 90’s and early 00’s was Nickelodeon. The just-for-kids programming it offered was only rivaled by Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel, but Nickelodeon, for many, was king due to its wide variety of programming, colorful, wacky persona, and engaging characters.


One major trait Nickelodeon (19990-2002) had was its wide variety of content. There were cartoons such as Aaahh! Real Monsters, Hey Arnold, Rugrats, and Spongebob Squarepants. There were variety/sketch comedy shows like All That, The Amanda Show, and Kablam. There were even sitcoms like The Naked Brothers Band and the wildly popular Keenan and Kel. Finally, there were reality-style competitions such as BrainSurge, Figure It Out, and Guts. And who could forget Double Dare, the show that frequently covered its contestants with trademark Nickelodeon slime? Of those, the only one still running is Spongebob Squarepants, which is currently airing Season 11 and will celebrate its 20-year anniversary in 2019.

Today, Nickelodeon is similar to what it was but is noticeably different. It still offers the same amount of variety, (though it is sadly lacking in sketch comedy shows) but for many of us, it seems to have lost some kind of….je ne sais quoi. The shows today seem to be more mindless and dumbed down, but that change could be partially due to our more mature eyes. We aren’t the kids and teens we used to be, of course.

It’s more likely, though, that the changes in Nickelodeon’s programming have more to do with a generational shift in its viewership. Nickelodeon is a kid’s show, after all, so they create shows that today’s children would enjoy.

Our generation was fundamentally different than the current generations of teenagers. We lived through the birth and rise of the World Wide Web. We lived in a time where we played video games AND played outside in sandboxes and on swings. It makes sense that programming today would be different from fifteen to twenty years ago.

Nickelodeon continues to provide entertaining content to their target audience (children), and still remains one of the major kid’s networks on TV today.

Though, no rationalizing can explain away this travesty:

Pictured: Nickelodeon Studios inside Universal Studios Orlando. Now, it is used for the Blue Man Group performances, but it still hurts!

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