UPDATED: Nickelodeon is expanding its 26-year-old Kids’ Choice Awards franchise to include the world of sports, and will debut four new preschool series as part of its 2014-2015 slate, it announced today at its upfront. The inaugural Kids Sports Choice 2014 will honor kids’ favorite athletes, teams and sports moments from the year. It’s set for July 17 at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion with Michael Strahan as host. The event will also feature a daring, slime-filled sports stunt performed on a star athlete’s home turf, a special halftime live musical performance and top athletes competing outside their sports realm for a KCS, according to Nickelodeon. A Kids’ Choice Sports council consisting of influencers in the sporting world will lend their expertise and experience to help inform the awards show, consult on the nominee process and give feedback on categories. Members of the committee include: Baron Davis, Ken Griffey Jr., Lisa Leslie, Cal Ripken Jr., Deion Sanders, and Misty May-Treanor among others. Ian Stewart and Hamish Hamilton of Done and Dusted will executive produce, with Hamilton also serving as director of the show. Constance Schwartz of SMAC Entertainment is also an executive producer.
Nickelodeon says it will roll out four new preschool series in 2014-15. They are Shimmer & Shine, an animated show starring twin genies-in-training and featuring an emotional-intelligence curriculum; and Fresh Beat Band Of Spies, an animated version of the hit live-action series The Fresh Beat Band. They join Dora and Friends: Into the City! and Blaze And The Monster Machines, In all, Nickelodeon says it’s is premiering more than 100 new episodes of educational preschool series. Here are details on the new series.
Dora and Friends: Into the City! (20 episodes) – Dora and Friends: Into the City! is a brand-new animated preschool series featuring the iconic character Dora in new adventures, with new friends and a new interactive curriculum. The series is set in a fictional, pan-Latino city, where Dora is 10 years old, in school and at the center of a peer group that works together to give back to the community—having both real-life and magical adventures along the way. As always, Dora is an adventurer, a good friend and problem-solver. Dora and Friends helps teach Spanish and introduces new educational areas to the curriculum, including social-emotional skills like community service and peer relationships. Dora and Friends is created by Chris Gifford and Valerie Walsh Valdes (Dora the Explorer), and will launch late-summer on Nickelodeon.
Blaze and the Monster Machines (20 episodes) – This brand-new CG-animated series, debuting this fall, introduces preschoolers to the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This is the first preschool show that features a curriculum dedicated to all areas of STEM. Viewers will join an eight-year-old boy named AJ and his incredible monster truck Blaze on super-sized adventures. AJ and the viewer help Blaze as they explore the physics of how things move, master mathematics and discover how everyday technologies work. Blaze and the Monster Machines is created by Jeff Borkin (Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues) and Ellen Martin (Bubble Guppies, The Backyardigans).
Shimmer & Shine (20 episodes) – This brand-new animated series follows the magical adventures of fraternal twin genies, Shimmer and Shine, who unintentionally create chaos while attempting to grant wishes for their human best friend, Leah. The new series features an emotional-intelligence curriculum that highlights mistakes as an important avenue to learning and doing better next time. Shimmer & Shine, set to premiere in 2015, is created by Farnaz Esnaashari-Charmatz and produced at Nickelodeon Animation Studios.
Fresh Beat Band of Spies (20 episodes) – In this brand-new animated series based on the hit live-action show, The Fresh Beat Band, the four best friends — Kiki, Marina, Twist and Shout – are also a group of undercover spies. The pop band uses their individual talents and the coolest transforming spy gadgets to outwit a goofy cast of bad guys and solve an endless series of wild and wacky mysteries. The series, which teaches problem-solving to preschoolers, is created by Nadine van der Velde and Scott Kraft, the same duo behind The Fresh Beat Band. Fresh Beat Band of Spies is currently in production and will premiere on Nickelodeon in 2015.