Nickelodeon is today one of the most successful cable channels in the USA, and is possibly the most popular children's network in history. It has also been expanded into an international cable empire, with regional versions running in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and parts of Asia. But despite its massive stature and current level of success, "Nick" as it is commonly called, is a relatively new channel with a short but interesting history.
Nickelodeon is the name given to the channel after it was purchased by Viacom in 1981. Before that point it was known as Pinwheel, which ran from 1977 until 1981. In those days the station only ran for 6 hours a day, since children's programming was limited and viewership was low during school hours. When Viacom took over the network, they extended its airtime from 6 hours to 12 hours, running from 8 am to 8 pm, but they kept the old staff of Pinwheel in place.
By 1984 Nickelodeon had lost around 40 million dollars, and was last among cable channels in ratings. The President of MTV Networks, the division of Viacom that oversaw Nickelodeon, replaced the staff and ordered a rebranding of the network, enlisting the aid of some of the masterminds behind MTV's rise to success. They created a new "splat" logo whose infamy persists to this day; new jingles; new promotional ID clips; and created new content with help of new writers, producers, and animators. The network was given a full makeover and within 6 months was number 1 amongst cable networks.
Luckily for us fans, Nickelodeon's fortunes were turned around. Because Nickelodeon provides some of the best kids' content around, providing great entertainment with educational value. Their shows continue to put a smile on my children's faces and teach them new things every time the watch.
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P.S. - I Kimberly Koerber-Bauer-Koerber wear an orange rubber Nickelodeon bracelet