Apparently, no one informed former Nickelodeon star and current Food Network hot shot Marc Summers about burning bridges. The ‘Unwrapped’ host, who cut his teeth with the kiddie cable network with the classic game show ‘Double Dare,’ is out promoting a book entitled Slimed!: An Oral History of Nickelodeon’s Golden Age,’ and in a couple of radio interviews, he’s trashed his former employer for being a purveyor of unrealistic adolescent stereotypes (clearly, the man has never watched an episode of ‘Drake and Josh’…). As reported by several outlets, including Pajiba.com, Summers seems to think that real kids “with acne” should be the channels focus instead of sponges in square pants and endless pre-teen House of Mouse ripoffs.
Perhaps the most telling quote is the one making the rounds in various articles. It goes a little something like this:
“Their network is going in the dumper. Disney beats it. They have no idea what they’re doing. They put on a bunch of cartoons and stuffed animals instead of real human beings that other people can associate with. Whatever they want to do is fine. They play games with me, and I play games with them … the creative people are gone. It’s become a ‘how much money can we make from this merchandise’ and ‘how many tours can we put out and steal money from the parents.’”
Ouch! Not even Uncle Walt warrants such a callous take down. Granted, Nickelodeon has lost its way from the days when the network really strived to have programming that covered several demographic bases and niches (remember when ‘NBC News Overnight”s Linda Ellerbee tried to jump-start a teen news show?). Of course, like the endless – and pointless – direct to video sequels that Disney drowned us in during the ’80s and ’90s, the market moves where the money is. Parents clearly feel safe with the substance-less stuff Nick is now delivering. Perhaps Summer should go back to telling ‘Restaurant Impossible”s Robert Irvine about how to write a resume.