“Turtle Power” proved to be just what struggling Nickelodeon needed. The September 29 debut of its revamped Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was the no. 1 kids program on basic cable. An estimated 3.9 million viewers tuned in to the CGI return of the 90s cartoon superstars.
During Turtle Mania in the 90s, they appeared in comics, cartoons, movies and even partied with Vanilla Ice. Really, nothing says 90s like Vanilla Ice and the birth of “Ninja Rap.” Viacom-owned Nickelodeon wasted no time in ordering 26 episodes of the new toon.
While many children of the 90s probably tuned in with their young ones, there are significant changes to the show. The first is the computer generated animation. It has become the industry standard for high-profile efforts such as TMNT and Cartoon Network’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Also, the Turtles’ friend April O’ Neill is now a teenager herself. Perhaps most important for the inevitable wave of T-shirts and lunchboxes, Michaelangelo’s famous catchphrase “Cowabunga” is now “Booyakasha!”
Nickelodeon was in need of a hit. Ratings have been down, according to Nielsen. It estimates Nick’s viewership among youngsters dropped nearly 30 percent in a year’s time. Rival Disney Channel moved ahead of it in young viewers for the first time. A look at the programming schedule indicates why. “The Spongebob Squarepants Network” might be a better name for the channel these days. Reliable ratings grabber iCarly is in its final season. These heroes in a half-shell have arrived just in time.
Read [Los Angeles Times]