|Headquarters||One Astor Plaza|
New York, New York, U.S.
|Owner||Paramount Media Networks|
|Launched||May 1, 2002|
Nicktoons (formerly Nicktoons Network) is an American pay television channel owned by Paramount Media Networks. The channel is geared towards children aged 7 to 11, and broadcasts reruns of original animated series from sister network Nickelodeon (known as Nicktoons) along with some other animated shows and feature films.
As of September 2018, approximately 56.9 million American households (51.3% of households with television) received Nicktoons.
Nicktoons was launched as a standalone channel on May 1, 2002, as Nicktoons TV, part of the digital cable-exclusive MTV Digital Suite, in order to entice cable operators to pick up the network and give them a marketing advantage over satellite services. However, by early 2004, Nickelodeon management changed course and offered it to digital satellite services DirecTV and Dish Network. The network was originally marketed as commercial-free, with comedic promos involving Nickelodeon Animation Studios, two-minute cartoon shorts from foreign markets, and former program promotions that had previously been used on Nickelodeon taking up commercial time. By June 6, 2005, as the network's distribution increased, it began to carry regular advertising.
On September 28, 2009, the network's logo changed as part of Nickelodeon's universal rebranding effort. A high-definition feed was launched on August 13, 2013, and is available on several providers. Like Viacom's other HD channels, any programming produced in 4:3 SD is pillarboxed on this feed. As the network blended in more Nickelodeon programming into its schedule, the Nicktoons website was sunsetted, recommending viewers go to Nick.com instead before eventually being fully redirected to the Nick.com domain.
Main article: List of programs broadcast by Nicktoons
Since its launch, Nicktoons has mainly aired programs carried over from the main Nickelodeon channel. Despite its name, the channel does not exclusively air Nicktoons, and has occasionally aired some of Nickelodeon's live-action series, such as The Thundermans and Henry Danger. Due to Nickelodeon moving a lot of newer content to the channel, all the older Nicktoons, such as Hey Arnold! and The Ren & Stimpy Show, were removed from the schedule. However, Rugrats airs on the channel occasionally. As of September 2021, the Nicktoons series that still remain are mostly more modern content, along with reruns of SpongeBob SquarePants, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, and The Fairly OddParents.
In recent times, Nickelodeon has used the Nicktoons channel to burn-off remaining episodes of unsuccessful series, such as Bunsen Is a Beast, Ollie's Pack, season 10 of The Fairly OddParents, and Welcome to the Wayne.
On September 3, 2014, a two-hour Wednesday prime time programming block named NickSports was launched on the channel, tying into the Kids' Choice Sports inaugurated that year. The block presented mainly licensed programming focusing on sports, including the Rob Dyrdek-starring Wild Grinders and NFL Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core, along with sports-related feature films such as Bend It Like Beckham, Cool Runnings, and Space Jam. Sometime in 2015, the block was moved to a Friday prime time slot. The block ended in September 2018.
From 2006 until 2009, Nicktoons Network used a robot mascot in bumpers and advertisements for the channel. The mascot, named "ACOW," which stands for Animation Capital of the World, was a complex robot character with a large singular eye, animated using "photo-puppetry." ACOW was prominently featured on the NicktoonsNetwork.com website and was used as part of the "Nicktoons Network: Animation Capital of the World" logo. Several similar-looking eyeball-based characters were seen in promos for the network.