The Penguins of Madagascar
File:Penguin of Madagascar.jpg
Titlecard image used since late 2009.
GenreAnimated comedy
Directed byBret Haaland
Nick Filippi
StarringTom McGrath
Jeff Glen Bennett
James Patrick Stuart
John DiMaggio
Danny Jacobs
Kevin Michael Richardson
Andy Richter
Nicole Sullivan
Conrad Vernon
Mary Scheer
Tara Strong[1]
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes71 (list of episodes)
Executive producersMark McCorkle
Bob Schooley[2]
Production locationsNicktoons Network
Burbank, California
Running timeApprox. 22 minutes (2×11-minute episodes; 2 double-length specials)
Original release
ReleaseNovember 29, 2008 (2008-11-29) –

The Penguins of Madagascar is an American CGI animated television series airing on Nickelodeon. It stars nine characters from the DreamWorks Animation animated film Madagascar: the penguins Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Jeff Bennett), Private (James Patrick Stuart), and Rico (John DiMaggio); the lemurs King Julien (Danny Jacobs), Maurice (Kevin Michael Richardson), and Mort (Andy Richter); and Mason (Conrad Vernon) and Phil the chimpanzees. Characters new to the series include Marlene the otter (Nicole Sullivan) and a zookeeper named Alice (Mary Scheer).

A pilot episode, "Gone in a Flash", aired as part of "Superstuffed Nicktoons Weekend" on November 29, 2008 before a new episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, and The Penguins of Madagascar became a regular series on March 28, 2009. The series takes place after the events of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (with elements from the Penguins' Christmas Caper intact; noticeably, Rico's scar and mohawk). Nickelodeon ordered 26 episodes for season 1 and in January 2009 ordered a second season of 26 episodes, bringing the total to 52.[4] This is the first Nicktoon produced with DreamWorks Animation. The series premiere drew 6.1 million viewers, setting a new record as the most-watched premiere. The Penguins of Madagascar is Nickelodeon's second most popular show, behind SpongeBob SquarePants.[5][6][7]


The Penguins of Madagascar is a spin-off of the Madagascar films. The series follows the adventures of the four penguin protagonists: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private, who perform various paramilitary missions to protect their home in the Central Park Zoo. The penguins often have to deal with problems caused, or made worse, by King Julien XIII (a ring-tailed lemur), Maurice (an aye-aye), and Mort (a mouse lemur).

It is not known how the penguins and lemurs arrived at the zoo after their adventures in both Madagascar films. During the show's opening title, the penguins are also seen opening a crate that reads "Madagascar" and contains the three lemur characters. DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has stated that "there is at least one more chapter. We ultimately want to see the characters make it back to New York."[8]


See also: List of characters in Madagascar (franchise)

The Penguins of Madagascar features the four penguin characters from the Madagascar franchise, the two chimpanzees, as well as the three lemur characters. Characters new to the franchise include Marlene the otter, and a zookeeper named Alice.

Main characters

Secondary characters


Main article: List of The Penguins of Madagascar episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
148November 28, 2008 (2008-11-28)[11][12]February 15, 2010 (2010-02-15)Nickelodeon
268March 13, 2010 (2010-03-13)March 31, 2012 (2012-03-31)
33326April 16, 2012 (2012-04-16)November 10, 2012 (2012-11-10)
7December 24, 2013 (2013-12-24)December 19, 2015 (2015-12-19)Nicktoons


In mid 2006, Nickelodeon and Dreamworks Animation announced that they would collaborate to create a Nicktoon based on the Madagascar films. The new series would star the penguins from the film series. Nothing was confirmed on what the series would be about until November 2007.

At first, in November 2007, Nickelodeon advertised a sneak peek of three new Nicktoons coming to Nickelodeon, The Mighty B!, Making Fiends, and The Penguins of Madagascar all on November 25, 2007 part of Superstuffed Nicktoons Weekend. Then, in December 2007, Nickelodeon advertised many events that were going to premiere in 2008 (The Mighty B!, Fairly OddBaby, The Penguins of Madagascar, KCA 2008, Sidekicks, and "Pest of the West").[13] Since then, The Penguins of Madagascar was delayed at least twice in 2008, and saw a debut in March 2009, most likely due to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa being delayed to November 7, 2008. On November 28, 2008, Nickelodeon aired an episode from the series as a sneak peek. The Double DVD Pack of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa includes an early DVD of the show.


Some of the voice actors who voiced the characters in the films were unable to reprise their roles for the series. Chris Miller, who had voiced Kowalski, was replaced by Jeff Bennett, while Christopher Knights was replaced by James Patrick Stuart for the voice of Private. Danny Jacobs took over from Sacha Baron Cohen as the voice of King Julien, and Cedric the Entertainer's character, Maurice, is now voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson. Other characters are voiced by the same actors who had voiced them in the films, while some characters, like Marlene and Alice the zookeeper, are new characters created especially for the series.

Nickelodeon debut

After some delays of the series to air, The Penguins of Madagascar debuted on Nickelodeon in 2009. The series is produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, California, with animation carried out in India[9] and Taiwan. Both Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation were planning on a 26 episode season.[2] The Penguins of Madagascar aired after the 2009 Kids' Choice Awards on March 28, 2009 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.[14]

International release

Country / Region Series premiere Network Episodes aired
Australia Australia
New Zealand New Zealand
April 18, 2009 Nickelodeon Australia
Nickelodeon (New Zealand)
Popcorn Panic, Gone in a Flash
Belgium Belgium
Netherlands The Netherlands
April 12, 2009 Nickelodeon Netherlands Gone in a Flash
South Korea South Korea April 10, 2009 Nickelodeon (Korea)
Austria Austria
Germany Germany
Switzerland Switzerland
April 10, 2009 (Preview)
September 12, 2009 (Official launch)
Nickelodeon Germany Popcorn Panic, Gone in a Flash, Launchtime,
Haunted Habitat, Tangled in the Web, Crown Fools
 Costa Rica
March 2, 2009 (preview)
June 5, 2009 (official launch)
Nickelodeon Latin America Popcorn Panic, Gone in a Flash
 Japan June 2009 Nickelodeon Japan
Republic of Ireland Ireland
United Kingdom United Kingdom
April 12, 2009 Nickelodeon UK
Nickelodeon Ireland
Episodes mainly aired on Nickelodeon. Most episodes in series 1 have aired in the UK.
United States United States November 29, 2008 ("Sneak Peek")[15]
March 28, 2009 (Official launch)
Nickelodeon Gone in a Flash
Launchtime, Haunted Habitat
 Canada September 12, 2009[16] YTV/ Nickelodeon Canada All of Season 1, plus "Huffin & Puffin" and "The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel" (as of June 3, 2010)
Hong Kong Hong Kong
Singapore Singapore
Philippines Philippines
September 10, 2009[16] Nickelodeon Southeast Asia Launchtime, Haunted Habitat
Italy Italy November 2009 Italia 1/Nickelodeon Italy
Spain Spain October 2009 Nickelodeon Spain
Portugal Portugal October 2009 Nickelodeon Portugal
IndonesiaIndonesia May 15, 2010 Nickelodeon Indonesia
Croatia Croatia
Montenegro Montenegro
December 2009 Nickelodeon (Croatia) Episodes 1-14
Turkey Turkey April 15, 2010 CNBC-e
Bulgaria Bulgaria 2010 Nova Television
Nigeria Nigeria
South Africa South Africa
June 2010 Nickelodeon

Critical reception

This section needs expansion with: more critical reception from reliable sources. You can help by adding to it. (April 2009)

The Penguins of Madagascar has been given mixed to positive critical reviews. Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times gave the show a favorable review. She said that the show had strong comedic timing and action scenes, saying that it recalled both Wile E. Coyote cartoons and 1940s gangster movies.[17] Tim Goodman's review in the San Francisco Chronicle is also favorable. He said that he considered the penguins and Julien as having the most comedic potential from the movies, with his review focusing on the voice actors' comedic timing, and said that the show also contained several jokes which would make it appealing to adults.[18]

Brian Lowry of Variety described the show as "loud, exuberant and colorful" and praised its animation quality, but he did not think that it was funny and said that the show seemed more like a "merchandising bonanza."[19]

Awards and recognition

In November 2009, The Penguins of Madagascar won a BAFTA award in the category for international children’s programming.[20]

On February 6, 2010, the series won the Best Animated Television Production for Children award at the 37th annual Annie Awards ceremony in Los Angeles, California. Director Bret Haaland also won an Annie for Best Directing in a Television Production for his work on the "Launchtime" episode.[21]

It was also nominated for Favorite Cartoon at the 2010 Kids' Choice Awards, but lost to SpongeBob SquarePants.[22]

In May 2010, it was announced that the series had been nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award in four categories: Outstanding Special Class Animated Program, Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition, Outstanding Writing in Animation, and Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program.[23][24] Winners in these categories were announced on June 25, two days ahead of the formal Daytime Emmy Awards in Las Vegas. The Penguins of Madagascar won in the Outstanding Special Class Animated Program category,[25] an honor it shared with SpongeBob SquarePants.


DreamWorks has licensed to a number of manufacturers, including Hooga Loo Toys, who had a successful run creating a line of plush toys associated with the second Madagascar movie. Based on its success, Hooga Loo was granted a license to create an entirely new toy line for the new series. Hooga Loo recruited the creative development team, Pangea Corporation, the company who assisted Playmates Toys in the development of the phenomenally successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to work systemically with DreamWorks and develop toys inspired by and for the series.[26] The toy line included a full range of unique and funny feature plush characters, as well as clever collectible figures and wacky vehicles. Fast food restaurants courted DreamWorks to glean the rights for a QSR deal, which finally materialized in late 2009. McDonald's had produced a line of toys based on the second film. This relationship forged a new deal with McDonald's.

Licensed merchandise based on the show began debuting in January 2010.[27][28] In February 2010, McDonald’s began their “Mission: Play” Happy Meal toy campaign, which featured eight toys based on the penguins in the series.[29]

DVD releases

The Penguins of Madagascar, a 24-minute long "sneak peak" of the series, was released as part of the double DVD pack of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. It included two episodes: "Popcorn Panic" and "Gone in a Flash."

The Penguins of Madagascar: Operation: DVD Premiere, a 130-minute-long, direct-to-DVD release which featured both all-new missions and TV-aired episodes, was released on February 9, 2010.[28]

The Penguins of Madagascar: Happy King Julien Day!, an 88-minute-long, direct-to-DVD release which features both TV-aired episodes and some (as-of-yet) unaired episodes will be released on August 10, 2010.[30]

The Penguins of Madagascar: New to the Zoo a direct-to-DVD release featuring TV-aired episodes will be released on August 10, 2010.[31]


  1. ^ Tom McGrath, Jeff Glen Bennett, James Patrick Stuart, John DiMaggio, Danny Jacobs, Kevin Michael Richardson, Andy Richter, Nicole Sullivan, Mary Scheer, Tara Strong (May 9, 2009). "Popcorn Panic". The Penguins of Madagascar. Season 1. Episode 16. 11:26 minutes in. Nickelodeon. ((cite episode)): Unknown parameter |episodelink= ignored (|episode-link= suggested) (help)
  2. ^ a b "The Penguins of Madagascar are Coming!". Los Angeles, CA: CraveOnline. Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ed Liu (January 9, 2009). "PR: Nickelodeon Greenlights 26 More Episodes of "The Penguins of Madagascar". Retrieved April 12, 2009.
  5. ^ "Nickelodeon Nabs Ratings Records With Kids' Choice, 'Penguins'". Retrieved March 30, 2009.
  6. ^ AWN (June 16, 2009). "Nick's Penguins is Basic Cable's # 1 Kids' Show with Total Viewers for the Week | AWN | Animation World Network". AWN. Retrieved June 10, 2010. ((cite web)): Text "Animation World Network" ignored (help)
  7. ^ "Nickelodeon Upfront 2010: Top-Ranked Nickelodeon Announces its 2010-11 Season Programming Slate at Annual Upfront Presentation | Nick and More! - Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, The Hub - News, TV Schedules, Show Information". Nick and More!. March 3, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  8. ^ "Katzenberg Planning 3rd Madagascar, 2nd Kung Fu Panda". August 14, 2008. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Joe Strike (May 20, 2009). "Penguins of Madagascar Strike Back". Animation World Magazine. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  10. ^ "Marlene from Penguins of Madagascar". Nickelodeon. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  11. ^ "Nick Serves Toons for Thanksgiving". 3 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Nickelodeon's Thanksgiving Menu Offers Non-Stop Animation".
  13. ^ "The Penguins of Madagascar". Retrieved October 7, 2008.
  14. ^ "The Penguins of Madagascar". Official website. Nickelodeon. Retrieved April 12, 2009.
  15. ^ Cite error: The named reference imdb1x01 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  16. ^ a b "Fall Preview 2009 > The Penguins of Madagascar". TV Guide. Retrieved October 4, 2009.
  17. ^ McNamara, Mary (March 28, 2009). "The Penguins of Madagascar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
  18. ^ Goodman, Tim (March 23, 2009). "The Penguins of Madagascar". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
  19. ^ Lowry, Brian (March 26, 2009). "The Penguins of Madagascar". Variety. Retrieved April 10, 2009.
  20. ^ "Children's Awards Winners in 2009 - Children's - Awards - The BAFTA site". Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  21. ^ "The Annie Awards". The Annie Awards. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  22. ^ Nickelodeon official site
  23. ^ "PBS, Nick Lead Daytime Emmys' Animation Nominations". Animation Magazine. May 13, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  24. ^ Karl J. Paloucek (May 14, 2010). "Which kids' shows really DESERVE an Emmy?". Channel Guide Magazine. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  25. ^ "The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Announces Winners of the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Creative Arts Emmy® Awards" (PDF). National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. June 25, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  26. ^ Toys and Family Entertainment Magazine
  27. ^ "Toys"R"Us/Babies"R"Us". Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  28. ^ a b "Animation News Discussion Cartoon Community - toonzone news". Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  29. ^ "". February 22, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  30. ^ "Penguins Of Madagascar: Happy King Julien Day! (Widescreen): TV Shows". Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  31. ^ "Penguins Of Madagascar: New To The Zoo (Widescreen): TV Shows". Retrieved June 10, 2010.