Nickelodeon, the premier cable channel for children, is so old that many of its original viewers have children of their own. The 29-year-old network is now trying to produce programs that the first generation of "Nickelodeon parents" can watch with their children.
Nick at Nite, the network's prime time and overnight block of programs for adults, has gradually replaced nostalgic shows like "I Love Lucy" with programs like "The George Lopez Show," which ended its original run a year ago.
In a television environment where hits are hard to develop, the current-classic programming is working: Nick at Nite, which runs from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. most nights (it starts at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays), has rebounded from ratings declines. In the last year, the time period has gained about 400,000 viewers, making Nick at Nite the fifth-most-popular channel in prime time in the second quarter, up from ninth place during the comparable period last year.
In the next year, the network will start to look even more contemporary. On Tuesday the network, a unit of Viacom, plans to announce an acquisition from the production company of Michael D. Eisner, the former chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, that will represent a push into original programming. The show, "Glenn Martin D.D.S.," an animated program about a dentist who takes his family on a cross-country adventure, is one of several new ones developed by the network. N