Left-Wing Politics and the Struggles of Nickelodeon
The children’s cable network Nickelodeon used to be a cultural icon, but not anymore.
In a Los Angeles Times profile on new Nick president Brian Robbins (who was a previously a cast member of the ’80s sitcom Head of the Class), it was revealed that the channel’s ratings were down about 20% this year compared with last year according to data from Nielsen.
This is despite emerging kids’ programming airing on there joining the ranks of flagship show SpongeBob SquarePants in terms of popularity as of late, including Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the preschool cartoons Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig (a long-running BBC production).
How could this have happened? What caused this once-iconic tween brand to fall so far? Well, outside of the advent of Netflix, here’s a recap of some of the reasons why the network’s ratings and prominence in pop culture are in steep decline recently.
First, there’s the blatant tribute to the anti-gun March for Our Lives on this year’s Kids’ Choice Awards, courtesy of WWE superstar John Cena:
JOHN CENA, KIDS’ CHOICE AWARDS HOST: All over the world, kids made their voices heard with the incredible March for Our Lives and it all happened because you want to make the world a better place. You see, change is only possible when you all work together and it’s inspiring to see kids take charge. That is the true spirit of Nickelodeon.
Then, there was this jewel of a performance by N.E.R.D. of a nearly censored version of a profanity-laced song called Lemon, which features – of all things – the line “The truth will set you free, but first it’ll piss you off,” made famous by radical feminist Gloria Steinem:
And finally, there was this summer’s LGBT Pride Month promo. Not to mention that last week, four months after the promo aired, Nick doubled down by teaming up with anti-conservative activist group GLAAD for a tweet about a supposed “anti-bullying” effort called #SpiritDay:
— Nickel🎃de🎃n (@Nickelodeon) October 18, 2018
But, that’s nothing compared to the time they joined other formerly iconic Viacom-owned channels like MTV and VH1 by going off the air for 17 minutes in support of the aforementioned gun control protests with this message:
In support of kids leading the way today, Nickelodeon will be off the air until 17 minutes past the hour.
Kids leading the way? Since when did a channel clearly aimed at children get into the business of politics? If you want to see political matters portrayed on a TV channel, watch cable news.
The network’s recent turn to the left – which remains one of the factors leading to its decline – is largely thanks to former network president Cyma Zarghami, a committed liberal who largely used Nick as a megaphone to promote far-left causes – especially around election years.
Now with Robbins at the helm, hopefully he’ll be able to stop the blatant left-wing talking points going on at his channel in the next few years. In addition to co-starring in the above-mentioned Head of the Class, he was also the executive producer of the classic tween-aimed sketch comedy All That. At the helm of the latter, he largely kept politics to a minimum.
With that kind of record, he has the perfect opportunity to try and stop the politicization and ratings decline of a once-great kids’ brand, not to mention lead it into an era where cable television as we know it could possibly be gone in a few years. Let’s hope he lives up to it.