Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Brain Drain Watch: Nickelodeon: 2.47

Yesterday, I reported on the wasting of talent-- specifically, mine, but in the context of my generation at large. Today, I'd like to delve a bit deeper. Follow me, dear readers, as we explore the underbelly of the greatest children's media empire not controlled by the Olsen Twins.

This empire, Nickelodeon, is discouraging truly creative people from joining its ranks, antagonizing business contacts, and just being asstastic overall. And Atlas will try to show you why this could be a horrible sign for not only the kiddies, but Wall Street as well.

You know what would be fun--if bloggers could disseminate stories that sent stocks plunging. Like if Viacom's stock just plummets when the markets open as analysts question their corporate culture. I don't think bloggers are quite that powerful, yet, but they are if other media outlets back them up and catch on to a story. But I digress.
I Hate You
Let's take a quick look at Viacom's tentacles [ed. A/A, via Wikipedia]:
Viacom Inc. essentially has operations in five segments: Cable, Television, Radio, Outdoor and "Entertainment". The Cable Networks segment consists of MTV, VH1, BET, Nickelodeon and Showtime Networks Inc. The Television segment consists of the CBS and UPN, the Company's TWO nationwide broadcasting stations, plus its tv production and syndication business. The Radio segment owns and operates 183 radio stations through Infinity Radio. The Outdoor segment, through Viacom Outdoor, displays advertising on various media--that's billboards, mostly. The "Entertainment" segment includes the activities of Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster, Paramount [Theme] Parks, and the Company's movie theater and music publishing operations.

So Viacom is a behemoth. Does this seem like an inordinate amount of control over the media market? Is that just me? Maybe it's just me, but it's also me and a jury of my peers in Kansas City, Missouri, according to Newsday.

Anyway, if Nickelodeon is symptomatic of the corporate culture of Viacom, then it could be one big, sick, monopolizing media giant. A Midwestern rep for a theater coined the term I will be using to refer to the people at Nickelodeon-- "Nazi Sluts from Hell."

In having to deal with their extravagant demands, my Midwest contact, whom I'll call "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", declared that it was enough to make her hate everyone in Los Angeles. And she knows and loves me, so that was a tough prejudice for her to create. But it's not just a witty, random assistant in the Midwest that was put off by the ways of the Nick aka- Nazi Sluts from Hell.

There's more than one talented, truly artistic, highly-educated [read: USC] animator in Los Angeles that was put off by the corporate culture they found there. I'll be re-creating a fictional [but ultimately truthful] conversation I had with two disaffected ex-Nazi-Sluts-from-Hell grunts. I'll call them Jesse and Chester, after the heroes of "Dude Where's My Car?", no wait, just Ashton & Seann William. There we go:

Atlas: "So how's the job at Nickelodeon?"
Ashton: "Oh man, I totally quit. Nickelodeon f**king sucks."
Atlas: "Really, why?"
Ashton: "They're just tools man, everyone. It just. . . sucks."
[Seann William enters from the bathroom, buttoning fly]
Seann: "Wait, dude, what sucks?"
[Ashton looks confused, looks to me]
Atlas: "Nickelodeon. . . dude."
Seann: "Dude, Nickelodeon does f**king suck. I told Ashton not to work there, but he was all 'Dude, Spongebob!'"
Ashton: "Dude, it was so not like that at all. I didn't even work on Spongebob."
Atlas: "Dudes, chillax. Seann, why didn't you like Nickelodeon?"
[Seann sits on the couch, inspects bong, then, thoughtfully:]
Seann: "I dunno, it was just, like, what am I doing here? It's not like 'Everyone wears suits', it's like they ARE suits. And they're assholes and they're making me do stupid sh*t and after awhile, it was just like 'No thank you corporate bullsh*t world.'"

Seann, Ashton, thanks for the chat, guys. It was really informative.

Seann and Ashton may be idiots, but they're also talented. I'm serious. Ashton's drawings are just, mesmerizing. Arresting and absolutely stunning. Seann is smarter than he sounds, especially when he's around Ashton. Well, Ashton and marijuana.

Anyway, they both could really be someone useful/productive/awesome-- and they are still going to be, Nazi Sluts from Hell or no Nazi Sluts from Hell. Ashton's now working as an editor in a postproduction studio doing postproduction-y editing things. He's not exactly happy, but let's just say he ain't exactly poor, either. Seann's actually going back to school-- to USC's fledgling video game design program. I forget the fancy name they have for it. It might actually just be 'video game design'.

The point is, Nickelodeon's totally heinous corporate culture drove away two kids who, despite their flaws, could have done very great work in the right creative environment. And they also managed to alienate even a thick-skinned, go-with-the-flow assistant like Tess. Sure, maybe Nickelodeon will only take people like me, creative types who can face mountains of BS and still soldier on. But there are consequences to corporate actions and it'll show when you're trying to produce cutting-edge kids' programming. I may be wrong, you Nazi Sluts from Hell, but if I'm not, you're going to drive away all the hot talent and all the cool kids. And then you'll be a left with a bunch of suits trying to 'create original programming'. And that, well, that would be funny to me. But for you, Nickelodeon, it'd be a shame, a very unprofitable shame.

TECHNORATI TAGS: ////

11 Comments:

Blogger Grace said...

I actually loved Nickelodeon back in my day. With programing like "The Secret Life of Alex Mack", "Adventures of Pete and Pete", old school "All That" and "Who's Afraid of the Dark". I'm secretly praying that they will be released into DVD land so I can add them to my collection. Adventures of Pete and Pete is already there.

But I just came off of pain meds so my mentality is a little off.

11:57 AM

 
Blogger SpaceMonkey said...

I would like to start a porn channel called Nippleodeon.

12:28 PM

 
Anonymous angela said...

I used to work in the movie theater branch of that particular tree and lets just say that no matter where you are in the Sumner Redstone universe the sh*t flows quite freely downhill.

1:09 PM

 
Blogger Michael K said...

Nippleodeon will work. I'd watch it, but I wouldn't pay for it. Maybe just preview it. I'd stream it.

1:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Global Frequency is at full health at torrentspy.com just in case you're theoretically wondering about how to download it.

4:16 PM

 
Anonymous Atlas' brother, KS said...

Atlas-

Nickelodeon has sucked ever since Double Dare went off the air... I think everyone knows that.

And as for your previous blog about the business world sucking, well...duh.

- Your brother

P.S. You don't give "Curb Your Enthusiasm" nearly enough love- One of the best shows on TV

4:56 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grace:
Are You Afraid Of The Dark can be found on ebay on DVD, all 91 eps, it's not an official release, but would you really want to support Nick now anyway?

6:47 PM

 
Blogger depressoboy said...

Atlas,

We may have a problem.

This guy says Warren Ellis has delivered some bad news.

As for Nick,

They suck. Once Double Dare went away and they redid Blue's Clues into what ever it is now, it was downhill. Looks like the corporation has killed the kids channel.

7:36 PM

 
Blogger Assistant Atlas said...

Depressoboy, don't believe everything you read in blogs. What Ellis is really saying is that the WB is angry right now. But TV execs are fickle people-- they respond to massive amounts of publicity in uncertain ways. Global Frequency ain't dead until Mo'nique is singin'.

PS- Hey bro. Good alias.

1:06 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nickelodean was the best back in the 90's now it just sucks big time. i use to watck kenen and kel, All that, are you afraid of the dark. Now it just really sucks with all of these re runs of spongebob and fairy odd parents.

8:38 PM

 
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7:11 PM

 

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