What Everyone Is Talking About Today

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NEW YORK ( -- Learning that if you can’t control 'em, let them control you, Nickelodeon will serve up the Kids Choice Awards anyway the tykes want to watch it. Nick will simulcast the April 1 event on its broadband channel, TurboNick, and let kids personalize the broadcast by choosing different camera angles, including a behind-the-scenes cam, a stage cam, an “orange carpet” cam and a crowd cam. For this, WaterCooler has four words: Is the Academy listening?
At last year's awards, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen were among the victims of celebrity slime-ings.

Kids Choice viewers will be able to choose one of three Kids’ Choice Awards-themed skins for their broadband players. There’ll also be various highlights from past shows, such as the Best Burp Award and celebrity slime-ings. (Nickelodeon has a habit of dumping buckets of green slime on its stars, who surprisingly don’t seem to mind.)

Imagine the possibilities for the Oscars if during that long-winded speech from the best set design winner we could flip over to the backstage camera and see up close just what that giant poof of fabric on Charlize Theron’s shoulder was supposed to be. (And instead of playing the “hurry up” music, we could just dump a bucket of slime on long-winded winners.) OK, even minus the slime, giving consumers more control over these increasingly self-important events could help the ailing awards-show genre recapture its bleeding audience.

Mike Skagerlind, senior VP and general manger, Nickelodeon Online, said Nick is "tipping our hat to the fact our audience is everywhere." He's not worried about the online simulcast cannibalizing the TV audience because, he said, "Nick is one company. We're working together as one team and trying to create a bigger audience. The final result will be greater than the sum of its parts."

It worked for Nick’s older sibling, MTV. Its Video Music Awards premiered on MTV to disappointing ratings of 8 million viewers, about 22% below the previous year. But just afterward, it put the entire VMA broadcast on MTV Overdrive and within a week and a half, it had logged 11 million views.

Of course everyone knows kids are early adopters -- they continue to eat up TV but they’re probably doing it while surfing on their computer or text-messaging on cell phones. Already Nick is soliciting votes for categories such as favorite athlete and book on and has on and iTunes promotional podcasts with show host Jack Black. Oh, and here’s another example of Nickelodeon’s giving up control: It hasn’t yanked off of a commercial for the awards show starring Mr. Black. Good thing, too: More than 100 sites have linked to it and it has been viewed about 5,200 times.

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