The Rugrats Timeline -- 2001

January: Miami Vice, Mary Tyler Moore, Chico and the Man & Get Smart all make their TV Land debuts. TV Land's treatment of Mary Tyler Moore didn't go over too well with the show's fans, as it's more edited than when it was on Nick-At-Nite; one prime example was the final episode, where Ted Baxter's on-air salute to the fired employees was heavily edited, leaving mainly the newsroom employees' reactions, which don't make sense with the cuts.

January 1: The polls open at Nick.Com to decide the top 10 Rugrats stories of all time, as chosen by the fans; the polls remained open until March 31.

January 2: Canal Famille is renamed VRAK.TV, with its hours extended to 10PM ET.

January 5: Nickelodeon announced that they will begin to air some commercials, with part of the dialogue in Spanish. These ads will mainly air on Nick's programs that are hispano-centric. The first advertiser to do this is Chuck E. Cheese's, whose ads will appear on The Brothers Garcia.

January 14: Taina, a live-action musical comedy, begins on Nick.

January 15: The Rugrats' 10th season begins on Nick, starting with Finsterella, which will be the first episode for Kimi and Kira. On this same day, YTV starts their weekday run of new episodes for about a week-and-a-half, beginning with Angelicon / Dil's Binkie / Big Brother Chuckie, the first Rugrats episode that strays from the usual 11/11 format.

January 28: Good Burger is the first Nick movie to be seen on a broadcasting network -- NBC. It is also the first time a Nick theatrical movie was interupted with commercials.

February 5: Rugrats viewers get quizzed on the episode they're watching, as they watch it, with Bubblecast, a new Nick.Com feature that begins on this date.

February 7: International release of Rugrats In Paris begins, starting in, naturally, France (as Les Razmoket à Paris -- Le Film).

February 16: Disney's Recess -- School's Out film was released in theaters.

(Right: Banner for the  video release of Recess -- School's Out, from Nick.Com; ©2001 Disney.)

March 4: Nick starts a new programming block aimed at teenagers, TeeNick, which is seen Sunday nights, 6PM ET to 8:30PM ET (9PM ET during the summer). TeeNick features the progamming already seen on Sunday nights at the time (Kenan & Kel, Taina, Ginger & Caitlin's Way), plus a new show to Nick, off-network reruns of ABC's Hangin' With Mr. Cooper (starting March 18). In addition, TeeNick will feature the top music videos, lifestyle features, special online material, and, during the Summer, concerts (8:30PM ET, starting June 17).

March 4: Nick-At-Nite presented Revenge Of The '80s, a week-long marathon of sitcoms of the 1980s, including those very seldom seen anymore -- Square Pegs (with Sarah Jessica Parker), Silver Spoons (with a young Rick Schroder), and of course, Diff'rent Strokes ("Who'dja talkin' about, Willis?").

March 9: The "You Wish" (a.k.a. "Shanghaied") episode of SpongeBob SquarePants was broadcast; it's the first Nicktoon episode where viewers at home (in the US) phone in and decide how that episode ends. The voice of SpongeBob, Tom Kenny, appeared as SpongeBob Fan Club president, Patchy the Pirate, who instructed viewers how to call in; he appeared during the show, as well as all day during the Slime-Time Live segments. Naturally, viewers chose SpongeBob to get his wish.

March 9: Nickelodeon is launched in Singapore, coinciding with the Singaporean release of Rugrats In Paris, the day before.

March 10: Pop star Macy Gray replaces Cree Summer as the singer of the theme to As Told By Ginger. In the US, all episodes, even repeats of those already televised, feature only the Macy version; in foreign markets. both Summer and Macy versions were still used, with an obscure Melissa Disney version used in the first couple of episodes.

March 27: Rugrats In Paris is released on video & DVD in the US & Canada, in English and French.

March 30: Two new Nicktoons premiere -- Invader Zim, a sci-fi series from Jhonen Vasquez (creator of Slave Labor's Johnny The Homicidal Maniac comic book); and The Fairly Oddparents, the second Oh Yeah! series (and the first to actually go beyond the first episode) about a couple of fairies that grant wishes for a 10-year old boy.

(Left: Invader Zim and GIR; Right: The Fairly Oddparents' Timmy Turner; both from the April 2001 Nickelodeon Magazine; ©2001 Viacom.)

March 30: Nickelodeon is launched in Communist China; it was the first American channel to be available to the Chinese public; foreign channels, such as CNN, Cartoon Network and BBC World, were also available in China, but only to foreigners doing business in China.

March 31: The Latin American Nick presented their second "Bebetón", lasting about 48 hours, presenting every Rugrats episode back-to-back, from Tommy's First Birthday to Acorn Nuts And Diapey Butts. In late June, the Brazilian Nick presented a similar marathon. (See 3/20/1999)

April 1: Domestic release ends for Rugrats In Paris after 20 weeks -- during this period, the film grossed US$76,501,438 in the US & Canada.

April 8: Rugrats In Paris opened in Great Britain as that country's # 1 film, earning about £1,504,884 (US$2,180,991) for its first weekend.

April 21: The top 10 Rugrats stories were revealed in a special marathon to be seen on Nick.

April 21: The 2001 Kids' Choice Awards was broadcast; the series won in the usual "Favorite Cartoon". Also winning are Susan Sarandon in the "Favorite Voice From An Animated Movie" category for her role in Rugrats In Paris, and Baha Men's Who Let The Dogs Out in "Favorite Song"; the Bahas were nominated in "Favorite Singing Group", but did not win. The movie itelf was, surprisingly, not nominated in the "Favorite Movie" category.

April 22: The Rugrats celebrated Kwanzaa 8 months early when A Rugrats Kwanzaa made its debut on the British version of Nick.

April 22: In Australia, Rugrats In Paris was that nation's # 1 film in its third week of release, earning about A$3,356,694 (US$1,748,278) that week.

April 27: The Rugrats In Paris home video becomes the # 1 best-selling video in America, according to Billboard.

April 27: Tonight Show host Jay Leno voices the superhero, The Crimson Chin, in an episode of The Fairly Oddparents on Nick.

May 11: Rugrats In Paris makes its pay-per-view debut in the US & Canada.

May 21: The Rugrats Movie has its World TV Premiere in Canada on YTV.

June 2 (week of): Vanessa Coffey, the creator of the Nicktoons concept, and the woman who made the Rugrats part of the Nickelodeon family, sues Viacom for a portion of Viacom's profits involving Rugrats.

June 3: Harriet The Spy had its commercial TV premiere in the US on ABC at 7PM ET. Prior to this, it had its North American TV premiere in Ontario on Citytv at 4PM ET.

June 17: After being taken off Nick US at least a couple of years ago, repeats of Clarissa Explains It All return, during the TeeNick block. During the summer, Nick replaced Mr. Cooper at 6:30PM ET with special repeats of older Nick shows that are no longer seen on Nick -- others included Alex Mack, Shelby Woo and Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Clarissa later moved to weekdays at 5:30PM ET for the rest of the summer. Mr. Cooper has sinced moved to TNN.

June 28: The Rugrats get their own star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Late June: Most versions of Nick worldwide began the Say YES for Children campaign, presented in association with Unicef. Tommy Pickles was enlisted as spokes-character for the campaign. The campaign deals with a special "Bill of Rights" aimed at giving children special inalienable rights, to improve their welfare and future.

Special public service announcements featuring Tommy (representing "Listening To Children"), Kimi ("Care for every child"), Eliza Thornberry ("Protect The earth for all children") and (Hey) Arnold ("Leave no child out") have been produced, and will be seen worldwide on most Nick channels, as well as any TV station or network that wants to carry the ads. For the non-Nick channels, they will be carried free of charge, with no rights paid to Nick.

In addition, contests were held in Sweden, UK, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Russia, Spain, Zambia, Australia, Japan, India, Malaysia and Brazil, where lucky kids win a trip to the United Nations headquarters in New York City, to attend a special United Nation's Special Session on Children, hosted by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The winners will also serve as correspondents for the special session, in segments to be televised worldwide on Nick. This meeting was to have been held September 19-21, but, due to the 9/11 tragedy, that meeting has been put on hold until the week of 5/8/2002. And yes, the winners still got to go.

(Left: Say YES for Children logo, from MundoNick.Com; ©2001 Viacom and Unicef.)

July 7: Nick began presenting 90-minute "Nick Flicks" of various Nicktoons -- meant to be a Summer replacement for Snick, it ended up being a Fall and Winter replacement for Snick. For details, click here.

July 16: The Rugrats appeared on 5 different covers of the July 21 issue of TV Guide, which went on sale on this date.

July 20: Daily Variety salutes the Rugrats in a special section.

July 20: Nick US finally has shown every available Rugrats episode at the time, when A Dose of Dil & Famous Babies is seen; this puts Nick US on par with the rest of the world.

July 21: Rugrats will celebrate their 10th anniversary with a special, one-hour episode, All Growed Up, which shows the Rugrats as pre-teens. This will be followed by video releases of this episode, plus the top ten stories. For the record, though, Rugrats was created in 1989; they'll be actually 12 years old by this time.

July 31: The Rugrats In Paris home video is released in Spanish in the US & Canada.

August 7: The top 10 Rugrats stories were released on 2 Decades In Diapers videos, which also includes the pilot on volume 1.

August 7: Recess -- School's Out was released on video in the US.

August 18: Nick presents a 90-minute Wild Thornberrys Nick Flick, which explains "The Origin Of Donnie".

(Left: Donnie and his original "family", from the Club Cooltoons Newsletter, © 2001 Viacom.)

August 28: Recess -- School's Out was released on video in Canada.

September 1: Animaniacs debuted on Nick.

September 1: French-language versions of the new Rugrats episodes with Kimi, Kira & Fifi have their Canadian debuts on Vrak.TV. That channel also presented the Canadian debut (in any language) of As Told By Ginger on this day (the English version debuted September 13 on YTV).

September 8: Rugrats did not win an Emmy for "Outstanding Children's Program" at the 2001 nighttime "Creative Arts" Emmy Award presentation.

September 10: Pro skateboarder Tony Hawk appears in an episode of Rocket Power.

September 11: Terrorists attacked the US, leading to 4 plane crashes and, most notably, attacks on the Pentagon and the demolition of the World Trade Center. President George W. Bush declared the "war" against terrorism an actual war 2 days later. On TV, most TV stations and specialty channels suspended programming at least part of the time, either by carrying reports from the news channels and the broadcsting networks, or, in the case of the home shopping channels, suspending altogether, with a text screen saying so, in silence. As for MTV's group of channels, VH1 and CMT suspended programming for news coverage, while TNN, MTV and, of course, Nickelodeon presenting the normal schedule. Nick, however, cancelled Slime Time Live for the rest of the week, which meant that CatDog and Hey Arnold, part of Slime Time Live in 11-minute bits, ran a full half-hour each. Another casualty was Invader Zim -- its episodes for Friday, 9/14 and Sunday 9/16 were replaced at the last minute (maybe) with repeats of Fairly Oddparents, and this is after Nick ran a promo for a new Zim episode on Friday night, 15 minutes before it was to have been telecast.

Nickelodeon, along with Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and, to a degree, Fox Family, kept to their normal schedule, because they felt that doing so would give kids a safe haven from the barrage of terrorist news playing on the other channels. Many psycotherapists recommend that kids do not watch the news alone, to always watch with a parent, and to talk to them about the events.

But, it should be known that Nick isn't avoiding the tragedy altogether -- a Nick News special on the event was telecasted on Sunday, 9/16, while Nick.Com set up special sections on their website.

September 21: The Proud Family, a black-oriented animated sitcom that features Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster) as one of Penny Proud's friends, begins on The Disney Channel; originally produced for Nick, it's the second TV series that slipped out of Nick's hands and into Disney's.

September 21: America: A Tribute to Heroes, a 2-hour, star-studded telethon to raise funds for the relief efforts in New York City and Washington, was seen on ALL broadcasting networks in the US, along with many specialty channels and radio stations. The special , which raised over US$150 million for relief efforts, originated live from secret locations in New York, Los Angeles and London. Even though this is an unprecedented effort set forth by the broadcasting industry, there were some channels that declined to participate, for various reasons. Non-participants included the ESPN group of channels, along with The Disney Channel, and of course, Nickelodeon. Dan Martinsen, a spokeman for Nick, told the Associated Press that "our point of view has been, and continues to be, that Nick should be a safe haven for kids to see their normal entertainment programs."  It should be noted that CBS and the other channels in the Viacom group -- MTV, VH1, CMT, TNN, UPN, Comedy Central and Showtime -- carried the special. In Canada, CTV and Global carried the special, along with specialty channels The Life Network, CMT Canada, Talk TV and Star TV, in addition to the American channels available in Canada. It was not seen on CBC, YTV, Family, Teletoon or any of the French channels. (Quote from CNN.Com; special thanks to Don Del Grande)

September 21: After a week's hiatus due to the terrorist attacks, Invader Zim returns to Nick with a repeat episode, "Bestest Friend" and "Nanozim"; however, due to technical problems, Invader Zim (and all Nick and Nick-At-Nite programs afterward), started 10 minutes earlier than scheduled. During Fairly Oddparents (which started 5 minutes early), it was interrupted with a local ad insert during that show's second story, "The Zappys"; after the ad, it started immediately with Zim, cutting off the last 5 minutes of Oddparents. All Nick programming from this point aired normally, though 10 minutes earlier than scheduled, to the chagrin of those relying on the VCR to copy the shows. For the record, programming on Nick generally starts a minute or two (in some instances, up to five) before or after the scheduled time; normally, the amount of paid advertising, the length of the shorts played during the breaks, and live stunts such as Slime Time Live dictates the actual start time of Nick programs.  And during Nick-At-Nite, programming often starts later than scheduled, as their reruns are uncut, with no reduction in commercial time.

But, after the 9/11 attacks, Nick started to have a distaste for Zim, and cancelled the show a few months later, despite growing popularity.

(special thanks to Don Del Grande)

September 23: Nick-At-Nite is taken over by Fox -- Michael J. Fox -- with a Family Ties marathon, as that series debuts on Nick-At-Nite.

September 30: For the first time in that channel's history, TV Land started showing infomercials in latenight, 2AM ET to 4AM ET. And they're the latest infomercials too -- not program-length retromercials. As a result, loyal fans of the channel complained, though the infomercials remained for about a couple of months. Nick-At-Nite used to show late-night infomercials early Monday mornings during the late 1980s and most of the 1990s, but stopped sometime in the late 1990s.

October 5: At 6PM ET, Happy Days was the first program seen on the Canadian version of TV Land, a joint venture between Viacom and Craig Broadcasting (the majority owner). The Canadian version features Canadian and American TV classics, minus the trademark retromercials. Some US TV Land shows air in Canada on a competing channel, CanWest Global's Deja View, which debuted September 7. TV Land Canada was to have opened on September 14, but, due to the National Day of Mourning, on account of the September 11 attacks, the launch was delayed until September 17. Then, after realising that it still wasn't ready to go on the air, the launch was delayed until now.

Here is the schedule for the first 24 hours of TV Land Canada (all times ET):

6:00 pm Happy Days
6:30 pm The Beachcombers
7:00 pm Andy Griffith
7:30 pm Andy Griffith
8:00 pm The Love Boat
9:00 pm Brady Bunch
9:30 pm Andy Griffith
10:00 pm Andy Griffith
10:30 pm Get Smart
11:00 pm The Beachcombers
11:30 pm The Love Boat
12:30 am Sanford & Son
1:00 am Mary Tyler Moore
1:30 am Forest Rangers
2:00 am Cannon
3:00 am Odd Couple
3:30 am Rhoda
4:00 am Forest Rangers
4:30 am Check It Out!
5:00 am Forest Rangers
5:30 am Check It Out!
6:00 am Mannix
7:00 am Forest Rangers
7:30 am The Beachcombers
8:00 am I Love Lucy
8:30 am Odd Couple
9:00 am Rhoda
9:30 am Mary Tyler Moore
10:00 am Happy Days
10:30 am Laverne and Shirley
11:00 am Gomer Pyle
11:30 am Mary Tyler Moore
12:00 pm Burke's Law
1:00 pm Mannix
2:00 pm Cannon
3:00 pm Burke's Law
4:00 pm Sanford & Son
4:30 pm Rhoda
5:00 pm Get Smart
5:30 pm Get Smart

October 6: Rugrats In Paris makes its world premium TV debut in Canada on Movie Central (formerly Super Channel; still only available from Manitoba westward).

October 7: Rugrats In Paris makes its world French premium TV debut in Canada on Super Ecran.

October 7: Cheers debuts on Nick-At-Nite. The premiere nightly marathons for its first week featured complete, uncut episodes, with each marathon surrounding a particular character. However, Nick-At-Nite unleashes another TV evil onto its viewers -- time-compression (just be lucky you're not watching the Game Show Network, where game show fans call this practice sacrilege).

October 8: Rugrats In Paris is released on video in Britain; 2 days later (10/10), it had its video release in France.

October 8: Nick cancels SpongeBob SquarePants, after its creator, Steve Hillenberg, chooses to take a break from the show after its contract is up.

October 13: Rugrats In Paris makes its Eastern Canadian premium TV debut on TMN (available from Ontario eastward only).

October 24: The Wayback Machine, a service of The Internet Archive, opens, enabling people to see past revisions of many sites, including mine (see links page for details).

October 28: Final telecast of Nickelodeon's Spanish programs on Telemundo, which cancelled the block after 3 years of carrying the programs. When the block was cancelled, it was seen weekends only, and consisted of Spanish-language versions of Hey Arnold, Rugrats, Blue's Clues and Dora The Explorer.

October 29: MTV's animation unit, which produced animation programs for the music channel, such as Beavis & Butthead, Daria and Celebrity Deathmatch, closes down. This, of course, does not affect Nickelodeon's Nicktoons projects, nor Nicktoon Studios, whose operations are separate from MTV's.

October 31: Famed primate expert Jane Goodall guest starred in a Thornberrys episode, "The Trouble With Darwin".

November 1: Nick started broadcasting Rugrats with a special SAP (Separate Audio Program) soundtrack, which features full descriptions of the actions that takes place in the program. Known as the "Descriptive Video Service" and produced by WGBH Boston, these special soundtracks enable the blind and the visually-impaired to follow the action of the show better. Dionne Kuan, the voice of Kimi, who's visually-impaired, said, "I'm really inspired by a development in technology that enables people to get the full experience of Rugrats. Not only is the show very close to my heart, but as a nonsighted person, I share in the joy that this technology will bring to Rugrats fans around the world." Rugrats is the first Nick program to have a descriptive soundtrack in their episodes.

November 2: Monsters, Inc., an animated film by Disney and Pixar, was released; its plot line, about an underground monster society needing scares to survive, is similar to a Nicktoon, Real Monsters.

November 10: Nick presented a special marathon of monster-related Nicktoons, including some episodes of the real Real Monsters. The marathon was NOT in celebration of Monsters, Inc., but rather for Butt Ugly Martians, a British import that had its American debut on Nick that weekend.

November 10: Fox Family officially becomes ABC Family, though its programming -- 700 Club and all -- relatively remains the same until at least January.

November 10: The Rugrats Movie has its Australian commercial TV premiere on CanWest Global's Ten Network. The film was televised on Australia's national election day. That night, three of Australia's five broadcasting networks carried election returns, while two other networks, including Ten, carried other programming instead. As a result, Ten received the highest ratings that night, with The Rugrats Movie topping the returns / programming on the other 4 networks in most of Australia's state capitals. It appeared that Aussies cared more about the Rugrats than they do about who won the election. (Special thanks to Widya Santoso)

November 22: The Rugrats balloon makes its final appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

November 23: The Rugrats Movie has its US commercial TV Premiere on CBS. This telecast included scenes that were not included in the theatrical, video or YTV versions. This telecast ranked at # 85, the worst show on CBS that week.

November 24: The Rugrats' Kwanzaa special makes its North American TV debut in Canada on Vrak.TV, in French. However, the last 10 seconds or so of this episode was cut off by a commercial, right in the middle of Susie's toast.

November 30: Repeats of Ren & Stimpy return again, this time on VH1, where they present a limited series featuring various episodes. Billy West, the voice of Stimpy and the 2nd voice of Ren, is the host of the repeats, giving a behind-the-scenes look at what made the show popular.

December: Repeats of SpongeBob SquarePants began airing on MTV -- it's the third Nicktoon to be seen on that channel.

December 1: The Rugrats' Santa Experience & Chanukah specials make their broadcast network debut on CBS. Once again, they were the network's worst shows, at #s 92 & 91, respectively.

December 1: Nickelodeon opens up in Greece on the Alpha Digital satellite service.

December 11: The Rugrats' Kwanzaa special makes its North American English TV debut in the US on Nick.


December 21: Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genious, starring Patrick Stewart and Martin Short, is released in theaters -- it's the sixth Nick movie, and the third animated Nick movie. The film opened to generally favorable reviews; however, even though Nick has pulled all the stops to promote the film throughout 2001 (including having Jimmy "invade" various Nicktoons), the film opened at # 4 in the box office, behind Lord Of The Rings, a remake of Ocean's Eleven, and Vanilla Sky, but finished its first weekend at #3, grossing US$13,832,786. In comparison, The Rugrats Movie opened at # 1, while Rugrats In Paris opened at # 2.

(Left: Jimmy Neutron and his friends. From Amazon.Com; ©2001 Viacom.)

December 28: The Rugrats Movie has its Mexican commercial TV Premiere on the Latin American version of Nick; it's the first time the film was seen on a Nick channel.

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