The Rugrats Timeline
-- 2003 and The Future


No Dates or Time Frame Given:

The Rugrats spinoff Preschool Daze slated to begin on Nick.

January: A dedicated Nicktoon block is slated to begin in France on Canal J, while a Nick Jr. block starts up on TiJi (Canal J's preschooler channel). Prior to this, Nick programs were already a regular part of the schedules on Canal J and TiJi.

January 1: For a second New Year's Day in a row, the Australian version of Nick presented another big Rugrats marathon, running from 6AM to 12 Midnight Sydney time.

January 9: A special Nickelodeon category appeared as part of a special Kids' Week tournament on Jeopardy!. The category was presented during the Double Jeopardy! round, where the "answer" values range from $400 to $2000, in increments of $400. SpongeBob SquarePants introduced the category, and read one of the clues.

To see the answers, and see if you can pose the correct questions, click here.

The previous night (1/8), The Disney Channel's Zoog Disney block also had a category of its own, but only 2 out of 5 answers were questioned correctly (correct questions for Lizzie McGuire and a Disney TV movie; wrong questions for The Famous Jett Jackson, So Weird and Even Stevens).

(Left: Ad for Kids Week on Jeopardy!, from the December 2002 Nick Magazine; © 2002 Viacom and Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)

January 11: Disney's Recess -- School's Out film had its US TV premiere on Telemundo -- in Spanish. I don't think it was seen yet anywhere in the US in English.

January 13: Taffy makes her first appearance in the Rugrats comic strip.

January 25-26: In Britain, Nicktoons TV presented Sir Nigel, in two parts.

(Left: Nigel's knighthood, from the Sir Nigel episode of The Wild Thornberrys, from the Club Cooltoons Newsletter; © 2002 Viacom.)

February 1: CBS begins weekly telecasts of Rugrats as part of Nick on CBS. Finsterella was the first episode. However, many stations were not able to carry that episode that day, due to breaking news regarding the breakup of Space Shuttle Columbia over the Dallas / Ft. Worth area, shortly before its 9:16AM ET landing. Because of this, many stations did not start showing Rugrats until 2/8, when Be My Valentine was seen.

February 1: On Nick, an episode of The Amanda Show featured a "Judge Trudy" sketch, which featured a space shuttle commander who allowed a young boy to take over the space shuttle. For his punishment, Judge Trudy sentenced him to a trip to Venus in a makeshift rocket, which, at that time, he commented "Is it safe?".

This episode, though, aired on the date of the Columbia accident (see above). Knowing that Nick made an error in judgment, they replaced this episode with another episode on Nick's western feed, but in a messy way. During one of the show's fake commercials, they abruptly switched episodes. Also, the end credits shown that night was for the episode it replaced.

February 3-6: A 5-part Thornberrys mini-series, which takes place in Alaska, had its American premiere on Nick. This mini-series involves Eliza meeting a pop-star, Shane, which kindles into a romance. However, the conclusion, "Eliza Unplugged", has been delayed indefinitely, as, at the last minute, Nick had an urge to show another OddParents marathon on Saturday, 2/8. This is despite the fact that promos for the conclusion, and the accompanying Thornberrys marathon for 2/8, has been actually advertised on TV on Nick, complete with a teaser that features Eliza's kiss, and the question of whether or not Shane is her boyfriend.

(Left: Eliza and Shane, from an episode of The Wild Thornberrys, from the Club Cooltoons Newsletter; © 2003 Viacom.)

February 4 (approx.): A test screening of The Rugrats Meet The Wild Thornberrys was held in Hollywood.

February 9: On Bravo's Inside The Actor's Studio, James Lipton's guests are the voices from The Simpsons -- Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria and Harry Shearer. However, the Bravo show's regular time slot is up against The Simpsons on Fox. Also, during the interview, the cast's responses in their characters' voices had clips of the show seen as they did them, rather than appear on camera to do them. Furthermore, Julie Kavner ("Marge") left the show halfway into the program, apparently out of frustration.

(Left: James Lipton with Homer Simpson, from the Club Cooltoons Newsletter; © 2003 Bravo and Fox.)

February 14: The website for Rugrats Go Wild opens up at Nick.Com, which has also revealed the new logo for the film.

(Left: The logo of the film, from Nick.Com. © 2003 Viacom.)

March 1: Nickelodeon expands into South Korea, where it operates 24 hours a day on the SkyLife satellite service.

March 12: The first TV Land Awards (taped 3/2), saluting the various achievements in classic TV, is televised simultaneously on TV Land and Nick-At-Nite, as well as on the Canadian version of TV Land.

March 14: The Club Cooltoons Newsletter unveils to the public, the logo for the new All Growed Up series.

(Left: The logo for All Grown Up, from the Club Cooltoons Newsletter; © 2003 Viacom.)

March 27: Lowe's hardware stores announced that they will introduce the Nickelodeon brand of house paint, as part of Valspar's "American Tradition Signature Colors" series, starting sometime in the spring. The colors will be inspired by various Nicktoons and Nick Jr. series. Colors include:

  • SpongeBob SquarePants Bubble Blue, Barnacle Brown and Spongy Yellow
  • Jimmy Neutron Rocket Red and Purple Flurp
  • Rugrats Reptar Green, Spilt Milk and Bestest Blue
  • Blue's Clues Thinking Chair Pink and Pawprint Blue
  • Dora the Explorer Hola Indigo and Bonita Berry
  • Oswald Octopus Blue and Marshmallow Yellow

Unfortunately, Nickelodeon Orange will not be available (though it could be specially mixed).

March 30: Sir Nigel airs in the US on Nick, just in time for The Wild Thornberrys Movie's video release.

April 9-13: Three of Klasky-Csupo's Nicktoons -- Ginger's "And She Was Gone", Rocket Power's "Race Across New Zealand" and, starting off the festival, Thornberrys' "Sir Nigel" -- are to be featured at Cartoons By The Bay, an international TV animation festival in Positano, Italy.

April 12: The 16th Kids' Choice Awards is seen live on Nick. Rugrats is nominated again, as usual, for "Favorite Cartoon", but did not win (this time, it's SpongeBob).

April 12: Following the Kids' Choice Awards, "Coup DeVille" -- the first episode of All Grown Up (the Rugrats' first spinoff) -- debuts in the US on Nick.

April 20: Nick UK presents their premiere of The Rugrats Movie.

May 3: The last Rugrats comic strip has been published on this date. Nick cancelled the strip, due to continual lack of interest.

May 5: The British version of Nicktoons TV introduces Britain to the Moore family from Leicestershire, England, in Meet The Moores, the world's first animated reality series based on an actual, ordinary family. The Moore family was chosen in a contest that was launched at NTTV UK's launch the previous year.

(Left: "Meet The Moores" -- the first Nicktoon based on an actual, ordinary family. From Nick UK; © 2003 Nickelodeon UK.)

May 10: A computer animated ride film based on SpongeBob SquarePants first opens at Paramount's King's Island, near Cincinnati. The film is expected to open at Paramount's theme parks in the US & Canada during 2003.

May 16: Rugrats won a Daytime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Children's Animated Program", its first Emmy win since 1995.

May 17: Nick US presents its 2nd (sort of) all-night Nicktoon marathon -- Sleepover Jam 2003, hosted by the cast of All That, and is slated to be presented in front of a live "sleep-in" audience (who will be leaving Nicktoon Studios in Burbank as soon as the telecast is over at 11PM PT). The marathon features sleep-related episodes of SpongeBob, Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Ginger, Rocket Power and CatDog, plus new episodes of Jimmy Neutron and OddParents -- seen twice each. This celebration started around New Year's with a contest, where 10 lucky winners and their 3 guests fly to Los Angeles to be part of the special.

(Left: Logo for Sleepover Jam 2003, from Nick.Com; © 2003 Viacom.)

June 13: Rugrats Go Wild released in theaters.

June 26: TNN launches a new animation block. This block features 3 new series, Gary The Rat, Stripperella, and the return of Ren & Stimpy. TNN is the sixth channel in the US since 1991 to present Ren & Stimpy (previous channels were Nick, MTV, local syndication & VH1; it's currently on the Nicktoons TV channel). Episodes of Ren & Stimpy includes all-new episodes, produced by Spumco, along with 52 Nick episodes, which will include previously-edited scenes, along with the infamous "Man's Best Friend" episode. However, the first all-new episode was so extra raunchy and extra crude, it was given a TV-MA rating.

Klasky-Csupo's The Immigrants will not be part of the new block from the start, but may make its debut later on.

July 6: Rugrats In Paris has its World TV Premiere in Canada on YTV.

July 15: The Fairly OddParents' first almost-direct-to-video, Fairly OddParents: Abra-Catastrophe, The Movie, was directly released to VHS and DVD, three days after it made its TV debut (7/12) on Nick US.

July 26: Rugrats ends its run on Nick on CBS the same way it began, with Finsterella.

August 1: My Life As A Teenage Robot slated to begin on Nick (originally slated to begin in January 2003), with Danny Phantom, from the same creator, slated to begin later in the fall.

August 4: After almost 7 years at the 7:30PM ET timeslot on weekdays, Nick US moves Rugrats to 7PM ET, with SpongeBob taking 7:30PM ET.

August 11: TNN changes its name to Spike TV, as part of a plan to make the channel more oriented towards men. This was almost 3 years since TNN changed from a unique country lifestyle channel to just another general entertainment channel.

The change was to have taken place on 6/23/2003, but on 6/12/2003, a judge in New York City decided that the Spike TV name is not be used, as requested by film director Spike Lee, who brought his grievances to the courtroom. The reason? Despite the fact that "Spike" is a common name and word, he felt that using the name for a new cable channel would undermine his image and prestige.

The new programming began anyway as scheduled, but under the TNN name -- meaning the 2nd format change for TNN in almost 3 years.

Since then, Spike Lee and Viacom settled in early July, allowing Viacom to use the "Spike TV" name after all. But of course, they'll now have to spend the time to promote the new name again before actually changing the name, meaning that they are now shooting for August 11, instead of just changing it immediately.

August 23: The Tweenage Rugrats appear on the cover of the Canadian TV Guide -- its first cover appearance in the Canadian edition.

August 26: All Grown Up's first video, "Growing Up Changes Everything", is released on VHS and DVD, featuring the new series' first 2 episodes, Susie Sings The Blues and Coup DeVille. The DVD also includes the Rugrats episode that served as its pilot, All Growed Up.

Fall: Reruns of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Full House, Roseanne and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch scheduled to premiere on Nick & Nick-At-Nite. Sabrina stars Melissa Joan Hart, who's no stranger to Nick (remember Clarissa Explains It All?).

Fall: Craig Bartlett's new animated series, Party Wagon, slated to debut on Cartoon Network, starting with a 90-minute telefilm. The series is about a group of settlers on the Oregon Trail about 150 years ago. Originally to have been part of Adult Swim, Party Wagon is likely to become a "Cartoon Cartoon" instead.

September: Nick launches their line of milk products, distributed exclusively to grade-school students, as part of an initiative to get more kids to consume dairy products. Milk will be available in elementary schools, while milkshakes can be had at middle and high schools. Depending of flavor, the packages will feature characters from Thornberrys, SpongeBob, Rocket Power and Jimmy Neutron.

(Left: Examples of packages of Nickelodeon's milk products, from Animation World; © 2003 Viacom.)

Thanksgiving Weekend (November 26 to 30): All Grown Up slated to begin its regular run on Nick, starting with a special episode during Nonstop Nicktoons Weekend.

December: Bill Cosby's third animated series, Fatherhood, slated to premiere on Nick-At-Nite. The 7-episode mini-series will star David Alan Grier as the central character of Dr. Bindlebeep, a high school teacher and father of three. However, in the press release for the new series, issued in April, Nick-At-Nite mentioned that this was the block's first original program. While this is true where animation is concerned, Nick-At-Nite practically forgotten its original, live action shows from its heyday in the 1980s and early 1990s (Turkey Television; Hi Honey, I'm Home; On The Television, etc.).


Nick US will launch EverGirl, a new website that deals with the everyday adventures of four girls. In addition, a merchandising line of clothes and books will be released simultaneously with the site's launch.

Summer: Jimmy Neutron 2: The Search For Carl slated for release.

Fall: Nick plans on releasing several new TV series during the 2004-2005 season, including 2 live action series, All Together Now and Unfabulous (the latter from Sue Rose, creator of Angela Anaconda and Pepper Ann), plus animated Nicktoons Crash Nebula, What's Cooking? and Kung Fu Spy Troll.

November 19: A SpongeBob SquarePants film is slated for release in theaters.

December: A Series of Unfortunate Events, a live-action Nick film based on a series of books by "Lemony Snicket" (a.k.a Daniel Handler), slated for release. Slated to star Jim Carrey, this film is slated to be a first in a series, along the same pattern as the Harry Potter books. However, the film's premiere was delayed one year (from December 2003) due to various problems, including two directors rejecting work in the film. It was also been announced that, even though Nick will be a co-producer of this picture, the Nick logo will not be displayed in the film or the ads.

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