A new documentary, The Orange Years, will chronicle the rise of Nickelodeon and how the networked reshaped children’s television and effectively helped raise a generation of kids. The film will be available on on-demand services on November 17th.
The new trailer for The Orange Years opens with one of the network’s most high-profile alums, Kenan Thompson, explaining the driving force behind Nickelodeon’s success: “If you want to know about it, it’s a kid-owned environment.” That’s not to say actual kids were running things, but as the trailer goes on to explore, the network didn’t try to pander to kids, but rather gave them shows that felt real and, most importantly, made them laugh.
At the end of the trailer, Geraldine Laybourne, who led Nickelodeon for many years, explained what made the network such a potent force during its mid-Nineties rise: “Mothers were going to work for the first time, divorce rates were high, kids were either coming home alone or in after school programs — they needed a place where they could just be kids. They wanted childhood, let’s give it to them.”
The Orange Years was directed by Scott Barber and Adam Sweeney. Along with Thompson, it will feature interviews with other famous Nickelodeon figures, including Kel Mitchell, Melissa Joan Hart, Christine Taylor and Tom Kenny (a.k.a. the voice of Spongebob Squarepants).