While many Nicktoons make it to air, there are some that do not. Here are some examples that were publicly announced in press releases earlier, only to be cancelled before production began.

The Carmichaels -- First due for 1999, then delayed to as late as 2002, this Rugrats spinoff was to feature Susie and her family, as they move from their current California city to Atlanta, GA, where the rest of the relatives live.

What Happened?: Only its pilot episode, A Rugrats Kwanzaa, aired in December 2001. Plans to make this a series were discarded when they decided to make Preschool Daze and All Growed Up into series instead. By making those shows into series, along with The Carmichaels and the main Rugrats series, it'll confuse viewers, as Susie would be living in 2 different cities at the same time.

Stewy the Dog Boy -- This Nicktoon, originally set to premiere in 1999, and created by Dennis Messner and Mary Harrington, features a dog who dresses like a human boy, just so he could attend 4th grade at Deerlick Park Elementary School.

What Happened?: Discarded, when Disney produced a similar series, Teacher's Pet, which was created by Gary Baseman and Bill & Cheri Steinkellner; that series debuted on ABC in September 2000. The pilot of Stewy, however, was televised as a short on Kablam!.

The Proud Family -- Created by Bruce Smith, the creator of Bebe's Kids, this Nicktoon was to have practically been a black Rugrats. Here's a passage from a press release from Disney:

The Proud Family is an animated sitcom that follows the adventures of Penny Proud (Kyla Pratt), a 14-year-old African American girl who's doing her best to navigate through the mysteries, mishaps and merriment that come with those difficult early years of teen-dom.

Fueled by a never-ending passion for growing up, Penny's every encounter inevitably spirals into bigger than life situations filled with hi-jinks, hilarity and heart. Along for the ride are Penny's best friends -- the sassy and scheming Dijonay (Karen Malina White); the naively optimistic Zoey (Soleil Moon Frye); and Sticky (Orlando Brown), a techno-wiz with attitude -- her irreverent, groovy grandma Sugar Mama (Jo Marie Payton) and her funky little poodle, Puff; Penny's trouble-making toddler siblings Bebe and Cece; and, of course, Oscar (Tommy Davidson) and Trudy (Paula Jai Parker), her loving parents, who don't seem to understand that a responsible 14-year-old like Penny is ready to grow up. With family and friends like this, Penny certainly has a lot of love in her life.

What Happened?: This series was to have their debut on Nick in 1999, but apparently, Nick rejected this animated series, only for it to be picked up by Disney. This series made its debut on The Disney Channel on 9/21/2001.

Constant Payne -- In this pilot, created by Micah Wright and done in the same style as Japanese anime, an adventurer named Alexander "Doc" Payne is one of many of generations of the Payne family that went on adventurous missions. However, the family decided that he will ne the last of the adventurers in the Payne family, and when he dies, the Paynes are out of the adventure business. This didn't sit well with his daughter, Amanda, who wants to carry on the tradition as an adventurer.

What Happened?: You might think that Nick passed on Constant Payne, which would've been heavy on adventure and little to laugh about -- all Nicktoons are either light comedy Nicktoons, such as SpongeBob and Rugrats, or light adventure Nicktoons with some sitcomesque elements, like Rocket Power or Thornberrys. The real story, according to Micah, is that he attempted to unionise the employees at Nicktoons Studios, where Constant Payne was produced; the unionisation, and the accompanying strike, was necessary, as Nick is making a huge profit off the Nicktoons produced at the studio (US$800 million annually), but they're not sharing a single penny with the writers. In retaliation to Micah's efforts, Nick not only cancelled the project, they also tried to make sure that no other studio was able to hire him (those efforts were unsuccessful).

This event may also be the one that brought Nicktoons Studios to its knees -- Nick is now starting to get its programming from other studios (examples include anything by Klasky-Csupo, the Jimmy Neutron series (produced in Texas), and Sunday Movie Toons by DIC). The studio's almost shut down following the cancellations of Hey Arnold (due to unamicable terms with its creator, Craig Bartlett) and Invader Zim (huge fan base, but costly to make), plus the cessation of production of SpongeBob, as the animator wanted to work on the movie. There are rumors that the studios would be used for Nick's live-action programs, as well as office space for Nick's executives.

Micah is currently shopping around other studios that would pick up Constant Payne. But, while he got back the rights to his characters, Nick still owns the pilot, and whoever gets the series won't be able to produce it until the pay Nick for the pilot. And with the goings on that happened, paying for that pilot may be tougher than producing the show itself.

The pilot was never televised on Nick, though it is available for viewing on the web (Quicktime is required to view) at:

The Patakis -- Mentioned during Craig Bartlett's on-line chats, this Hey Arnold spinoff was to feature Helga and her family & friends -- about 5 years later (Helga would've been 15 in this spinoff). Arnold wouldn't be included in ths spinoff, though Helga would be mailing letters to him. At this point, Arnold would have reunited with his parents and moved out-of-town, which he would've done in the unproduced second theatrical feature.

What Happened?: The series was pitched to Nick, Nick-At-Nite and MTV. At one time, it was mentioned that N@N would be carrying the series. However, both Nick and N@N decided not to carry the show, as the series has a dark tone; also, N@N didn't want to go beyond their usual staple of off-network reruns; and MTV nixed it, as it's too similar to Daria, which didn't do too well in the ratings. Right now, Bartlett will not be pursuing the project, as he is working on a new series for Cartoon Network called Party Wagon, about a group of settlers on the Oregon Trail. Also, because of that, Nick has gotten incensed, as they wanted Bartlett to sign an exclusive contract, in order to keep Hey Arnold going, and in order to start production on the second Hey Arnold film. But since he wouldn't sign, Hey Arnold is practically done at Nick; therefore, The Patakis are not in the cards.

However, as they say, "never say never" -- a group of fans got together to do their own version of The Patakis, based on Craig's original plans. And, also in the planning stages, their version of The Jungle Movie. For details, click here.

Skeleton Key -- This Nicktoon, produced in association with Sunbow Entertainment (remember The Brothers Flub?), was to have been be based on a Slave Labor comic book series by Andi Watson. 13 episodes was ordered. I don't know how the animated series was to go, but the comic book was like this -- a Canadian high schooler named Tamsin Mary Cates stumbles upon the "Skeleton Key". Unlike ordinary skeleton keys, this one opens doors to many dimensions, and the adventures that wait for her.

What Happened?: The series was cancelled by Nick for unknown reasons. In my opinion, it was probably due to the bad blood created between Nick and the creators of Slave Labor's comic books, since Nick's mistreatment and cancellation of Invader Zim. That, and Nick's continual reluctance to pick up serious animated programming.

(Left: Cover from issue 12 of the Skeleton Key comic book series; from Nickelodeon Inc.; ©Andi Watson.)

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