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Big Nate Gets Animated

Lincoln Peirce‘s multimedia success (popular comic strip, best selling comic collections and illustrated novels, musical theatre) is now getting a Nickolodeon animated series.

Animation Magazine reports:

On Wednesday, Nickelodeon detailed its new, wide-ranging content slate for 2020-21, with a brand-new book-inspired animated series amid several live-action originals…

Greenlit for 26 episodes, Big Nate is an all-new animated series based on the best-selling children’s books from acclaimed author and cartoonist Lincoln Peirce (published by HarperCollins Children’s Books) and comic strip (Andrews McMeel). Produced by Nickelodeon Animation in Burbank, the series is executive produced by Mitch Wilson (All Hail King Julien) and John Cohen (The Angry Birds Movie), with Peirce consulting through development and production. Bridget McMeel is co-producer.

Featuring brand-new storylines, the show follows precocious 11-year-old Nate and his best friends as they navigate sixth grade with humor and style. The kids’ mischievous shenanigans usually result in disaster, detention or both. Whether trying to convince everyone the school is haunted to escape a test, or accidentally setting the pet iguana free in the school’s air ducts, Nate and his friends cause trouble everywhere — and must keep their cool before they get caught.

From Broadway World:

“With the greenlight of this show, Nate is getting one step closer to achieving true awesomeness,” said Peirce. “I am thrilled to be collaborating with Nickelodeon on new adventures for this unlikely sixth-grade hero.”

The forthcoming Big Nate series underscores a key element of Nickelodeon’s content strategy, to build and expand the worlds of enormously popular franchises like Star Trek, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Henry Danger, among others, to give audiences more of what they love.

From the press release via Business Wire:

Peirce’s humor-based books about Nate and his friends have spent more than 150 weeks on the New York Times’ Best-Seller list. The Big Nate book series (https://bignatebooks.com/) is published worldwide in 33 languages and available as ebooks and audiobooks and as an app, Big Nate: Comix by U! Additionally, the Big Nate comic strip is syndicated by Andrews McMeel Syndication and appears in more than 400 newspapers and online daily at www.gocomics.com/bignate. The Big Nate comic strip books are published by Andrews McMeel Publishers and the Big Nate novels are published by HarperCollins Children’s Books.

 

This is not the first time Lincoln has tried his hand at moving cartoons,
twenty years ago he partnered with The Cartoon Network to produce Uncle Gus.

Uncle Gus is the name of two cartoon pilots created by Lincoln Peirce (creator of Big Nate) for Cartoon Network, that aired on Cartoon Network in 2000 and 2001. The first episode, “For the Love of Monkeys”, aired as part of the Cartoon Cartoon Fridays Big Pick, where it lost to The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. Gus made an appearance as a playable character alongside three other Big Pick characters in the online game Cartoon Cartoon Summer Resort.[1] Another episode was released the following year, named “Not So Fast!”

From a 2014 interview, Lincoln on his animation experience:

L’IDEA: You created animated shorts for the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. What was the subject? How different is that process from your strip creation?
LINCOLN PEIRCE:  I wrote three shorts under the title “Uncle Gus” featuring a cast of eccentric characters: a middle-aged loser, his loyal horse, his overly theatrical nephew, and a mysterious tiny con man named Ali Ali.  In retrospect, I think they worked much better as long-format comic books than as animation. I also wrote a short called “Super John Doe Jr.,” about a kid who’s the son of a famous superhero but who’s inherited none of his father’s super powers.  The best shorts I wrote were a series of 2-minute pieces for a short-lived Cartoon Network show, “Sunday Pants.” They were called “The Brothers Pistov.”  They were two very angry Russian dogs. Gregor was completely deadpan but very passive-aggressive. The other, Anton, was insanely volatile and violent.
Writing for TV is a completely different style of writing from what I usually do. Think about your basic 3- or 4-panel comic strip. It might be extremely funny on the page, but it can become much less funny if you read it out loud, or try to act it out. I thought the first “Uncle Gus” short I wrote was hilarious on the page, but it just didn’t translate to animation the way I hoped it would.

 

Next up – a Big Nate Park and Playground?

Community Comments

#1 Darryl Heine
February/20/2020
@ 6:47 am

Did Nickelodeon some years back plan a cartoon series based on Nick and Mason’s comic strip Dogs of C-Kennel but it never came to be?

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