Kids Of The 90s Are Nostalgic, And Nickelodeon Satisfies Their Longing

The 90s Are All ThatNa na na-na-na; the opening credits to Nickelodeon’s hit 90s show “Clarissa Explains It All” (1991-1994) begins. A teenage Melissa Joan Hart pops up onscreen in a crop top and high ponytail as retro graphics and the all too familiar theme song introduces an episode of one of Gen Y’s favorite shows. Comfort TV is back in all its glory for today’s college students and 20-somethings to enjoy. Crop tops are cool again, but even more popular is this retro programming. In fact, it’s “all that!”

Last week, Nickelodeon debuted “The 90s Are All That,” its wildly successful new programming block, where hit shows from “the good old days” are played weekdays from 12am – 4am. The name refers to the network’s sketch comedy show “All That” (1994-2005) and couldn’t be more fitting. After one night, it became evident that this late night block of 90s shows — which currently includes “All That,” “Kenan & Kel” (1996-2000), “Clarissa Explains It All,” and “Doug” (1991-1994) — is the best idea since orange soda. Nickelodeon currently leads with 7-17 year olds, but this addition marks a major change in attracting young adults.

During the programming block’s premiere on Monday, July 25, “The 90s” reached ratings 850% higher than the channel’s previous average in the 12am – 2am block according to Nielsen Media Research. All four shows in the lineup were among the top 10 programs on basic cable for the night, averaging 555,000 total viewers. Millennials tend to stay up late, so they’re grateful for this alternative to late night talk shows.

Moreover, Nickelodeon references flooded the Twittersphere earning the network an impressive 20 worldwide trending topics. “The 90s Are All That” Facebook page reached 200,000 fans overnight, double what it was before the programs debuted. And interestingly enough, fans’ presence on social media is what caused Nickelodeon to bring back its old hit shows in the first place.

Over nine million college students and young adults joined Facebook groups, begging Nickelodeon to air their favorite childhood shows. Some even said the network isn’t as good as it was when they grew up. And because of that, a group of determined and clearly in-tune Nickelodeon interns took action. They pitched the idea of retro revival to the network execs, and so the cure for nostalgia began…

Kids of the 90s are watching their beloved childhood shows at a more grown-up hour — one that was way past their bedtime when the shows originally aired. After days filled with adult responsibilities, college students and 20-somethings can let loose and remember a time when life was a little easier and more carefree, a kid-like state that they most likely miss as much as the shows themselves. No matter what is going on in the world, they can go to bed happy.

For now, they can enjoy four of their favorite programs on TV again, but viewers’ opinions will determine the future lineup of late night Nickelodeon shows. In a few months, the network plans to let viewers vote for the next slate of programs it will revive, which is a smart move to ensure online participation and maintain interest. In the meantime, fans can pick their favorite Nickelodeon moments and watch clips and episodes online.

There are still dozens of other iconic 90s Nickelodeon shows, which means this programming block can last for years. Now if only the 90s commercials aired too…


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  2. JLu

    While I can’t stand Clarissa Explains It All (sorry, was never really a fan), The 90s Are All That kicks butt!

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