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Nickelodeon (often shortened to Nick) is an American pay television channel which was first tested on December 1, 1977, before relaunching on April 1, 1979 as the first cable channel for children. It is owned by ViacomCBS through its domestic networks division and is based in New York City. The network’s programming is primarily aimed at children and adolescents aged 2–17, while some of its program blocks target a broader family audience.
The channel was originally first tested as Channel C-3, with Pinwheel as its main program on December 1, 1977. Pinwheel was a television series that was, at the time, only available on QUBE, which was the first two-way major market interactive cable television system, owned by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment. The channel was then launched officially as Nickelodeon on April 1, 1979, and expanded to other cable providers nationwide. It was initially commercial-free and remained without advertising until 1984. Warner-Amex sold Nickelodeon, along with its sister networks MTV and VH1, to Viacom in 1986.
Throughout its history, Nickelodeon has introduced sister channels and themed programming blocks. On January 4, 1988, Nickelodeon launched Nick Jr., a weekday-morning block aimed at preschool children. In 1991, the network introduced another flagship brand, the Nicktoons: original animated productions created for the network. In 1999, Nickelodeon partnered with Sesame Workshop to create Noggin, an educational brand consisting of a cable channel and an interactive website. Two blocks aimed at a teenage audience, TEENick on Nickelodeon and The N on Noggin, were merged into a standalone channel, TeenNick, in 2009.
Nickelodeon is considered a major player in television programming for children 8-17 years old. Nickelodeon created numerous channels to target the different sides of their audience and shared their channel space with Nick at Nite, Nicktoons, Nick JR. and more. In 1991, Rugrats was aired following Tommy Pickles, his friends and family.