Pop Culture

Nickelodeon plans first inauguration coverage

Nickelodeon TV, the children’s network, is getting ready to cover its first presidential inauguration.

Young reporters Lily Collins, rocker Phil Collins’ daughter, and J.J. (Nick would not release his last name) will be in Washington on Jan. 20 to show Barack Obama’s inauguration from a pint-sized perspective.

Throughout the presidential campaign, Nickelodeon found that interest among its young viewers matched that of the adults. Nick’s own online “election” had 2.2 million children voting, with kids supporting Obama over John McCain (51 percent to 49 percent) in a closer margin than the real election.

“We decided to carry it through so that kids would have the full experience of the presidential election,” said Marva Smalls, executive vice president of public affairs at Nickelodeon.

The coverage will show up during commercial breaks and, most prominently, during the periods between regular shows in primetime. Nick will offer a retrospective of past presidents taking the oath of office and interviews with young people about Obama’s election and his inaugural address.

Nick won’t cover the speech live, but will take excerpts shortly after it is done from coverage on a news network and package it for its viewers.

“We can’t go live in the same way the networks are going live but it will feel the same way to kids,” Smalls said.

The station’s young viewers are particularly interested in the process because Barack and Michelle Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, are squarely in Nick’s demographic, she said.

Nick reporters covered the primary this year for the first time (another online poll found kids selecting Obama and McCain as the nominees before Super Tuesday) and went to the Democratic and Republican party conventions. Republicans didn’t allow Nick TV reporters on their convention floor; the Democrats did.