Big Beast Quintet (lost Nickelodeon animated pilot; 1990)

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Production art of the pilot's main characters.

Status: Lost

Big Beast Quintet was an unsold animated pilot that was pitched to Nickelodeon.


In 1989, the kid-oriented cable network Nickelodeon decided to launch their own original animated programming, which they dubbed "Nicktoons." They commissioned eight pilots, and planned to choose the four best pilots to make it to series (though in the end, only three were chosen), with a targeted premiere in August 1991.[1]

Big Beast Quintet was created by Japhet Asher and George Evelyn of Colossal Pictures. The idea was not original to the pilot, as the characters first appeared in an animated Nickelodeon station ID: five animals walked down the street, singing nonsensical lyrics, wearing orange shirts with a few letters on each. They walked inside a television set, rearranged themselves, and their shirts spelled out "Nickelodeon," which they sang at the end. The idea to pitch a series based on the bumper came from the idea that a show about characters the audience was already familiar with would make for a more successful series. The pilot was made in 1990.

The Pilot

The characters were more fleshed out in the pilot. The Big Beast Quintet lived in the city of Animatropolis where they worked as news reporters for Channel Zero. Their boss, Nero Zero, who had a "nice-mean" switch on his head controlled by his assistant Bombat, sends them to Ice Cube Island to do a story on the Abominably Animated Man. They can't find him, however, and use a stage set to fake the broadcast, pretending to get lost. Big Beast, feeling guilty, goes out on his own to find the Abominably Animated Man. Nero Zero shows up to save the Big Beast Quintet but is upset to find only four of them on a fake set. But then, Big Beast shows up with the surprisingly friendly Abominably Animated Man and Nero Zero becomes nice again.[1]


The pilot has been described as having a silly Nickelodeon "feel," but it tested poorly. The concept of having a mean, angry boss was not something the kid audience could relate to, and the fake news story subplot went over their heads. Nickelodeon tried tweaking the concept with Colossal Pictures and a revised pilot, called Channel Zero, was pitched, but it was considered not funny enough to be picked up as a TV series.[1]

The pilots eventually picked up were:

  • Doug Can't Dance by Jim Jinkins for Jumbo Pictures; became the pilot for Doug.
  • Tommy Pickles and the Great White Thing by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain for Klasky Csupo; became the pilot for Rugrats.
  • Ren Hoek and Stimpy in "Big House Blues" by John Kricfalusi for Spümcø; became the pilot for The Ren & Stimpy Show.

Unlike the original station ID, which is easily found on the Internet, the Big Beast Quintet pilot was never shown to anyone outside those involved in its production and the test audiences, nor has it been shared by its creators since, save for a presentation given by Linda Simensky in 1995 at the Society for Animation Studies Conference in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she showed the five failed Nicktoon pilots, as well as four others, to an audience of animation professors and historians.[1] The reworked version, Channel Zero, has also never been seen.


On August 9th, 2018, when asked about the pilot on Twitter, Japhet Asher said he may have a VHS tape containing the pilot, and that George Evelyn probably had a higher-quality copy.[2]

On December 17th, 2023, Internet Archive user Kwaanza uploaded some production art for the pilot, this is currently the only piece of material from it that has resurfaced.[3]


  • Created by Japhet Asher and George Evelyn
  • Written by Japhet Asher
  • Directed by George Evelyn[1]


The Big Beast Quintet station ID.

See Also

Anthology and Short Series

Bumpers and Promos


Game Shows

Inaugural Series

Live Action