HaHa Nick (lost Chinese block of Nickelodeon shows; 2005-2007)
HaHa Nick was a block of Nickelodeon shows that aired in China on the SMG children's channels. It premiered on May 1st, 2005, and continued to air until October 2007. It played twice every day: from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM, and again from 4:00 PM to 8:30 PM.
The block aired Mandarin dubs of six Nickelodeon shows: The Fairly OddParents, Oobi, Blue's Clues, Eureeka's Castle, Kenan & Kel, and ChalkZone. The dubs were recorded in-house at SMG. The block also featured originally-produced series, such as HaHa Nick Weekend Play, which was a live-action studio hosted show, and SoNick, described as a "tween lifestyle show featuring profiles of real kids' lives in Shanghai."
The studio hosts presented each show with specially-made animations and bumpers, and they commented on each episode afterward. The Kenan & Kel bumpers and segments were notorious among Chinese TV forums, as HaHa Nick used stereotypical blackface to represent the two title characters. The hosts commented heavily on the "blackness" of the show, to the point of making fun of them, and HaHa Nick's website described the characters as "two super-funny black boys in their teens."
The block was made as part of a joint venture between Nickelodeon and SMG. Sumner Redstone, the executive chairman of Nickelodeon's parent company Viacom, was reportedly very happy with the block's ratings, and said "It's going very well" in a 2005 interview. A press release described the block's creation in detail:
- It will premiere programming on May 1, 2005, to 3.5 million TV households on SMG's Oriental Children's Channel, which will be re-branded HaHa. HaHa Nick, China's first co-production joint venture with an equity stake by a foreign-owned company, will also launch a Mandarin language website HAHANick.com. Targeting pre-schoolers to 14-year-old kids, HaHa Nick will consist of locally created content airing daily across three dayparts, totaling 25-hours per week. HaHa Nick plans to ramp up production to 50 hours of programming per week by year-end, and will distribute all content produced by the joint venture via syndication to other channels in China and abroad. Programming includes HAHA NICK WEEKEND PLAY, a variety show with a live studio audience for 9 to 14-year-olds; two puppet-based shows for pre-schoolers LITTLE HAND OOBI and MAGIC CASTLE; and, SONICK, a tween lifestyle show featuring profiles of real kids' lives in Shanghai, along with kids' sports and music.
Due to the scarcity of Chinese TV recordings, no video footage of the block is available online, and only screenshots have been found. The block's continuity, commercials, and dubs are all lost. Most importantly, none of the originally-produced programs are available online at all. Audio from SMG's Chinese voice actors can be heard in several Oobi and ChalkZone flash games on the HaHa Nick website, but footage of the dubs themselves is unavailable.
- Archive of HaHa Nick's website on the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 16 Feb '20
- TV Production Breakthrough: With regulations being relaxed, media giant Viacom expands its presence in China. Retrieved 16 Feb '20
- Image of HaHa Nick's animated icons for Kenan & Kel. Retrieved 16 Feb '20
- HaHa Nick show page for Kenan & Kel. Retrieved 16 Feb '20
- Chinese TV will soak up "SpongeBob." Retrieved 16 Feb '20
- MTV & Nick’s New Developments in China. Retrieved 16 Feb '20