The Upside Down Show -- Cancelled ...
Shane and David get shown the door over at Nickelodeon, without so much as a 'thank you, it's been nice' ...
I typically don't post anything that might show up through current trends in google searches, but I'm sure this one will probably generate a lot of traffic.
As of today, December 14th, 2008 ... 'The Upside Down Show' is no longer airing on Noggin.
Many hearts are breaking wide open all over the world tonight. Sorry for the Top Gun quote, but it's true.
After a very successful season which grabbed the attention of a lot of people everywhere, the executives at Noggin / Nickelodeon have decided in their infinite wisdom to cancel the show -- but if you think that hurts -- they wouldn't even give a reason as to why the show was canceled and they've ignored numerous requests throughout the industry to keep the show on the air. All the pleading has fallen on deaf ears without any explanation.
There hasn't been many shows that foster imagination in a positive way like 'The Upside Down Show' does, and while at first, the show might come off as a bit quirky and even strange to the jaded adult eye, kids everywhere have been not just mesmerized by it, but head over heels.
Parents have been making internet posts over the last many months about just how much their toddlers love this show. My son, too, has laughed, giggled and enjoyed this show from the first second he saw it. He makes 'goggles' all the time, pretends he has a remote, raises his hands up in the air like he's upside down and even recognizes Shane and David when I search them on the internet -- and he's only 20 months.
Shane and David also have a large following with their long-running career as 'The Umbilical Brothers', which can be experienced by watching youtube or google video. Their ability to mime just about anything is absolutely astonishing and the amount of talent between these two over-sized boys is unlike anything modern audiences have seen - bar none.
The formula for 'The Upside Down Show' is one of those 'sweet spot' things that rarely occur in children's programming. Steve Burns, of 'Blues Clues' fame, hit the ball so far out of the park with his ability to deliver that particular show that it remains as one of the most beloved children's show of all times. Educators say that 'Blues Clues' is very effective at holding and building the attention span of children and actually enforcing positive instruction, unlike so many other shows that alternate at a faster rate and shift so frequently that children gradually turn away, becoming over-stimulated.
Noggin bills itself as 'Preschool on TV', but from what I've seen it's far from 'Pre-School on TV'. By using chime sounds at the beginning of filler segments that force the attention towards the TV for a pointless exercise of 'spot the difference' and 'puzzle time' to shows that have little to virtually no educational value, despite the bumper plates that list things like 'Teaches Community Values', and so on.
Personally, I like shows like 'Little Bill' and 'The Backyardigans', which are very cute and 'sometimes' have catchy songs, but a lot of folks have voiced their disdain for these shows for being racially myopic and downright pointless, even though the executives in charge of the network would purport to having goals to achieve racial diversity and fostering imagination.
At one time, Gregory Hines was my neighbor, and I vividly remember having breakfast directly across from him and his family at the Firehouse Cafe when I lived in Venice Beach many times. I was very saddened to learn of his passing in 2003, which still seems like yesterday, and wondered what his death would mean to the show, being that he was 'Little Bill's' dad, 'Big Bill'. My wife yawns every time I repeat any of the stories about Gregory Hines, as she's heard them all about a million times and I have a tendency to repeat them whenever we watch 'Little Bill'.
Noggin's current pet project is 'Yo! Gabba Gabba!', which isn't really a bad show, but in all honesty, most children that I've watched watching it, aren't very interested in it at all. Having guests like Jack Black, Leslie and the LY's (very niche) and Elijah Wood further the argument that the show is actually being targeted at the person controlling the remote, the parent - and not the child, even though at first glance it appears to be the opposite. Having Elijah Wood as a guest is the ultimate 'geek move' and probably the most egregious and blatant use of targeting thus far by the show. I've read several hundred posts about how many adults actually like 'Yo! Gabba Gabba!', but have a hard time getting the little one's to watch it, unlike 'The Upside Down Show'.
Some have speculated that Nickelodeon wants to sink it's money into this venture, Yo! Gabba Gabba!, that has a larger revenue stream due to toys and other marketing rather than a show that gives away imaginary goggles and tennis rackets by the bushel. Also, the song 'Think Happy Thoughts', from 'Yo! Gabba Gabba!', is now being used as bumper music for Christmas Wal-Mart commercials. Go figure.
'The Upside Down Show' is a fascinating and very enjoyable experience that gets both parents and child involved in the show and builds good play habits for other kids to share in. One really has to wonder why a network that bills itself as 'Preschool on TV' would cancel the ONLY show that they host that is actually like 'Preschool on TV'.
Having known many close friends and relatives that have worked for Disney, Nickelodeon and Universal, I'm aware of the fact that they have a very strict and unwavering policy about prior drug convictions or felonies that may embarrass the network. After a minor amount of digging, a few phone calls and even a short overseas telephone and email exchange with other people in the industry, I can emphatically report that these types of concerns were not a factor in the canceling of the show. So what was it that got the show, that won so many awards in such a short period of time, a quick and quiet push out the door?
The cat is still in the bag for now, but maybe I'll post more later. For now, I'll let the dust settle on this. My son was incredibly disappointed to miss out on his favourite show the last two nights. If it were out on DVD it wouldn't be so bad, but it's not and probably won't be for awhile.
A movie deal rumour has surfaced, but the term 'in development' can barely be applied, as it is in its infancy and needs time to grow and take root.
I guess we're supposed to just 'think happy thoughts' ...
After three days off the air, 'The Upside Down Show' has strangely, but most-likely temporarily, returned to the air-waves. I can only wonder if someone's child, someone more important than the bulk of us, got upset and begged their mother or father to have the show brought back. I wouldn't want to be the person getting that phone call and being made to change course and recant my position.
I'm sure some people started an online petition, but from my experience with working with the studios, these petitions often fall flat and into a soundless abyss, no matter how many people sign. Even ten tons of peanuts won't make them acquiesce.