Mar 19, 2019
Doug Cohn, SVP of Music and Talent at Nickelodeon, on what to expect from the live awards show.
It’s been a big year for Nickelodeon. Brian Robbins was named as the head of the network in October of 2018, followed by the installment of his executive creatives and the announcement of an upcoming slate that will include an All That reboot, and an unscripted musical series, and an animated spinoff of The Loud House.
But first: the Kids’ Choice Awards, which airs on March 23 at 8:00 p.m. and features host DJ Khaled. The show has been a staple of kids programming for decades, anchored in the iconic symbols of Nick’s Blimp and ever-present green slime surprises.
We chatted with Doug Cohn, SVP of music and talent at Nickelodeon, about what to expect from this year’s broadcast. Cohn, who’s been at the network for a dozen years, oversees all music for Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.
Viacom: Let's talk about the KCAs. The last two years it was hosted by John Cena. What was the thinking behind asking DJ Khaled to host this year?
Doug Cohn: We like to shake things up a little bit. We like to give kids what they want, and we know the audience loves DJ Khaled. He's a three-time nominee this year. He’s someone who's really fun and who kids love.
The reality is DJ Khaled is a fun force to be reckoned with. He's everywhere, he's a mogul, and not only do kids love him, but he loves kids. I saw DJ Khaled’s son with him on a shoot—he's only two and a half so not every moment is going to be perfect and he eventually had to leave—but DJ Khaled literally FaceTimed him seven times as the day went on.
Viacom: Will he bring his son to the show?
Cohn: I think people have to tune in and see. You know it's a live show, so anything goes. You'll see … he's gonna be a little bit different from some of our past hosts.
Viacom: Can you tell us more about what that means?
Cohn: You can count on a really dramatic, big, exciting open. That's something he's really pumped about. He’s also someone who's engaged on social media in a way that is unprecedented for our hosts.
Viacom: Are you leveraging his social following in any specific way? Is that part of the reason you wanted him to host?
Cohn: I think it was definitely a factor. It’s great having a partner in that universe because we know that's where so many of our fans and their parents are. We want the world of social media to be something that really excites fans and encourages them to keep watching.
DJ Khaled is just such a great partner and allows us to connect with his entire team, and figures out ways to leverage all of his platforms to reach as many people as possible and bring them into our party.
Viacom: Is the KCAs like the Super Bowl for Nickelodeon?
Cohn: Kids’ Choice Awards has traditionally been the biggest night for kids and families. We are really trying to do things differently on this year’s show under the leadership of our new President, Brian Robbins.