Nickelodeon (often shortened to Nick) is an American pay television network which was launched on December 1, 1977 as the first cable channel for children. It is owned by Viacom through its Viacom Media Networks division's Nickelodeon Group unit and is based in New York City. It broadcasts usually from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekdays (the sign off time varies with holidays and special programming), Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Eastern and Pacific Time). It is primarily aimed at children and adolescents aged 2–17.
With their strong presence in television, Nickelodeon has produced many balloons and floats in the Macy's Parade.
History with the Macy's Parade
The first network for kids made their first contribution to the parade in 1997, with a balloon in the likeness of one of their first Nicktoons, the Rugrats. The balloon shows Tommy and Chuckie riding on Spike. They also became one of the seven giant balloons that year to make it through the whole parade route despite the heavy winds. In 2000, a French beret was put on Tommy's head to promote Rugrats in Paris. They would make appearances until 2001 when they retired.
Two years later, in 1999, they would sponsor everyone's favorite dog with a clue, Blue. Along with this, a Blue's Clues float would accompany the balloon. Both of them made subsequent appearances until 2002, where they retired when the show was starting to decline in popularity. The Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper figures were displayed at the old parade studio, but it's unknown what happened to the others. A decade later in 2019, she got a falloon based off the reboot, Blue's Clues and You!. It featured a giant, sparkly inflatable of Blue herself, and the new host, Josh Dela Cruz, performed on it.
Two more years later, the boy genius Jimmy Neutron would take to the skies in 2001 to promote his movie Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, blasting down the streets of Manhattan in hopes of finding new discoveries. He made two more appearances in 2002 (to promote his show The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius) and 2003 when he retired.
The following year in 2002, they brought in the first African-American balloon, Little Bill, as he waves to the crowd. In 2003, Nickelodeon hosted sweepstakes, with some of the prizes being a Thanksgiving getaway to New York, a Thanksgiving dinner, and tickets to the 2003 parade. He was retired in 2004 and is unlikely to return due to many Bill Cosby controversies.
The company's next balloon would be of Bikini Bottom's optimistic underwater sea-dweller, SpongeBob SquarePants. He's had the most variants than any of their other characters and has become one of the longest-running characters in the parade's history. He first soaked up the crowd's admirations in 2004, and made appearances until 2006, but was brought back a year later in 2008, appearing more until 2012, when it was retired because of his old age. The following year, he was given a new balloon showing him jumping in a Santa hat, debuting in 2013. He became the Holiday Ambassador of 2014, and plushies of him were sold at certain Macy's stores. It was retired after 2018, and he got yet another balloon in 2019, where he's joined by his pet, Gary the Snail, which still makes appearances as of today.
Another year later would feature the young Mexican girl, Dora the Explorer. She saw her first adventure in 2005, joined by Backpack and Map. She would continue until 2009 when she was retired. However, she got a float-based upon the special "Dora's Christmas Carol" in 2010, which retired in 2013. And the year after came a float of her spin-off show "Dora and Friends: Into the City", which retired that same year in 2014.
Then in 2012, a new float would feature the pizza-loving heroes in a half shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It showed their hometown, with various telephone wires, billboards, buildings, and more scattered around it, and the ninja lair. The turtles themselves were also placed around the float. It retired shortly after 2017 due to the show ending and was replaced by the more modern show, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which put a new twist on the previous float with more stylized designing. The second float still makes appearances as of 2020.
In 2017, a new balloon was made, of the police dog from the PAW Patrol, Chase. He's depicted with his pup pack ejecting a net, reminding us that "no job is too big, no pup is too small". He still appears in the parade as of 2020.
That same year, in 2017, a float was made of the show, Shimmer and Shine. It featured the two main protagonists, Shimmer and Shine, riding a magic carpet above their world, Zahramay Falls, with some other characters placed around the float. The float was retired shortly after the 2019 parade, Due to the cancellation of the show in early 2020.