Herb Scannell, president of Nickelodeon Networks, has announced in a short, formal press release that the company is in the final stages of negotiating with 'several parties' in relation to the licensing rights to develop video games based on Nickelodeon animated properties such as SpongeBob SquarePants
, Jimmy Neutron
, and Rugrats
Scannell has indicated that the process would be supervised by independent directors of Viacom, and that no decision had yet been made as to which video game publisher would receive the rights.
This is particularly interesting since Nickelodeon has been working very closely with game publisher THQ, whose Nickelodeon-licensed titles have been very popular with younger players, expanding the two companies’ relationship over most of Nickelodeon's properties, as well as original franchises for use in both TV and games, such as Tak and the Power of JuJu
The relationship appeared to be one of the industry’s most stable and profitable, until rumors this summer that Viacom would award the license to Midway. These rumors came about after Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone bought a majority share in the ailing publisher, although he acted independently of Viacom in doing so. It seems possible that such a short, cryptic press release would be made in advance of a change of licensor, but there's no official word on this as of yet.