Nickelodeon’s “Big Time Rush” poised to be a music cash cow


Having launched so many showbiz careers (of admittedly variable quality), American Idol and its producers are enjoying success not beyond their wildest imaginations, but exactly as they imagined it. In addition to the usual advertising revenue generated by the show, money is sluicing in via the ongoing synergy with AT&T, album and download sales, licensing and so forth, not to mention the ongoing careers of its participants. In the wake of that kind of success, it was certain that other shows would come along and do their emulation act. Shows like Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, Nickelodeon’s Instant Star and, most notably and recently, FOX’s Glee, have integrated music product into their plot lines that’s designed to serve as an ancillary revenue generator.

Hot on Glee‘s heels comes Nickelodeon’s next big thing, Big Time Rush, created by Scott Fellow, developer of Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. In a partnership with Sony’s Columbia/Epic imprint (the announcement of which implicitly heralds the expectations both companies have for the project), Big Time Rush will be a new music/comedy series centering on the lives of four young friends as they try to make their mark in the tough-but-glamorous L.A. pop music scene.

Nickelodeon will air a special one-hour preview of the series Nov. 28, that will set up the series. In it, 16-year-old Kendall (Kendall Schmidt) will find himself “discovered” by an eccentric record executive and presented with the opportunity of going to L.A. and pursuing a singing career — from which Kendall manages to leverage a deal involving bringing three of his friends to be part of his pop group.

One of the most curious aspects of the series is its self-referential nature: A show about the manufacturing of pop stars from raw adolescent material, during which pop stars are manufactured out of (ostensibly) adolescent material. A long time ago, a sizable segment of America voted and said that this was the way they like to consume pop music — through television — and the stream has been growing ever since. The funny thing about this series, though, like other shows based on fictional acts (IFC’s decidedly more-for-adult-children Z-Rock comes to mind) is that their premises are still based on the decades-dated concept that the key to stardom in the music industry involves “discovery” by a slick A&R executive and the subsequent “record contract” — standbys that, while still desired by some in the music business, are far from the holy grail that they used to be.

It would be pedantic to suggest that the boys become overnight sensations via a viral video or some such means; as it is, the conventional music-biz approach functions just fine — it’s a simple plot device that allows the show to proceed. It might have been more honest for the series to have been about a group of youngsters who are approached to be on a show for a kids’ network, but that might just be too self-referential … or come too dangerously close to reality TV.


© 2009 Viacom International, Inc. Credit: Stewart Shining


  1. kendall is mine so back OFF!!!!!!!! and are they going to have a concert someday in june?

  2. ZO2 is a REAL rock band from Brooklyn, not ficitional. They are extremely talented and amazing in concert. An editorial correction would be greatly appreciated.

    If you would like to see ZO2, the band that you have grown to love on your Sunday nights, in person, check out for upcoming shows.

  3. As many before me have posted, ZO2 is, and was LONG before even the idea of Z Rock, a REAL band. They may play themselves on the show, but they also play their instruments live and loud outside of your television set. If you think Z Rock is a trip, get out to see these guys on the road!

  4. Let me just say, I worked as an extra on this show and I can say its Hilarious. The kids on the show are amazingly talented and Gustavo Rouque is funnnnnny

  5. I know it has been mention here before but I would also like to comment and say that ZO2 is a real rock band. An Awesome Rock band might add, with 3 albums out. I agree with Linda appreciate the mention but would love to see you correct the “fictional” band comment.

    You should check them out for yourself!!!

  6. Thanks for the mention of ZRock, but as those before me have said, ZO2 is a REAL rock band that I’ve been following for a couple of years now. I’ve never seen such a great live show by 3 very talented guys! So, as I said, appreciate the mention but would love to see you correct the “fictional” band comment. Good luck to you with your new show.

  7. I need to correct the record regarding your comment that IFC’s Z Rock is based on a “fictional” act. ZO2 is a very real band that was performing years before appearing on Z Rock. ZO2 the Brooklyn band came first and Z Rock is loosely based on their actual lives as a rock band. Just wanted to clarify.

  8. As several other folks have pointed out, ZO2 is a real band and ZRock contains many actual events from the early days of the band. What’s more, they were active nationally with two CDs released well before the TV show on IFC. Good luck with your own endeavor.

  9. Whoa whoa whoa…. Zo2 is REAL!! I was actually a fan of the superb rock band for about 2-3 years before Z Rock was mentioned, let alone aired on IFC. Anyone who’s seen the show definitely needs to make their way to a Zo2 concert soon! It’s a concert that should not be missed. Their life and energy on stage can’t be fully presented on the small screen, and they will put a smile on just about any rock fan’s face. On top of that, I agree whole heartedly with Bennie, that they are among the nicest guys I’ve ever met.

    Be sure to check out Zo2.. both on CD and live, because it’s an experience not to be missed. 🙂

  10. Ahhh, check your facts about Z Rock. ZO2 is a real band. The guys PLAY their own instruments, SING (no lip synching here) and WRITE their own music. I have all 3 of the CDs and they are great.

    I just saw them last week at a club in CT and they performed to a very enthusiastic crowd. If you get a chance to see ZO2 in your area check them out – you won’t be disappointed. The guys are also very friendly and approachable so take the opportunity to chat with them while you still can.

  11. CORRECTION – IFC’s Z Rock is actually based on a very real (not fictional) NY-based rock band, ZO2. The show is an exaggerated version of the band members’ real lives. They really did play kids’ parties to pay the rent as they struggled with low-paying tours, non-paying club dates and self-financed CDs. ZO2 is currently on the road and tour dates can be found at

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