Nickelodeon, the children’s television network, said Wednesday that it would prohibit the use of its characters on junk food products, except on special occasions like Halloween. The characters include SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and the Rugrats.
Those characters will be allowed to appear only on packaged food products that meet “better for you” criteria established by Nickelodeon’s marketing clients. The changes will become effective in 2009, when the current two-year licensing agreements expire.
“Better for you” food criteria? I’m pretty sure Lori Beth Denberg has woken up in a cold sweat because of a celery, spinach, and broccoli nightmare. The next thing you know, Nickelodeon is going to start monitoring these kids’ diets and exercise patterns. With less junk food commercials, at least the amount of “what should I do with my 140-lb. four year-old” Montels might slowly decline in numbers.
Since characters such as Donkey Lips, Lori Beth, and Keenan have since grown out of their Nickelodeon roles, I feel the worst for Patrick from SpongeBob. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the writers kill him off of the show before ’09.[New York Times]