If you grew up watching the kids TV channel Nickelodeon regularly, you may have had this question: What is a nickelodeon? How did they get the name Nickelodeon for a children's channel? This comes from several early Nick executives (From the Nickelodeon oral history, "Slimed, an Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age".)
FRED SEIBERT (Creative Consultant): The biggest thing they told us was, “We keep telling everyone that we’re fun, but we’re not. What do we do?” From our perspective, we needed to start all over again. Gerry Laybourne and Debby Beece were so distressed about what Nick was that they wanted to reconsider everything from scratch, including the name of the network, which was not a name that resonated with children. No less adults.
SANDY KAVANAUGH (First Director of Programming, Creator of Pinwheel): The name of the network had come from Vivian Horner wanting me to come up with a list of possibilities. Everybody was suffering over what to call it. I came up with a list and Nickelodeon was my favorite. A lot of the other names we came up with were bad.
GUS HAUSER (Creator of Nickelodeon): We had an outside firm who counseled us on various names we could use. At the end of that session, I sat in the room and one of the things on the list was Nickelodeon. I said, “Let’s do Nickelodeon.” And that was it.
SANDY KAVANAUGH: I wasn’t thrilled with “Nickelodeon.” It was whimsical sounding, though. It had a fun lilt. Then it went to somebody higher up who said okay. I think I’m the person who came up with the name.
GUS HAUSER: That’s how things happen. Could have picked something else. Somebody had to make that decision. Everybody’s taking responsibility now.
MIKE KLINGHOFFER (Vice President of Production): It was all very thrilling because at one point when Nickelodeon was really at a crossroads, the whole thing was like, “All right: Are we going to change the name? Nickelodeon is a lousy name, this means nothing to children. Can we get this name to mean anything to children?” I mean, no one knows what a nickelodeon is.
BOB KLEIN (Original Brand Identity): The biggest issue we had to face at the beginning was what to call it. I said, “There isn’t a kid watching it who knows what a nickelodeon is. Why should we call it that?”