At Nickelodeon, ‘Hazard Drive’ Seizes Tough Mission – Variety


Mike Caron is doing much more together with his favourite program than simply binge-watching it.

Caron has lengthy labored on the Nickelodeon collection “Henry Hazard,” and directed the primary episode of a brand new sequel collection, “Hazard Drive. “ The present, which debuted earlier this 12 months, facilities on a group of 4 younger super-novices and the extra skilled veteran, Captain Man, who should prepare them.

The heroes have their work lower out for them tomorrow night time – and Caron is quietly serving to them behind the scenes.

On Saturday night time, Nickelodeon will current a particular episode of “Hazard Drive” that’s not among the many ViacomCBS community’s preliminary order for the collection. With manufacturing of many reveals shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic, “Drive” producers and solid thought they might entertain followers by making an additional “Hazard” episode with the solid scattered at their numerous houses – enjoying their characters hunkered down in a room, a closet, a house storage.  Caron will direct as soon as once more.

“This episode has a really, like, let’s-all-get-together-in-the-treehouse-and-put-on-a-play really feel to it,” says Chris Nowak, the manager producer and showrunner of the collection.

Different TV collection are looking for a strategy to get again on the air regardless of restrictions on huge crowds gathering. Late-night speak reveals have all moved out of the theaters and studios that housed stay audiences and now their function hosts working from dwelling and speaking to celebrities by way of video-sharing applied sciences. At NBC, “Saturday Night time Dwell” has moved to an “at dwelling” present that depends on taped segments. Discovery’s Meals Community can not dispatch Man Fieri to numerous “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” so he’s making the recipes he sampled whereas touring to these locations whereas at dwelling. And CBS not too long ago broadcast an episode of “All Rise” displaying central character Decide Lola Carmichael holding a digital bench trial with Zoom, FaceTime and different new-tech instruments.

However common youngsters’ collection have but to nod to the pandemic.  And Caron hopes viewers will be capable of benefit from the episode on Saturday, and sooner or later. “It is going to at all times be consultant of one thing that was made within the quarantine age. There’s no getting round it. However I’d prefer to suppose that with the tune and the dancing – it’s humorous. Our hope is that 5 years from now, I believe it’ll nonetheless play high-quality.”

Few heroes can see into the long run, however getting recent content material on Nickelodeon regardless of a pandemic is a mission even the community’s high government can embrace. ViacomCBS introduced Brian Robbins aboard its kids-media empire in 2018 with a mandate to win again a legion of children who’ve a dizzying array of content material geared toward them streaming on any variety of retailers. “If you happen to make content material and reveals that youngsters wish to watch, they’ll present up for it,” Robbins instructed Variety in 2019 as he launched a brand new programming lineup that revived the Nickelodeon traditional “All That” whereas vowing to maintain youngsters inquisitive about giving them a wider array of content material to contemplate.

The “Hazard” franchise is to not be ignored. “Henry Hazard” has grown to be one of many community’s hottest reveals and made a star out of Jace Norman, the younger actor who performed Henry Hart, a novice sidekick to Captain Man. When the collection wrapped earlier this 12 months, the community made sure to take action with a storyline designed to maintain viewers within the spin-off. “We simply actually tried to bust our butts to finish ‘Henry Hazard’ robust and hold driving it into “Hazard Drive,” says Nowak.

Nobody on the community mandated the super-hero group get again to work. However Ben Giroux, who performs the super-villain The Toddler on “Hazard Drive,” and Cooper Barnes, who has performed Captain Man since “Henry Hazard” launched in 2014, began making movies in character on Tik-Tok urging followers to remain secure amidst the pandemic. Nowak confirmed the humorous movies to executives at Nickelodeon, who requested “May we do one thing like that with our solid simply to maintain ‘Hazard Drive’ in folks’s minds throughout this quarantine?’” the showrunner remembers. “I believed it was a joke.”

It wasn’t. And producing the episode required critical thought.

Actors and producers had to determine how one can make numerous rooms in several houses appear like they belonged to the characters, not the individuals who really lived there. Cooper Barnes began placing little knick-knacks in his storage that will remind viewers of earlier “Henry Hazard” episodes. One of many youngsters lives in a distinct time zone than the others, spurring producers to attempt to determine how one can change the lighting to emulate the time of day portrayed elsewhere. Households rearranged dwelling décor and furnishings to assist the actors stage a extra convincing setting. May producers orchestrate a struggle scene between The Toddler and Captain Man? “How do you punch somebody nearly?” asks Caron.

The complete workers has tried so as to add fascinating touches to maintain viewers intrigued. Samantha Martin, a supervising producer on the present who gained some discover final 12 months by making a musical episode of “Henry Hazard,” devised a brand new tune about flatulence for the solid to sing towards the tip of this system. And Nowak’s spouse, a dancer and choreographer, created a brief 20-second routine for everybody to do.

To assist the solid,  Nickelodeon organized for the characters’ masks to be despatched out by way of contact-less supply. Their colourful super-hero fits had been one other matter. “We don’t have quite a lot of them, and they’re fairly costly,” says Nowak.

Defeating super-villains is the straightforward half. “We are actually developing this from scratch,” says Caron. Viewers can determine tomorrow night time if “Hazard Drive” carries the day.



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