Nickelodeon to revive ‘All That’ with Kenan Thompson as executive producer (EXCLUSIVE)

All That” was the show that kept on giving to Nickelodeon over the course of a decade in the 1990s and 2000s. Now the company’s president thinks a revival of the sketch-comedy series could be all that — and more.

Nickelodeon will revive the program — a “Saturday Night Live” for the tween set — with an all-new cast. But the show will have callbacks to its past as well. Kenan Thompson, the long-running “SNL” cast member who got his start on television when “All That” launched in 1994, will serve as an executive producer. Nickelodeon expects some former cast members to make appearances in the series.

The sketch comedy show “stayed in the zeitgeist for many years,” Brian Robbins, president of Nickelodeon, tells Variety. “People are really fond of it.” One regular sketch, “Good Burger,” was set in a fast-food restaurant with a clueless cashier, and served up the premise for an original movie in 1997. Kids also loved recurring characters like “Walter the Earboy,” “The Spice Boys,” and “Baggin’ Saggin’ Barry.”

Thompson is one of the people who remembers the series fondly. “It means everything to me,” he told Variety. “It was my first job that I ever had. It gave me an opportunity.”

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Nickelodeon in the 1990s
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Nickelodeon in the 1990s
Actress Anna Chlumsky and Actor Austin O'Brien attend the Seventh Annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on May 7, 1994 at Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Actress Drew Barrymore attends the 11th Annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on April 4, 1998 at the Pauley Pavilion, UCLA in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - MAY 7: Actress Tatyana Ali attends the Seventh Annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on May 7, 1994 at Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd/WireImage)
Macaulay Culkin during Nickelodeon and Macaulay Culkin on the set of Richie Rich in Los Angeles, CA, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Jonathan Lipnicki during Nickelodeon's 10th Annual Kid's Choice Awards at The Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
SECAUCUS, NJ - 1991: Earvin 'Magic' Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers guest stars on a Nickelodeon Television special circa 1991 in Secaucus, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1991 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Actors Taran Noah Smith, Zachery Ty Bryan, and Jonathan Taylor Thomas attend the Fifth Annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on November 14, 1992 at Star Trek Theatre in Universal City, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Jodie Sweetin and Michael Fishman during 1992 Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards at Star Treck Theatre in Universal City, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Andrew Lawrence during 7th Annual Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards at Pantages Theater in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
404656 01: Actor Donovan Patton Appears With Blue, His Animated Co-Star On The Set Of Nickelodeon's 'Blue's Clues,' In This Computer-Generated Composite Publicity Image. Donovan Is Replacing Steve Burns, The Show's Host Since The Children's Show Debuted In December 1996. (Photo By Getty Images)
Jonathan Taylor Thomas during 1996 Nickelodeon Big Help at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Whoopi Goldberg during 1996 Nickelodeon Big Help at Santa Monica Pier in Santa Monica, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Model Cindy Crawford attends the 10th Annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on April 19, 1997 at Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
R & B Group IMx attends 10th Annual Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards on April 9, 1997 at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
John Leguizamo and Kenan Thompson during MTV Nickelodeon's John Leguizamo in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
John Leguizamo during MTV Nickelodeon's John Leguizamo in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
Fran Drescher during 10th Annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards at Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Michelle Trachtenberg during Nickelodeon's 10th Annual Kids Choice Awards at Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Mya during Nickelodeon's 1998 Big Help in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
WESTWOOD,CA - APRIL 4: Actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas attends the 11th Annual Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards on April 4, 1998 at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd/WireImage)
Madonna during The 11th Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards at UCLA Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
Rosie O'Donnell during The 11th Annual Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards at UCLA Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
Katie Holmes at the UCLA Pauley Pavilion in Westwood, California (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
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Robbins was a co-creator and an executive producer of the original run of the series, which during its time featured Thompson, Kel Mitchell, Amanda Bynes, Nick Cannon and Jamie Spears, among others. Many of the cast members went on to star in other landmark Nickelodeon series, such as “The Amanda Show,” “Kenan and Kel” and “Drake and Josh.” Thompson said many of the show’s stars remain close more than a decade after “All That” went off the air.

An “All That” revival would continue Nickelodeon’s recent efforts to dig into its past to help secure its future. In recent years, Nickelodeon executives have tested new editions of one-time stalwarts like “Hey Arnold” and “Secrets of the Hidden Temple,” sometimes as movie specials. Such programs can spur viewing by both parents and children, as one generation tries to interest another in favorite pieces of popular culture.

“We think there’s a great opportunity to find the next pool of stars,” said Robbins. “We want to bring the show back in a real fun way. This summer, we are going to bring back a lot of the original cast and the cast through the years, and let them introduce the new cast of ‘All That’ to the world.” He suggested the program would be “a sort of mash-up of some of the old sketches and a lot of new sketches.”

For Thompson, the idea, pitched to him directly by Robbins, was a “no-brainer.” Thompson said he and Robbins have “always remained close. He is one of my second fathers.” Thompson didn’t hesitate when Robbins suggested he work on the new program as an executive producer.

“Every time he does that, he has been right on the money. He has done it infinite times in my life,” Thompson said.

Thompson is not giving up his day job on “Saturday Night Live,” however, and he acknowledges “my time is limited.” But he expects to have some say over the show’s tone and casting, among other things. “If I’m not at the table read, I’ll be on the phone during the table read,’ he said. “I’ll be around.” He hopes the program will have a similar role at the Viacom-owned kids’ outlet. “I think it should be a staple show for Nickelodeon,” he said.

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