If you were coming home every afternoon from school to tune in to see the daily countdown interstitial host Slimetime Live then you were living the dream! I guess you can say that STL was one of the flagship viewership shows for Nickelodeon in the early 2000s. Filmed right outside Nick Studios Florida(sometimes inside) the show picked contestants right out of the park and have them play daily trivia games randomized out of order and whoever gets a question wrong well they get pied or slimed! Even celebrity guests and live performances made the show all worth it. One of the three co hosts of STL , Jonah Travick has just now gotten in contact with me about the project Nickelodeon Studios:Past,Present,and Future and we did an interview to discuss the legacy involving the studios, slime, the celebrity guests, gak kitchen, and what the show did for so many of its staff’s careers including Jonah himself.
1. How did you get the job at Nick? First as PA on Double Dare 2000 then Slimetime Live.
I was a intern while in film school at the University of Central Florida, there was a internship posting. I went in for a interview with a lady who is now a Vice President of Production Management at Nickelodeon. I won’t say her name, but she’s pretty impressive and I learn a lot from her.
2. Did you know about Nickelodeon Studios before you got the job and what was your first impression of it?
As a kid, I had a annual pass to Universal Studios, so I would attend tapings of shows at Nick Studios and just dream of working behind the scenes there one day. I will admit, I would hang around the park and the studio trying and hoping to be discovered! LOL
3. Do you remember any other shows being filmed where you were at?
Noah Knows Best, Games and Sports, Taina, Double Dare 2000, Gullah Gullah Island, there was a celebrity show where you guessed something…with Summer Sanders…Can’t think of the name of it.
Earlier shows, Kenal and Kel, All That, and My Brother and Me, Clarissa Explains it All, Welcome Freshman,….Man…that place was cranking them out during the 90’s! It was an exciting time…I was just to young to work there during that era.
4. Did the gak kitchen help prepare for the sliming and pies for Slimetime?
YES, the late Kevin Ecker was our Gakmeister who prepared the pies and slime for the show each day. The Gak Kitchen was next to the Make Up room, and you could see it on the tour. RIP Kevin! Very cool guy!
5. Describe the feeling of getting slimed. You can’t describe it really…. Just ask your Mom to dump 6 gallons of refrigerated cool whip and pudding on your head…
6. As a Florida native, how great was it to have tv and film production going on in Orlando from back then and do you think it could ever be popular again?
Orlando at one time was looked at as “Hollywood East”…I was coming up and still in school during the heyday…I missed it by a few years i guess.
7. You had lots of great guest stars on STL. Who was the coolest to hang with?
The coolest was Dana Carvey…. He spent a lot of time with us. But so was Anthony Anderson…..David Arquet. Oh and Jerry O’connel. Nick Cannon and Kenan Thompson were a lot of fun the few times they were there, too.
8. How long did it usually take to clean up everything to prepare for another live segment the next day?
Our crew had it down to a system. They would typically be wrapped and clear the studio within a hour of the show if it was on our indoor set. Out side would take about twice that because they would have to also move all the equipment back inside. But they producers and writers would then have to prep for the next day…so not sure how long they would stay in the office…but it was a lot of hard work. However, I know they all LOVED the experience. They still to this day often comment on that being the best gig they have every had in this industry. We all feel that way. No job will ever top that. Except maybe being a astronaut.
9. How great were all the staff who worked there? I always hear positive experiences.
The staff and crew were amazing. Again, they were a big part of the reason that was the best job many of us had ever had.
10. Do you still keep in touch with anyone from the show?
I keep in touch with Dave Aizer and our make up artist the most, but I keep in touch with several of the staff& crew people thanks to Facebook.
11. Did you have a favorite ride at Universal Studios Florida? Past and present
Favorite ride in the past was Back to the Future.. that has since been replaced with a Simpson ride…which is very cool too. My favorite now would be the Transformers ride. Amazing technology on display there.
12. If you could take home any prop from the studio or set what would it be?
They have all been claimed now! But I should have taken the Mail-O-Matic when it was offered. When i first got the call about taking it, I laughed…How was I gonna get it home? Or where would have put it? DUH…I could have rented a cheap U-Haul truck….and of course, i could have put it right next to my car in my garage and had it restored and preserved…I’m so angry I didn’t think about that then. I think it has been destroyed…..
13. Do you think your experience there was a learning process in terms of the work you do now in a beneficial way?
Absolutely! You really learn fast working in LIVE TV. YOu have no choice. I used to say it puts on “hair on chest”! LOL
14. What have you been up to these days?
I’m a video producer. I produce video for promotional, commercial and corporate films. It’s mainly the type of work that is left in this Orlando Market. Not as much TV and movie production going here anymore, unfortunately.
15. What was the best part about having a live studio audience and have guests take a tour of the studios while watching you guys film or rehearse down below?
Feeding off of the energy and excitement front the audience always made LIVE SHOWS better than the pre-taped ones.
16. Favorite behind the scenes memory.
Getting a split second glimpse of Michael Jackson walking through the building.
17. STL is still talked about this day and remains a cult following. How do you feel about the positive impact the show had on people and still loved today along with the rest of 90s Nickelodeon?
well I didn’t know we had a “cult following”….But that is extremely special to me and I feel so overwhelmingly fortunate to have that opportunity that I reminisce about daily.
18. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?
Because it was ALL about the kids and creating quality entertainment for them. I don’t know what the formula the creative folks used…but it worked!
19. Would you like to see Nick Studios be re-opened?
We can only dream!