TV producer Angelika Bartenbach interview

By all means the production that happened at Nick Studios Florida was extraordinary. The amount of people it took to gather for one show is really what captures the eye. Though if you’re someone who loves looking at the end credits for a movie or television series you’ll see a name that sticks with you as they have worked on various other projects for the network or studio. Angelika Bartenbach is one since she was one of the top producers at NSF behind Double Dare, Hi Honey I’m Home, Shelby Woo, Kenan & Kel, Welcome Freshmen, Taina, and many others. That’s why when i saw her name appearing so much in the cast & crew credits I said to myself, “i have to get her,” and i did! Angelika was gracious enough to speak with me on just how wonderful it was to be working there and the fun and turbulence as well.

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1. How eventually did you start working as a producer for Nickelodeon?
I started as an intern at Nickelodeon in NY when I was in college, I was going for an internship at MTV, but got disappointingly placed in the acquisition department of Nick, there was no production dept at the time. Things happen for a reason.

2. What was your first impression of Nickelodeon Studios when you got there?
When I got to NSF it wasn’t finished yet, we worked Super Sloppy Double Dare out of a Universal Sound Stage and a truck. The studios were still being built but I knew they would turn out great. The design team was the same people who did our shows so it had that feel.

3. What was a typical day like being there?
Long, we worked long hours thought it was always a lot of fun. It all depended on the type of show you did, pre-production for a game show meant a lot of game testing. The show days had 4-5 shows a day. On sitcoms we had a week of rehearsal each week and shot at the end of the week while simultaneously prepping the next week’s shows.

4. Were there any celebrities you remember seeing there whether it was opening day or another event?
The show Hi Honey I’m Home had a number of celebrities from the golden age of television, those were the ones I enjoyed meeting the most.

5. Was there a particular show you loved visiting the set of?
I have a soft spot for Double Dare, the first real show I worked on and eventually produced. It was always fun, but a slippery set to walk on.

6. As a producer were there any differences between working on a game show and a sitcom?
Game shows we did up to 5 a day and had a great live feel, it was like cranking out donuts, Sitcoms had a leisurely one week pace where the writers were continually honing the jokes. Both were great to work on

7. Was it an exciting time to be living and working in Orlando, being known as “Hollywood East” in the 90s, from all of the TV and film production going on in the area though it has since decreased over the years?
Yes, it was a great time, so much talent in one area and so much freedom to create shows. I think you’ll find anyone that you ask will say it was the best time of their career though I don’t think we realized it then.

8. What was the best part about having a live studio audience and have guests take a tour of the studios from a glass monitor while watching you guys film or rehearse down below?
Actually, all of the production people hated it. We had to behave and watch our language for the tour. They stopped micing the control room shortly after the tour opened due to foul language.

9. On The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, there was apparently a crew strike during the middle of the third season which led to it being shot at Canada until the show ended. Can you describe how much that hurt alot of the cast & crew members?
I was pregnant at that time and did not work the season of the strike, however it did hurt the crew mostly. Lots of jobs were gone, freelance production people lost their income and I think it made the network realize that we could not do location shooting without going through the unions.
10. Did you see a noticeable difference in crowd attendance or production at Nick during the late 90s and early 00s versus the beginning years?
As Nickelodeon moved towards animation, the studios saw a decline in production. It happened around that time, yes.

11. Have you ever been slimed.
I may be the only one who hasn’t, though I have gotten messy working on the Double Dare obstacle course.

12. Favorite ride at Universal Orlando? It can be past or present.
Old ride, ET, new ride Harry Potter

13. Do you mind telling the type of props you still own from at the studio or set?
Not many props, just mementos, I have a large picture of the HHIH family, the cookie jar, robes, t-shirts, the blimp statue… stuff like that.

14. How great was all the staff who worked there? I always hear positive stories.
The crews and staffs were the best. Professional but fun. Each show your worked on became your family.

15. Favorite behind the scenes memory.
Too many to count. On double dare it was when March Summers went to each obstacle and there was a little wind up toy there. On the wrap tape the staff who knew I hated Palmetto bugs, hid fake roaches everywhere for me to find and taped it via hidden camera. On Hi Honey I’m home it was when Mr. Mooney did his final line. On Shelby Woo it was singing “I will survive” with the crew at the hotel at Cocoa beach. There are a lot of others, but my memory is not as good as it used to be.

16. How do you feel knowing that so much good product that the studio produced along the rest of 90s Nickelodeon shows made such a positive impact on fans and is still loved today?
Very proud, but it was a team effort.

17. What do you think made Nick Studios so great and special?
It was just a time when we were allowed to to what we thought was fun or funny and happened to have the right people to do it.

18. Would you like to see it be re-opened?
Absolutely!

Thank you to Angelika for speaking with us!

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