Save the Jungle: The Hey Arnold! Write-In
Hey Arnold! fans are (to say the least) rather displeased that the future of their show hangs in the balance due to creator Craig Bartlett's refusal of a so-called "exclusivity clause", because he was doing a show for Cartoon Network (click here to read all about this mess). If the show had told all the stories it needed to tell, they probably wouldn't mind... except that it has yet to tell one BIG story: that of Arnold's parents and where they are now.
Craig intends on using a 2nd Arnold movie (called "The Jungle Movie"... ironically, he had planned this one first) to tell this story (and not to mention reveal his last name, a question that has been bugging some viewers), and in fact he's already made a lead-in ("The Journal"). However, with Craig walking out on Nick, it's going to take a lot of work on the fans' part (to say the least) if we want to actually get it.



The best place to start is by writing a letter. Now before you ask, I recommend that you write your own letter. The letters below are just examples to help you get started. Besides, you have to realize that the minute Nickelodeon gets two letters that look identical, the "it's just a bunch of diehard fans trying to sound like they represent the kids out there - ignore them like we ignore the online petitions" alarms go off.
I've drafted out this first example, spelling out the basics for the Nick execs (this was written quite some time before "The Journal" aired in the US) :
For the past 6 years, you've given us quite some decent entertainment in the form of 'Hey Arnold!'. However, we fans of the show believe that you have made a rather questionable decision to force series creator Craig Bartlett to sign an exclusivity contract. Since he didn't want to, he walked out, in effect suspending production of the 2nd 'Hey Arnold!' film.
We know you have already made a few questionable decisions in the past, like cutting down on production of 'Invader Zim' (which, quite frankly, is one of your better shows) and not airing the final episodes of 'Angry Beavers' and 'CatDog' (which, by the way, has a memorable series finale). However, the questionability of this decision is, quite frankly, more important to us 'Hey Arnold!' fans.
We really do want, make that need, this 2nd film. Here are some reasons why:
* As you should know, the 2nd film would answer many questions, including, among others, that of the title character's last name. That question has been one of your most asked questions, even more so ever since 'Rugrats' answered their biggest question about one character's mother. Some of us want to see this question answered, especially considering that (if his chat is anything to go by) Craig says it will.
* Like other Nicktoons turned films, the movie already has a 'lead-in' episode, 'The Journal', leading in to the movie, ready to be aired (and in fact, it has already aired in Canada). Unlike the other 'lead-ins' so far, however, there's a possibility that this 'lead-in' will not be followed up. We think that there's no point to a 'lead-in' like 'The Journal' without any follow-up.
As has been said before, you have made quite a few questionable decisions before. We hope you realise the error of your ways, before you end up with poor ratings. Thank you.


I also found a letter on a webboard, written by an Alison Scharlemann. I've edited it down a bit into this example:

I would like to start off by saying one of the greatest movies this summer, in my opinion, is the Hey Arnold movie. However, I was greatly disappointed in the way the movie held up in theaters. Hey Arnold is a great film, and I expected it to do well just like any Nickelodeon movie. Hey Arnold is a popular Nicktoon and has done well on the small screen, so why not the big screen?
Obviously, the problem isn't the Nicktoon itself, or Nick movies because they too have done quite well. The answer lies in the poor advertising and marketing chosen for the movie. Let's look back a bit shall we?:
The first Nick Movie, Harriet the Spy, was advertised greatly on just about every network. You couldn't escape from it. There was a bunch of hype and when it came out, it was a huge hit. That's why you made more movies. I don't remember all the movies, but I do remember seeing commercials for the first Rugrats movie a YEAR in advance. A YEAR! The hype for this movie was built up over that year till it came out in theaters and BAM! Another hit. Same with the sequel.
Then we get to our football headed friend, Arnold. There was little to no hype about the movie. You ran marathons, but you hardly even mentioned why these marathons were being shown. To an average viewer, they were just because you wanted to show more Arnold. When you finally started to show commercials for the movie, they were about two weeks before the movie came out (not NEARLY enough time for hype) and the majority of them were exclusively on Nickelodeon, whose viewers already knew of Hey Arnold. Why not try to draw more viewers in and show it on other networks? I saw Jimmy Neutron and Rugrats commercials on many networks before their movies constantly.
Finally, when it seemed you were showing commercials, you come out with the "Backyard Players" spots. If I saw these kids dancing around acting out scenes from a film I'm not familiar with, I'm sure not gonna see it when I see those ugly brats. But the real problem with the spots were that they showed scenes that gave away HUGE portions of the plotline, thus spoiling it for some. As an even bigger insult you insisted on putting Helga's love confession scene in the trailer, giving away the climax of the biggest subplot in the entire series.
Also in the trailer, you pretty much revealed who "Deep Voice" was. At the film's official website, you showed Deep Voice as a mysterious figure wearing a trenchcoat, but then you showed the confession scene in which Helga's wearing a trenchcoat and it wasn't hard for many to put the two together. Helga was Deep Voice. You pretty much laid it out for everyone. By now you had practically handed out the biggest plot points of the movie on a silver platter. As a result, not very many people felt like seeing the movie, and as a result of all of these things, the movie pretty much bombed in theaters.
These errors don't hold true for just the Hey Arnold movie, but to Hey Arnold in general. You chose to ignore it and pay attention to your other shows which have no redeeming value, and don't teach kids a dark thing. Hey Arnold had values, and taught kids many lessons about how to lead their lives, but now you've put the can on it and have no further plans to release the second movie, which is the continuation of "The Journal". You have no plans to release more episodes and why? Because Craig went to Cartoon Network. Well, when you look at these errors, can you blame him?
I think Hey Arnold deserves a fair chance on the big screen and its fans need to know the reason why it has held up so well on the small screen, but not on the big screen. And may I say, Nickelodeon will be a sad, sad network when all its shows have no redeeming value.


Yet another route is poking at Nick's troubles in general, like this example (a bit dated, but much of the letter is still accurate):

First things first. We know you're one of the top-rated cable channels. However, we have reason to believe that that very status might be in trouble. Here are some of the reasons why people are starting to not like your network.
* "Invader Zim"
The show won awards at the Emmys and the Annies, it has a solid fan base and its ratings were not in danger. In spite of all that, you cut production on it to just one and a half seasons, and later you relegated it to just one showing a week (in the "Slam" block). I understand you've got other shows to pay for, and Zim's production costs were a bit expensive. But think about it: You're (excuse the pun) alienating your loyal fans by doing this. Not the best way to run a network, is it? I mean, think about it... by not giving what your fans want, they'll stop watching. Then, your ratings will fall. Then, you'll have lesser earnings. As I said, think about it.
* Micah Wright
The less written about the problems he has with you, the better. But if you want to know, get it from the horse's mouth. He's written all about them at his site, www.micahwright.com. Check under the FAQ for a couple choice words he has for you.
* "Hey Arnold!"
Besides the trouble with Micah, you've also had trouble with Craig Bartlett. You wanted him to sign a contract which had an exclusivity clause. Instead, he decided to leave for the Cartoon Network to do a new show for their Adult Swim block. It would be fine and dandy if his show, "Hey Arnold!", had told all the stories it needed to tell. Except that it hasn't. Craig wanted to do a second movie that would tell more about Arnold's parents and stuff like that and he already made a one-hour lead-in (similar to how the Thornberrys came up with "Sir Nigel" and how Rugrats came up with "Acorn Nuts"). By walking out, Craig has effectively suspended production on the film. Sure, he came to chat with Nick.com the night before the release of the first film, and mentioned that it would be produced, but for some people that's no guarantee (in his previous chat, he mentioned his plans for a spinoff for the show, which you ended up rejecting).
* Unaired episodes
Logically, an American TV show's episodes should appear in America first (that is, if the network doesn't decide to cancel it quickly, but that's a totally different matter). But in the case of many of your cartoons, some episodes of those shows were premiered first OUTSIDE of America. In the case of Rugrats alone (more on that later), we've had some episodes get their world premiere on Nick UK, on Nick Australia, and on YTV in Canada. But that isn't the problem. There are some shows have some episodes that were never shown in the US. Those that come to mind are "Angry Beavers" (7 episodes), "Hey Arnold!" (7 episodes, as of Sept. 2002, including the one-hour lead-in to the second movie) and "CatDog" (5 episodes, including a "must-watch series-ender" where Dog considers going vegetarian).
* "Rugrats"
Think you're not doing fans of what is arguably one of your most popular shows wrong? Think again. The trouble started when Nickelodeon Magazine printed that you would air Pre School Daze on January 21st. That would make Nick US the first to show this episode. However, you "replaced" it with a SpongeBob marathon (yes, I know that he's been popular as of late), and as of September 2002, many other countries have already shown this ep (coming to mind: Australia, France, Canada, and the UK is slated to show it in October). However, you have not shown this ep. And you've got a spinoff based on this ep coming soon. What gives?
Well, I could think of more, but I think this is enough to convince you that you're not exactly pleasing your viewers anymore. Now, please change your ways before you start dropping in the ratings. Thank you.

This letter I found on another webboard has already been sent the person who posted it (6 months after the airing of "The Journal"):
Dear Nick,
The hour-long Hey Arnold special, The Journal aired November eleventh 2002, and Iím smacking myself for not sending in something about it sooner. I have it on tape and watch it almost every day. Maybe that shows how big and dedicated of a fan I am to it. Anyway, as you probably know, The Journal leads into The Jungle Movie. Well, if youíre not going to let Craig make The Jungle Movie, then why did you let us see The Journal? It would have been better if you hadnít aired it all (if youíre thinking that it was a ďniceĒ thing to do for us). Mostly because it has a cliffhanger, and without knowing what happens next is worse for us. Do you know how we feel right now? I know itís just a cartoon, but itís a cartoon that we want to see the ending to. And I mean, that The Jungle Movie is supposed to be the ending of the whole series, and me and thousands of other fans want to see it. Maybe if you were in our spot right now, you might see what it feels like. And sometimes I feel like that may be the only way to get you to let Craig make the movie. Maybe not. I have enough miserable things in my life, and you have no clue how much it would help if you were to allow Craig to make this movie. Even if I will be 21 by the time it comes out, Iíd still go see it. I probably wonít care about it as much, but at least Iíd be able to say, ďHey! I remember I sent a bunch of letters to Nick about making this movie. Iíll go see it, just so I know what happens.Ē I would LOVE to be able to say those words someday. But I have a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I wonít be able to. And itís up to you to make me able to see the day when I finally get to see this movie. Please consider letting Craig make it.


Of course, you could go at it petition style (just don't make the letter seem too much like it's from the view of just one person). If you go that way, however, I suggest you also print out this little handout. It neatly summarizes the facts for even the most casual viewer.



Okay, once you've written your letter, what do you do next? Depends on whether your letter is going to be used as a petition. If it is, then obviously the next step is to go around and gather signatures. Without getting into too much technical detail, anyone can create a decent-looking signature gathering sheet in Microsoft Excel (or, for that matter, any spreadsheet program that allows for formatting). Just print one out and pass it around to be signed. But if you need the technical details, here they are, simplified for your convenience:
After that, you make some copies of the letter (and if it's a petition, the signature sheets), since there are lots of parties involved.



Okay, you've written your letter, gathered your signatures, and made some copies. Here's where you send them (most addresses gathered from here):

Nickelodeon / MTV Networks
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(for Nick's sub-parent company)

Nickelodeon
231 West Olive Avenue
Burbank, CA 91502
(for their West Coast Offices & Nicktoon Studios)

You could also send a letter to Craig, care of Cartoon Network:
Cartoon Network
1050 Techwood Dr. NW
Atlanta, GA 30318


Craig also gave this address in a chat:
Cartoon Network
300 N. Third St.
Burbank CA 91502

Links:


Well, that's all I have to say on this matter so good luck!