“Big Nate,” the popular comic strip and children’s book character created and drawn by Portland artist Lincoln Peirce, is slated to become an animated television series on Nickelodeon.

The children’s cable channel announced the news Wednesday.

“It feels really exciting,” said Peirce, who allowed that he is tempering his excitement with caution – just in case. “There are so many stories of people whose properties have been optioned or there’s been a big announcement about a show that was going to get made, and then things didn’t happen and they don’t get made.

“But this looks really promising. They’ve greenlit it into production, I’ve met the head writer, and they’re assembling a team that seems really good.”

Peirce, 56, will serve as a consultant for the series. The show does not have a scheduled air date, a Nickelodeon spokesperson said. The 26-episode series will be called “Big Nate” and will feature new original storylines based around 11-year-old Nate and his sixth-grade buddies.

Peirce began drawing “Big Nate” in 1981, and it appears in more than 400 U.S. newspapers. In the strip, Peirce relates the life of a sixth-grade kid and his coming-of-age adventures. Peirce converted the strip into a best-selling series of books. It’s also been turned into a traveling musical – and now an animated TV show.

“Every cartoonist in the world” wants to get his work in front of more people, Peirce said, adding that he was thrilled and excited by the prospects. He called the newspaper strip “my first love. That is what I grew up wanting to do, and I plan to keep doing it as long as I can.”

The Portland artist is unsure how this development will play out for him going forward, in terms of his career or bigger paychecks.

“From what I understand, TV in and of itself is not a huge payday. There’s a relatively modest option payment and there’s a modest amount you are paid per episode,” he said. “But shows that get successful generate income off ancillary stuff – merchandising, for instance. In my case, if it were to become a successful TV series, then that would probably be reflected in book sales.”

In a news release, Nickelodeon’s executive vice president of animation production and development, Ramsey Naito, said that Peirce’s “slightly unruly, but entirely relatable characters” have the “same creative DNA” as the TV network.

“‘Big Nate’ is a book title I’ve wanted to translate into a series for a long time, and I am so happy this awesome, super-funny character is coming to Nickelodeon,” Naito said.


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