Nickelodeon Stars Having Fun During The Ho Ho Holidays!

Nickelodeon Stars - Photo by Jill Weinlein
Nickelodeon Stars – Photo by Jill Weinlein

I got into the holiday spirit taking my daughter and her friend to a sneak peek screening of the Nickelodeon Ho Ho Holiday Special. Walking into The Sherry Lansing Theatre on the Paramount Studios backlot, we nibbled on Red Vines, Junior Mints and Popcorn, before watching Nickelodeon’s newest holiday hour-long variety show featuring four adorable musical numbers and multiple comedy sketches.

Jessica Brown, Senior Director of Live Action Current Series introduced the show to an audience of over 100 people. Before the curtains were pulled back revealing the screen, she shared that the 47-minute show was shot in 6 days, with over 30 of Nickelodeon’s most popular stars and shows.

She worked with the Executive producers Kevin Kopelow, Heath Seifert & Sharla Sumpter Bridgett and Director Jonathan Judge on this show.

The three of us gave this entertaining holiday show two-thumbs up! You can watch the premiere of Nickelodeon’s Ho-Ho Holiday Special on Saturday, December 5th at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon.

I had the opportunity to interview some of the talented Nickelodeon stars after the screening. Here is what I learned –

(Breck Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Nickelodeon stars Brec Bessinger and Lilimar Hernandez – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Brec Bassinger

This lovely young lady shared with me that her entertainment career started at an early age participating in Beauty Pageant in Texas. She took some acting classes and earned a guest spot on the pilot of The Goldbergs. “George Segal took me under his wing” she told me.  Weeks later she was cast at the age of 13 in a recurring role of “Emma” in The Haunted Hathaways. Brec played the character “Vi” in the Nickelodeon original movie Liar, Liar, Vampire and plays Bella Dawson in Bella and the Bulldogs. Now 16 years old, she bought her first car, a white convertible Chevy Camaro and will be graduating from high school soon. “Since I work a lot, I have been taking classes from an online school.” Brec has the personality, beauty and talent to have a long career in entertainment. One of her co-stars is Rio Mangini who plays Ace McFumbles, walked over to chat with me.

(Maddie Shipman, Rio Mangini and Cree Cicchino)
(Madisyn “Maddie” Shipman, Rio Mangini and Cree Cicchino)

Rio Mangini

As a kid, Mangini used to watch Nickelodeon’s hit show – iCarly. “It’s a legendary show and I always wished I could be in it,” said Mangini. His first job was a Legoland commercial. Next he was cast in an AFI short film (three years ago) with Rumer Willis – Six Letter Word. “Rumer was my mother and I was her autistic son,” Mangini said. “I thought it was so cool that her dad is Bruce Willis.” I told him this likable young man that her Mom is Demi Moore. “Wow, that is so cool,” said Mangini.

Mangini loves working on Bella and the Bulldogs. “It’s a dream come true,” he told me. When not acting, this 13 year old attends a private school.

Madisyn Shipman

When North Carolina native Madisyn “Maddie” Shipman was four-years-old, she heard an ad for Disney on the radio in the car. She told her mom that she wanted to be on a Nickelodeon show. Her mother was very supportive and helped her get an agent. They went to Florida to AMTC – a Christian-centered talent preparation company that provides professional direction for inspired performers.

She first moved to New York at the age of 5 and performed in theater, booked a dozen commercials, television shows and film. She loved living in New York, but enjoys living in California. “In New York it snows on the first day of Spring. Isn’t that wild,” she told me. Madisyn feels very lucky to be one of the stars in Nickelodeon’s Game Shakers. This live-action sitcom is about two 12-year-old girls – Madisyn Shipman as Kenzie and Cree Cicchino as Babe. They start a multimillion-dollar gaming company with their friend (Thomas Kuc as Hudson) and take on rap superstar Double G (Played by Kel Mitchell) as a business partner.

Cree Cicchino

Another Game Shakers star, Cree Cicchino described herself to me as “not a typical actor.” She has been a dancer “her whole life.” While competing in dance, another dancer told her about modeling and acting. “Since I have always been performing and love to make others laugh, including my mom and twin sister, I went on an open call to get an agent/manager and booked with one,” Cree shared enthusiastically. Since she is from Queens, she took acting classes in New York, while she was dancing and competing. “I started with two or three little jobs and then got a callback with Dan Schneider to test and shoot the pilot.” Dan Schneider is the Executive Producer of the show. ” She also enjoys working with “Uncle” Kel Mitchell. “He’s a great guy,” Cree said.

As an avid animal lover, she told me how she rescued a chihuahua puppy and named him – Clyde. She is looking to partner with animal organizations and be a voice against animal cruelty.

(Jaheem Toombs - Photo by Jill Weinlein)
(Jaheem Toombs – Photo by Jill Weinlein)

Jaheem Toombs

One of the stars of 100 Things to Do Before High School, Jaheem Toombs plays Fenwick Frazier. “I’m living a dream,” this affable young man shared with me.  While living in Boston, MA, Jaheem told his mom and dad that he wanted to come out to Hollywood when he was around 8-years-old. Since he had performed in a few church and school plays, his parents took him to a showcase in Boston that had a few Los Angeles based agents. He came out to CA, and booked a “Got Milk” commercial and next a short film. When he was invited to a Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice, Jaheem walked right up to various producers and introduced himself. Known to be charming and loquacious, he was soon cast in 100 Things to Do Before High School, as one of the three best friends navigating the obstacles of middle school, overcoming class cliques, terrifying bullies and clueless teachers. Toombs is a cheery soul, with an outgoing personality. He can get just about anyone to smile.

(Addison Riecke and Diego
(Addison Riecke and Diego Velazquez – photo by Jill Weinlein)

Addison Rice

The adorable Addison stars on Nickelodeon’s hit show, The Thundermans. It’s a popular live-action, half-hour comedy series where Addison plays Nora Thunderman in a family of Superheroes. She tries to live a normal life, despite her super-human laser-vision powers. This spirited young lady started her career at a young age, while taking acting classes in New Orleans. She loves to act and sing.

Diego Velazquez

This handsome young man knew he wanted to be an actor at the age of 7. His mother was a stylist in Portland, OR and Diego would accompany her on jobs, soon discovering that he wanted to be television. His mother supported his decision and took him to an open casting call for motion picture Extraordinary Measures that starred Brendan Fraser, Keri Russell, Harrison Ford. Diego was called back a few times and won the roll as the son Patrick Crowley.

It’s a dream job to be Billy Thunderman with Addison Riecke. He lives here in Los Angeles when shooting the Nickelodeon show and in Portland, where he is home schooled.

Watch these adorable television stars on Saturday, December 5th at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Nickelodeon and other Special holiday premieres of “Game Shakers”, “Henry Danger”, “Make It Pop”, “Sanjay & Craig”, “Mutt & Stuff.”

Here are the dates and times:


8:00 p.m. – Sanjay and Craig “Huggle Day” *30 minute Special*
After ruining Lundgren’s Huggle Day celebration, Sanjay and Craig set out to right their wrong with the help of movie hero Dolph Lundgren. With his help, Sanjay and Craig journey to find Huggle Bunny and discover the true meaning of Huggle Day. *The episode features Dolph Lundgren as himself.
8:30 p.m. – Pig Goat Banana Cricket “Happy Chalawunga!”
Pig searches the sewers for Filthy the Foot. Banana is forced to shop for Chalawunga gifts. Goat is determined to sing her song in the Chalawunga Parade and Cricket creates Mecha Foot for Pig.

12:00 p.m. – Power Rangers Dino Charge “Race to Rescue Christmas”
When Poisandra steals Santa’s computer, it’s up to the Rangers to get it back before Christmas is cancelled.
8:00 p.m. – Nickelodeon Ho-Ho Holiday Special *Hour-long Special* (Simulcast on TeenNick and Nicktoons)
In a new spectacular hour-long variety special featuring musical numbers and comedy sketches, every Nickelodeon star under the sun shows up for the most amazing holiday party ever. However, it soon becomes clear that the whole evening is an evil trap devised by a mysterious stranger. The stars now have to struggle through various holiday-themed obstacles and challenges if they want to escape and find their way ho-ho-home.
9:00 p.m. – Make It Pop “The Gift”
It is holiday season at MacKendrick Prep! When a blizzard traps everyone inside the school, Sun Hi, Jodi, and Corki learn the true meaning of the holidays. Meanwhile, the teens meet a mysterious new student.
12:30 p.m. – Blaze and the Monster Machines “Monster Machine Christmas”
It’s Christmas Eve, and Blaze and AJ are helping Santa and his elves load his magic bag full of presents to deliver all over the world. Crusher tries to sneak into the bag, knocking it over and sending all the world’s presents flying away. Now it’s up to Blaze, AJ, and Crusher to rescue the presents and deliver them before Christmas morning. *The episode features Carl Reiner as a guest voice.
1:00 p.m. – Mutt & Stuff “Have a Very Mutty Christmas”
It is Christmas at Mutt & Stuff and everything is decorated for a winter wonderland, but the forecast calls for sunny skies. With some Christmas magic and a visit from Phil the Snow Dog, the puppy Junior Shades gets to see real snow.
1:30 p.m. – Shimmer & Shine “Santa’s Little Genies”
It’s Christmas Eve and Leah forgot to mail Zac’s letter to Santa. When she calls on Shimmer and Shine to help deliver the letter, they transport her to the North Pole where Leah can deliver it to Santa in person. After she accidentally wishes Santa to a tropical island, it’s up to Shimmer and Shine to deliver the presents and save Christmas genie-style. * The episode features Carl Reiner as Santa.
8:00 p.m. – Breadwinners “A Crustmas Story” *30 minute Special*
SwaySway and Buhdeuce stay up all night waiting for Santa Crust to come while reading each other quazy holiday stories and singing Crustmas Carols.

Thursday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m.
Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom “Snow/The North Pole”
“Snow”: It’s Christmas Eve, and the presents have just been delivered to Father Christmas at the North Pole. When Father Christmas rings up to say that there are toys missing, Ben, Holly, and their friends head off on a special trip to deliver the final box of toys. “The North Pole”: The Elf Plane is forced to land while en route to deliver the final box of presents. No one minds as it’s an opportunity for everyone to meet Father Christmas. Arctic Elves quickly wrap the toys before everyone sets off for home on Father Christmas’ sleigh.

Monday, Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.
Fresh Beat Band of Spies “Christmas 2.0”
In a jolly holiday adventure, the Fresh Beat Band of Spies deck the halls of the North Pole in order to save Christmas from an overeager elf and his automated Santa.

Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m.
Little Charmers “Santa Sparkle”
When Hazel accidentally ruins Sparkle Night for all of Charmville, the Charmers hope that Santa Sparkle’s magic will set things right. They soon discover that the greatest magic of all is thinking of others before yourself.

Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.
Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom “Ben and Holly’s Christmas”
It is Christmas Eve, and Father Christmas is making his deliveries to all the children of the world. Meanwhile, King Thistle is stuck in a cracker, Queen Thistle is stuck in a toy fairy castle, and the Wise Old Elf is stuck in a Christmas tree.

Thursday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m.
Peter Rabbit “The Christmas Star/ Sleepy Hedgehog”
“The Christmas Star”: When Tommy Brock takes Cotton-tail’s dolly, Peter soon discovers the only way to retrieve it is to give everyone in the woods what they want for Christmas. “Sleepy Hedgehog”: Peter volunteers to take Mrs. Tiggy-winkle home in time for her winter hibernation. Little does he know how much trouble a sleepy hedgehog can be.

Every Saturday during the month of December, TeenNick will air holiday-themed movies at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.:
Dec. 5 – Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh
Dec. 12 – A Fairly Odd Christmas
Dec. 19 – Santa Hunters
Dec. 26 – One Crazy Cruise

Every Friday night during the month of December, Nicktoons will air holiday-themed movies at 9 p.m.:
Dec. 04 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 movie)
Dec. 11 – Santa Hunters
Dec. 18 – Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh
Dec. 25 – A Fairly Odd Christmas

Starting Dec. 12 through Dec. 27, Nicktoons’ will also gift viewers with marathons from old favorites Catscratch, The Mighty B!, The X’s, El Tigre, Barnyard, Danny Phantom, Teenage Robot, Jimmy Neutron and Invader Zim.

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