LOS ANGELES, Sept. 5 /PRNewswire/ — The Avatar finally awakens after his life-threatening battle at Ba Sing Se to find that he has a full head of hair and a burning desire to finally defeat the Firelord. The epic third season of Nickelodeon’s hit series from creator’s Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, Avatar: The Last Airbender, will premiere Friday, September 21 at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT). In support of this premiere, Nicktoons Networks will air mini marathons of Avatar seasons one and two from Monday, September 17 at 2:00 p.m. (ET) through Thursday, September 20. New episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender will continue to premiere with new episodes in its regular timeslot on Fridays at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. “Fans on Nickelodeon’s message boards and countless Avatar online fan sites have been clamoring for the third season to begin since the second season finale,” said Marjorie Cohn, Executive Vice President of Original Programming and Development, Nickelodeon Television. “We’re excited that season three is finally here and it delivers great character moments, exciting action and resolves the story arc which has captivated us since the series debuted. It’s sure to be the best season yet, and we are confident fans will agree.”

In the season three premiere of Avatar, “The Awakening,” Aang wakes up to find himself aboard a captured Fire Nation ship after sustaining serious injuries at the end of season two. Katara, Sokka, and their father are with him and they recount the events that led the four to the ship and how they plan to attack the Fire Nation. Aang struggles to fight his own instincts to face the Firelord before he is ready, but ultimately accepts that he needs time to heal and regain his strength. Meanwhile, Zuko is dealing with his own issues as he journeys home for first time in three years, fearing his father will reject him once again.

On Tuesday, September 11, timed to coincide with the exciting season three debut, Nickelodeon Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment will release Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Book 2 Collection. The deluxe box-set features all 20 Book 2: Earth chapters along with a bonus disc full of exclusive material including an interview with M. Night Shyamalan. The bonus disc also includes an exclusive animated graphic novel, plus three original shorts and a martial arts featurette.

“Watching Avatar has become a family event in my house – my daughters absolutely love the show and they are the ones who initially told me about it, so we are looking forward to how the story develops in season three,” said M. Night Shyamalan. “Once I saw the amazing world that Mike and Bryan created, I knew it would make a great feature film.”

Also leading up to the premiere, Nickelodeon will offer video shorts of Avatar, including clips, sneak peeks, recaps of season two, as well as instant replays of episodes after its on-air premiere, all on TurboNick, the network’s broadband video service on www.nick.com. Additionally, short form Avatar content will be available on Nickelodeon Mobile on various wireless carriers as of September. After the launch of season three, fans may log on to play two new Avatar-themed offerings in Nick’s Game of The Week section: “The Day of the Black Sun” beginning November 15, and “Clash of the Benders” on November 29. Also post-premiere, Avatar episodes will stream on Video-on- Demand and will be available for paid download to purchase on Nickelodeon’s direct to video distribution partner platforms each week after the episode premieres on Friday nights.

The third season of Avatar follows Aang and his band of heroes during their latest attempt to save the world now that Ba Sing Se has fallen. The group heads to the Fire Nation to face the Firelord on his home turf, but the clock works against them as they travel from one Fire Nation town to another. They plan to strike before the day of black sun (an eclipse) that will cause the Fire Nation to lose their powers and leave them in their most vulnerable state. Meanwhile, Aang faces new challenges and is reluctant to master bending fire, the most difficult element he has yet to learn.

Launched in February 2005, Avatar is currently in its third season and is ranked among the top 10 animated properties on commercial television among boys 2-11 and boys 6-11 (1Q07). The series reaches a total of 18.4 million total viewers (persons 2+), including 8.9 million kids 2-11 and 5.8 million kids 6-11*. In 4Q06, Avatar was the highest-rated animated program on all TV (including broadcast nets and all cable nets) with Boys 9-14. (Source: *Nielsen CUME Data – May 2007)

The epic story of Avatar: The Last Airbender follows the journey of Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen), a young boy torn between fulfilling his fate as the long- awaited Avatar and just wanting to be a regular kid. Aang is called upon to lead the fight against the vicious Fire Nation to restore balance in his war- torn world. Aided by a protective teenage Waterbender named Katara (Mae Whitman) and her bull-headed warrior brother Sokka (Jack DeSena), Aang proceeds on a perilous journey to save the world while sometimes shaking off his heavy responsibilities so that he can enjoy being a kid.

Avatar: The Last Airbender was created by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko who also serve as executive producers. As an award-winning filmmaker, DiMartino has been a director at Film Roman for six years, working on the prime-time animated series King of the Hill, Family Guy and Mission Hill. During his tenure there, DiMartino animated and directed the short animated film Atomic Love, which has gone on to screen at festivals across the country including Sundance and the Los Angeles Film Festival. It also aired as part of the Nicktoons Network Animation Festival on Nicktoons Network.

Konietzko began his career in animation as a character designer at Film Roman for Fox’s prime-time series, Family Guy. He soon moved to the post of assistant director for two more Film Roman shows, Mission Hill and King of the Hill, working beside animation director DiMartino. Konietzko then became a storyboard artist and later an art director for the Nickelodeon animated series Invader Zim.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California.

Nickelodeon, in its 28th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in almost 94 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 13 consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. .

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