NEW YORK – SpongeBob (search), Dora the Explorer and the Rugrats could all become rock stars in the next few years.
Children's television network Nickelodeon (search) has partnered with BMG to create a record label, which means tunes from shows like "SpongeBob SquarePants" will be released as albums.
"These are characters kids know and songs they sing and love," said BMG marketing spokesman Joe DiMuro. "It's a great way to bring the shows to a new level."
The first album, released Tuesday, is a compilation of songs from the show "Dora the Explorer," about a Spanish-speaking girl and her adventures. A "Rugrats" (search) holiday CD will be out in October.
DiMuro said record executives are also working with the actors who provide the characters' voices to create new songs specifically for CDs which may include other BMG artists.
"Imagine SpongeBob doing a duet with Alicia Keys," DiMuro said. "Sesame Street has shown how much people love this stuff."
The label will also develop budding artists already on the channel, a la Hilary Duff (search). There are no deals currently, but officials are looking at signing Drake Bell who stars on the show "Drake and Josh."