Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon have been two beloved animation channels for decades now. Cartoon Network has some pretty good shows, but Nickelodeon also has its own with some of the most well-known animated characters ever created.

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Though both channels got a lot of attention for their acquired content, they were still mostly known for the shows that were created specifically for the two respective channels. Hence, it’s worth looking at their original programming to compare the two channels and see which of them is superior.

10 Cartoon Network: The Powerpuff Girls

The Powerpuff Girls is definitely one of the most iconic animated shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Though it was first produced by Hanna-Barbera for Cartoon Network, Cartoon Network Studios would then go on to work on it. And besides, it got popular precisely because of being on the channel.

The show follows three kindergarten-aged girls created by a professor in his laboratory who have gained superpowers and now fight evil. In fact, the show has some of the most powerful and memorable villains in the history of Cartoon Network.

9 Nickelodeon: Live-Action Programming

Nickelodeon Live-Action iCarly Victorious Drake & Josh

Apart from being known for its animated content, Nickelodeon actually also got a lot of attention for its live-action programming.

Among some of its most popular and still beloved live-action shows are Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, Big Time Rush, Victorious, Sam & Cat, The Thundermans, and Henry Danger.

8 Cartoon Network: Ben 10

Ben 10 2005 Original

Ben 10 has seen many iterations of its core concept, but probably one of the most beloved of its forms is the original 2005 series also known as Ben 10 Classic. The series had grown so much at the time that it even won an Emmy Award for its achievements.

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To some extent, Ben 10 has a very similar concept to that of the magical girl genre in anime where a girl (or a group of girls) gets superpowers and can now transform into a magical alter ego to use them. But Ben’s power comes from the alien wristwatch that is permanently stuck to his hand and gives him the ability to transfer into different alien forms.

7 Nickelodeon: The Fairly OddParents

Fairly OddParents

The Fairly OddParents is arguably Butch Hartman’s most well-known and successful creation. Beloved both by younger and older audiences alike, the show has probably some of the most memorable jokes from Nickelodeon animated shows.

The main character Timmy is a ten-year-old boy who has two fairy godparents— Cosmo and Wanda. Timmy is babysat by a mean sixteen-year-old babysitter, Vicky, and constantly struggles at school as his godparents try to help him out.

6 Cartoon Network: Samurai Jack

Samurai Jack

Genndy Tartakovsky created Samurai Jack not just for Cartoon Network, but also for Adult Swim. Indeed, the show has some very dark elements which would be suitable for a more mature audience, but kids loved it just as much if not more.

Jack is a character you root for despite all of his weaknesses and because of all of his strengths. The animation style and the action just add to the show’s appeal more than anyone could imagine.

5 Nickelodeon: Rugrats


Rugrats is probably known as one of Nickelodeon’s earliest animated successes and one of the best, if not the best, show of the Golden Age of Nickelodeon. After all, it did earn multiple awards during its run and was the channel’s longest-running show until SpongeBob SquarePants beat it in 2012.

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The show follows a group of toddlers named Tommy, Chuckie, twins Phil & Lil, and Angelica. They go about their daily lives imagining their experiences as much greater adventures than they actually are.

4 Cartoon Network: Adventure Time

Adventure Time

When it comes to Adventure Time, the show still holds up quite well though it started its run way back in 2010. Ironically, the pilot episode was showed to audiences back in 2007…on Nicktoons. During its run, the show developed a massive fanbase, had consistently high ratings, and won multiple awards.

The fantasy series focuses on a boy named Finn and his adoptive brother Jake who is also a magical talking dog that can change shape and size. The two live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo where they go on adventures and interact with its numerous inhabitants.

3 Nickelodeon: SpongeBob SquarePants

Though SpongeBob himself might be the worst sometimes, his adventures as shown in SpongeBob SquarePants are beloved all over the world. Set in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom, it sees SpongeBob working in the fictional fast food restaurant Krusty Krab and interacting with other inhabitants of the town.

By now, SpongeBob SquarePants has become a huge media franchise and is known for being the fifth-longest-running animated American series as well as Nickelodeon’s highest-rated series in history.

2 Cartoon Network: The Amazing World of Gumball

The Amazing World of Gumball is definitely a gem that is unlike anything else Cartoon Network has ever created. This surreal comedy animated show doesn’t have a unifying animation style with traditional animation constantly being mixed with CGI, stop motion, puppetry, Flash animation, live-action, and so on.

Set in the fictional city of Elmore, California, it follows the adventures of the twelve-year-old blue cat Gumball and his ten-year-old adoptive brother/goldfish Darwin.

1 Nickelodeon: Avatar — The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is arguably one of the greatest animated shows ever created with some of the most vibrant animation, relatable main characters, impressive action scenes, and extensive worldbuilding.

Even to this day, it remains one of the most commercially and critically successful Nickelodeon shows while also having a massive fanbase. Moreover, the series was particularly praised for its cultural references and themes such as war and genocide which aren’t often discussed in youth-oriented media.

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