“Bryan: That’s one thing we haven’t cleared up that I wanted to address earlier, but they were still looking into it
Mike: There was no, as far as we know, no correlation between the leaked episodes and them putting it on air with a week’s notice.
Bryan: There’s another factor that we can’t talk about, that’s not really in our realm of expertise.
Mike: Part of it was like, there was a window of opportunity programming wise like we gotta put it on now otherwise we gotta wait till next year.
Bryan: I just wanna talk about the leak thing real quick, because everyone is convinced and we’ve seen people breaking this stuff down, and good online journalism, and the consistent thing everyone things is that it was thrown hastily on air because of the leaks. And even though there are people at Nickelodeon like us and the execs that are close to the show that get really upset, the network doesn’t really care. And they did not leak it, it was actually stolen off the server. And we know that because initially it was reported that the affiliate in Mexico accidentally put it on the website. That’s what was told to us. But they looked into it, and it was not, nothing had ever been uploaded. It had been stolen off the server. Now that was hugely upsetting to us, very upsetting to a lot of people throughout the company. People do care and people do love this show throughout the company in all different departments. But that’s kind of like a mild annoyance I think to the giant network.
Mike: Yeah it doesn’t really dictate their programming policy.
Bryan: I’m sure they weren’t happy about it, you know, but it really did not create the situation. It was something else, it’s not exciting, we can’t talk about it. There was a different reason that the show was being held up, because we were done with Book 3 it was just waiting, and then when that didn’t work they were like, ‘Oh, let’s put it on now,’ and it was hastily done.
Mike: And it was basically a week out from the premiere that we found out and we were like ok well what are we gonna do to like get the word out. Turns out, not very much.
Bryan: One promo.
Mike: And in our opinions it was a bad idea. They wanted it to drive people to the network to people for ratings, so they didn’t put it online at all. So it aired, ratings have been the lowest they’d been for Korra.
Bryan: I’ll be totally fair and honest. Avatar ran from 2005 to 2008. The TV landscape was very different back then. And we were always a prime-time Friday show. It was Friday nights, and it did really well. It didn’t do Spongebob numbers, but it did really well. But we did bump heads with the network a lot about re-runs. They would never re-run it in order, and we said it’s a sequential show, you have to re-run it in order. And they said you know your re-runs just aren’t doing really well, we think it’s because it’s not a comedy. And we said no it’s because it’s not a comedy, you have to run it in order. And for years Mike and I said this, and we had left the company, and we ran into this exec in New York and he said ‘Guys you realize you have the number 1 show on Nicktoons. We play it in order, and it does really well. Turns out when you play it in order, people watch it.’ And at that point it was also doing really well on Netflix. And I think that’s why the show got bigger after it was done.”
— Mike and Bryan on the leaks and the short notice before Book 3’s premiere, and the shows’ relationship with Nickelodeon over the years, via the Nerdist Writers Panel Podcast.
They go on to talk more about this, so I’d suggest listening to the whole thing! (via elventhespian