It was first published in 1990 at a cover price of $1.95, but also had free distribution with a purchase from participating Pizza Hut restaurants; this first version of the magazine only saw two issues of release. The magazine returned to production in Summer 1993. Originally published on a quarterly basis, it switched to bi-monthly with February/March 1994 issue. It then went to 10 times per year starting March 1995, with the bi-monthly December/January and June/July issue; it continued a monthly schedule up through the magazine's closure in December 2009.
In spite of being related to the network it is named after, Nickelodeon Magazine covered all sorts of topics for kids, whether inside the network or outside (though with an obvious preference for Nickelodeon programming over that of competitor networks such as the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network). It contained informative non-fiction pieces, humor, interviews, comics, pranks, and recipes (such as green slime cake or pranks containing slime).
The magazine's mascot was Zelda Van Gutters, a Lakeland Terrier dog who appeared throughout the magazine with snarky commentary about the contents of each page. On the table of contents, Zelda usually showed up to introduce herself as the magazine's "roving reporter". She was also the star of the magazine's regular photo comic strip "Ruffing It".
In May 2006, the magazine received a makeover in the form of a new logo but the insides such as the comic book stayed the same.
On June 3, 2009, the Magazine Group division of Nickelodeon announced the discontinuation of the magazine "by the end of 2009", along with sister publication Nick Jr. Magazine, due to economic conditions and the declining influence of magazines for children and teenagers. During the months leading up to the magazine's demise, the magazine suffered from falling circulation and advertising numbers. The magazine ended at 159 issues in December 2009.
In 2015, it was announced that Nickelodeon Magazine would resume publication under management of Papercutz. The first new issue was published on June 24th of that year. However, only 11 issues of the new magazine were published before it was cancelled again the following year.
- Main article: Nickelodeon Magazine Presents
Nickelodeon Magazine Presents, later retitled Nickelodeon Comics, was a series of one-shot special issues put out by Nickelodeon Magazine. The specials often prominently featured a selected Nicktoon, usually to promote a special episode of the show that was about to air. These magazines mainly contained comics, consisting of both newly-made stories and two-page shorts reprinted from Nickelodeon Magazine, but also featured articles, puzzles, and poster inserts.