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David Spade Inks Cartoon Deal with NBC
By Jenny Hontz
"Just Shoot Me" star David Spade is developing and voicing a primetime NBC toon that would mark Brillstein-Grey's first foray into TV animation and would be NBC's first original primetime animated series since the 1964 "Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo."
The comedy, tentatively titled "Peewee," will be produced by Brillstein-Grey Entertainment and animated by Sony Imageworks. NBC and Brillstein-Grey both confirmed that the project is in the works.
Spade is co-creating "Peewee" with veteran comedy producer Drake Sather, who has written material for Spade's standup routines in addition to work on "NewsRadio," "The Larry Sanders Show" and "The Dennis Miller Show."
Details of "Peewee" are still being worked out, but the comedy will loosely deal with Spade's early family life, including his childhood relationship with a ne'er-do-well (but funny) father and a brother. Spade plans to voice the role of both father and son.
"David has had this show in his head for many years, and that kind of personal vision usually makes for a great animated show," said Kevin Reilly, executive vice president of TV at Brillstein-Grey.
NBC has ordered a fully animated pilot presentation tape, which will be completed by January, and the series is targeted for a January 2000 launch.
The Peacock this summer ran a revoiced version of the British toon "Stressed Eric," which flopped, but the Spade project shows that NBC is serious about being a player in the primetime animation business.
So far, Fox has had the most success in the genre with "The Simpsons" and 'King of the Hill," and now UPN and the WB are developing animated primetime comedies of their own.
An animated hit can prove extremely lucrative for production companies because of rich licensing and merchandising deals, the ease of travel overseas and an evergreen quality in syndication.
Spade, a former "Saturday Night Live" cast member and writer, has had roles in films such as "Tommy Boy," "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag" and "Coneheads." He currently stars in the NBC comedy "Just Shoot Me," which anchors the Peacock's Tuesday lineup this fall.
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