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CG-Animated Alan Brady Returns in TV Land Special

Alan Brady, the caustic TV host portrayed by Carl Reiner on THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW back in the '60s, returns in a new computer-animated special on TV Land, airing Aug. 17, 2003 (10:00-10:30 pm). THE ALAN BRADY SHOW marks TV Land's first original animated special in the network's seven-year history. Reiner, who reprises his character in voice-over, also wrote the special and serves as exec producer along with George Shapiro and Howard West of Shapiro/West Prods. The special was developed internally for TV Land three years ago by Sal Maniaci, vp of development and production for TV Land and Nick at Nite. Animation was produced by NICK Digital Studios in New York.

THE ALAN BRADY SHOW will be featured in a primetime lineup that kicks off with two back-to-back episodes of THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW (9:00-10:00 pm), and also features an encore presentation of TV Land's original documentary INSIDE TV LAND: THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW (10:30 pm-12:00 am).

During the week leading up to the Sunday night special telecast, TV Land has paid homage to this classic TV character with airings of episodes from THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW featuring Alan Brady storylines. The episodes aired each night, Aug. 11-16 (9:00-10:00 pm).

The contemporary setting of THE ALAN BRADY SHOW takes place 40 years after its debut and it's clear that time has failed to mellow Brady, who remains as brash as ever. The show's staff is deep in the throws of developing Brady's golden 50th anniversary special. When the staff pitches a classic retrospective, Brady counters with "Who Wants to Marry Alan Brady?" This marks the first time a fictional character has embraced reality television's programming rage.

Joel Krasnove, sr director of NICK Digital Lab, told VFXWorld that for TV Land's first foray into animation, it was decided to go with 3D animation because it lent itself so well to a live-action sitcom, "in terms of how the camera work and lighting would be and just establishing the look."

After taking three years to finally get a production commitment, the animation studio first spent more than three months honing Brady's look. "We gave it to a designer to come up with a unique style that we call '2 1/2D,'" Krasnove added. "These are 3D models that are toon-shaded somewhat flat. We started with a black and white design on paper and worked extensively on texturing. We worked with our own shaders and bastardized what was in Maya to get a monochromatic look."

Krasnove said Reiner was very involved in the designing of his character. "He wanted to make sure that the size of his features were correct to him. But once we got over those hurdles, he told us we could do anything in giving him the right look. We even experimented with facial animation software by videotaping Carl reading his monologue and applying it to a 3D model."