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Creator Smith Steaming Over Clerks' Future

Director Kevin Smith is steaming over the treatment ABC has given his new animated series version of his cult-classic film CLERKS. After Disney owned ABC pushed back the premiere of the new series to May 31, 2000, Smith said the summer release date "almost ensures the show's failure" due to the traditionally low TV ratings of the summer months. On Smith's "View Askew" fan site the reason for the release's date change was due to an executive screening at Disney Studios where "the suits decided they didn't understand the humor." Smith initially hoped the Miramax TV-produced show would air before April, with the rest of the mid-season replacement shows. However, ABC has stood by the decision to debut CLERKS in May, saying it would do better outside the commotion of the regular season. Kevin Brockman, vice president, media relations, west coast for ABC said, "The decision to have CLERKS premiere in May was made for one simple reason: it made the most sense for both the series and the network. This move will allow us to target our promotion and marketing efforts, thereby increasing the show's chance at success. We believe in CLERKS and remain committed to the series." On the "View Askew" web site, Smith insists, "Very seldom does a show launched during the summer get picked up. I can't believe we got fucked hard by the mouse [Disney] twice in the span of a year. Fucking suits, man. I don't know why I bother." Smith's other high-profile run-in with Disney was over Miramax dropping DOGMA from its release schedule. Disney ran scared of the Catholic satire in fear of protest from the church, a fear that was never truly realized. The film was later released by Lions Gate Films last fall. Smith even went as far as to say to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY on Monday, March 13, 2000, that he wants to buy the rights to the animated CLERKS and re-edit the 13 episodes into a feature release. Smith said to EW that he regrets making the deal with ABC and said, "It burns my ass because we had other places we could have gone." Another underlining reason for moving the series Smith feels, is that execs wanted to squash CLERKS' chances of survival to make room for more mainstream sitcoms and more episodes of ratings juggernaut WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE. "No offense to Regis, but how long do they think that show's going to be a hit if they keep airing the hell out of it?" Smith's Web posting says. "I guess it doesn't matter in short-sighted thinking...Which means that MILLIONAIRE will pretty much be on ABC every time you turn your television on."

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks