After a hiatus from primetime animation, NBC and DreamWorks are jumping into the genre again with a 13-episode order for a CG animated series, FATHER OF THE PRIDE, from DreamWorks TV about the lives of the family of lions who perform in Siegfried & Roy's Las Vegas magic show, it was reported by THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER and confirmed by a DreamWorks spokesman.
Peter Mehlman (SEINFELD) and Jonathan Groff (LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN) will write the pilot episode for the half-hour family comedy targeted to debut in fall 2004. "This is going to be the most anticipated series of the fall of 2004," NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker said. "This is the first time this technology has been seen on TV."
DreamWorks SKG principal Jeffrey Katzenberg originally conceived it as a feature but realized it was better suited to a TV series now that breakthroughs in animation technology have made it feasible to produce high-end SHREK-style CG work on a TV series budget and timetable. Katzenberg said the animal characters will provide satirical social commentary, saying things that would be very hard for people to get away with.
DreamWorks last animated production for primetime was INVASION AMERICA, an anime stylized one-hour drama for The WB. Except for a few holiday specials, NBC dropped primetime animated series in 2000 after briefly trying SAMMY, a series loosely based on the real-life experiences of creator David Spade and his father in 2000 and GOD, THE DEVIL AND BOB from Carsey-Werner. No word yet on where the computer animation production will be done. DreamWorks Television Animation has closed down in 1999.