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Spike TV Takes Time Out On Adult Animation

Spike TV pulled its animation slate from its schedule in October 2003, putting its new entries GARY THE RAT, STRIPPERELLA and REN & STIMPY'S ADULT PARTY CARTOON on hold until early 2004, it was reported in TELEVISIONWEEK. This prompted industry speculation that the network for men may be retreating from creating animation for an adult audience.

This, however, is not the case, according to Kevin Kay, evp of programming and production for Spike TV, which has 18 animated projects in various stages of development.

"We played them a lot," Kay told TELEVISIONWEEK. "They were all over the schedule and did well, and at one point we thought, 'Let's take them off' so they don't burn out. And it's so funny, because I've been hearing rumors that STRIPPERELLA had been canceled before it even went on the air."

Spike TV is developing BIG-HEADED PEOPLE from producer Warrington Hudlin (HOUSE PARTY, BOOMERANG), a political satire featuring characters with huge heads discussing things like Osama bin Laden and what it's like to be a black Republican.

Other projects with Hank Azaria, Howard Stern and John Leguizamo are being readied for a Thursday night block called The Strip, which was planned as a slot for rotating original programming throughout the year.

The block had modest ratings, giving Spike TV a double-digit increase from the previous years timeslot.

"We wanted to get younger," Kay said in his interview. "The animation block skewed 27. It helped bring down the median age of the viewer. It's 'Stupid Male Humor Night,' for lack of a better term. But if you hit it right out of the ballpark like SOUTH PARK and THE SIMPSONS theres all kinds of ancillary revenue streams [in merchandising]."

Reportedly Spike TV has only received three of the nine original episodes it ordered of REN & STIMPY'S ADULT PARTY CARTOON from creator John Kricfalusi. Kay said he expects the new episodes will come as Kricfalusi spends more time tweaking them than was scheduled.

STRIPPERELLA and GARY THE RAT were pulled after about seven of 13 episodes aired. The remaining episodes will run in the first quarter of 2004, but a second season has not yet been ordered.

Spike TV has ordered six episodes of the THE IMMIGRANTS from Klasky Csupo, a comedy featuring two tenement dwellers seeking success in their new country. Eric McCormack and Hank Azaria star as the voices of the lead characters.