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Robot Chicken Series Launches Stop-Motion Stars Feb. 20

Get ready for ROBOT CHICKEN, an ambitious sketch comedy series done completely in stop-motion, debuting Feb. 20, 2005, at 11:30 pm on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim. Creators actor/producer Seth Green and Matthew Senreich spare no one and run through many toys as they bring slightly mean-spirited pop-culture parodies to life in the 15-minute weekly series.

Named ROBOT CHICKEN, because that was the only title they could get cleared out of the 60 submitted, they use legions of action figures to spoof everything from Quentin Tarantinos blood-spattered epics to THE REAL WORLD, in which a cast of superheroes takes the place of drunken 20-somethings. while Green and a number of celebrities provide voices, including Scarlett Johannson, Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Ryan Seacrest, Mark Hamill, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Macauley Culkin.

A team of some 50 artists and technicians create miniature sets, tiny costumes and props and intricate action scenes for sketches skewering popular entertainment, politics and celebrity culture. Green and Senreich, with co-producers Tom Root and Doug Goldstein, lead the writing staff of the fast-moving weekly series, directed by Seamus Walsh and Chris Finnegan of Screen Novelties in Santa Monica, California, which did the stop-motion series CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH.

Green has played dozens of movies such as WITHOUT A PADDLE, THE ITALIAN JOB, SCOOBY-DOO 2: MONSTERS UNLEASHED and the AUSTIN POWERS films. He has also appeared extensively on television, starring in BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER and as the voice of Chris in FAMILY GUY. (FAMILY GUY creator Seth McFalane does a guest voice appearance on Robot Chicken.) He also is an avid toy buff, who even memorizes tags about toys they are attached to.

Senreich began his career working in comicbooks (starting as an intern at Marvel Comics) before joining Wizard Entertainment, a publisher of magazines covering comicbooks, action figures, anime and collectible card gaming. Senreich became editor of TOYFARE, and then editorial director for all of Wizards publications.

They met when Senrich interviewed Green who is also a correspondent for TOYFARE. Later Green called Senrich about doing an animated short. When word got out they wanted to produce a stop-motion short of their toys saving the world, Sonys website asked them to do shorts based upon their original concept. They premiered SWEET J. PRESENTS on Sonys Internet site, SCREENBLAST, in 2001. The duo pitched the pilot show and found the right home on Adult Swim which greenlit 20 episodes.

Each script has a complicated system of approvals to clean before they can start filming. While they frequent toy stores and scan ebay for toys, nearly 80% of the puppets are created from scratch with posable foam and wire bodies, customized to look like toys. About 50-300 puppets are generated per episode in roughly 10 days.

The creators are in love with sketch comedy, pointing to MONTY PYTHON and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, as influences. The format allows them to do really short skits in six seconds while some take 10 minutes. The variety and subjects they hit are varied. You wont see re-use of characters and sets, which makes this show an incredible undertaking, given the time and labor intensive art of building models and miniature sets, let along the animation and camera work.

The models and sets look good, the lighting and movements are well-executed while the humor is perfect for the Adult Swim crowd. About the only shortcut is computer-animated, clumsy lip-synch, to be expected in this quick turnaround production schedule.

Green and Senrich are exec producers on ROBT CHICKEN while Alex Bukleuy and Corey Campodonico are producers with Jeannine Rohn line producing.

Production designer is Jed Hathaway, Kevin Pawlak handles storyboards, Scott Tom is puppet fabrication supervisor and toy wrangler is Hugh Sterbakov. Set construction supervisor is Ross Shuman while lighting is supervised by Bryan Garver.

Visual Effects editors are Shanno Gold and Efram Potelle, supervising sound editor is Joanthan Miller while sound effects editing is by Randy Babajtis. ADR Miser is Alana Freedman, foley mixer is Jeremy Blako and post-production sound is by Sonic Magic.

Music is by Michael Suby, the show is edited by Chris McKay with Gavin Barclay and Lori Slomka as post-production supervisors.

ROBOT CHICKEN should satisfy the stop-motion, humor desires of fans hungry since CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH stopped production.