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TBS Picks up New Animated Comedy Neighbors From Hell

Cable network TBS has ordered 10 episodes of NEIGHBORS FROM HELL, a half-hour animated sitcom from 20th Century Fox TV and DreamWorks Animation, per VARIETY.

This is Fox TV's first attempt at producing an animated show for cable, and continues DreamWorks efforts to get into primetime animation. The studio last had the short-lived FATHER OF THE PRIDE on NBC in 2004.

TBS will pair the new show, about an clean-cut American suburban family that just happens to be from Hell, with reruns of FAMILY GUY.

Pam Brady, formerly of SOUTH PARK, wrote the pilot and will exec produce with Mireille Soria, who worked on MADAGASCAR, and DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Fox TV chairman Gary Newman said they were looking to expand their studio's output to beyond sister network FOX. "There are only so many time periods on Fox," he said. "And with the other networks not buying much animation, that left us the option of turning to cable. The cable model is a different animal," he said. "But animation sells well in DVD and works overseas. So by keeping a reasonable control over production costs, we've found a model that can work. Necessity is the mother of invention, and we challenged our production people to come up with an animation process that will allow us to produce this at a lower cost."

NEIGHBORS originated at DreamWorks, and was set up by Katzenberg for Brady, who has an overall deal with Fox TV. FOX passed on the show, but TBS had been looking for an animated series and jumped on board.

Michael Wright, exec VP and head of programming for TBS, TNT and TCM, said, "When you look at the TBS schedule, one of the things that performs well for us night in and night out is FAMILY GUY. Our strategy has always been to try to develop programming that's compatible with what's already there and working."

NEIGHBORS follows the Hellmans, Balthazor, his wife Tina and their children Mandy and Josh with dog Pazuzu. They're sent to Earth and disguised as normal suburbanites to help humans avoid ending up in hell. Balthazor finds himself drawn to humans' quirks, causing problems to their mission. Katzenberg said the show is, "a fish-out-of-water twist on the suburban comedy genre."

-- By News Editor Annemarie Moody