PBS Greenlights 'Car Talk' Television Series
First-Ever Animated Primetime Series for PBS to Launch in Summer 2008
TV Series Titling Contest Open to Fans
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Start your engines! PBS is bringing Tom and Ray Magliozzi, of CAR TALK, to TV. Based on the hit NPR radio show, the as-yet-untitled animated sitcom will launch with ten 30-minute episodes targeted for summer 2008. Fans will be invited to submit title suggestions for the television show. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20070711/DCW076 ) The fast-paced series will take off where the radio series ends, focusing on the adventures of Click and Clack and their crew of mechanics and co- workers. Based largely in Tom and Ray's fictional garage, the show will focus on the "off-air" escapades of Tom and Ray Magliozzi ("known to their listeners as Click and Clack," the Tappet brothers) as they try to fix cars, fend off disgruntled customers and seek out ways to do less and less work. "We want to apologize in advance to Jim Lehrer, Bill Moyers, the folks at FRONTLINE, NOVA and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE for the damage we are about to do to your network's reputation," said Tom and Ray Magliozzi, who will provide the voices for their own animated characters. "Oh, and Big Bird, too. Sorry, pal." "Tom and Ray are larger than life characters, and the only way to keep them larger than life, and not diminish them on TV, is through animation," said creator and executive producer Howard K. Grossman. "We've brought on a world-class animation team, and I'm confident the series will rank among the best anywhere." "Unlikely!" said Tom. "We're looking forward to bringing Tom and Ray to television, with new characters and stories that capture the humor of the radio series and take it even further," said John Boland, PBS chief content officer. "Through animation and fresh content, we anticipate the show will be a hit among current fans of the radio show and new audiences. PBS has long been a leader in creating animated, educational programming for children, but, with CAR TALK, we will present our first primetime animated series for a general audience." The animated series takes place at Car Talk Plaza, a fictional building which houses their radio studio and their famed garage in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in Harvard Square. Along with "Click and Clack," the cast of characters includes: -- Fidel -- A mechanic with a cleanliness obsession, who insists on wearing Armani suits while working on cars. He can sense car problems through smell and touch. -- Crusty -- A former Harvard professor who was tossed out of the nearby academic institution and now turns a wrench, while thinking deep thoughts, for Tom and Ray. -- Stash -- A gruff, Eastern bloc escapee who can manufacture anything out of anything. -- Sal (short for Sally) -- The veteran Bostonian garage receptionist who handles insiders and outsiders with the same lack of etiquette. -- Beth -- Their young, eager radio producer who desperately wants to improve their show and make it more professional to please the network higher ups. In conjunction with the series, an innovative partnership brokered by executive producer Howard K. Grossman with The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), whose membership includes all state motor vehicle agencies (DMVs) in the United States and Canada, will feature a public safety campaign, with the cartoon versions of Tom and Ray dispensing safe driving tips and other useful information to drivers renewing their licenses in person at participating state DMVs, and online, as well as other educational materials. The titling contest will be announced on the CAR TALK radio program and will allow listeners to submit their own suggestions for the television program title. More details regarding the titling contest will be available soon. PBS is a media enterprise that serves 355 public noncommercial television stations and reaches more than 75 million people each week through on-air and online content. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is a leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers and offers a broad array of other educational services. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online http://www.pbskids.org, continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at http://www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet. CAR TALK TV Bios Howard Grossman's career has encompassed nearly every facet of the entertainment industry in the United States, England, Russia, South Africa, Columbia, Israel and Canada. Some of his film and dramatic television projects include Apprentice to Murder starring Donald Sutherland; "Heartbreak House" starring Amy Irving and Rex Harrison; True West starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise; and "The Dining Room" starring William H. Macy. Other television projects he has produced include "The Beach Boys Celebration Concert," "Billy Joel Live From Long Island" and "American Rock." Most recently he executive produced the pilot episodes of "Stageside" for the Coca Cola Company and with neon animation THE SCENE (based on the successful Internet Series). CAR TALK TV'S other executive producer is Robert Harris, former president of Universal Television and the MCA Television Group. Mr. Harris oversaw the production of more than 50 prime time television series as well as a number of highly rated and award winning miniseries and movies-for-television. Under his tutelage, Universal produced such hits as "Murder, She Wrote," "Miami Vice" and "Magnum, P.I." and became the leading supplier of prime time programming to U.S. broadcast and cable networks. Mr. Harris also served as president of Motion Pictures and Television for Imagine Films Entertainment. More recently, he was vice president Broadband Strategy for America On Line, leading the team that created and launched AOL's high speed internet services. Bill Kroyer is CAR TALK TV's executive producer of animation and an Academy Award-nominated director of animation and computer graphics commercials, short films, movie titles and theatrical films. Kroyer received an Academy Award nomination in 1988 for the animated short "Technological Threat," which successfully combined the personality of hand-drawn animation with the complexity of computer-generated characters. Kroyer directed the film Ferngully: The Last Rainforest and animated the light-cycle sequence in Tron. CAR TALK TV's director of animation is the legendary industry veteran Tom Sito. Tom's screen credits include Shrek, The Little Mermaid, Osmosis Jones, Garfield The Movie and The Lion King. His television credits include "He Man and the Masters of the Universe," "She Ra," "Fat Albert" and "Biker Mice from Mars." CAR TALK TV's writers come from the radio show. Peabody Award winning executive producer Doug Berman has been Tom and Ray's head writer and producer since 1987. He has collaborated with the brothers on their weekly syndicated column, all of their albums, and almost everything they've done for the last 20 years. In 1998, he created and launched "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" for NPR, and is considered NPR's top entertainment producer. Doug Mayer has also worked with Tom and Ray as a producer and writer for more than a decade. He's head writer and producer for http://www.cartalk.com, Car Talk's successful web site, as well as the author of numerous humor books. Tom Minton is CAR TALK TV's script supervisor. He is a Peabody award winner and multi-Emmy nominee. Tom started his career working with Ralph Bakshi where he developed his skills as a writer and storyboarder. He has gone on to work extensively with Warner Bros., Walt Disney Television Animation, and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment. Some of his credits include "Animaniacs," "Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures," "Tiny Toon Adventures," "Disney's Raw Toonage," "The Sylvestor and Tweety Mystery Series," "Baby Looney Tunes," "Duck Dodgers" and many, many more. Karen Johnson is the producer of animation and is founder and CEO of Aha! Studios. Her company has produced numerous award winning productions, including "The Wish That Changed Christmas," a Christmas Television Special for Children's Television Workshop and "Rudolph's Life Lesson," a Direct to Video release. Karen has also received a historical tribute from Women In Animation, honoring her for her contribution to the art of animation. Elissa Myers is the casting director for all the character voices outside of Tom and Ray. She has been casting motion pictures, television and theatre for over twenty years. While in Los Angeles she is a key casting negotiator and consultant for most major studios such as Miramax, Paramount, Fox, Warner Brothers, Home Box Office and Showtime. Her New York City casting consists of major Broadway and off-Broadway theatre. Elissa and her New York casting partner, Paul Fouquet, also do the majority of PBS series casting. Her office has received three awards for "Outstanding Achievement in Casting," known as Artios Awards.
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