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

Jul 11, 2007, 01:00 ET from PBS

    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
     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
     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
     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.