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`Butt Ugly’ jumps from syndie to Nickelodeon

Sep 3, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Nickelodeon has opted to go “Butt Ugly,” causing a number of Chris-Craft Industries stations to “Gear” up their schedules for the new season as Fox settles in as the new owner of the group.
Sachs Entertainment’s “Butt Ugly Martians,” once slated to debut in the United States this fall as a syndicated series in 90 percent of the country, will instead find itself on cable heavyweight Nickelodeon in 2002. The company has confirmed that 26 episodes are slated to run initially.
Sachs brought the kids series to the National Association of Television Program Executives convention in Las Vegas last January. Aimed at the 4- to 11-year-old set, the series is set in the year 2053, when three mischievous, youthful teen-age aliens land on Earth with orders to invade the planet. However, the trio ends up protecting Earth instead and decides to take up residence, sending phony progress reports back to the home planet.
Meanwhile, the host of a cult cable TV series about extraterrestrial sightings is hunting them down. The series is described as “Ninja Turtles” meets “The Mask” meets “Toy Story” meets “Men in Black.”
Robert Stack is on board to voice the cable host, Stout Muldoon. Other voices signed for the series include “Diagnosis Murder’s” Charlie Schlatter, “Pinky and the Brain’s” Rob Paulsen and “Rugrats”’ Kath Soucie. The animation is from the team behind series such as “The Simpsons” and “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”
Hasbro recently signed on to produce and distribute “Butt-Ugly” toys around the world after a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign kicks off. Food promotions and “Butt-Ugly” apparel are also in the works.
Moving the series to Nickelodeon, however, left a number of stations with a hole to fill. Sachs then struck a deal with Sony Pictures Family Entertainment to air “Heavy Gear” in its place, and stations jumped at the opportunity.
“We’ve been looking for a place in the syndication market for some time now,” said Bob Higgins, senior VP of creative affairs at Sony. “These are ideal stations, and the show will be placed in an ideal location, leading into the Kids’ WB and Fox Kids lineups.”
Among the stations set to air “Heavy Gear” are KCOP-TV, Los Angeles; KBHK-TV, San Francisco; New York’s WPIX-TV; Chicago station WCIU-TV; and WPHL-TV in Philadelphia.
Sony originally opted to take the popular role-playing and video game “Heavy Gear” onto the small screen in 1999 as a daily strip for the Bohbot Kids Network. BKN soon after pulled out of the domestic marketplace, leaving Sony with 40 episodes ready to air.
The series follows the ongoing heroics of soldiers fighting on an Earthlike world 4,000 years in the future.