Producers say time slot shows adults are target
The animated show about the famous lions contains naughty dialogue.
By ELLEN GRAY
KNIGHT RIDDER NEWSPAPERS
The producers of NBC's "Father of the Pride" insist their animated sitcom about the behind-the-scenes lives of Siegfried & amp; Roy's famous lions is not for children.
Sure, the CGI-animated critters, which come to us from the makers of "Shrek," are cute and cuddly-looking, but creator Jeffrey Katzenberg only wants 18- to 49-year-olds to see them.
We can tell "Pride's" not for kids, he told reporters last month, because NBC's scheduled it for 9 p.m. Tuesdays.
"I applaud NBC for scheduling it at 9 o'clock," Katzenberg said. "There is no better signal to give to the world about what its intention is and who it is intended for."
(By this logic, of course, NBC's "Friends," which aired for much of its run at 8 p.m., was the prime-time equivalent of "Sesame Street.")
Examples of dialogue
I'd say one better signal would be this week's premiere episode, in which an amorous lion named Larry (voiced by John Goodman) explains to wife Kate (Cheryl Hines) that "it might be 9 o'clock in New York, but right here, it's mountin' time."
This is after Larry's cub, Hunter, asks him what he means by "zoom-zoom in the boom-boom," but before we meet a house cat who may or may not have just performed an act on Larry that was mentioned in the Starr Report.
So, hey, I get it: It's not for kids.
I'm still not sure who it would be for.
Fans of Siegfried & amp; Roy, whose Las Vegas act came to an abrupt halt when Roy Horn was mauled by one of their tigers last October?
People who can't get enough of those wildlife specials on mating?
Right now, the only people I'm sure will love "Father of the Pride" will be people with something to sell, because each of the three episodes I've seen so far has contained a significant product plug, whether it's for the Mirage Hotel & amp; Casino, where Siegfried & amp; Roy's menagerie is still housed, or 7-Eleven, where the eccentric duo -- who, sadly, are much, much funnier than the lions and other critters -- go to worship the Big Gulp.
In the Sept. 7 episode, the product is NBC's own Matt Lauer (whose animated persona seems to have a little more hair). Reference is made to a "Today" show audience of "40 million viewers," which seems like a lot, considering the show averaged 5.35 million viewers the week of Aug. 9. So is that a joke, too?
Though NBC boss Jeff Zucker told me last month that the Mirage and 7-Eleven mentions weren't product placements, the credits for next week's premiere mention "promotional considerations furnished" by the Mirage, which is usually code for just that.
In other words, it's all very complicated.
Too complicated for children, way too complicated for this adult.