The "Happy Coincidence" in God, the Devil, and Bob
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 100 10:47:47 -0800
Subject: The "Happy Coincidence" in God, the Devil, and Bob
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Monday March 6 8:35 PM ET
Two NBC Affiliates Frown on 'God' Cartoon
By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - From the unseen voice speaking to Moses in the
biblical epic ``The Ten Commandments'' to the 1977 hit comedy ``Oh, God,''
starring George Burns, the Lord has been no stranger to show business.
But now two NBC affiliates in America's heartland are refusing to air an
upcoming animated series in which the Almighty appears as a dead ringer
for the late rock guitarist Jerry Garcia, with a voice supplied by veteran
actor James Garner.
KSL-TV in Salt Lake City and KPVI-TV in Pocatello, Idaho, have said they
will not broadcast the new NBC series ``God, the Devil and Bob,'' which
premieres on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. EST, right after ``Friends,'' network
officials said on Monday.
An NBC spokeswoman said the two affiliates found the show to be in poor
taste, and one source at the network predicted that a few other stations,
most likely in the Bible Belt, would decline the program.
The series centers on the day-to-day life of Detroit autoworker Bob Alman,
voiced by actor French Stewart (''3rd Rock from the Sun''), who has been
hand-picked by the Devil in a wager with God to see if mankind is really
Thus, Bob finds himself caught in a grand struggle between good and evil as
he copes with routine problems at work and home -- a struggle made more
difficult by his own weaknesses for such earthly pleasures as drinking and
In the first episode, God accompanies Bob into a bar and shares a beer with
``Does Not Meet Our Standards''
``Our management group looked at an advance copy of the show and decided it
does not meet our standards of taste or quality during family viewing
times,'' KSL-TV's management said in a statement released by NBC.
KPVI officials could not be reached for comment.
The show's producer, Matthew Carlson, said he anticipated some objections
from religious groups but did not believe most viewers would find it
``I guess I'd like to think we're laughing with God, not at him,'' said
Carlson, who was involved in the television series ''The Wonder Years''
and created the short-lived comedy ``Men Behaving Badly.''
``It's not a religious show, it's a comedy, so we are going to be making
some jokes,'' he said. ``It may be irreverent but certainly not
Carlson said the casting of Garner, best known for his television roles
on ``Maverick'' and ``The Rockford Files,'' as the voice of God was
designed in part to provide a certain ''comfort level'' for viewers.
As for the God character's resemblance to Garcia, the bearded founder of
the rock band the Grateful Dead, Carlson called that a ``happy
The WB network affiliate KUWB will carry the program in place of KSL in
Salt Lake City, which ranks as the nation's 36th largest market. NBC is
looking for an alternative outlet for Pocatello, which ranks as No. 166,
a network spokeswoman said.
© 2000 Peter Langston