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Some 'Chimp Channel' Segments Descend From Classics

Television: New TBS series, debuting June 10, stars chimpanzees in scenes parodying famous movies and TV shows.

June 01, 1999|MICHAEL P. LUCAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Series producer Skot Bright said the idea for the series came from a five-minute pilot that originally aired on MTV. That segued into a series of segments for TBS called "Monkey'ed Movies" parodying feature films. In one based on "Gone With the Wind," Rhett Butler leaves Scarlett O'Hara at the door, then turns around, thinking she'll beg him to come back. He looks in and a wild party is underway. Apes are swinging from the chandeliers.

TBS executive Head said 48 of the segments were produced to run during the feature-film program "Dinner & a Movie" and in odd time slots after sporting events.

One day when a golf tournament ran short and the station played about half an hour of "Monkey'ed Movies," something strange happened. The ratings actually increased. That prompted TBS to order 13 new episodes of the half-hour series, which is being produced by Telescopic Productions and Warner Bros.

Who will be tuning in?

TBS will launch the show on Thursday nights after its top-rated series, "WCW Thunder," a wrestling show that draws a largely young, male audience.

"There's a hunger now for something that's a little bit different," Head said. "We love this because it's fresh and innovative. I think in that sense it's a show whose time has come."

* "The Chimp Channel" premieres at 7:05 p.m. June 10 on TBS. The network has rated it TV-14D (may be unsuitable for children younger than 14 with a special advisory for suggestive dialogue).

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