[06/05/03 - 12:00 AM]
Showtime Slates 'Free for All'
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- Showtime has given a start date for its new animated series "Free for All." The comedy, based on Brett Merhar's cult comic strip of the same name, will bow Friday, July 11 at 11:00/10:00c. The pay channel has committed to seven episodes of the project which comes from Film Roman ("The Simpsons") and executive producer Merriwether Williams ("SpongeBob Squarepants").

Here's how Showtime describes the series (via press release):

Showtime Networks, in association with Emmy(R)-winning animation studio Film Roman, brings to life the characters of a subversive cult comic strip in the new, late night, animated, comedy series FREE FOR ALL premiering July 11th at 11 PM (ET/PT). The series, written and executive produced by Merriwether Williams ("SpongeBob Squarepants") and based on Brett Merhar's cult comic strip of the same name, follows multimillionaire and wheeler-dealer Clay Zeeman and his best friend, community college student Johnny G. Jenkins. Johnny and Clay are cynical, Gen-Y, dysfunctional best friends, who struggle with out-of-the-ordinary daily woes. The duo's unique adventures are even further complicated by the antics of Clay's pet ferret, Angus -- a research laboratory animal with a drug addiction problem. The network has ordered 6 additional episodes, which will continue to air on Fridays at 11PM (ET/PT).

Celebrity voices for the show include Jonathan Silverman (SHOWTIME'S DEACONS FOR DEFENSE, "The Single Guy") as Johnny; Brett Merhar as Clay; Oscar(R) nominated Juliette Lewis ("Cape Fear," SHOWTIME's MY LOUISIANA SKY and "Natural Born Killers") as Johnny's love interest Paula; Mitzi McCall ("Ice Age," "The Flintstones Comedy Hour") as grandma; and Sam McMurray ("Raising Arizona," "Sunshine State," SHOWTIME's upcoming STEALING SINATRA) as Dad.

As the series begins, Clay is living a life of luxury, having won a multi-million dollar lawsuit after slipping and falling on a sandwich in a restaurant. Johnny, on the other hand, is still living with his parents as he pines away for the beautiful and seemingly innocent girl-next-door.

In his free time, Johnny dodges his grandmother's attempts to get him killed so she can move out of the basement and into his bedroom. FREE FOR ALL, Showtime's new animated Original Series, promises to be shocking and absurd but always hilarious.

FREE FOR ALL is co-written and executive produced by Merriwether Williams, who served as head writer for over three years on Nickelodeon's smash hit "Spongebob SquarePants." Brett Merhar, creator of the comic strip, which has been syndicated in over 75 newspapers nationwide since its launch in April 1998, co-wrote the pilot and will serve as co-writer and executive producer. John Hyde, president and CEO of Film Roman, and Richard Hull ("She's All That," "Get Over It," "On The Line") serve as executive producer and co-executive producer respectively.

  [june 2003]  


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