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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The frog was fired!

August 3, 2005

Michigan J. Frog was fired.

He croaked his last croak last week as the WB mascot, according to WB executives.

I know, I’m hopping mad, too.

Michigan had been the cartoon mascot of the WB network since its debut in 1995. In the early years of the network, he often popped up in WB commercials, dancing across the screen with his top hat, cane and infectious smile.

Network officials decided to nix the frog as its mascot this year because the frog gave the impression that WB programming wasn’t geared toward adults, according to WB publicity director Natalie Anderson. I spoke to Anderson Monday about the move to kill the adored amphibian.

“We personally don’t hate Michigan,” she said. “We love Michigan, but we felt that he was adding a juvenile element to the network that wasn’t an accurate picture of the network.”

OK, then how do you explain Blue Collar TV?

Michigan had a longer career in television than most, almost 50 years. He made his debut in 1955 in the Looney Tunes cartoon One Froggy Evening. His affection for ragtime music and his rendition of Hello, My Baby made him a popular icon.

The WB may be trying to prove that it’s more than just a teen network by whacking Michigan, but frankly, I don’t think firing a defenseless frog is the answer. I’m in the highly coveted 25-34 age demographic they are working so hard to lure, and honestly, the first time I ever watched the WB in 1997 was because of a commercial featuring that charming frog. He’s much hipper than a peacock mascot (NBC) or an eyeball (CBS,) don’t you think?

Only time will tell if the frog-free WB will attract more adult viewers. Personally, I think it will take more than killing the mascot to get viewers to make the leap to the WB.

Meanwhile, does someone have the number for PETA?

Jack & Bobby DVD news - To those of you who’ve e-mailed me asking about the possible DVD release of Jack & Bobby, I passed on your wishes to Anderson. She said she knew of no plans yet to release it on DVD.

After passing on your comments of disappointment about the cancellation, Anderson had this to say: “It was one of those shows where the numbers weren’t there. The critics loved it, but we couldn’t get people to watch.”

Tell me about it. I tried, too.

As for this fall’s lineup on the WB, I’ll be receiving a tape soon of the pilot for Supernatural, the network’s most promising new show. It’s supposedly the scariest/creepiest thing to ever hit television. Finally, something to challenge The Surreal Life.

Originally published 8/3/05 in The Exponent Telegram newspaper.


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