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Ally McBeal's Baby Cha Cha: Digital Birth

Now Guest-Starring On ‘Ally McBeal’

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After conquering the Net, unstoppable Baby Cha Cha is dancing over to a new realm — TV land. It all came about when Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley tapped the surreal online infant for an episode in which the lawyer, played by Calista Flockhart, obsesses over her biological clock. It was the perfect manifestation of Ally’s anxieties about a mateless, childless future.

Cha Cha, who showed up in two episodes this month, was created by Kinetix one and a half years ago as a demo for its software-animation product Character Studio. The copyright-free electronic bambino was then cloned onto E-mails and home pages, spreading like spam. Its fancy footwork is best seen at http://www.nwlink.com/~xott/baby.htm. It also spins to the Bee Gees (http://www.sidelinedesign.com/netdance.html) and does the Macarena (http://www.tell-me.com/baby). In other words, this baby is really stepping out.