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''Ren & Stimpy'' is resurrected

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The Ren & Stimpy Show

Judging by what passes for prime-time entertainment on a typical episode of ”Fear Factor” or ”Dog Eat Dog,” the early-’90s gross-out cartoon series ”Ren & Stimpy” was a decade ahead of its time. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, the show is coming back to TV with all new episodes written by John Kricfalusi, the animator who created the series only to be ousted from it after a dispute with kiddie channel Nickelodeon. The series will debut in the spring on TNN, as part of that network’s new adult animation block.

Viacom, parent company of TNN, Nickelodeon, and MTV, wrested control of ”Ren & Stimpy” from Kricfalusi during its second season on Nickelodeon in 1992. The show aired for three more seasons without him on Nickelodeon and MTV. In 1995, he filed a $100 million copyright infringement suit against the media giant, whose out-of-court settlement left Viacom owning the rights to the hot-tempered chihuahua Ren and naive cat Stimpy. But with TNN planning a block of adult-oriented toons for next spring — including clothes-doffing superheroine ”Stripperella” (voiced by Pamela Anderson) and lawyer-turned-rodent ”Gary the Rat” (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) — the network apparently felt ”Ren” was a natural fit, and so was Kricfalusi.

The animator says he and most of his original writers and artists are returning. ”The whole gang is back. It’s just like the old days — only ruder!” he tells the Reporter. He notes that the show can be more mature now, if that’s the right way to describe a series involving snot and hairballs. ”It’s going to evolve, and honestly, everybody can draw better now,” Kricfalusi says.

The series will premiere next spring with all 52 original episodes, followed by six new ones. TNN may also commission a full-length ”Ren & Stimpy” TV movie.

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