Jim Carrey joins the kids-show lineup

By Kate Meyers
Updated March 10, 1995 at 05:00 AM EST

Being young, rubbery, and Dumb has not only rocketed Jim Carrey to box office stardom, it’s made him the hottest thing in kids TV since the Power Rangers. Next fall, the Saturday-morning lineup will include animated versions of Dumb and Dumber (ABC) and The Mask (CBS). And in January, CBS will also debut Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

”He struck a nerve as a new Jerry Lewis,” says Mike Lazzo, head of programming and production at the Cartoon Network, ”a big, exaggerated, dim-witted, slapstick personality. It’s a natural to move that into cartoons.” Judy Price, CBS’ VP of children’s programs and daytime specials, agrees. ”Ace is a perfect property to do detective stories with characters. It’s a modern-day Scooby-Doo,” she says, adding that CBS swooped in and grabbed Ace in the middle of production company Morgan Creek’s discussions with several networks. Better still, the Ace cartoon producers also garnered the rights to Carrey’s likeness for their series — giving their show an edge over Dumb and Dumber, whose characters will not resemble Carrey or costar Jeff Daniels. But Bob Friedman, president of New Line Television, Dumb‘s producer, thinks ”likeness is not an issue. The series will be about sensibility and style, and we hope it will communicate the level of dumbness that the feature was communicating.” As for The Mask, Price insists that nailing Carrey’s likeness was not necessary for the show, since the title character is already a cartoon at heart.

While the networks hope to gain a Saturday-morning ratings boost and advertising dollars, what’s in it for Hollywood’s $10 million man? Initially, not much. ”He’s not involved in the cartoons,” says a spokeswoman. ”But I won’t discuss his financial matters.” If the shows take off, however, Carrey’s next juggernaut will storm the aisles of Toys ‘R’ Us.