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Mediatrip shows ‘Rat’ stuff

Grammer aims for humor, staying current

“Frasier’s” Kelsey Grammer, who has already lent his voice to “The Simpsons,” has decided to become a little more animated, inking an exclusive deal with MediaTrip.com to create “Gary the Rat,” as well as a series of other animated comedy strips for the Netcaster.

In his first project for the Web, Grammer will produce the series, as well as future dot-com content through his Paramount Studios-based production company Grammnet.

Thirteen episodes, each about three minutes, have been produced. More will be created should the series take off among Netizens.

Paramount Network Television receives a first look at “Rat” after its bow in the fall to potentially turn the Web strip into a traditional TV show.

“The goal is to make the episodes as funny as we can and get the next order,” Grammer told Daily Variety. “We also want it to be a step up from what’s out there now and try to broaden the Internet viewing audience.”

“Gary the Rat” follows the life of high-powered Manhattan attorney, Gary (voiced by Grammer), who wakes up one day as a six-foot rat and finds he has become even more appealing to his clients.

It also features “Johnny Bugz,” Gary’s nemesis exterminator, as well as other supporting roles currently being cast.

MediaTrip — which serves as the official online partner for Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios — will also create an interactive arena for the show called “The Bug Cave,” built around the characters and plotlines, featuring games, contests and other content. A feline character named Boots will host the area, providing acerbic commentary on Johnny’s weekly foiled assassination attempts on Gary.

“Gary the Rat” was created by writer-producers Mark and Rob Cullen.

MediaTrip will produce, with Grammnet and the Cullen brothers exec producing.

Joanne Weiss, veep of production for Grammnet, who brought the project to MediaTrip , will co-produce.

Grammer said “Rat” had been shopped to a number of dot coms before inking with MediaTrip.

It’s an honor

“We are honored to work with Kelsey as a content development partner and look forward to creating compelling comedy content on the Internet,” MediaTrip.com CEO Austin Harrison said. “I know Kelsey’s phenomenal track record for creating enduring characters that people follow will transcend to the Internet audience.”

MediaTrip receives first-look rights on future Grammnet and Cullen brothers Web projects to partner for offline opportunities.

“I’m very excited about ‘The Rat,'” Grammer said. “It’s one of the best characters I’ve come across in years, and I think he has a very fruitful future.”

Grammer said that while he doesn’t consider himself a Web head, creating “Gary the Rat” was a way to entertain in a new medium.

“The idea of staying current in my mind is very important to me as an artist,” Grammer said. “I’m not a dinosaur anymore but I’m certainly not fluent with a lot of what’s going on. I’m thrilled about working on the cutting edge of entertainment.”

Grammer recently completed work on New Line’s “Fifteen Minutes,” starring Robert De Niro and Edward Burns. He recently received his 10th Emmy nomination for his role in “Frasier.”

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