MTV goes ‘Ape’ for puppets

Network greenlights 'Grey the Bunny' spinoff

MTV has greenlit puppet-populated project “Warren the Ape,” a spinoff of erstwhile Fox and IFC series “Greg the Bunny,” for a 2010 launch.

“Bunny” creators Spencer Chinoy, Sean Baker and Dan Milano will exec produce “Warren,” with Milano performing as the lead puppet character, a brash, out-of-work actor who is trying to revive his Hollywood career after “Bunny” was canceled. Given a 12-episode order, series will be a mock celeb-reality show.

“We’re kind of making fun of ourselves a little bit at MTV,” said East Coast senior veep of series development Brent Haynes. The idea is that Warren “has fallen so far from grace, all he can get is an MTV reality show.”

Production has begun on the spinoff, which was ordered based not on a formal pilot but footage that was shot for series consideration and won’t air.

“I immediately loved the idea,” Haynes said. “We just gave them a bit of money and sent them out in the field, (to) give us an idea of what the concept would be. They came back and delivered a short piece that blew us away.”

IFC aired a series of “Bunny” shorts before Fox ordered 13 episodes as a sitcom to air in 2002. Canceled after one season, “Bunny” returned to IFC in various formats. The show’s creators broached the spinoff idea this year.

Other exec producers for the series are George Plamondon and Betsy Schechter for Picture Shack Entertainment and Kevin Chinoy and Francesca Silvestri for Freestyle. Seth Green, featured in “Bunny,” might make cameo appearances in “Warren” but is not directly involved in the production, Haynes said.

On a mission to boost its live-action scripted slate, MTV has most recently moved forward on “Hard Times,” about a 15-year-old late-blooming high school student, along with selected film projects that could serve as backdoor pilots.

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