ABC has inked in “The Critic”– an animated series from James L. Brooks and the producer tandem that’s run “The Simpsons” the past two seasons — as a midseason order for the 1993-94 term.
The show, about a slovenly movie critic, will rely heavily on spoofs of current films, and will feature Jon Lovitz as the voice of the title character, with Judith Ivey (voicing his mother) among the supporting players.
Brooks, Al Jean and Mike Reiss will serve as exec producers of the show, which comes from Brooks’ Gracie Films in association with Columbia Pictures TV.
Film Roman, which handles animation on “The Simpsons,” will also perform those chores on the new series, with Rich Moore (who has directed numerous “Simpsons” installments) serving as supervising director.
Despite the long lead time on producing an animated series, Jean said the show (which has a 13-episode order) could premiere as early as late January. Reiss added that thus far preparation has gone smoothly but acknowledged that the animation process is always “fraught with peril.”
“The Critic” was a relatively low-key addition to the development process for next season and was briefly considered as a live-action entry before the producers decided to go the animation route, in part to comply with Lovitz’s schedule.
Although the character and the humor will be acerbic, Jean described the tone as being “tamer than ‘The Simpsons.’ ”
The show is the latest under Brooks’ multi-series relationship with ABC, which also scheduled another Gracie comedy, the Judith Light-William Devane series “Phenom,” in the web’s coveted Tuesday at 8:30 slot. A third Gracie pilot , a re-worked version of “Sibs,” titled “Related by Birth,” failed to make the cut.