Fox Kids inks deal with ‘Ren’ creator

'The Ripping Friends' skedded for fall 2000

Happy, happy, joy, joy: Offbeat animator and “Ren and Stimpy” creator John Kricfalusi is developing a new half-hour animated skein with Fox Kids Network for fall 2000.

“The Ripping Friends” follows four over-the-top superheroes who are characterized as the “most macho men alive.” Kricfalusi would provide the voice of at least one character in the animated series, which Fox said may be picked up for 13 episodes.

The “ripping” in the show’s title refers to the characters’ expression for taking on bad guys, said Fox Kids G.M. Maureen Smith and vice president of programming Roland Poindexter.

Kricfalusi most recently created “A Day in the Life of Ranger Smith” for Cartoon Network. The special took a demented bent on classic Hanna-Barbera animated characters, including Yogi Bear and Boo Boo.

But “The Ripping Friends” would be Kricfalusi’s first TV series since he was ousted by Nickelodeon after the first season of “Ren and Stimpy.”

Generally admired and hugely influential among animators, Kricfalusi has a reputation for being difficult to work with.

In recent years Kricfalusi and his company, Spumco, have created animated projects on the Web, such as “The Goddamn George Liquor Program.”

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