PBS collars big dog

Kids' classic 'Clifford' to get toon treatment

“Clifford the Big Red Dog” has pawed its way onto PBS’ fall 2000 slate.

The new kiddie animated strip is based on the 39-year-old “Clifford” Scholastic book series penned by Norman Bridwell.

Show will be toplined by John Ritter as the voice of Clifford, Kel Mitchell (“Keenan & Kel”) as the dog’s buddy T-Bone, Grey DeLisle (“Rugrats”) as Clifford’s best friend Emily Elizabeth, and Cree Summer as Cleo.

Unveiled Friday during PBS’ annual press tour in Pasadena, the 40 half-hour “Clifford” segs, exec produced by Deborah Forte, will be part of the PBS Kids programming block.

“Clifford is one of American children’s favorite pets and he will bring the job of reading alive on PBS Kids,” said PBS senior veep of programming services John Wilson.

Grownup fare

Also heading for PBS’ lineup, but aimed at the grownup crowd, is “PBS Showcase,” a series of performance programs.

“Showcase” will bow April 5 with an episode featuring the religious-themed works of Andrew Lloyd Webber and the TV preem of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The series has been skedded to run 3-4 times per year.

And during its second episode, “Showcase” will debut on television the docu “Buena Vista Social Club.”

Also announced was an animated children’s skein following the American Revolution — “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” produced by Dic Entertainment; a public affairs series about the dreams of diverse Americans called “Inside the Box,” part of PBS’ Democracy Project Election 2000 programming; and six new segs of “Sister Wendy,” who journeys to various art museums.

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