NBC’S ‘Pride’ hears voices

Groff, Katzenberg to exec produce show

HOLLYWOOD — John Goodman is returning to TV as the lead voice in “Father of the Pride,” DreamWorks Television’s planned CGI-animated skein for NBC.

Also signing up to lend their vocal talents to the fall 2004 skein: “Curb Your Enthusiam” star Cheryl Hines, veteran comic scribe/thesp Carl Reiner and Orlando Jones (“Drumline.”)

Casting comes as DreamWorks TV, under co-toppers Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, complete their first development seasons since the studio aligned with NBC Studios. Producing just a handful of pilots, DreamWorks snagged series orders for the buzzworthy Monday hour “Las Vegas” and the ABC midseason drama “Line of Fire” (with production partner Touchstone Television.)

Perhaps more importantly, DreamWorks snagged second season orders for Fox laffer “Oliver Beene” ( a co-prod with 20th) and “Boomtown” (a co-prod with NBC Studios.)

“We feel like we’ve laid some good groundwork for the future,” Frank said. The hardest thing is to keep the shows on the air, which is why we really appreciate NBC and Fox’s enthusiasm and excitement for the projects and giving us a chance to have that sophomore surge.”

As for “Pride,” Goodman will play Larry, the hard-working papa lion at the center of “Father of the Pride.” Skein, which has a 13-seg on-air commitment from the Peacock and an anticipated fall 2004 premiere, is a “Shrek”-like primetime CGI toon about a family of white lions who work as performers in the Las Vegas act of illusionists Siegfried & Roy (Daily Variety, April 14.)

Hines will Larry’s wife, Kate. Reiner is set to play Kate’s father (who’s frequently at odds with Larry), while Jones will supply the voice of Snack, a trouble-attracting gopher who’s also Larry’s best friend.

Jonathan Groff (“Late Night with Conan O’Brien”) and Peter Mehlman (“Seinfeld”) have already sketched out most of the characters in “Pride,” a pet project of DreamWorks partner Jeffrey Katzenberg. Groff will serve as showrunner and write the pilot; he and Katzenberg will exec produce. Jon Pollack (“Just Shoot Me”) has also come on board as exec producer.

“Pride” is expected to be one of NBC’s tentpoles in fall 2004 as the Peacock begins its first season without “Friends,” and, most likely, without “Frasier.”

In addition to playing Dan Conner in ABC’s “Roseanne,” Goodman’s feature credits include “The Big Lebowski,” “The Babe” and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” He’s also a toon vet, supplying voices for “Monster’s Inc.” and “The Jungle Book II.” Goodman will be seen next in helmer Larry Charles’ upcoming feature “Masked & Anonymous.”

Hines plays Larry David’s wife on HBO’s Golden Globe-winning laffer “Curb.” She’ll be seen this summer opposite Peter Gallagher in cabler Oxygen’s first original telepic, “A Tale of Two Wives,” and has a cameo opposite Jennifer Aniston and Ben Stiller in scribe John Hamburg’s untitled romantic feature for Universal/Jersey. Thesp is repped by ICM and Principato-Young.Reiner’s recent acting credits include “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Fatal Instinct.” Jones’ credits include “Magnolia,” “Biker Boyz” and “The Time Machine.” He’s also set to launch his own latenight talker for cabler FX this summer.

CAA reps Goodman, Reiner and Jones; Reiner is also repped by George Shapiro.

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