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‘Spaceballs’ rolls to TV

Brooks skein will take on recent sci-fi and fantasy pix

Mel Brooks’ movie “Spaceballs,” a wacky 1987 sendup of sci-fiers like “Star Wars,” is being retooled for the small screen via a three-way project involving the producer, MGM TV and little-known German company BFC.

Brooks is partnering with Berliner Film Co., whose principal pitched the idea to the producer some months ago, and with MGM, which owns the rights to the original movie. Idea is to deliver an animated TV series that takes on the latest wave of sci-fi and fantasy icons, including the “Star Wars” prequels and “The Lord of the Rings.”

“With all the fantasy stuff out there, there’s plenty of grist for our mill,” Brooks told Daily Variety, adding the project would be aimed at primetime, either network or cable.

Brooks said he’d be heavily involved with the production of the film version of his Broadway hit “The Producers” until June, at which time he could switch gears and concentrate more fully on “Spaceballs.” He’ll be working with his “Producers” collaborator Thomas Meehan, who co-wrote the “Spaceballs” movie, to produce the pilot and supervise the writing of the other episodes.

Brooks will again voice two of the returning characters, President Skroob and Yogurt. He’s also voicing a character in “Robots,” a Fox movie being prepped by the team that did “Ice Age.”

“I’m indefatigable because I’m short,” Brooks quipped. “I can move around more quickly than taller people.”

Under the agreement with Brooks, BFC and MGM will produce an hourlong pilot and 13 half-hour episodes.

In addition, the Lion will distribute the series in the U.S., Canada and internationally with the exception of Germany (where BFC will control the rights).

Brooks and BFC CEO Rainer Soehnlein will serve as exec producers of the series.

Company will be talking up the project at next week’s NATPE convention in Las Vegas.

Two-year-old BFC, which has offices in Berlin and Los Angeles, has more than 144 half-hours of kids’ programming in its portfolio, including hip-hop sci-fi toon series “Da Boom Crew,” which bowed in September as part of the Saturday morning lineup on Kids’ WB.

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