Comedy Central considering cartoon series about Jesus

By Michael Cavna
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 7, 2010

Muhammad can't show his face around Comedy Central. Yet the network considers a cartoon Christ and sees that it is good.

In announcing nearly two-dozen projects it has in the pipeline, Comedy Central said Thursday that it is developing an animated show titled "JC." As in, Jesus Christ. As in, an animated show about Christ as "regular guy" -- just a dude who moves to New York to escape the shadow of his "powerful but apathetic father."

In other words: Don't expect the show's title character to be shrouded in black "Censored!" bars or quasi-depicted in a bear suit -- as occurred last month when Comedy Central's show "South Park" toyed with attempts to satirize Muhammad. The network is again signaling that it's comfortable with satirizing some religions' prophets through cartoon, but not others.

"In general, comedy in its purest form always makes some people uncomfortable," said Kent Alterman, Comedy Central's chief of original programming.

Comedy Central itself, however, last month appeared uncomfortable with religious controversy and talk of violence against "South Park's" creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, from the New York-based Islamic group Revolution Muslim. Some Muslims consider any depiction of Muhammad to be blasphemous.

Stone and Parker said Comedy Central censored attempts to depict Muhammad and edited a speech about intimidation. In last month's episodes, Comedy Central reportedly did not edit the show's depictions of Christ.

"South Park" itself has long satirized Christ; in the 1990s, its first two prominent animated shorts were "Jesus vs. Frosty" and the viral "Jesus vs. Santa."

The production company behind "JC" is Reveille, which has produced "The Office" and "Ugly Betty." In general, most shows in development never make it to air.

The Hollywood Reporter contributed to this report.

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