Disney is developing for ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney" a remake of "The Wizard of Oz" that will feature Kermit the Frog as the Scarecrow, Miss Piggy as the Wicked Witch of the West, other adorable Muppets playing various residents of the Land of Oz, and singers Ashanti and Queen Latifah playing Dorothy and Auntie Em, respectively. Oh, and Quentin Tarantino will play himself, which is to say the director of R-rated ultra-violent flicks like "Kill Bill," "Pulp Fiction" and "Reservoir Dogs."
Here's a good place to mention that the Walt Disney Co. distributes Tarantino's flicks through its Miramax Films subsidiary. Disney also owns ABC, and Disney recently purchased the Muppets characters from the Jim Henson Co.
Think of "The Muppets Wizard of Oz" as one big Walt Disney Co. product-placement orgy.
Let's set aside the discussion as to whether it's wise for Disney to insert a guy perhaps best known for the "Pulp Fiction" scene where a man's brains are blown all over the interior of a car into a remake of an L. Frank Baum children's classic that stars some of the most beloved children's puppets ever, and then to air that remake on one of the most beloved children's TV franchises ever. If we have that discussion about marketing Tarantino to kids, I'll only start to sound like my mother and that would just be sad.
In fairness, we should at least mention that there are those who feel Tarantino's flicks are perfectly okay for children.
Tarantino, for instance.
At the London premiere for "Kill Bill, Vol. 1" back in the fall of '03, for instance, he assured reporters that kids would love the flick and he encouraged children to see it, the Associated Press reported, even though it had been given an 18 rating in Britain, which meant no one younger than 18 was allowed into the theater.
"Boys will have a great time, girls will have a dose of girl power," he said on the red carpet.
(Of course, at that same news conference, Tarantino also said he was especially proud of the movie's gang rape scene. See -- that is so something my mother would say.)
But here's another nagging question: How do you work a guy who's playing a guy who makes R-rated ultra-violent flicks into the story line of "The Wizard of Oz"?
Turns out it's simple. When you get to that fight scene between Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West -- you remember the "fight scene," don't you? -- you cut to Tarantino pitching to Kermit how the fight scene should be done.
This role for Tarantino, the Hollywood Reporter gushed recently when it broke the news of the project, was "written specifically for the 'Kill Bill' director." After which, the guy who's in charge of movies and miniseries at ABC, Quinn Taylor, gushed to the Hollywood Reporter, "I'm beside myself."
"To have these mega-talented actresses, Ashanti and Queen Latifah, and Quentin Tarantino's involvement is an example for something the Muppets have done really well, breaking that fourth wall," he added.
About 1.5 million people caught Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's chat with Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" Tuesday night -- the Comedy Central show's most watched Tuesday telecast ever.
That's not as many people as the 1.9 million who tuned in earlier this month to catch former president Bill Clinton appear on Stewart's show.
On the other hand, Kerry's appearance doubled the talk/comedy show's "Crank Yankers" lead-in, while the broadcast featuring Clinton had fumbled 25 percent of its lead-in, a rerun of WB's "Blue Collar TV."