Bill & Ted?s prime-time trip
Fox sitcom joins cartoon on TV

By Brian Donlon - USA TODAY

NEW YORK - When Bill & Ted?s Bogus Journey ends its run in theatres, it will be just the beginning of another excellent adventure.

The cool dudes from San Dimas are making their way to TV this year, in a Fox sitcom and animated series, both named after the original 1989 movie, Bill & Ted?s Excellent Adventure.

The Saturday cartoon, which the Fox Children?s Network picked up from CBS, begins Sept. 7.  Taping for the midseason sitcom gets under way Aug. 25.

"By the time we get on the air, the box-office business for Bill & Ted?s Bogus Journey should be ending and there should be an appetite to fill," says Clifton Campbell, the sitcom?s executive producer.

The animated version features the voices of the movie?s stars: Keanu Reeves (Ted), Alex Winter (Bill) and George Carlin (Rufus).  On CBS, the adventures were like the first movie - the dudes doing history stuff.  Story lines were sometimes repetitive.

Fox?s cartoon version has Bill and Ted traveling inside the human body, across space, into literature.  Says FCN President Margaret Loesch, "We have a luxury CBS did not have: We have hindsight."

The sitcom has signed two largely unknown actors: Evan Richards (Bill) and Christopher Kennedy (Ted).  Comic Rick Overton plays Rufus, the awesome dude from the future who serves as the duo?s guide.

Campbell says the sitcom, too, will put a twist on where Bill and Ted?s traveling phone booth goes.  "They can go back to San Dimas and go through the cable system there and wind up on a soap opera," Campbell says.  "Ted is going to shrink to the size of a California raisin.  We are going to expand on the thought of Bill and Ted as fish out of water."

Campbell believes that the appeal of Bill & Ted is bodaciously simple.  He chalks it up to their simplicity, honesty and goodness.  And they are fun.

While some bogus TV executives may argue that Bill & Ted are strictly for young dudes, Campbell disagrees.

We will have a core audience which has been described as kids, but it touches the kid in all of us," Campbell says.

He adds: "My wife has an MBA from Michigan.  She is as gray-flannel as they get.  She saw the first movie and thought it was hysterical.  She loved it."

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