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My Dear Friend Tony,

I've always liked your blog, most of the time I don't agree with it. But when I saw your comments about NBCs editing God out of Veggie Tales, the series, I had to reply.

Before you casually state that Phil Vischer "lost his company to bankruptcy," you might want to take the time to read Vischer's long, sad tale on how he lost Big Idea, to gain perspective on it.

Here's Vischer's POV about it:

"As I mentioned in my prior post, I'm not at all happy with the edits. I didn't know I'd need to make them when I agreed to produce the show, and I considered dropping out when I found out just how much would need to be removed. I decided to continue primarily as a favor to Classic Media and my friends at Big Idea, who would have been in a major pickle if I had abandoned the project just a few weeks before the first air date. (We didn't find out about the need for the cuts until early August, about two weeks before delivering the first episode.) So did Classic Media or Big Idea sell out? Not really, I don't think, because the depth of the cuts came as a surprise to them as well. Apparently one department at NBC was telling them one thing, and then, once they were committed to delivering the show, another department told them something completely different. They could have pulled VeggieTales from the deal at that point and swapped some other show (like Lassie or something else from Classic's library), but they thought the exposure for Bob and Larry was worth it. Would I have made the same decision? I'm not sure. That's a tough call. When a general market distributor promised in 1994 to take VeggieTales into Wal-Mart if we would remove God from the show, I declined. The increased exposure wasn't worth the loss of the show's primary purpose - teaching kids about God. (At the end of the day VeggieTales isn't a show about 'values', it's a show about God.)

So is this any different? Yes, sort of, because the edited shows won't end up on store shelves. There won't be two different versions of each VeggieTales video - one with God, and one without. These shows will only air on NBC, Telemundo and Pax (now called "Ion"), and as soon as they're done with them, I'm hoping Big Idea will put them back the way they should be. Was it a 'sell-out' to do this deal? Ultimately you'll have to make that call."

If this is the case, then I'm fairly okay with the edits NBC made. If kids love Veggie Tales, their parents will go buy the videos and find the real message - the message that made VT one of the most successful children's video series' in history.

Vischer still writes episodes and voices several of the characters. And was approached specifically to create the new opening for the show. So he is most definitely involved in the creative vision of this long running series. So to say that he no "longer controls anything about Veggie Tales" isn't entirely accurate, Tony, and I'm surprised you wouldn't have found that out.

I also want to point out that Christians are also fans of the original Veggie Tales series. If Star Wars fans get up and complain that Lucas made Guido shoot first instead of Han, is it beyond the pale for fans of Veggie Tales to complain about the editing out of the very soul of one of their beloved series?

And as far as NBC worrying about parents calling to complain about religious messages to their kids, what is so upsetting about the phrase "God loves you special and he loves you very much!" And it's not like there isn't precedence for using the "G" word on network Television. I didn't see Les Monves scream the sky is falling over TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL. In fact, he was probably praising the lord all the way to the bank over the ratings. So much so he green lit "Joan of Arcadia."

And if that doesn't suffice, I submit the tired old liberal counter argument when Christians complain about TV content - your TV has an on/off button, use it.

ps = Aaron Sorkin's anti-Christian bigotry can be read about on my blog Studio 60 isn't the first time Sorkin has used a whipping stick on the faithful.


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