Emru Townsend: One of the things that's popped up in the last couple of years within animation because of the exceedingly loud exit of John Kricfalusi, and within the comics industry, is the issue of creators' rights--here you are, with your own idea, etc., but it's done within the Nickelodeon framework, once could say under their auspices, did you find any concessions had to be made anywhere along the way to fit...
Arlene Klasky: You know, in Rugrats, I have to tell you, they gave us so much creative freedom, they're just a really great outfit. I don't have anything bad to say about Nickelodeon, I really admire Gerry Laybourne for the way she runs the company. I really admire Herb Scannell, he's really sympathetic to the creator, and very thoughtful--both Gerry and Herb, to the creators. We've been given a lot of creative freedom. As time goes on, and there's big chunks of money being pushed through our studio, they do have concerns about the show, and the direction of the show, and they do want to get involved in the say-so of the creative issues. And sometimes we discuss things in a friendly manner, but basically they're just great. They're so open to edgy, offbeat stuff. They're fans of ours, so they, they... what can I say? [laughs]
I'm presuming that you don't find yourself bumping into the same Business Standards & Practices problems you might run into with someone like CBS or ABC or anything like that.
With CBS we do Santo Bugito, and CBS has been unbelievably great. I mean, almost no notes. Judy Price has been really an angel for us. We've never experienced anything like it. And Santo Bugito is a pretty strange show.
You know, the difference between a network and Nickelodeon is that Nickelodeon, what they'll do is when they buy a show, they pretty much will go the full track with it. They know from the beginning, that's sort of their M.O., that they want to strip it. Mainly because it's advantageous to them, they own it for the most part. And a network doesn't, and so we're a little bit more vulnerable in that arena, because they go only for ratings, and only ratings, and Nickelodeon waits for their ratings... and not only that, they play it over and over and over again, so they're going to get ratings. They truly know that it's repetitive stuff.
Up here, actually, we don't get Nickelodeon.
Really? Why is that?
It's just one of those things. The CRTC--The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission--regulates what does and doesn't come in. We have this thing about Canadian content.
Oh, right, sort of like European content. So how do you get Rugrats?
We have a station up here, called YTV, which is the Canadian equivalent of Nickelodeon.
And so Nickelodeon sells it to them?
Yeah, we actually get quite a few Nick shows up here. For a while, for the better part of last year, we were getting Rugrats on a more than daily basis.
I know, it's frightening, isn't it? [laughs]
Well, it was certainly good for me. [laughs] Prior to that, the only time I saw Rugrats was when I visited the States.
It's amazing to me. It's on all the time. I can go anywhere and drop that name to any kid on any playground, and it's their favorite show. I hear that every day, "Oh, that's my kid's favorite show." I can't believe it.