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Gabor Csupo
"We don't want to imitate."
Emru Townsend: You worked on the first popular prime-time series in thirty years, The Simpsons, and then, working with producing Rugrats, which... I don't remember, does it come on prime time on Nickelodeon?

Gabor Csupo: Well, I think it sometimes comes on prime time, but you know Nickelodeon, it's not really a network in the sense that you would call it prime time, but I think they show it at eight o'clock or sometime in the afternoon, and it has very nice ratings.

Up here in Canada, on YTV, for the last year it was showing in prime time, I believe on Monday and Wednesday nights. It was also showing during the day every day, but Monday and Wednesday it was also showing in the evening. This year, Rugrats' evening slot has been pretty much replaced by Santo Bugito, but hey, that's another one of yours anyway, so...

[laughs]

And you also do Duckman.

Yes, on USA, at late night.

So for the most part you've contributed quite a bit to the perceived boom in animation beyond the usual "child-friendly" zones of Saturday morning and the after-school sort of thing. Do you see expanding beyond that at all? Maybe someday being able to produce something that doesn't even have to nominally nod towards children? Because Rugrats and Santo Bugito, while adults will definitely enjoy it, still have to sort of nod towards a child audience.

Yeah, and I'm not sure if you're familiar with the new Nickelodeon show we have, Real Monsters...

I only saw the one bit at [The] Ottawa [International Animation Festival] '94, we don't get it here yet.

It's also becoming a very highly-rated show for Nickelodeon, that's like the second-highest rated show right now. And merchandising on it and ancillary markets are really big. We'll be coming out with video games and toys and games and all this kind of stuff, so it looks like it's catching on really big. But to answer your question, we're always trying to just keep quality-oriented stuff, and I think we still want to show that prime-time animation can sustain in American television if it's well-produced, and unfortunately nothing really stayed on the tubes more than a few weeks, outside of The Simpsons, in prime-time. And, you know, Duckman is not really a prime-time show, it's more like a late-night show on USA, because it's strictly for adults. So, nothing's succeeded since The Simpsons, and we want to come in with another show, and actually we have projects in development with a few networks right now. I think something will go and then hopefully we it won't have to be a Simpsons rip-off to survive if it's fun and well-produced. Because we don't want to imitate.

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Originally printed in fps #8 (Winter 1996)
Eight people - eight lives - one universal groove