My kids love VeggieTales. I love VeggieTales. So imagine my happiness when I learned that NBC started airing VeggieTales on Saturday mornings. I should have known it was too good to be true. The network edited out some references to God so that VeggieTales would “comply with the network’s broadcast standards.”
“VeggieTales” creator Phil Vischer, who was responsible for readying episodes for network broadcast, said he didn’t know until just weeks before the shows were to begin airing that nonhistorical references to God and the Bible would have to be removed.
Had he known how much he’d have to change the show – including Bob and Larry’s tagline, “Remember kids, God made you special, and he loves you very much,” that concludes each episode – Vischer said he wouldn’t have signed on for the network deal.
“I would have declined partly because I knew a lot of fans would feel like it was a sellout or it was done for money,” he said, adding that “there weren’t enough shows that could work well without those (religious) references.” All programs set to air on NBC must meet the network’s broadcast standards, said Alan Wurtzel, a broadcast standards executive.
“VeggieTales” was treated the same as any other program, he said.
“There’s a fine line of universally accepted religious values,” he said. “We don’t get too specific with any particular religious doctrine or any particular religious denomination.” Vischer said he understands the network’s position.
“‘VeggieTales’ is religious, NBC is not,” he said. “I want to focus people more on ‘Isn’t it cool that Bob and Larry are on television.”‘
Marks said the network is “committed to the positive messages and universal values” of the show and expects “Veggie-
Tales” to continue airing.
But Bozell isn’t satisfied.
“If NBC is so concerned about that four-letter-word God, then they shouldn’t have taken ‘Veg-
gieTales,”‘ he said. “This just documents the disconnect between Hollywood and the real world.”
Yes, it does.
VeggieTales is keeping a positive attitude regarding NBC’s editing of the show. Here’s a portion of a statement from the VeggieTales website:
When we were presented with the opportunity to reach a mass television audience, we knew that certain religious references would not be allowed on a children’s block under current TV network guidelines. And we recognized that we were not going to change the rules of network television overnight.
In light of this, “Can Big Idea continue to fulfill its mission of enhancing the spiritual and moral fabric of society through creative media?” became the question we had to answer. Can VeggieTales make a difference on Saturday morning? We think so.
Too many TV programs introduce kids to amoral and cynical behaviors that parents find unsuitable. Big Idea’s VeggieTales, LarryBoy and 3-2-1 Penguins! are instead telling kids it’s cool to stand by your principles, to tell the truth, to forgive others and a host of other valuable life lessons.
Recognizing that we are making a difference to Saturday morning TV by bringing programming that is “absent of bad and has a presence of good” to homes across America, would we still prefer to air the un-edited versions of VeggieTales on TV? Absolutely! It’s there where we’re able to share a Bible verse and encourage kids by telling them God made them special and He loves them very much. For now, we’re hoping a new cross section of kids will fall in love with Bob & Larry, go deeper into VeggieTales and eventually fall in love with the God who made them. It’s the same “big idea” we’ve worked on for over 13 years.
Hat tip: Vent with Michelle Malkin