Wang Dang Sweet Pootang Christmas special scratched by CBS
Network seeking edgier fare for this year's Yuletide telethon.
Like a grouse falling to earth after being blasted by a 12 guage, the Motor City Madman's pet Christmas project has hit the cutting room floor of the CBS editing room.
"We liked everything about what Ted did in Wang Dang Sweet Pootang Christmas," says Luke Blintz, Co-assistant producer for CBS's Branch Office, Yuletide Broadcasting of Non-secular Entertainment or BOYBONE. "No one is disputing that Nuge can whip a crowd into a Christmas frenzy, but we're just moving in a different direction."
"We poured our heart and soul into this project," moans Copperhead Venom, spokesman for Nugent's Cat Scratch Holiday Productions, and personal hunting buddy of Ted's. "Years of work went into creating a gala special for the whole family." A sneak peek at the final cut revealed the stirring chanson - Great White Buffalo Christmas featuring the Madman fronting for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. As wholesome as throwing snowballs at oncoming traffic, guest-rocker Brett Michael late of Poison, provides the spine-chills with his Savior-flavored power ballad Every Rose has its Crown of Thorns. 80's hair band refugees couldn't maintain control of their eye makeup after hearing the song in focus groups.
Not to be pigeon-holed like so many other heavy-metal Christmas specials, WDSP Christmas stretches its legs with skits filled with hilarity and hi jinks. Highlighting the variety show humor is the pants-wetting, milk-through-the-nose-funny version of A Christmas Carol where Scrooge - played by veteran v-show mainstay Harvey Korman - finally gets his when Nugent, playing Tiny Tim, screeches "God bless us Mutha Fucka," and blows Ebeneezer's head clean off with his Browning over-and-under disguised as a crutch. A Curt Cobain video montage is used to depict the spirit of Christmas yet to come, providing an eerie and unsettling twist in this Dickensian rock out.
Outdoors men are favored with a little video eggnog when the folks at Ted's hunting preserve fit a 12-point white-tailed buck with a Santa hat and release it into a clearing where Nuge waits silently to give it a double-lung-er with a flaming arrow. Also, Ted cooks up some new Christmas traditions with his own recipes for gezbok and squirrel.
"What can I say?" muses Blintz on the untimely demise of Nugent's special. "The bar has been raised so high in the world of holiday programming that there would naturally be casualties." Along with the cornerstone programs that have anchored CBS's holiday line up for the last half century, some updated specials are in the offing for this Noel '04. Dan Rather weighs in with his politically insightful Twas the Night Before Christmas in Fallujah. Like a pit bull with a Bruno Magli, he asks Mookie al Satr the questions, and finds out what everyone wants to know about how he'll be spending his holidays this year. Also, Rather adds enough colorful nuggets of Bush-bashing in this 2-hour special to fill a fruitcake as big as his own head.
Rankin and Bass - masters of disproportionate puppet animation -resurface with a modern Christmas tale with a message - The Year Santa Quit Smoking. Pay close attention to the Heat Miser's triumphant return to television as he constantly serves Kringle double scotches and blows that smooth Carolina smoke in his face. Laugh out loud funny and if it saves one life it would not have been aired in vain.
The Olson Twins and Tracey Gold, former lightweight TV heavyweights, combine public service and Christmas cheer in The Magic Finger. It's a modern parable with a three wise-women wrinkle gifting the viewer with gold, frankincense and hurl. A must see for any confused pre-teen.
"Nugent wasn't the only one to feel the sting of competitive holiday programming," Blintz points out. "Even Walter Cronkite's Miracle on 34th Street: 100 Years of Reruns was bumped for Ashton Kuchar's sleigh ride through the airwaves - Getting My Trim on This Christmas."
Programming may change but the one holiday constant is that as long as one TV antenna glistens in the night like the Star of David, little kids will sit in front of their televisions, breathe through their mouths, and absorb all the Christmas mythology ignoring any doubts or questions. So keep trying Ted. Rudolf can't possibly keep his stranglehold on the children forever.