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NBC Cancels Protested Cartoon

March 30, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ Even God gets canceled if he can’t pull in the ratings.

NBC has pulled the plug on ``God, the Devil and Bob,″ the cartoon that several network affiliates refused to run because of its controversial subject matter, the network said Thursday.

The cancellation was because of low ratings, not because of the boycott by its affiliates, spokeswoman Maria Battaglia said.

The midseason replacement comedy featured God as a character, drawn to look suspiciously like the late Grateful Dead singer Jerry Garcia, who meets Bob in a bar and helps him tackle moral dilemmas.

But the show ran into another deity _ Regis Philbin. Last week, ``God, the Devil and Bob″ drew just under 6 million viewers, an audience one-fifth the size of ABC’s competing ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire″ on Tuesday night.

Only four episodes of the cartoon were aired.

A religious advocacy group denounced the show for its ``tasteless and trivial portrayal of God.″ Nearly two dozen of NBC’s 220 affiliates decided not to run it.

NBC didn’t seem to mind, figuring any attention helps. But the show received mediocre reviews, and audiences didn’t bother seeking it out.

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