Thursday, April 2, 2015

What Were They Thinking?: "Father of the Pride"

When Dreamworks Animation went public, its investors believed that they were buying into a company that was stable with an evergreen catalog of films. Unfortunately, the public wasn't as enraptured with Dreamworks' Shrek as it had been just a few years prior. Dreamworks needed a stable source of cash now that it had investors who would be closely monitoring its profit statements. They decided to do this by creating an animated television show that could provide a profitable stream of revenue. Their chosen project was the bizarre Father of the Pride.

Father of the Pride would be based on the eccentric Seigfried and Roy tiger act, a Las Vegas mainstay. Rather than focus on the flamboyant duo, however, the show would focus on anthropomorphized versions of the Tigers and their life on the Vegas strip. Just looking at the "family picture" shows everything one would need to know about the formulaic Dreamworks plotlines one was bound to encounter.

The show's production was announced to great fanfare in 2003. This would be a huge "Simpsons-esque" production, centered around these lovable tigers. Sadly, the first strike against the show would occur a few months later when one of the Tigers mauled Roy during a show. NBC almost canceled the project then and there, but it was kept alive; Dreamworks and NBC had invested far too much money in the show to scrap it.

The show premiered in 2004, the most expensive show on the Fall schedule of that year. It was an instant bust, both financially and critically.  With a per episode cost of two and a half million dollars, it was an expensive failure. Dreamworks would not ever again try such an ambitious project.