Bush downsized for cartoon satire

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Comedy Central has ordered Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States, a cartoon satire that reimagines President Bush and key executives in his administration as elementary school misfits.

The title character is surrounded by close pals like Lil' Cheney, who grumbles unintelligibly, and Lil' Condi, who pines for Lil' Bush and does his homework for him.

Bush is not without its risque moments. When Lil' Bush's school serves falafel instead of hot dogs for lunch in one episode, he and his pals torture the cafeteria employees with methods made famous during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Six episodes from writer-producer Donick Cary (The Simpsons) have been ordered to air on Comedy Central next year.

Bush got its start in September as six five-minute clips offered by Amp'd Mobile, a US-based wireless service that packages video entertainment programming with its cell-phone service.

Bush represents an unlikely reversal of the one-way flow of programming from television to other digital platforms, where networks and studios are attempting to extend franchises in search of new revenue. That said, many a programmer has cited the Internet and mobile arenas as potential breeding grounds for fare that could translate back to TV.

"What's exciting as a developer is that content can come from so many places these days," said Lauren Corrao, executive vice president of original programming and development at Comedy Central.

Amp'd is licensing Bush to Comedy Central while retaining rights to air the series on its Comedy Central-branded video channel as well as an exclusive hold on wallpaper and ringtones that emerge from the series in any region Amp'd operates.

"We looked at it as an experiment to use mobile as an incubator that would pop to television," said Seth Cummings, senior VP of content development and programming at Amp'd. "It's a huge validator right out of the gate because it's the first project we did."

Bush has gotten traction on viral video sites like YouTube, where the original episodes have drawn more than 230,000 streams. It won't be Comedy Central's first foray into devoting an entire series to poking fun at Bush. In 2001, the live-action spoof That's My Bush, from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, had a short-lived run on the network.

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