NEW YORK – Having already caused a fuss this spring with the depiction of the prophet Muhammad on "South Park," Comedy Central said Thursday that it has a cartoon series about Jesus Christ in the works.
"JC" is one of 23 potential series the network said it has in development. It depicts Christ as a "regular guy" who moves to New York to "escape his father's enormous shadow."
His father is presented as an apathetic man who would rather play video games than listen to his son talk about his new life, according to Comedy Central's thumbnail sketch of the idea. Reveille, the production company behind "The Office," "Ugly Betty" and "The Biggest Loser," is making "JC."
It wouldn't be the first time Jesus Christ has been on a Comedy Central cartoon; he's a recurring character on the long-running "South Park."
Comedy Central was the target last month of an Internet threat for a "South Park" episode that supposedly showed Islam's prophet in a bear costume.
Whenever "South Park" features Muhammad in an episode, Comedy Central obscures the character with a black box; Muslims consider any physical representation of their prophet to be blasphemous. Following the Internet threat, Comedy Central angered "South Park" producers by editing out a character's speech about intimidation in a subsequent episode.
"It's not certain what is more despicable: the nonstop Christian bashing featured on the network, or Comedy Central's decision to censor all depictions of Muhammad," said William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Civil and Religious Rights.
Comedy Central wouldn't comment on Donohue's statement, said network spokesman Tony Fox, who declined to give further details about "JC."
A development deal is a couple of steps ahead of a series making it to air and, in fact, most such deals don't result in series. The network would have to like the scripts enough to produce a test episode, then like that enough to put it on the air.
Other series in the works are "Intercourse with Whitney Cummings," about the comedienne's adventures in dating, and "Live Sex Show," a late-night panel discussion about sex.