Celebrity Deathmatch
Celebrity deathmatch title.jpg
Title card for seasons 3 and 4
GenreSports entertainment
Stop-motion (clay animation)
Dark comedy
Parody
Created byEric Fogel[1]
Developed byEric Fogel
Gordon Barnett
Directed byEric Fogel (1998–2002)
Andrew Horne (2006–2007)
Jack Fletcher (2006–2007)
StarringSteve Austin (1998-2002)
Maurice Schlafer (1998–2002)
Len Maxwell (1998–2002)
Mills Lane (1998–2002)
Chris Edgerly (2006–2007)
Masasa Moyo (2006–2007)
Jim Thornton (2006–2007)
ComposersEric Perlmutter
Alan Elliot
Country of originUnited States (entire run)
Canada (seasons 5-6)
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes93 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producersAbby Terkuhle (1998–2002)
Richard Doctorow (2006–07)
ProducerJohn Worth Lynn Jr. (1998-2002)
Running time21 minutes
Production companiesFogelmania Productions
MTV Animation (1998-2002)
The Comedy Network (2006–2007)
Cuppa Coffee Studio (2006–2007)
DistributorCBS Television Studios
Release
Original networkMTV (1998–2002)
MTV2 (2006–2007)
Picture formatNTSC
Audio formatDolby Surround
Original releaseOriginal series:
May 14, 1998 (1998-05-14) – June 6, 2002 (2002-06-06)
Revival series:
June 10, 2006 (2006-06-10)
March 30, 2007 (2007-03-30)

Celebrity Deathmatch is an adult stop-motion claymated series created by Eric Fogel and produced by John Worth Lynn Jr. for MTV.[2] A parody of sports entertainment programs, Celebrity Deathmatch depicted various celebrities engaging in highly stylized professional wrestling matches. The series was known for its large amount of gory violence, including combatants employing different abilities and weapons to deliver particularly brutal attacks, resulting in exaggerated physical injuries.[3][4]

Two television pilots were broadcast on MTV on January 1 and 25, 1998.[5] The series properly premiered on May 14, 1998, and ended on June 6, 2002, airing for 93 episodes. During its run, it was one of MTV's most popular cartoons alongside Beavis and Butt-Head and Daria. A series of German shorts, Celebrity Deathmatch Hits Germany, aired on June 21, 2001, but it was poorly received from the fans, which was rumored to be the source of the show's cancellation. For a brief period during that year, reruns of the series aired on broadcast network UPN.[6] Early in 2003, a film based on the series was announced by MTV to be in production, but the project was canceled by the end of the year.

In 2005, MTV2 announced the revival of the show as part of their Sic 'Em Friday programming block. Originally set to return in November 2005, the premiere was pushed back to June 10, 2006 as part of a block with two other animated series, Where My Dogs At? and The Adventures of Chico and Guapo. The revival series was produced without any involvement from Fogel. While the first four seasons were animated by Fogelmania Productions and TakToon Enterprise, the series' fifth and sixth seasons were produced by Cuppa Coffee Studios, and the premiere drew over 2.5 million viewers, becoming MTV2's highest rated season premiere ever. It was canceled again in 2007.

In April 2015, MTV2 announced a reboot of the series.[7] However, in November 2016, Fogel stated via Twitter that MTV did not pick up the pilot to the series.[8]

On December 6, 2018, MTV Studios announced a reimagining of the show was set to return in 2019 with Ice Cube as star and executive producer. However, no announcements, updates, nor new information have surfaced since the announcement and it has been speculated to have been quietly cancelled. As of 2022, the revival from 2006 is available to watch on Paramount+.[9]

Episodes

Main article: List of Celebrity Deathmatch episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast airedNetwork
Pilots2January 1, 1998 (1998-01-01)January 25, 1998 (1998-01-25)MTV
112May 14, 1998 (1998-05-14)October 22, 1998 (1998-10-22)
221January 31, 1999 (1999-01-31)November 11, 1999 (1999-11-11)
325January 27, 2000 (2000-01-27)February 11, 2001 (2001-02-11)
419July 22, 2001 (2001-07-22)June 6, 2002 (2002-06-06)
58June 10, 2006 (2006-06-10)July 29, 2006 (2006-07-29)MTV2
68February 9, 2007 (2007-02-09)March 30, 2007 (2007-03-30)

Characters

Main characters

Minor regular characters

Temporary co-hosts

Production

A deathmatch between Beavis and Butt-head in the "Fandemonium 2000" episode of the series.
A deathmatch between Beavis and Butt-head in the "Fandemonium 2000" episode of the series.

Celebrity Deathmatch started in 1997 on MTV's Cartoon Sushi as a short that featured convicted murderer Charles Manson and shock rocker Marilyn Manson fighting to the death. Deathmatch was brought back in 1998 for MTV's Super Bowl XXXII halftime special. Just three months later, Celebrity Deathmatch had entered MTV's main lineup. The show was popular enough for show creator Eric Fogel to be named one of the most creative people in the TV industry by Entertainment Weekly. CDM was not the first time Fogel made a show for MTV, as he also had a hand in creating The Head. also produced by John Worth Lynn, Jr.

During the next four seasons, Celebrity Deathmatch became more popular in other countries and gained viewers from all over the world, but four seasons and 75 episodes later in 2002, MTV decided to cancel the show.[11]

Stephen Warbrick, one of the co-creators of Superjail! on Adult Swim, worked as a VFX colorist and graphic artist for the series.

Celebrity Deathmatch Hits Germany

From 2001 to 2002, Celebrity Deathmatch was met with a series of shorts titled Celebrity Deathmatch Hits Germany. In Celebrity Deathmatch Hits Germany, German celebrities would fight in a claymation style. Many of the celebrities were politicians or German musicians that were not well known to the general public.

Eric Fogel had no involvement with CDMHG, neither did TakToon Enterprise, as this was all handled by Andy Kaiser at the German stop-motion studio Studio Film Binder. While the show was broadcast on MTV in Germany, it was also shown on UPN in the United States. CDM Hits Germany was universally panned by critics, audiences, and the Celebrity Deathmatch fanbase, that it was cancelled in 2002 due to low ratings. It was often rumored to be the show that led to the cancellation of the original series.

Cancelled film adaptation

Due to its popularity, there were actual plans for a feature film adaptation of Celebrity Deathmatch launched in 2003. Eric Fogel was signed on to direct, write, and produce the film as his directorial debut film. But before production would begin, MTV cancelled plans for a movie due to not being as interested in animation as they used to be, along with fallout from the network's production of the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show where several supportive executives were forced out.

Music

MTV asked Marilyn Manson to compose a song for the show. Ultimately, the song conveyed the public's obsession with violence and sadistic acts which were portrayed on television. Manson believed that was the show's satirical take regarding society as a whole. "Astonishing Panorama of the Endtimes" became the only single off the Celebrity Deathmatch soundtrack. It was nominated in 2001 for the Best Metal Performance Grammy Award and later included on Manson's album The Last Tour on Earth.

Revival

Title card for the 2006 revival of the series on MTV2; produced by Cuppa Coffee Studios.
Title card for the 2006 revival of the series on MTV2; produced by Cuppa Coffee Studios.

New episodes of the show, which began production in 2005, were produced by Cuppa Coffee Studio as opposed to MTV's now-defunct animation department.[12][13] The show featured an all-new voice cast and a new look. Johnny, Nick, and Mills Lane returned, albeit with new voices. Mills Lane, who used to be played by himself, was played by Chris Edgerly due to the real Mills Lane's 2002 stroke. Debbie Matenopoulos was replaced by Tally Wong. Eric Fogel chose not to get very involved with the new seasons due to his involvement on his show Starveillance for the E! network. The show was directed by Jack Fletcher and Dave "Canadian" Thomas. During the 2006 season, fans were able to vote on MTV2.com for future matches by choosing one of three matches and by sending a write-in request. However, due to the second cancellation of the show, these matches would not come to fruition. Fogel would later go on to create Glenn Martin, DDS, with Michael Eisner and Alex Berger, for Nickelodeon as part of Nick at Nite, and it performed poorly critically and financially.

Cancelled reboots

In April 2015, MTV2 announced a reboot of the show on its Twitter account. On November 2, 2016, Eric Fogel confirmed via Twitter that production on the reboot had been scrapped for unknown reasons and the pilot would not be going forward.

On December 6, 2018, MTV Studios announced yet another "reimagining" of the show was set to air in 2019 with Ice Cube as star and executive producer through his Cube Vision production company, with series creator Eric Fogel also as an executive producer, being unclear whether or not the weekly series would air on MTV, as the new version of the show was seeking “an exclusive [streaming video on demand] or premium broadcast partner.”[14] However, in an interview, executive producer Eric Fogel said: "I've had some conversations with Ice Cube. We're trying to put a plan in place. There's nothing I can announce officially. But there have been conversations." Despite that, no other new information, announcements nor updates have surfaced, and it has been rumored or speculated that the reboot is presumed to have been quietly cancelled with the re-merger of Viacom and CBS into Paramount Global and the shift of content production overall for the company to Paramount+.

Other media

Video game

Main article: Celebrity Deathmatch (video game)

A video game based on the series was released for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Microsoft Windows on October 14, 2003 by Gotham Games.[15]

Syndication

Celebrity Deathmatch aired in reruns on UPN, and was re-aired on TNN (The National Network) (later Spike TV, now Paramount Network) from 2002 to 2003.

References

  1. ^ "Eric Fogel, Creator of Celebrity Deathmatch, Starveillance and Anton & Crapbag". Animation Magazine. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  2. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 114. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  3. ^ "DOWN FOR THE COUNT WHO'S GOING TO TAKE THE NEXT FALL IN MTV'S 'CELEBRITY DEATHMATCH'?". Hartford Courant. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  4. ^ Brown, Deneen L. (September 1, 1999). "Celebrities Take It on the Chin in Stop-Motion; Television: MTV's hit series 'Deathmatch' pits entertainers and athletes against one another in Claymation battles". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 11, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  5. ^ "MTV's 'Celebrity Deathmatch': Wickedly Funny Feats in Clay - latimes". Articles.latimes.com. May 14, 1998. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  6. ^ Awn.com
  7. ^ "MTV2 orders pilot for Celebrity Deathmatch reboot". Entertainment Weekly. April 14, 2015.
  8. ^ ""Eric Fogel confirms pilot drop"". Twitter. November 2, 2016. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "Celebrity Deathmatch". Paramount+. Retrieved July 27, 2021.
  10. ^ Diaz, Porfirio (February 10, 2010). "Syndication Files 02.10.10: Celebrity Deathmatch". 411 Mania. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  11. ^ "Celebrity Deathmatch' back". Chicago Tribune. June 22, 2005. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  12. ^ "'Celebrity Deathmatch' back - Chicago Tribune". Articles.chicagotribune.com. June 22, 2005. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  13. ^ "Blood, Sweat and Clay - The Celebrity Deathmatch Way | AWN | Animation World Network". AWN. Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  14. ^ Daniel Kreps (December 5, 2018). "Ice Cube to Revive MTV's 'Celebrity Deathmatch' Claymation Series". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  15. ^ "Celebrity Death Match - PlayStation 2". Amazon. Retrieved February 3, 2017.