Yo! It's the Chester Cheetah Show (Cancelled TV Series; 1986-1992)
|Newspaper article about how the series was angering activists due to it's commercial style nature.|
Frito Lay had once planned to create an animated series based off of Chester Cheetah and his new cool friends, which were a funky monkey, a rockabilly dog and a hip hop hippo. The idea for a show was there since 1986 (the year of Chester's debut) and was discussed for years with networks like FOX and CBS and the production company Marvel Productions before being completely shelved in 1992, due to the evident fact that the show would simply just be a half-hour commercial for Cheetos, and the extremely negative reaction from TV activists because of it.
Production on the FOX series began and continued for months before being shelved, as someone in legal suddenly realized they couldn't air what was essentially half-hour commercials on Saturday morning, so the development team were notified and the project was cancelled. Only some designs, scripts and storyboards for at least two episodes remain of the FOX version, none of which were released to the public in any way. John Halfpenny, who was from the development team later shared this information, citing the letdown as "an interesting meeting". It's unknown if he can share the work made on the FOX series.
Similarly, a reply back from "Scott Shaw!" stated that Marvel Productions were working on the version for CBS to the point where Scott was contracted to produce the series and that it was cancelled for the same reasons. It's unknown if Marvel Productions was the same production company that was always being used (or at least for the FOX version) and if Scott has anymore information or work on the show either, whatever progress was made at that point that wasn't previously covered, that is.A section from the Kentucky New Era newspaper, dated March 19th, 1992 reveals that even though at this point a spokesman for Frito-Lay revealed that they had cancelled plans for the show, the CBS Chester Cheetah cartoon (titled here Yo! It's the Chester Cheetah Show) was getting major flack from TV activists for the same reasons that brought upon its cancellation, with Peggy Charen saying it would be "an example of how commercials are crossing the line into masquerading as children's TV entertainment" and "I'm not making this into a quality debate. Any cartoon is OK, is legal, as long as it isn't an ad". It states that there was even a petition to get it off of the air with the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Black Citizens for Fair Media and four other organizations supporting it. And one of the spokesman for Frito Lay in Dallas, Tod MacKenzie, said the idea show had been discussed since 1986, most recently with the FOX network and that it was now "cold as ice", and also that "Since Chester came out in 1986, he's been widely popular, ... We don't want to jeopardize the job he's doing here." Though the company wasn't bowing to the pressure and wasn't contacted by either the FCC or any of the groups that filled the petition.