NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- Fans can expect new VeggieTales adventures, as animation giant DreamWorks has purchased the parent company of Big Idea Entertainment, the faith-based cartoon's owner.
DreamWorks Animation will pay Boomerang Media Holdings $155 million to buy Classic Media and the Nashville-based Big Idea, which launched VeggieTales in 1993. Classic Media in 2003 rescued Big Idea from bankruptcy, buying the company and retaining the name.
VeggieTales has thrilled parents and preschoolers with a top-rated television series on NBC Saturday morning, Telemundo and ION TV, and faith-based releases such as "Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie" and "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie."
Big Idea expressed optimism at the transition.
"As we approach celebrating Big Idea's 20th anniversary , we couldn't be more pleased to join the DreamWorks Animation team," Big Idea general manager Leslie Ferrell told media representatives. "DreamWorks Animation respects and supports Big Idea's successful history in producing faith-based, family friendly entertainment and is committed to supporting our growth. We expect many wonderful things to come of this partnership."
DreamWorks Animation SKG is known for such favorites as "Shrek" and "Madagascar," and also gains via the acquisition Classic Media sensations "Lassie," "The Lone Ranger" and "Rocky & Bullwinkle," among others.
Classic Media "brings a large and diverse collection of characters and branded assets that is extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation's franchise business," DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said after the deal. "We plan to leverage it across our motion picture, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital, theme park and live entertainment channels."
MO. TO VOTE ON PRAYER AMENDMENT -- Voters in Missouri will consider Aug. 7 an amendment to the state constitution aimed at protecting the right to pray in public. Supporters say it better defines First Amendment rights, but opponents say it will lead to all sorts of taxpayer-funded lawsuits.
About 80 percent of Missouri's population identifies as Christian, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch said July 30, and when the newspaper polled 625 registered voters, 82 percent said they would vote in favor of Amendment 2.
Terry Hodges, pastor of First Baptist Church in Odessa, Mo., and a member of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Executive Board, said, "For the first 150 years in this country, Christianity enjoyed home-field advantage. That's changed and now there's a hostility toward Christians."
Rep. Mike McGhee, R.-Odessa, is a member of FBC Odessa, a Southern Baptist congregation, and he sponsored the legislation that led to Amendment 2. He said the amendment would send a message that it's OK to read a Bible in study hall or to pray briefly before a city council meeting.
A section of the amendment says students will not be compelled to perform or participate in academic assignments or educational presentations that violate their religious beliefs.
Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State are concerned that one person's right to pray could intrude on another's right to abstain from prayer, the Post-Dispatch said. Opponents say the amendment is redundant because the First Amendment guarantees religious freedom.
An editorial by John Yeats, executive director of the MBC, was quoted in the Post-Dispatch.
"The courts have muddied the water; therefore, the state legislature believed that a state Constitutional amendment was the best way to clear things," Yeats wrote in The Pathway, the state convention's newsjournal.
"In this great state of Missouri with this Constitutional amendment, people will have the freedom to pray or express their faith, and the government or its agents are obliged to not interfere or restrain by decree or coercion," Yeats wrote.
APPEALS COURT APPROVES S.D. INFORMED CONSENT LAW -- South Dakota's 2005 pro-life informed consent law has gained its final victory at the federal appeals court level.
The full Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled July 24 the state could require abortion doctors to tell pregnant women the procedure might increase their risk of suicide. The 7-4 decision means the Eighth Circuit has upheld all portions of the law after four separate considerations of the measure, according to the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader.
The appeals court previously affirmed provisions requiring doctors to:
-- Tell women of the health risks of abortion.
-- Inform them the procedure will end a human life.
-- Tell them their relationship with their unborn child is legally protected.
Leslee Unruh, president of a pregnancy help center in Sioux Falls, applauded the ruling.
"Any decision that a pregnant mother makes in the context of her considering an abortion that will deprive her of the joy and fulfillment of a lifelong relationship with her child must be totally voluntary and well-informed," said Unruh, president of the Alpha Center, before adding that the opinion "is a step towards achieving that goal for the women of South Dakota." Continued...