Mr. Bill becomes a Web celeb


That luckless claymation character, Mr. Bill, has landed in cyberspace.

Lions Gate Home Entertainment and CinemaNow have landed home video and Internet video-on-demand rights to the complete library of the Mr. Bill animated films first popularized on NBC's Saturday Night Live. The Lions Gate and CinemaNow acquisition includes Mr. Bill Goes to Space, featuring Mr. Bill taking an ill-fated trip to the Russian Space Station Mir, is now up on the CinemaNow site along with several other shorts. Walter Williams wrote and produced the shorts for SNL and NBC retained the licensing rights.

The acquisition includes three collections Lions Gate will market in home video: 19 shorts in the The Mr. Bill Collection&(The Best of Saturday Night Live); Oh Nooo!!! It's Mr Bill's 20th Anniversary collection, featuring the theatrical short Mr. Bill Goes to Washington, and Mr. Bill Does Vegas Plus 25 All New Shorts, with special guests Wayne Newton, The Smothers Brothers, Father Guido, and Jenna Elfman.

No word on what Lions Gate and CinemaNow paid for the rights.
- Richard Tedesco