PASADENA, Calif. — The cast of Fox & Friends may soon be more animated than ever.
Look for the Fox News Channel hosts — who appear to have a direct line to the Trump White House — to be portrayed in Showtime’s new Stephen Colbert-produced series, Our Cartoon President, which features Bucks County-raised Jeff Bergman as the voice of President Trump.
“They’re [Fox & Friends] very much part of the White House, we believe,” showrunner R.J. Fried told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s winter meetings on Saturday.
“And so does Trump,” added Colbert.
The CBS Late Show host joked that Fire and Fury author Michael Wolff had stolen all 10 episodes of the show, which premieres Feb. 11, after a digital and On Demand preview on Jan. 28 in advance of the Jan. 30 State of the Union address
“There is nothing in that book that’s not in our show. And we just guessed,” Colbert said.
Bergman, whose credits include Family Guy and Mike Tyson Mysteries, and who voiced Bugs Bunny after the death of Mel Blanc, does a Trump voice that’s considerably closer to the real thing than Colbert’s exaggerated Trump voice, which the Late Show host described as being more the “spirit” of the president’s tweets (and which he acknowledged can be hard on his own voice, particularly after he’s not done it for a time).
Bergman wasn’t here to speak for himself, but the producers talked about him.
“This guy, Jeff [Bergman] is great,” Colbert said.
“R.J. and I had a little bit of a disagreement at first about what this voice should be like. Explain why you thought that Jeff would be that guy,” he said to Fried.
“The show isn’t a sketch. It has to live for multiple seasons,” Fried said. “So basically, we needed a voice that you could live with long term, so we looked at hundreds of different Trump impressions, and there’s some really wonderful ones out there, many of them who are already on the air, but we felt like his was the most real and had the most humanity within it.”
So Bergman’s was the least irritating?
“In a way,” Colbert said. “And also, the realness actually plays so nicely against what is, in reality, cartoonish behavior by our actual president. So the realer you get to him, the more highlighted the inappropriateness of his behavior.”
“We have a really wonderful cast of people, but yeah. I think Jeff Bergman’s Trump is what centers the whole thing,” said Fried.
Although the show is meant to be less topical than Colbert’s Late Show, focusing instead on interpersonal relationships, one challenge has been the turbulence of the real White House, where characters deemed ripe for animation haven’t always stuck around.
“We had a great [Steve] Bannon. And then Bannon got fired,” Colbert said. “In a pinch, Bannon could be back tomorrow…but I think he could just disappear in a hail of blood.”
A few people, or topics, will be off-limits, he said.
“We don’t make jokes about [Trump’s youngest son] Barron,” he said. “Or even Tiffany really much,”and he’d stay away from any “personal tragedies,” he said.
Everything (and everyone) else is apparently on the table. And the Late Show’s likely to continue its focus on Trump, too.
“He’s the president of the United States,” Colbert said. “Everything in his life is worth talking about.”