No, Virginia, Snoop Dogg won't be pimping Miss Piggy for Christmas.
The hard-core, cuss-crazy Diary of a Pimp videomaker and Doggystyle rapper has been excised from the final cut of the latest Muppet adventure, A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, to air on NBC in December.
What's that, Virginia? What was Snoop doing in the movie in the first place, you ask?
Despite describing him as a "talented artist," flacks at the Jim Henson Company confirmed this week that Snoop won't make it to air. While producers had taken heat for their casting choice (especially on the talk-radio airwaves), they denied caving to protests.
"Because of production reasons, about half an hour of footage originally planned for use...including a brief appearance by Snoop Dogg will not be appearing in the final cut," a statement from the Henson Co. said.
But according to the Los Angeles Times, it wasn't that simple. Henson "insiders" say execs had extra incentive to cut the Snoop footage when they realized he's in another title due out this fall: The aforementioned Diary of a Pimp, brought to you by your friends at Hustler.
Directed by the Dogg, the unrated video flick boasts the talents of adult stars such as India, Taylor Saint Claire and Nikki Fairchild. Dogg stars in Pimp as the bossman of several hos. Another porn thespian, Chelsea Blue, costars as a journalist who investigates Snoop's lifestyle. (See? Pornos do too have plots!)
Snoop calls Pimp semi-autobiographical.
The Muppet move was part of Snoop's ongoing makeover into a kinder, gentler Dogg. Most notably, the former High Times cover boy recently claimed he was--yes--giving up marijuana to be a better example to his children.Snoop could not be tracked down Friday for comment on his Muppet demise, but one of his chief critics was more than happy to talk.
Najee Ali, head of the Los Angeles-based Project Islamic Hope, claims he brought about the Snoop-Muppet edit by threatening an NBC boycott. (On Friday, NBC deferred all comment on the matter to Henson officials.)
Ali argues the rapper is unfit for family television fare.
"I grew up watching the Muppets. They are very precious to me--those memories of watching [them] as a child," Ali said Friday. "Now I have children and want them to feel that way, too...There are plenty of other hip-hop artists that they could have chosen rather than this guy [Snoop Dogg]. He was the very worst choice."
Ali says he shares credit for making Christmas safe for the Muppets with conservative radio show host Larry Elder and Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly, both of whom also called for Snoop to be snipped.
A Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie is a parody of classic Christmas movies like Scrooge and It's a Wonderful Life.
Muppet star Kermit has the James Stewart-esque role, as a good guy (er, frog) trying to save the Muppet Theater, a venue threatened with destruction by a greedy banker, played by Joan Cusack.
Reportedly the dodgy Dogg filmed a brief scene in which he exchanged a line with Kermit backstage at the theater. It was later decided the bit "did not advance the storyline," prompting its removal, according to the Henson Co.
Kermit's other human costars include David Arquette, as a rookie "angel" sent to help the it's-not-easy-being-green amphibian, and Whoopi Goldberg, as Arquette's "godlike" boss.
Still more famous faces expected to make cameos in the two-hour movie are William H. Macy, Kelly Ripa, Carson Daly, Rachel Hunter and the cast of NBC's medical sitcom Scrubs.
No word if any of those celebs have been edited out because they "did not advance the storyline."