The Check Arrives
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As The Wrench Turns



Header_name PBS confirmed today the title of its first-ever animated primetime series, a spin-off of Tom and Ray Magliozzi’s hit NPR show “Car Talk.” Tom and Ray announced the title on their Saturday, January 26 program, saying they had lured submissions with the misleading promise of everlasting fame.

CLICK & CLACK’S AS THE WRENCH TURNS will premiere in summer 2008 on PBS. The program takes off from the hit NPR show and follows the “on- and off-air” escapades of Tom and Ray Magliozzi (known to their listeners as “Click and Clack,” the Tappet brothers) as they try to fix cars, fend off disgruntled customers and seek out increasingly creative ways to goof off.

The title, CLICK & CLACK’S AS THE WRENCH TURNS, was submitted by Lancaster, Pennsylvania, “Car Talk” fan Geoff Groff, a retired police detective and former assistant service manager of — for real! — a Buick dealership. In addition to the envy of the other contenders, who suggested such titles as ”Transmission Impossible,” “20 Minutes and Still Not Canceled,” “Ken Burns Presents Car Talk” and “Click-and-Clack-sterpiece Theater,” Groff has earned himself a cameo on an episode of the new show.

“We kind of liked the idea of using Ken Burns’ name in the title,” said Ray. Adds his brother, Tom, “At least, that way, a lot of people would have tuned in.”

The ten 30-minute episodes of CLICK & CLACK’S AS THE WRENCH TURNS take place mainly at Car Talk Plaza, a fictional building that houses their radio studio and their famed garage in Harvard Square in the fair city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. The [mis]adventures of Click and Clack involve competition with a nearby garage staffed by sexy hunks, a looming run-in with the feds when their robot mechanic causes a power grid meltdown, and their two-man campaign for president. The guys also create the world’s first pasta-fueled vehicle — which causes an unnaturally high demand for generic noodles. In one episode, they turn their garage into a casino; in another, their insults drive away their radio sponsor, forcing them to collaborate with a gas-guzzler manufacturer. In the pursuit of idleness, they outsource their radio show to India. Deception reigns when their shop dog, Zuzu, develops uncanny diagnostic powers and Crusty, the Harvard-professor-turned-wrench-turner, tries to convince his visiting niece that he’s still a respected academic. In one of the concluding episodes, Click and Clack’s lifelong love of practical jokes reaches its apex during the visit of one Ms. Sheila Goldigger, a potential network benefactor.

“Tom and Ray have been ‘animated characters’ for years, so it’s fitting that we’ve finally found a way to bring these garage gurus to the small screen,” said John F. Wilson, senior vice president and chief TV programming executive. “Even though we hide inside our tote bags every time we say it, we’re glad to welcome to PBS these public media figures who can connect with people as quickly as they can with carburetors. We’re hoping for a truly unique experience for the viewer that’s entertaining and fresh. And through the outreach program, we’ll be providing useful public safety tips to complement the series.”

In conjunction with the series, executive producer Howard K. Grossman developed an innovative partnership with The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), whose membership includes all state motor vehicle agencies (DMVs) in the United States and Canada. In their role as strategic content partner to the series’ national outreach campaign, AAMVA will facilitate the communication of safety messages, focusing on distracted driving, safety belts and teen driving, to the driving public as they interact with AAMVA members and state and provincial motor vehicle agencies.


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