Big Idea Entertainment

Big Idea Entertainment (formerly known as Big Idea Productions and Big Idea, Inc., or simply as Big Idea) is an American Christian animation studio best known for its computer-animated VeggieTales series of Christian-themed family home videos. It is a subsidiary of DreamWorks Classics, which in turn is owned by DreamWorks Animation, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast.

As soon as VeggieTales was cancelled in March 2018, its HQ in Nashville closed, but some of the company's operations continued.

Big Idea Entertainment, LLC
Founded1989 (GRAFx Studios)
1993 (Big Idea Entertainment)
Key people
  • Mike Nawrocki
  • (Executive Vice President)
  • Leslie Ferrell
  • (General Manager)
  • Tim Hodge
  • (Director)
ProductsVeggieTales, 3-2-1 Penguins! and other faith-based products

Company history

Big Idea was founded in 1989 under the name GRAFx Studios by Phil Vischer to create graphics in television commercials. In 1991, Vischer created a 12-second short film called Mr. Cuke's Screen Test. This short inspired him and Mike Nawrocki to create VeggieTales in 1993. The company's first video, Where's God When I'm S-Scared?, was released the same year. Rapidly running out of office space, Big Idea relocated to the Chicago suburbs in 1997 with the purchase of the DuPage Theater in Lombard, Illinois.[1] However, renovation delays, unforeseen building conditions, and lengthy zoning battles resulted. In the interim, the company was guided by City of Lombard officials to rent space at the Yorktown Center, a local mall.

In 2003, after management and financial issues and a lawsuit by Lyrick Studios in 2001, Big Idea declared bankruptcy and was auctioned off to Classic Media.[2][3] After purchase by Classic Media, the company relocated to Nashville in 2004.

In March 2009, Entertainment Rights sold its UK- and US-based subsidiaries, including Big Idea and Classic Media, to Boomerang Media.[4] As of 2011 Big Idea, Inc. has been repackaged officially as Big Idea Entertainment, LLC. In July 2012, Big Idea's parent company, Classic Media, was acquired by DreamWorks Animation and renamed DreamWorks Classics.

On April 28, 2016, NBCUniversal announced that it would be acquiring DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 billion.[5] The sale was completed on August 22, 2016.[6][7]

On July 3, 2018, Vischer confirmed that Big Idea's offices in Nashville were shut down shortly afterward. The employees continue to work for Big Idea, and have not been laid off.[8]

In March 2019, it was announced that the Trinity Broadcasting Network was picking up the broadcasting rights to a new VeggieTales series to air on their networks. Vischer confirmed on Twitter that he and Nawrocki were both returning to Big Idea as full-time staff to work on the series, tentatively titled The VeggieTales Show.[9]

VeggieTales history

VeggieTales is a series of children's computer animated films featuring anthropomorphic vegetables and conveying moral themes based on Christianity, spliced with joking references to pop culture and current events. VeggieTales was created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, who also provide many of the voices. VeggieTales has also been released as books, games, and many other branded items such as toys and clothing. Additionally, the series has been adapted for television broadcast on Qubo (where it aired from September 9, 2006, to September 5, 2009)[10] and on Netflix where DreamWorks Animation Television produced two series, VeggieTales in the House[11] (which ran from November 26, 2014 to September 23, 2016) and VeggieTales in the City (which ran from February 24 to September 15, 2017).


Feature films

Released films

# Title Release date Co-production with Budget Gross Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1 Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie October 4, 2002 FHE Pictures $14 million $25.6 million 65% 58
2 The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie January 11, 2008 Universal Pictures and Starz Animation $15 million $13.2 million 39% 49

Direct-to-Video programs

# Title Premiere date End date
1 VeggieTales December 21, 1993 March 3, 2015
2 3-2-1 Penguins! November 14, 2000 July 1, 2003
3 Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures March 16, 2002 June 10, 2003

Television specials

# Title Release date Network
1 VeggieTales Christmas Spectacular! December 19, 1998 PAX

Television series

# Title Premiere date End date Network
1 VeggieTales on TV September 9, 2006 April 10, 2009 Qubo
2 3-2-1 Penguins! October 6, 2007 November 13, 2008
3 VeggieTales in the House November 26, 2014 September 23, 2016 Netflix
4 VeggieTales in the City February 24, 2017 September 15, 2017
5 The VeggieTales Show October 2019 TBN


  1. ^ "Big Idea Productions, Inc. -- Company History". Funding Universe. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Hertz, Todd. "Big Idea Loses Suit". Christianity Today. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  4. ^ "Boomerang buys Big Idea". April 6, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  5. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal buys DreamWorks Animation in $3.8-billion deal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  6. ^ "Comcast Completes Its $3.8B DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  7. ^ "Comcast's NBCUniversal completes purchase of DreamWorks Animation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 23, 2016.
  8. ^ Vischer, Phil. "Phil Vischer on Twitter: "Big Idea still exists. The HQ office in Nashville closed. Several people still work out of their homes managing social media and other deals. There could still be more veggies...."". Twitter. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "Phil Vischer on Twitter: "Correction - TBN is licensing VT from Universal... they didn't buy it. Bob and Larry still live with Shrek and Donkey and Minions. BUT... TBN is producing new eps and Mike and I are writing!"". Twitter.
  10. ^ Munoz, Lorenza (September 23, 2006). "NBC Issues New Explanation for VeggieTales Cuts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  11. ^ Brian, Matt (March 13, 2014). "Netflix's three new originals include 'Shrek' and 'Madagascar' spin-offs". Retrieved April 5, 2015.

External links

3-2-1 Penguins!

3-2-1 Penguins! is a sci-fi computer-animated children's television series aimed at children under 12, initially launched on November 14, 2000 as a direct-to-video film. The series was originally produced direct-to-video similar to the other Big Idea Entertainment series, VeggieTales, and videos were released between 2000 and 2003. The direct-to-video series held the top spot on the Soundscan kid video sales charts for its first 18 weeks of release, and has sold 1.5 million videos to date and was the #1 seller on Christian Booksellers Association's video list in 2001.The 3-2-1 Penguins television series appeared on the Qubo blocks on NBC, Ion Television and Telemundo as well as the Qubo channel. It ran for three original seasons, with the first season consisting of television broadcasts of the home videos, and continued in reruns until 2012. The series was the No. 1 or No. 2 ranked show on NBC's Qubo Saturday morning kids block in 2008.


Aksbandh (previously Paranormal Karachi Nights) is a 2016 Pakistani found footage horror film, directed and written by Emran Hussain and co-written by Ayaz Samoo. The film is produced by Naveed Arshad, Seemeen Naveed, Ayaz Samoo and Emran Hussain under the production banner of Cinematic Media, Big Idea Entertainment. The film features an assembled cast that includes Ayaz Samoo, Saud Imtiaz, Danial Afzal, Bilal Yousufzai, Shehzeen Rahat, Mahrukh Rizvi and Arshad Ali.

The film will be distributed by Hum Films on May 20, 2016 in cinemas nationwide.

Big Idea

Big Idea may refer to:

Big Idea (marketing), a term in marketing and advertising for the guideline behind a brand's marketing campaign

Big Idea (summer camp), an international Jewish summer camp in Israel

Big Idea Entertainment, an American Christian computer animation production company best known for their CGI animated series VeggieTales

The Big Idea (1917 film), a 1917 short comedy film starring Snub Pollard

The Big Idea (1934 film), a 1934 short comedy film

The Big Idea (U.S. TV series), a 1953–54 TV show on science that aired on the DuMont network

The Big Idea (UK TV series), a 2006 British reality television series that aired on Sky One

The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, an American talk show

The Big Idea (game), a marketing game produced by Cheapass Games

The Big Idea (museum), a Scottish museum

Dance Praise

Dance Praise is a series of dance video games developed by Christian video game developer Digital Praise, with a particular emphasis on Contemporary Christian music. The series began on Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X computers, and later expanded to iOS devices. The series' first title, Dance Praise, was released on September 29, 2005 and gained popularity in the Christian gaming industry.

There haven been four Dance Praise games for personal computers, and one final game released for iOS devices. The second game in the series, VeggieTales Dance Dance Dance, was a spin-off created in conjunction with Big Idea Entertainment for use of the VeggieTales characters and music.

Diva (TV network)

Diva, formerly Diva Universal, is a woman-based entertainment channel owned by Universal Networks International.

The list of Diva channels includes:

Diva (Asia TV channel)

Diva Universal (Philippines) defunct

Diva Universal (Bulgaria) defunct

Diva Universal (Italy) defunct

Diva Universal (Romania) currently

Diva Universal (Russia) defunct

Diva Adria (Serbia/Croatia/Slovenia)

DreamWorks Classics

DreamWorks Classics (formerly Classic Media) is an American entertainment company owned by DreamWorks Animation. It was founded as Classic Media in 2000 by Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman. The studio's library consists of acquired intellectual property catalogs and character brands as well as the licensing rights for various third-party properties. In 2012, DreamWorks Animation acquired Classic Media from its then-owner, Boomerang Media.

Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment

Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment (formerly known as Vivendi Entertainment, Vivendi Visual Entertainment and Visual Entertainment) is an independent film, television, DVD and digital distribution company operating in the United States and Canada. It is also a distribution partner for independent content providers.The company has provided sales, marketing, and distribution services to studios such as Entertainment One, Alliance Films, Paramount Home Media Distribution, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, The Walt Disney Company, Jim Henson Productions, The Weinstein Company, World Wrestling Entertainment, The Jim Henson Company, Salient Media, NFL Films, DHX Cookie Jar, Shout! Factory, GoodTimes Entertainment, DreamWorks Animation, Random House, Nickelodeon, DreamWorks Classics, Hallmark Channel, Indomina Releasing, Nasser Entertainment, Event Film, Sonar Entertainment, Polychrome Pictures, Sid and Marty Krofft, PorchLight Entertainment, Sundance TV, Genius Brands, Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop, NBC News, Eagle Rock Entertainment, Discovery Family, Discovery Inc., Big Idea Entertainment, Viz Media, VCI Entertainment, Hasbro Studios, ImaginAsian, Entertainment Rights, IFC Films, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, NCircle Entertainment, Blowtorch Entertainment, Mill Creek Entertainment, DHX Media, Saban Capital Group/Hasbro Studios, HIT Entertainment, Mattel Creations, Barney and Friends, Penguin Random House, BVS Entertainment, Palisades Tartan, Palm Pictures, Nelvana, BKN, ESPN, Razor & Tie, Dargaud Media, Pure Flix Entertainment, Codeblack Entertainment, Melee Entertainment, Dimension Extreme, and Genius Products.

Visual Entertainment was founded in 2004 to distribute DVDs as a division of Universal Music Group Distribution, which in turn is a subsidiary of Vivendi. In 2006, Visual Entertainment was renamed Vivendi Visual Entertainment. In 2008, Vivendi Entertainment expanded from home video into theatrical distribution. On April 3, 2012, the company was acquired from Vivendi by Gaiam and merged with its home entertainment division, renaming the combined subsidiary Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment. On October 17, 2013, Cinedigm announced it was purchasing Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment for $51.5 million. Cinedigm plans to combine Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment with their existing home video business, New Video. The acquisition closed on October 21, 2013.

Harvey Films

Harvey Films (also known as Harvey Entertainment, The Harvey Entertainment Company or simply Harvey) is an animation production arm of comic book publisher Harvey Comics. It was founded in 1950.In the early 1960s, they created Harvey Funnies, the original entertainment company to produce The New Casper Cartoon Show.Currently, Harvey Films is owned by DreamWorks Classics, formerly Classic Media, which is owned by DreamWorks Animation, which is also owned by NBCUniversal in 2016. Harvey Films produced Casper's Scare School, a 2006 direct-to-video film released through Classic Media.

Jay Ward Productions

Jay Ward Productions, or simply Ward Productions, is an American animation studio based in Los Angeles County, California. It was founded in 1948 by American animator Jay Ward, and was most notable for the Rocky and Bullwinkle franchise.

The Jay Ward Productions library and rights are managed by Bullwinkle Studios, a joint venture between Jay Ward Productions and DreamWorks Animation.

Kurt Heinecke

Kurt Henry Heinecke is an American music composer, songwriter, voice actor and photographer. He was the music director at Big Idea Entertainment, creators of the computer-animated VeggieTales. He is the Assistant Artistic Director at Music City Strings.

Mike Nawrocki

Michael Lewis Nawrocki (born July 8, 1966) is an American director, producer, writer, voice actor, animator, musician, puppeteer, and businessman best known as the co-creator of the long-running, Christian video series, VeggieTales where he voices Larry the Cucumber. He also voices many other main characters on the show, including Jerry Gourd, and Jean-Claude Pea, and other various characters, is the co-founder of Big Idea Entertainment alongside Phil Vischer, and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of the company. He has directed several of their productions, including the award-winning Silly Songs with Larry segments from VeggieTales.

The VeggieTales Show

The VeggieTales Show is an upcoming television series and a revival of the American Christian computer-animated franchise VeggieTales. The series is produced by TBN and Big Idea Entertainment and will premiere on TBN in Fall 2019.Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki (the creators of the original VeggieTales series) will reprise their respective roles as the voices of Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber, as well as their other characters they'd voiced in the past (including Mr. Nezzer), and Lisa Vischer will also return to reprise her role as Junior Asparagus. Kurt Heinecke will also return to compose the show's music score. They will join the creative team led by show-runner Todd Waterman who also worked on such projects as the 1998 Disney film, Mulan and Transformers: Prime.

Tim Hodge

Timothy "Tim" Hodge (born April 2, 1963) is an American voice actor, story artist, writer, animator, comedian, and director at Big Idea Entertainment in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has works on the VeggieTales videos as well as other animated projects like 3-2-1 Penguins!.

Hodge became interested in film-making while he was in 7th grade when he stumbled upon his dad's 8 mm camera and spent his summer making short films using clay and other materials. Hodge later went on to attend Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He got his first job in animation at the then-current/now-defunct Willming-Reams Animation studio in San Antonio, Texas, where he drew animated television commercials for seven years, at the same time studying at the San Antonio Art Institute. Early on in life, he graduated from high school in 1981.

He later joined the Walt Disney Feature Animation studio located at the Disney/MGM Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida. While at Disney, he also worked as story artist on films like Mulan, John Henry for Disney's American Legends video and Brother Bear.

It was in 2000 that he took his family and moved north to Chicago, Illinois to join the studios of Big Idea Productions at the Yorktown Center mall and started working in computer animation. Hodge's directorial debut at Big Idea, Lyle the Kindly Viking, won the Best Direct To Video Animated Release at the 2001 World Animation Celebration. He was nominated for an Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance in 2003 for his role as Khalil in Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie.

Hodge won 1st Runner-up for his live-action short film Soccer Mom Detective in 2008.

He currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee.


VeggieTales is an American Christian franchise of children's computer animated television shows, DVDs, Blu-rays, videos, feature films, web shows, books, and albums. Sarcastic, limbless, talking fruit and vegetable actors perform in full theatrical productions that retell Bible stories and parody mainstream pop culture. Each episode teaches a moral life lesson through a biblical world view, Judeo-Christian history and concepts. The lessons include dealing with peer pressure, handling bullies, forgiving others, fighting temptation, handling fear, listening to parents, having self-esteem and being compassionate. It was created by Phil Vischer and Mike Nawrocki, who both perform many of the characters’ voices.VeggieTales has been nominated for an Emmy Award, Annie Award, Movieguide Awards, Chicago Film Festival, Parents' Choice Award, World Animation Celebration Award, and GMA Dove Award.The original series is hosted by Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber. Other cast members include Junior Asparagus, Archibald Asparagus, Mr. Lunt, Petunia Rubarb, Jimmy Gourd, Jerry Gourd, Mr. Nezzer, Pa Grape, Madame Blueberry, Laura Carrot, Jean Claude Pea, and Philipe Pea. The middle of each show features Silly Songs with Larry, the part of the show where Larry comes out to sing a silly song.Originally released in direct-to-video format, the videos debuted on December 21, 1993. VeggieTales was the world's first half-hour CGI animated show. VeggieTales released three episodes a year for a total of over 60 episodes. Big Idea Entertainment has released two theatrical feature films: Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (2002) in association with Lionsgate and The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie (2008) in association with Universal Studios. From 2002 to 2003, Big Idea created a short running spin-off called Larryboy: The Cartoon Adventures. For three seasons from September 9, 2006 to September 7, 2009, VeggieTales on TV appeared on NBC, Telemundo, and ION TV as part of the Qubo Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning children's programming block. On November 3, 2012, the show began running on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) as well as its children's network Smile, where it currently continues to air episodes (in a repackaged and edited format).

VeggieTales was purchased by Classic Media in 2004. VeggieTales was then purchased by DreamWorks Animation in 2012. In 2016, Comcast's NBCUniversal bought DreamWorks Animation and since then, Universal Studios own the rights.

From 1993 to 2004, VeggieTales episodes were produced in Chicago, Illinois. When the franchise was purchased by Classic Media in 2004, new episodes were produced in Nashville, Tennessee. When DreamWorks launched production on the Netflix series VeggieTales in the House in 2013, production was done between studios in Nashville, Tennessee, Chicago, Illinois, and Glendale, California.In 2009, Netflix made numerous VeggieTales videos (in their uncut, original formats) and the two feature films available via their video streaming service.

In 2014, the original VeggieTales series spun off into the Netflix series VeggieTales in the House, produced by DreamWorks Animation Television. The series ran for four seasons from 2014 to 2016.

In early 2017, it was succeeded by VeggieTales in the City. It ran through two seasons and ended in late 2017.

In Late 2019, The VeggieTales Show will start airing on TBN.Big Idea has also published VeggieTales books and music CDs, as well as branded items such as toys, clothing, and garden seeds for vegetables and flowers.

VeggieTales in the City

VeggieTales in the City is an American-Canadian Christian computer-animated children's television series produced by Big Idea Entertainment. The series is a follow-up to VeggieTales in the House. It premiered on Netflix on February 24, 2017 with the release of 13 episodes. A second season was released on September 15, 2017. The series was officially cancelled in March 2018.

VeggieTales in the House

VeggieTales in the House is an American-Canadian Christian computer-animated children's comedy television series produced by Big Idea Entertainment (owned by DreamWorks Classics), and animated by Bardel Entertainment. It takes place outside of VeggieTales, a Christian-themed video and film series, featuring anthropomorphic vegetables. The series was executive produced by Doug TenNapel, creator of Earthworm Jim. The series premiered on Netflix on November 26, 2014. Three seasons of the series have been ordered, consisting of a total of 75 22-minute episodes. A fourth season was released on September 23, 2016. A follow-up series, titled VeggieTales in the City, premiered on February 24, 2017, on Netflix, but was cancelled in March 2018.The two creators of the traditional VeggieTales series from 1993, reprise their voices of the characters: Phil Vischer reprises the voices of Bob the Tomato, Archibald Asparagus, Jimmy Gourd, Phillipe Pea, Mr. Lunt, and Pa Grape and Mike Nawrocki reprises the voices of Larry the Cucumber, Jerry Gourd, and Jean-Claude Pea. Other characters on the show (including the rest of the original characters brought over from the original VeggieTales series) are voiced by Tress MacNeille as Petunia Rhubarb, Madame Blueberry, Laura Carrot, and Junior Asparagus, Rob Paulsen, who provides the voice of Ichabeezer and two new characters named Bacon Bill, and Motato, Maurice LaMarche, and Kel Mitchell, among others.

This show, alongside with its follow up, got generally panned by critics, audience and VeggieTales fanbase alike, criticizing for its poorly mondernized character designs and unfaithfulness to its predecessors.

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