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Putting Big Idea Back Together

2004This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

All the prayers asking God to save Big Idea may have been answered after all. The company, now owned by Classic Media, emerged from bankruptcy with its debts wiped out. It is again producing half-hour VeggieTales episodes.

Eric Ellenbogen, CEO of Classic Media, says that returning to the basics of telling biblical stories with quirky humor is the "best way to nurse the company back to financial health."

While Classic Media is not a Christian-owned company, Ellenbogen says it does support the values Big Idea stands for. Ellenbogen adds he will not try to shape the creative content of VeggieTales. That will be left to people like Mike Nawrocki, Tim Hodge, and Kurt Heinecke, who have been working for Big Idea for years. Ellenbogen knows that "slapping a Big Idea label" on a video doesn't guarantee success.

"What makes VeggieTales special is that they stand for something," he says. "You know exactly what you are getting."

As for any future feature films, Ellenbogen is taking a wait-and-see approach. Even if Jonah had been a bigger hit, it might not have saved Big Idea from bankruptcy. "Sometimes having a huge success is the worst thing that can happen," Ellenbogen says. "You start to believe you have a secret formula for making movies that no one else has. Then you make a second feature, and it's a flop and you lose everything. There is no secret formula."

Related Elsewhere:

The main article to this sidebar discusses Phil Vischer's attempt to turn creative again.

Christianity Today has followed Big Idea for years. Here are more articles on the company:

VeggieTales Born Again | Big Idea primes itself for recovery with a new owner. (Jan. 21, 2004)
Weblog: VeggieTales Sold for $19.3 Million (Oct. 31, 2003)
VeggieTales Creators File for Bankruptcy ...
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