Neither show was well received by VeggieTales fans.
After TenNapel was tapped to create the Netflix version of VeggieTales, he reached out to Vischer for feedback on the pilot script. When Vischer saw the script, he said that “it became clear the Netflix show wasn’t going to be anything like VeggieTales.”
However, “Mike and I had already signed on as voice actors before we had read any of the scripts,” Vischer told ChurchLeaders.
“It was painful to record,” Vischer continued, recounting that fans compared the Netflix show to “watching Mr. Rogers take off his cardigan and put on a leather motorcycle jacket,” describing the characters as “Bob and Larry on crack.”
After the show’s initially poor reception, Vischer sought to advise TenNapel, saying, “Here is all you need to know about Bob and Larry. Bob wants to help kids, and Larry wants to help Bob.”
“I don’t care who Bob was. I care who Bob is,” TenNapel replied, according to Vischer. Vischer took this to mean that what he thought about the characters he had created was no longer relevant.
Following NBC/Universal’s acquisition of Dreamworks in 2016, a new iteration of VeggieTales was given life on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) after NBC/Universal allowed TBN to license the characters. Vischer and Nawrocki returned not only to voice Bob and Larry but also to serve as writers. Vischer was also one of the executive producers for the show, which aired from 2019 to 2022.
Vischer described the TBN show as looking and feeling much more like its original iteration, adding that there were no “Larry is on crack” comments from fans.
In 2021, after VeggieTales had wrapped, Vischer said he and Nawrocki were approached by NBC/Universal about voicing a VeggieTales podcast, but without being brought on as writers. That’s when Vischer and Nawrocki sought to negotiate a larger creative role.
The voices of Bob and Larry were subsequently recast.
“I’d assumed all the work I put in on the TBN show had at least earned me the right to have that conversation,” Vischer said. “BUT…I was wrong.”
“For years I’ve been hoping to play a larger role in guiding the ministry and creative direction of VeggieTales, as I had done in the early days when we produced most of the classics. But current management seems to view Mike and I more as voice talent than as the creators of the show,” Vischer said.
“We finally took a stand last year and requested a larger role when we were asked to do voices (but have no creative or ministry role) in the new VT podcast,” Vischer said. “The answer to our request for a larger role was to move on without us and re-cast the voices.”
ChurchLeaders has reached out to Big Idea Entertainment for comment and will update this article in the event of their response.