Junk-food-eating Martians with an earthy attitude to invade US

If you had to guess where a cartoon called "Butt-Ugly Martians" came from, the land of Jane Austen would probably not be it. But the program, aimed at 4 to 11-year-olds, debuted on Monday in England and is expected to arrive in the US later this year (it's actually a joint effort between the two countries). It features three Martians who prefer eating junk food and making "digestive noises" to conquering Earth. Computer-generated animation fuels the futuristic show, which is hip but reportedly not as good as "Bob the Builder," a British preschool program that arrived in the US in January.

And speaking of rude aliens, NBC has picked up the rights to the BBC quiz show "The Weakest Link" and wooed its stern host, who will be seen on the network later this season. It's a cross between "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (also British) and "Survivor," where contestants answer rapid-fire trivia questions and vote out those players who aren't pulling their weight. Journalist Anne Robinson, recently voted the rudest woman on British television, is known for preparing contestants to eliminate their colleagues with prods like: "Who is too stupid to stay?"

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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