‘GUY’: IT’S ALIVE!
‘THE Family Guy” is coming back from the dead.
Talks are under way with both Fox – which canceled the cartoon series two years ago – and the Cartoon Network – which airs it in reruns now – for new episodes of the show, Seth MacFarlane, creator of “Family Guy,” told The New York Post.
No matter what, MacFarlane says, production will begin soon – even if he doesn’t know exactly where they’ll end up.
“We’re sort of waiting on an official word, but to the best of my knowledge, the plan is to start producing a batch of new episodes without necessarily knowing where they’re going to wind up,” he says. “It’s sort of a new format that really hasn’t been tried before, and it’s based on the DVD sales.”
DVD sales of the canceled show have been huge – and in no small part is fueling talk of reviving the series.
“It’s insane. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that it would have this kind of afterlife,” MacFarlane says. “It’s just a shock to everybody who worked on the show.”
The show follows the misadventures of the Griffin family – bumbling dad Peter, his good-natured wife Lois, their two teens, a cynical dog who is smarter than everyone else, and an evil baby bent on world domination who makes numerous attempts to kill his parents and siblings.
When “Family Guy” aired on Fox from 1999-2002, many attributed its low ratings to not having a secure place on the network’s schedule. The show was kicked around so much, one of its writers once complained that even his own mother didn’t know when it was on.
But industry execs took notice last year when the show’s DVD collection surprised even MacFarlane by selling more than a million copies, a huge feat by any standard, but especially for a show that drew so little attention while it was on the air.
In the meantime, Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” late-night programming block began airing repeats last year – which attracted large numbers of young men. In time, more young guys were tuning into the cable channel to see “Family Guy” at 11:30 p.m. than for either “The Late Show” or “The Tonight Show.”
Men between the ages of 18 and 34 years old are a prized group for advertisers.
” ‘The Family Guy’ is appealing to a young male audience in a season when nothing seems to be appealing to young men,” said an industry source close to the talks.
A deal could even be announced as early as this week, according to sources. But others believe that might be overly optimistic because insiders have been claiming a deal for the prime-time return of “Family Guy” has been imminent since last November.
Several different plans to bring the show back are under discussion.
In one scenario, new episodes of “The Family Guy” would air on Fox, then Cartoon Network.
Other options include shipping the show exclusively either to Fox, Cartoon Network or elsewhere. In all instances, the ultimate destination for the episodes would be on DVD.
But if the show does return, it will likely put off a planned “Family Guy” movie, says MacFarlane.
“To do an original movie directly for DVD and the series at the same time would be a little difficult,” he says. “But there’s been some discussion of doing a series of episodes that would all link together to form a movie.”
While canceled shows have been picked up by rival networks in the past (“JAG” jumped from NBC to CBS in 1997, for instance), no one can recall a show that has been canceled and off the air ever returning to the same network.
‘GUY’: IT’S ALIVE!