“Family Guy” Returns to TV?

I mentioned in a previous post that Seth McFarlane has been discussing a possible straight-to-DVD movie of the Family Guy. Apparantly, the renewed interest in this cartoon has inspired more than just the one-time reprise.

USA Today reports that Family Guy may actually return for a new season in January 2005.

Here's the whole article:

'Family Guy' may return
By Gary Levin, USA TODAY
Posted 11/18/2003 8:30 PM, Updated 11/18/2003 8:30 PM

In a sign of the growing importance of DVD sales to Hollywood, 20th Century Fox is considering a plan to resume production of Family Guy, a sometimes crude animated comedy that the Fox network took off the air more than 18 months ago.

As many as 35 new episodes could return in January 2005, marking the first time that a canceled series has been revived based on strong DVD demand and ratings in syndication.

Fox Television Entertainment Group chairman Sandy Grushow said a decision is expected soon and called the series a late-blooming phenomenon that may have aired before its time.

A DVD set of the show's first 28 episodes released in April has sold nearly 1 million copies, making it this year's top-selling TV show and the No. 4 television title ever, according to Video Store magazine. A second collection, of 22 episodes, has sold 520,000 copies. And the series is Cartoon Network's most popular among adults.

Family Guy premiered with a big audience 22 million viewers and some controversy after Fox's 1999 Super Bowl telecast. In the pilot episode, Stewie, a talking toddler with a clipped British accent, was openly contemptuous of his loutish dad and bent on killing his sweet-natured mother in a quest for world domination.

Creator Seth MacFarlane, then 24, wrote scripts, drew characters, provided voices and infused the show with rapid-fire sight gags, a nod to The Simpsons. But ratings faded, and the show ended with a whimper early last year.

The relatively short network run may have helped DVD sales, Video Store's Judith McCourt says. "It really speaks to something that had a following, was cut off network TV, and people said, 'What did I miss?' "

DVD and cable viewers have "created kind of a groundswell that could lead to better ratings" on Fox, Grushow says, although new episodes could end up going directly to Cartoon Network.

A decision to restart the show suggests a reversal from the old TV business model, in which a network hit predicts a profit windfall in syndication. This time, the promise of DVD and syndication gold could justify a show's return even if low network ratings didn't.

But canceled favorites aren't likely to rise from the grave en masse. Family Guy has one major advantage: With no actors and no sets, it can simply be drawn back into existence.

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Read Comments (5)

Kerry commented at 11:33 AM on November 25, 2003:

Family Guy is on the Cartoon Network on their late night set up for adults known as "Adult Swim". They are airing all the reruns roughly around 11:30 pm.

Nobody commented at 4:47 PM on November 25, 2003:

Very true, Kerry, and I have TiVo recording every one for me. :} I didn't see them all first-run, so I'm excited that there are a small handful that I'm seeing for the first time. I guess there are enough others that, like me, can't get enough of Family Guy, and I'm excited that they're considering making more original episodes. :D

justin commented at 7:48 PM on April 18, 2004:

i LOVE family guy me and my fiance watch it EVERY NIGHT on cartoon network and stewie is my FAV character...i own clothing as well...i would LOVE for the show to come back i thought it was wrongly canceled in the first place

Jennifer commented at 8:52 PM on August 8, 2004:

Where can I find out when this was posted?

Nobody commented at 11:59 AM on August 9, 2004:

My original article was posted at 9:42pm on November 21, 2003. The USA Today article I referenced notes that it ws originally posted at 8:30pm on November 18, 2003.

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