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Family Guy aired from April 1999 until April 2002 and from January 2005-? on Fox.

This animated sitcom about a dysfunctional New England family living in Quahog, Rhode Island , was created by 25 -year-old Seth MacFarland, who also wrote the stories, drew some of the cartoons , and provided voices for some of the characters. Peter ( MacFarland), the heavy-weight, fun-loving father, worked as a product safety-inspector at the Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Company, He may have been lazy, dense, and insensitive, but he loved his family. He would do anything for them-as long as it didn't interfere with his TV viewing. Lois ( Alex Borstein), his homemaker wife, tried-not always successfully -to maintain some order in their household. The three Griffin children were Meg ( Mila Kunis), an awkward, unpopular teenager desperately searching for peer group acceptance; Chris ( Seth Green), a spaced-out, fat underachiever; and Stewie ( Seth MacFarland), a homicidal, power-hungry toddler with a clipped British accent . No one seemed to notice Stewie's bizarre schemes to destroy his family-or the world-which almost succeeded, being foiled at the last minute by some accident. The most normal member of the household was Brian ( Seth MacFarland), their intellectual talking dog-although he did have a drinking problem. Peter's boss, Mr. Weed overlooked his marginal performance because, for some unknown reason, he considered him " eye candy" on the assembly line.

Late in 1999 Joe Swanson ( Patrick Warburton), a handicapped police officer , became one of the Griffins new neighbors. In September 2001, while having dinner at Peter's home, Mr. Weed choked to death on a roll; the Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Company went out of business. Jobless Peter tried various means of making a living including becoming a fisherman, but nothing seemed to work out and the family suffered from money problems throughout the rest of the show's run.

Despite his problems Peter remained eternally optimistic. He also spent more time at the Drunken Clam bar with Joe and his other buddies , deli owner Cleveland ( Mike Henry) and airline pilot Quagmire ( Seth MacFarland), a horny confirmed bachelor. Seen regularly were the WQHG TV news coanchors , obnoxious arrogant Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons ( Seth MacFarland, Lori Alan). Adam West played himself as the Mayor of Quahog.

Early in 2005, almost three years after its cancellation, Fox resurrected Family Guy, motivated by an organized campaign by fans and strong DVD sales of the original episodes. That fall Peter got a job at the Pawtucket Patriot Brewery.

When Family Guy premiered the Fox network press department said that the actress who provided Meg's voice had a clause in her contract prohibiting the release of her name. It was later revealed that she was Lacey Chabert, a regular on Party of Five.

The Family Guy pilot aired after the Super Bowl on January 31, 1999.

An Article from CNN

Fox bets its chips on young 'Family Guy' creator

Tuesday, February 09, 1999 11:47:05 AM EST

A NewsStand: CNN & Entertainment Weekly Report
From Correspondent Michael Shure and Producer Janet Janjigian

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- It's a sunny California morning, and Seth MacFarlane is walking into the lobby of the Ritz Carlton-Huntington Hotel. As a doorman greets him, he leans over and asks a companion, quietly, "Am I supposed to tip these guys?"

It's all new to MacFarlane: One minute he was toiling away at Hanna-Barbera, and the next he was the Fox network's boy wonder. His brand-new animated show, "Family Guy," had the honor of premiering last week in one of the most-watched time slots TV has to offer -- the Sunday evening slot right after the end of "Super Bowl XXXIII."

In MacFarlane's creation, chockful of his unique sure-to-offend sense of humor, the Griffin family -- dad Peter, mom Lois, teen-age son Chris, baby Stewie and the family dog, Brian, all characters their creator knows and believes in -- interact in a crude, non-PC, and very, very funny way.

"When I first saw Seth's student film, I laughed out loud," says Leslie Kolins-Small, the Fox executive who discovered MacFarlane. "And I was alone, so I knew that was a very good sign."

Kolins-Small was on the lookout for raw talent when she saw MacFarlane's student film, featuring truly dysfunctional characters which he had written, animated and voiced.

A cheap date?
"He's an executive's dream," Kolins-Small says, "because he is one-stop shopping. He's the man of a million voices, and it's ready-made. Prepackaged, ready-made. All you have to do is give him lunch now and again." According to her, he doesn't eat, "so he's a very cheap date."

To the TV layman, MacFarlane wasn't really that cheap. It took $2.5 million to woo him and the house he built for "Family Guy" over to Fox, where it is hoped that his series will be this year's smash hit.

MacFarlane, who's just 25, works in an office/frat house atmosphere with Mike Barker and Hal Weitzman, the show's writers. They run on sugar, caffeine and pressure these days.

"It's stressful as hell," MacFarlane says. "I'll be having a lot of fun if the show gets good ratings."

The ratings for his first episode weren't too shabby -- with the show following the Super Bowl, also on Fox, it ranked number seven in last week's Nielsen ratings, couping viewers in some 12 million households. Now, it's all up to the Griffins, who are bound to raise some eyebrows as they interact with MacFarlane's odd characters -- including an African-American woman who pops up out of nowhere, which MacFarlane calls a "Jemima's Witness."

'Some cleverness behind it'
"There's some cleverness behind it. I mean ... it probably will be construed as somewhat racist, but it's really a play on the familiar situation."

And if you think substance abuse jokes are insensitive, well, this is the show for you. Take Peter Griffin, who loves to drink, but can't hold his liquor -- so instead he goes for butter-rum flavored candies.

"You are allowed to get away with so much more in animation," MacFarlane says. "The characters don't need to be redeeming. I just think we live in a culture where people are sitting with notebooks, dying to be offended, writing things down."

The show's executive producer, David Zuckerman, admits that "Family Guy" will offend some people. But, he adds, "I think we're going to make many, many more people laugh."

Fox has a great track record for cashing in prime-time animated shows, including "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill," and its newest, controversial venture, the Eddie Murphy production "The PJs." MacFarlane is hoping "Family Guy" is their next big score.

There's nothing I rather be doing," he says, "and I wouldn't trade it for anything."

An Article from The New York Times

Advertisers shunning 'Family Guy'

Thursday, July 1, 1999


Fox's new animated show "Family Guy," which had the makings of a hit during its run on the air this spring, is in trouble with a list of important advertisers, some of which have already pulled commercials from the series.

The advertisers, which include Coca-Cola and Philip Morris, had each received strongly worded letters as part of a letter-writing campaign directed by a Connecticut school headmaster who complained that the show includes anti-Semitic, racist and sexist humor. Executives at Coca-Cola and Philip Morris, however, said they dropped out as sponsors based on their own review of its content.

The headmaster, the Rev. Richardson Schell of the Kent School in Kent, Conn., who is also an Episcopalian priest, did not disclose to the advertisers that he had a personal connection to the creator of "Family Guy," Seth MacFarlane. MacFarlane was a 1991 graduate of the Kent School, and Schell was headmaster at that time.

Fox executives, who declined to be named, discussed the situation in response to questions from the media. They said that one week before the show went on the air in January, the headmaster contacted MacFarlane and asked him to change the last name of his cartoon family, because the name, Griffin, is the same last name as that of Schell's assistant, Elaine Griffin.

Schell did not return phone calls to the school and his home Tuesday. MacFarlane, through Fox executives, declined to comment.

Fox executives explained more about the connection between MacFarlane and Schell, such as the fact that MacFarlane's mother was for 15 years a college guidance and admissions adviser at the Kent school.

The executives said Schell "also lobbied another member of MacFarlane's immediate family." MacFarlane told Fox executives Tuesday that his mother recently resigned. Fox also said that when the network and MacFarlane elected not to change the name, "this upset Schell greatly."

In an interview in Advertising Age on Monday, Schell said that although he wrote his letters to advertisers under the heading Proud Sponsors USA, there was no such organization and he was acting on behalf of himself. He said he had never protested any other TV show.

In the article, which did not mention the connection to MacFarlane, he said, "It's a moral matter for me." The show has been attacked by some critics for some tastelessness; others have reviewed it favorably.

But Schell's campaign clearly led some of the advertisers to re-examine the content of the show. A long list of current and potential sponsors now say they will not advertise in the show, including such big advertisers as Sprint, Chrysler, The Gap, Kellogg, Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald's.

Philip Morris already had bought commercials in "Family Guy" to advertise a "youth smoking prevention" campaign. After getting Schell's letter, the company decided to withdraw support for the show, because, as company spokeswoman Mary Carnavale put it, "it is not consistent with our values as a company."

Jon Nesvig, the head of sales for the Fox network, said Fox had lost three or four advertisers so far as a result of Schell's campaign.

He noted Fox had had experience with viewers who seek to damage shows by asking advertisers to withdraw their ads. In 1989 Terry Rakolta, a resident of Michigan, managed to get a number of big companies, including Coca-Cola, to pull their ads from the Fox comedy "Married . . . With Children."

"It's hard to say what the implications of this are," Nesvig said. "Terry Rakolta helped put Fox on the map as a network. But we're in a different era now."

An Article from The New York Times

The Young Guy Of 'Family Guy'; A 30-Year-Old's Cartoon Hit Makes An Unexpected Comeback

Published: July 7, 2004

The Griffins are not your typical Rhode Island family. Brian, the martini-drinking talking dog, is the smartest of the lot. Stewie, the diabolical 1-year-old, is intent on destroying the world. Meg, the whiny teenage daughter whose only talent seems to be bird whistling, wants collagen lip injections so she can seduce the next-door neighbor. Chris, the 13-year-old slacker son, yearns for silicone implants so he can practice fondling breasts.

Don't ask about Mom and Dad.

''A lot of the situations on our show come out of personal experience,'' said Seth MacFarlane, the cheerful 30-year-old creator of the Griffins, who make up the animated cast of ''Family Guy.'' ''There are 17 writers on the staff of 'Family Guy,' '' he said. ''Each one brings his own personal neuroses to the show.''

The writers' neuroses have gotten a workout over the last two years. This Emmy-nominated comedy, canceled and left for dead by Fox, has now returned to full-scale production in a rare case of television resurrection. It is one of two prime-time animated series that Mr. MacFarlane is making for the network.

''Family Guy'' was revived because of an unusual turn of events. While the show was on hiatus, reruns of it on Cartoon Network proved unexpectedly successful, especially among a prized television demographic group: men 18 to 34. The series drew more young men in its late-night Cartoon Network slot (it is usually on at 11 p.m. or later) than two of its broadcast competitors, CBS's ''Late Show With David Letterman'' and NBC's ''Tonight Show With Jay Leno.'' (At the end of this month Cartoon Network plans a special week of shows, including appearances by a costumed Mr. MacFarlane portraying several of his characters.)

Steve Feldstein, senior vice president of Fox Home Entertainment, said ''Family Guy'' had proved an unexpected success on DVD as well. The first boxed set of episodes has sold 1.55 million, ranking No. 3 among television shows, behind the first season of ''The Simpsons'' on Fox and ''Chappelle's Show'' on Comedy Central, Mr. Feldstein said. The second compilation of ''Family Guy'' episodes has sold one million copies and ranks No. 7.

Internet and magazine interviews with Mr. MacFarlane, as well as Fox's creation of a Web site,, that was especially popular on college campuses, fueled interest in the DVD's, Mr. Feldstein said.

''Once we made the DVD's available, the response was incredible,'' he said. ''There was this fan base that was lying dormant. That base brought a whole new group with it. Were we surprised at the response? I'd be lying if I said no.'' The DVD sales, Mr. Feldstein added, ''led the network to take a second look.''

Network executives say scheduling played a role in the show's initial failure. ''It was moved around and put on Thursday night against 'Friends,' a difficult time period in which it never grew,'' said Gail Berman, the Fox network's president for entertainment. ''But we loved the show's irreverence. I thought it was wild. It's very in-your-face humor. Very bold.''

Mr. MacFarlane describes himself as ''an equal opportunity offender,'' and the series seems to take special pleasure in ridiculing Protestants, Roman Catholics, Jews, blacks, gays, feminists, Arabs, Europeans -- just about everyone. Everything is also grist for the show: minority quotas, disability claims, Aunt Jemima, sexual harassment.

Mr. MacFarlane said the Griffin paterfamilias, Peter, was based on the maintenance and security staffs at the schools he attended in New England. In the past he has also mentioned as inspiration a friend's father who fell asleep and began snoring loudly during the critically praised film ''Philadelphia,'' a drama about AIDS.

Although Fox programming practices executives are constantly negotiating with Mr. MacFarlane and his staff over the show's language, taste and subjects, only one episode, ''When You Wish Upon a Weinstein,'' was killed by the network. In it Peter, a beer-swilling, porno-loving loser, decides that to make money, he has to kidnap a Jewish man and force him to act as his adviser because Jews are so smart

Although Fox deemed the episode unacceptable, it will be read on July 23 and 24 during Just for Laughs, the Montreal comedy festival that runs from July 15 to 25. The reading will be presented by four cast members, including Mr. MacFarlane, a ''Family Guy'' regular: he plays the roles of Peter, the evil baby and the brainy dog.

At the outset ''Family Guy'' stirred controversy. In 1999 the Rev. Richardson W. Schell, headmaster of the Kent School, the Connecticut private school from which Mr. MacFarlane graduated in 1991 and where both his parents then worked, called the show ''obnoxious'' and asked major companies not to advertise on it. The incident led Mr. MacFarlane's parents to resign from the school and move here.

Current plans are for ''Family Guy'' to return to Fox in the spring or early summer of 2005. It will be preceded on the air by ''American Dad,'' another animated show created by Mr. MacFarlane, who now employs a staff of about 100, most in their 20's. This new series involves a conservative agent with the Central Intelligence Agency; his ultra-liberal daughter; a sarcastic, campy space alien with a voice like that of the comic actor Paul Lynde; and a lascivious, German-speaking goldfish, the result of a C.I.A. experiment gone wrong.

Mr. MacFarlane said that the idea for ''American Dad,'' which is to make its debut after the Super Bowl next February, emerged from political discussions with his associates.

''My friends and I spent half our time complaining about President Bush, and we figured, why don't we channel our anger into something creative,'' he said. ''The idea was to do a current-day 'All in the Family' that would be more political than 'Family Guy,' with some attempt to balance the two sides as much as possible, which is difficult for us.''

Ms. Berman said she did not see the show's liberal slant as an issue for Fox, whose cable arm, Fox News, is known for its conservative talk shows. ''It never occurred to me,'' she said. ''Fox News and us are run completely independently.''

Mr. MacFarlane said he had been infatuated with animation since his childhood, when he began drawing cartoon characters. ''My parents have drawings of Fred Flintstone and Woody Woodpecker from when I was about 2 years old,'' he said.

He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, where his 11-minute student film was a rough version of what turned into ''Family Guy.'' While other students were engaged in more arty projects, Mr. MacFarlane said, ''I just wanted to make people laugh, and I remember taking a lot of guff from my professors about that. I showed my story board to my film professor, and she said, 'I'm really worried that you're wasting your time on what is essentially a lot of bathroom humor.' ''

''She said,'' he continued, '' 'This is the one chance to make the personal film that you really want to make.' And I said, 'This is it.' ''

Even before Mr. MacFarlane earned his degree in 1995, his student film had drawn attention in Hollywood. After college he immediately began a job at the Hanna-Barbera animation studio, where he worked on the cartoon series ''Johnny Bravo'' and revised his student script to turn it into ''Family Guy.''

At the time ''King of the Hill'' had become a hit for Fox, and the network was seeking other animated shows. ''They gave me about $50,000 for a production budget, and the idea was that I animate this thing by myself,'' Mr. MacFarlane said. ''I spent about six months with no sleep and no life, just drawing like crazy in my kitchen and doing this pilot. About six months later I handed it in, about 40 pounds lighter, and they were laughing, and they liked it enough to order 13.''

Gary Newman, president of 20th Century Fox Television, producer of ''Family Guy'' and ''American Dad,'' said Mr. MacFarlane's talents were especially engaging because of the appeal his sometimes raunchy humor holds for young men.

''Things come out of his mouth that are just a little bit twisted,'' Mr. Newman said. ''He just sees humor in things most of us don't see.''

Mr. MacFarlane, who has a contract with Fox that news reports have estimated at about $2.5 million for the two shows, acknowledged that he had led a charmed life. One moment still haunts him.

On Sept. 11, 2001, he was booked to fly from Boston to Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 11. But his travel agent had mistakenly told him that the flight left at 8:15 a.m., not 7:45 a.m. ''And I had a hangover from the night before,'' he said. He missed the flight, now notorious for its role in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

Although shaken by his brush with death, Mr. MacFarlane said: ''I think I still pretty much approach everything the same way. There are probably 100 close calls for all of us every year, and we don't even realize it.''

He paused. ''Maybe one day the whole thing will really hit me.''

Correction: July 10, 2004, Saturday An article in The Arts on Wednesday about Seth MacFarlane, creator of the animated television series ''Family Guy,'' referred imprecisely to the withholding of an episode, ''When You Wish Upon a Weinstein.'' Although Fox executives deemed it unacceptable and did not show it, the episode has been seen on the Cartoon Network.

An Article from Media Life Magazine

Syndicated TV's
new star: 'Family Guy'

The off-network cartoon shoots to No. 1 comedy

By Kevin Downey
Oct 4, 2007

Syndicators aren't big experimenters, and for the best of reasons. What works best is what's worked before, as the ratings for the new season's syndicated shows makes clear.

That's off-network sitcoms.

In its first weeks in syndication, the animated Family Guy" has shot up to become the No. 1 sitcom, ahead of long-running hits "Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld and Friends, and the first giant-sized hit since Raymond went into syndication several years ago.

"Family Guy pulled a 4.2 household rating two weeks ago, the most recent available, up about 20 percent from its first week, according to Nielsen Media Research.

In contrast, new syndicated shows that had gotten a lot of buzz are pulling low to negligible ratings, like Law & Order: Criminal Intent, which is the first daily syndicated drama in years, the teen-skewing Degrassi: The Next Generation, which airs weekdays, and Judge David Young, syndication's first openly gay judge.

That "Family Guy would do well is hardly surprising. It's how well that's the surprise.

"There's a lot of loyalty to this program and it's a fresh program in this environment, says Amy McMahon, associate media director and lead syndication negotiator at Starcom.

That loyalty is such, she notes, that when Fox canceled it a few years back, fans snapped up so many DVDs of the show that the network brought it back.

But also driving the "Family Guy" numbers is the shortage of hit sitcoms on broadcast, along with waning ratings for most of syndication's older comedies.

It's a pipeline issue, says McMahon. When networks stop being able to generate hits like Friends, it affects syndication.

That explains why Two and Half Men is also doing well in its first year in syndication, generating a 3.3 rating, ranking it above Friends.

Unfortunately the pipeline effect is not extending to ABC's George Lopez and the CW's Half and Half, also new to syndication. Nielsen hasn't yet released national ratings for George, but the show pulled a 1.1 rating in metered markets, according to an analysis by Katz Television Group.

There is one new syndicated show that's entirely new that is working out, "TMZ," the edgy entertainment newsmagazine spun off the web site of the same name. The question was whether the show would be able to maintain the edginess of the site, and it's done just that, breaking the story of O.J. Simpson's recent arrest.

Nielsen hasn't released national ratings yet but in metered markets "TMZ" pulled a 2 household rating. While far below shows like Entertainment Tonight, it's improving on its lead-ins and its timeslots from last season.

Any station that has it has to be reasonably pleased with the initial numbers, says Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming at Katz. You're talking about better than a 1 rating, and in prime access it's doing almost a 2, and you have [markets] where it's doing 3s and 4s.

Among dramas, the weekly Cold Case is doing well, pulling a 1.9 rating.

Of new talk shows, Steve Wilkos, a spinoff of Jerry Springer, is doing fairly well with about a 0.9 rating. That puts it in line with the returning Martha.

Less promising is the talk show Morning Show, which premiered earlier this year in a few markets. It's pulling a 0.8 rating.

And game shows Temptation, which includes a home-shopping angle, and Crosswords are off to slow starts, with a 1.1 in metered markets and a 0.8 national rating, respectively.

Temptation is being double run, usually in daytime and usually in less-visible time periods, says Carroll. Crosswords is in very difficult time periods, particularly in top markets where it's taking on Oprah and Judge Judy.

To watch some clips from Family Guy go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

To find out when Family Guy JTS go to

For an interview with Seth MacFarlane and Co. go to

For some Family Guy-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

For a Review of Family Guy go to and

To listen to some songs from Family Guy go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Sun January 29, 2006 � Filesize: 31.9kb � Dimensions: 360 x 311 �
Keywords: Family Guy


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