Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Who can take a nothing day...and suddenly make it all seem worth while?

...well, it's Stewie, and you should know it, baby! This is the best news I've had in a while and it totally made my day:

"Family Guy" Reunion in the Works
By Lia Haberman

Victory may still be Stewie's.

The pint-sized tot with plans of world domination could return to Fox as the network considers resurrecting its animated comedy Family Guy.

Truth be told, strong DVD sales and not Stewie's heavily accented scheming are reportedly behind the move to reinstate the cartoon 18 months after it was yanked from the airwaves.

At this time, production of the dysfunctional family cartoon is "under discussion" according to a Fox spokesperson.

Calls to creator Seth MacFarlane's rep were not returned.

As many as 35 new episodes could premiere in January 2005, according to the Fox spokesperson, which would mark the first time a canceled series has been revived on the strength of its DVD sales and syndication ratings.

Fox head honcho Sandy Grushow told USA Today the series was a late-blooming phenomenon that may have aired before its time.

DVD and cable viewers have "created a kind of groundswell that could lead to better ratings," said Grushow.

Indeed, despite being canceled after only three season, Family Guy is this year's top-selling TV title and the fourth best TV series seller ever, according to Video Store magazine.

A DVD set released in April of the show's first 28 episodes has sold close to 1 million copies while a second collection of 22 episodes has already passed the 500,000 mark. Reruns of the show also rank number one among adult viewers on Cartoon Network.

Family Guy premiered to 22 million viewers on Super Bowl Sunday in 1999 and high praise from critics ("gloriously twisted" said TV Guide). Created by then 24-year-old MacFarlane, the show revolved around the dysfunctional Griffin family of Quahog, Rhode Island, including talking toddler Stewie who vowed revenge for being incarcerated in his mother's "cursed ovarian Bastille" for nine months.

MacFarlane had his stamp all over the Emmy-winning series, lending his voice to the roles of patriarch Peter Griffin, son Stewie and family dog Brian, while Seth Green and Mila Kunis played sibs Chris and Meg Griffin, respectively.

However, the series had difficulty maintaining its following as Fox bounced the show all over its schedule. The series was also the target of an advertiser boycott instigated by MacFarlane's former prep school headmaster, the Reverend Richardson Schell.

Schell convinced several advertisers to abandon the 'toon due to its alleged anti-Semitic, racist and sexist content after MacFarlane refused a request to change the cartoon family's surname. Griffin was the same last name as that of Schell's assistant, Elaine Griffin.

More than 125,000 fans fired back with their own online petition announcing their intention to boycott the network and its advertisers if the series was canceled, all to no avail.

Now, the last laugh may be MacFarlane's. Not only is the network considering reviving the sassy series, but earlier this year he revealed that a direct-to-DVD project featuring the animated Griffin family could be in the works for next year.
Stewart Gilligan Griffin

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