Fox’s Michael Thorn on Relationship With Seth MacFarlane: ‘”Family Guy” Is Part of the Fox DNA’

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Seth MacFarlane may be critical of Fox Corp. as a whole, but the broadcast network arm of the company is confident he and his hit comedy “Family Guy” will be with the network for years to come.

“‘Family Guy’ is part of the Fox DNA,” Michael Thorn, Fox Entertainment’s president of entertainment, told Variety. “Creatively, they continue to thrive, and we plan on keeping it on our air for for a while. We enjoy a really great relationship with Seth and the other executive producers on the show.”

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“Family Guy” was renewed through 2022 back in September 2020, but MacFarlane has taken a number of shots at Fox Corp. since then, specifically referencing Fox News host Tucker Carlson on multiple occasions. In a tweet he posted this August, MacFarlane said “Tucker Carlson’s latest opinion piece once again makes me wish Family Guy was on any other network. Look, Fox, we both know this marriage isn’t working anymore. The sex is only once a year, I don’t get along with your mother, and well … I’ve been having an affair with NBC.” That last line of course refers to MacFarlane’s sizable overall deal at NBCUniversal.

Nevertheless, “Family Guy” and animated comedies like “The Simpsons” and “Bob’s Burgers” continue to be cornerstones of Fox’s broadcasting arm. They are key this season in particular due to the fact that Fox will have no live-action comedies on the air going into the fall season. Returning multi-cam “Call Me Kat” does not yet have a Season 2 premiere date, while new comedies “Pivoting” and “Welcome to Flatch” are both being held for midseason.

According to Thorn, he still views Fox as a destination for live-action comedy and says that the network has plans for announcements on that front coming.

“I think you’ll start to hear … us announcing a couple of comedy presentations that could be a part of our path to new comedies that will hopefully follow upon the success of the new shows,” he said.”

Fox has been trying to innovate in the broadcast comedy space in recent years, like when they launched the seasonal short-order comedy series “The Moodys” in December 2019, though that show was canceled in June 2021 after two seasons. Per Thorn, Fox is now “reevaluating” how it will approach comedy.

“I think now we’re kind of taking a step back and reevaluating the comedy model for broadcast, because the comedy business has just changed so much in linear,” he said. “And so what you’ll see from us in general is really both playing with the process as well as the form. And so that form can take the shape of a short order series like ‘The Moodys’ or it may take the shape of us skipping a pilot and going from script to series or just making a short presentation instead.”

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