Seth MacFarlane Threatens to Never End ‘Family Guy’

‘I don’t see a good reason to stop’
Seth MacFarlane Threatens to Never End ‘Family Guy’

Like The Simpsons, the animated classic that it ripped off, er, paid homage to, er, shared a network with, Family Guy continues to chug along with no end in sight. And on its 25th anniversary, creator Seth MacFarlane says we all might as well get ready for another 25 years. “I don’t see a good reason to stop,” he warns in a Los Angeles Times oral history. “People still love it. It makes people happy and it funds some good causes. It’s a lot of extraneous cash that you can donate to Rainforest Trust and you can still go out to dinner that night.”

Really? Family Guy will never, ever end? Isn’t MarFarlane exhausted at this point? “There was a time when I thought, it’s time to wrap it up,” he admits. But the thought was fleeting. “At this point, we’ve reached escape velocity. I don’t know that there’s any reason to stop at this point unless people get sick of it. Unless the numbers show that people just are, ‘Eh, we don’t care about Family Guy anymore.’ But that hasn’t happened yet.”

Actually, it did happen. Fox pulled the plug after the show’s third season thanks to dismal ratings. “I had nothing to compare it to because it was the first show I’d ever pitched, and it got picked up. I thought, ‘Oh, I guess this is normal.’ Which it certainly was not,” MacFarlane remembers. “When I got canceled, I was like, ‘OK, I guess this is normal too.’”

Another not-normal thing: After cancelation, Family Guy took off in syndication and DVD box set sales. Fox reconsidered and pumped some more gas in the show's tank after a break of three giggity-free years. The animated sitcom has churned out the hits ever since, much to MacFarlane’s disbelief. “I prayed to God every night that it would be 10 years and out,” he says — a confession that he hoped the original run would last but also a possible admission that no show should go on forever.

Now, Family Guy seems like the job you just can’t get fired from. “There are writers in that room who have been there for 15 years,” admits showrunner Rich Appel. “Even more.” 

After all this time, does MacFarlane still even feel connected to his creation? Well, sort of. “For somebody who hasn’t worked directly on the show in 15 years,” he says, “absolutely.” When the oral history writer referenced an episode of the show, MacFarlane had no idea what he was talking about. “Has that aired?” he asked. Yep, six years ago, confirmed his showrunners. MacFarlane is right in line with Mila Kunis, who confessed that she reads the show’s scripts for the first time when she shows up to record her dialogue. “By the way,” says MacFarlane, who voices four of the show’s main characters, “that does make two of us.”

And that’s likely the real reason MacFarlane will never end Family Guy — endless paychecks, so little effort.


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