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Fox plans more ‘Dad’

Animated laffer greenlit for 2007-08

Fox has greenlit 22 more episodes of animated laffer “American Dad,” keeping the show on the air through the 2007-08 TV season.

Early renewal is a vote of confidence for the show, which climbs into the plum post-“The Simpsons” timeslot this fall. It’s also a necessity, given the early lead time that animated shows require for production.

“It’s definitely a good show of faith,” said exec producer Mike Barker. “From a writing standpoint, we feel there’s certainly a lot of things left to explore in our characters.

“We never realized there’d be so many layers to a right-wing, conservative father,” he quipped.

Fellow exec producer Matt Weitzman, who runs the show with Barker, notes that writing now for 2007-08 poses a bit of a problem when it comes to timeliness. The show dabbles in politics, yet the scribes won’t even know who’s running for president in 2008 for some time.

“Of course, when that time rolls around, we’ll still be living in a world of abject terror,” Barker added. “That won’t change. This just forces us to be a little more general.”

“American Dad” is in the middle of post-production on next season’s episodes. “Dad,” which launched after the Super Bowl in February 2005, has aired 23 episodes so far. A DVD of the show’s first season segs has just been released.

“We’re stoked — in this market, there are so few comedies at all,” Barker said. “Given the paucity of comedies on the air, (this pickup) makes for a very happy working writing staff.”

Barker and Weitzman exec produce “Dad” along with Seth MacFarlane (“Family Guy”), who created the show with the duo. MacFarlane provides the voices of Stan Smith and Roger the alien, while Wendy Schaal, Rachael MacFarlane, Scott Grimes and Dee Bradley Baker also voice the show’s lead characters.

“American Dad” averaged a 3.6 rating/8 share among adults 18-49, and attracted 7.2 million viewers, this past season.

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