McFarlane and Co. to perform in Chicago

Just in time for the show’s off-net syndication launch, the cast behind “Family Guy” is taking it back out on the road.

“Family Guy Live” will travel to Chicago for the first time Sept. 15, performing two shows at the Chicago Theater. Location was chosen because Windy City-based Tribune will launch the “Family Guy” syndie strip on its O&Os (including KTLA, Los Angeles; WPIX, New York; and WGN, Chicago) next month.

In the stage show, creator and star Seth MacFarlane leads the cast, including Alex Borstein, Mila Kunis, Seth Green and Mike Henry, in musical numbers from the show. Event includes a table read of an episode, a Q&A with the cast, and a preview of the “Star Wars”-themed season premiere.

“Family Guy Live” was first presented at Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy fest in 2004; the cast followed that up with 2005 shows in Los Angeles and New York. “Family Guy Live” returned for a second engagement at the Just for Laughs fest this summer.

“We hope the good people of Chicago (are) not easily offended by jokes about pedophilia and sexually transmitted diseases,” MacFarlane quipped.

Just for Laughs is producing the Chicago edition of “Family Guy Live,” alongside 20th Century Fox TV.

“We are working hard to make a name for ourselves in the U.S. and this is a great way for us to showcase what we do best,” said Just for Laughs chief operating officer Bruce Hills.

Twentieth TV is looking to events like “Family Guy Live” and the show’s season premiere on Fox to generate noise for the show’s syndication launch. The syndicator has created an advertising blitz that includes outdoor billboards and bus shelter ads that ironically pair “Family Guy” characters with catchy lyrics from hit songs like “Don’t Cha” (for Stewie), “Milkshake” (for Peter Griffin) and “Rehab” (for Brian).

With few hit sitcoms in the off-net pipeline, 20th said it sees the launch of “Family Guy” as an opportunity to jumpstart the fading marketplace.

“Stations see this launch as an ‘A’ sitcom and they hope that it will have the same staying power that ‘The Simpsons’ has enjoyed in syndication,” said 20th TV prexy/COO Bob Cook. “Local stations are scheduling the show in their most valued time periods. … Our launch group Tribune sees ‘Family Guy’ as bringing in an infusion of fresh viewers to sample their stations.”

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