MacFarlane hopes network changes plans
It looks like Fox is planning to air an original episode of “Family Guy” this Sunday — but creator Seth MacFarlane is still hoping the net will change its mind.“It would just be a colossal dick move if they did that,” MacFarlane said Tuesday. He said the next three episodes of the show “are relatively close to completion, but they have not had a final pass.” MacFarlane conceded that the Fox network and 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the show, are “legally within their rights” to complete episodes without his sign-off. “But they’ve never done anything like this before, in which they’ve said, ‘We’re going to finish a show without you,’ ” MacFarlane said. “It’s really going to be unfortunate and damaging to our relationship if they do it.” MacFarlane was careful not to slam his day-to-day exec contacts, i.e., 20th prexies Gary Newman and Dana Walden, and Fox entertainment chairman Peter Liguori. “I don’t think they’re making the call,” he said. “Those are all people who I have had close, respectful relationships with. It’s hard to believe it would be coming from them.” Like numerous other hyphenates, scribe-producer is withholding his showrunner duties as a means of trying to get both sides in the labor dispute back to the bargaining table. He’s also opted against supplying voices for future episodes. Many other showrunners are having to sit by while, as one wag put it, “somebody else is diapering your baby.” MacFarlane is particularly ingrained in “Family Guy,” however, since in addition to writing episodes, he supplies most of the big voices on the show and drew the animation templates for the characters. He’s also been in the trenches with 20th execs over the years. Studio execs stood by “Family Guy” even after the Fox network killed the show. Ironically, the studio’s passion for the skein was inspired in part by tremendous DVD sales for episodes of the show. MacFarlane also has another bit of leverage over 20th: He’s been in “final talks” over a new deal with the studio for more than a year. He’s been working under an interim agreement, but he says he doesn’t have a signed long-term contract with the studio. “I’m technically in breach of nothing,” he said. Reps for 20th and Fox said they would not comment on MacFarlane’s remarks.