Fox orders ‘Guy,’ tyro’s ani comedy

Show was developed outside the studio system

Fox Broadcasting Co. has ordered 13 episodes of another animated comedy for midseason called “Family Guy,” which was created, written, produced and animated by a young newcomer named Seth MacFarlane.

Twentieth Century Fox TV will produce the irreverent family comedy, which was developed by MacFarlane outside the studio system and brought to the attention of Fox alternative programming executives Mike Darnell and Lesley Kollins.

MacFarlane created a seven-minute demo tape with animation from his computer, and he did all the writing, acting and animation himself. The result, according to one Fox source, was a “wickedly funny” and unique look at a nuclear family, which surprised all of the execs at Fox and reminded them of the modest beginnings of the Comedy Central hit “South Park.”

Fox is expected to show at least a portion of the demo tape at its upfront presentation in New York next week. Characters include a father who doesn’t follow the advice he gives his children, a somewhat oblivious mother and a brainy baby with a slightly twisted evil side.

“Family Guy” is the second animated comedy 20th will be readying for midseason, along with Matt Groening’s “Futurama.” The two comedies could not be more different in their genesis and execution, though.

“Futurama” is a pricey project from the creator of Fox’s biggest animated hit, “The Simpsons,” while “Family Guy” is an inexpensive, off-the-beaten-track project, described by one source as “the little engine that could.”

Fox is also developing a third midseason claymation comedy, “The PJs,” from Touchstone TV and Imagine TV. The three projects may be paired with “The Simpsons” or “King of the Hill,” which may move to Thursday night midseason to challenge NBC.

Other comedies expected to be picked up by Fox are the Disney-Wind Dancer comedy with Sue Costello, and a Carsey-Werner comedy formerly titled “Teenage Wasteland.”

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