Twentieth Century Fox TV has drawn up a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with animation vets Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman.
The former “Family Guy” scribes, who co-created and serve as showrunners on Fox’s animated laffer “American Dad,” will develop and produce half-hour and hourlong programming for the studio as part of the deal. They’ll also continue as showrunners on “Dad” should it be picked up for a second season.
As a vote of confidence in “Dad,” which Barker and Weitzman created with “Family Guy” guru Seth MacFarlane, Fox Broadcasting has quietly extended the show’s order to 19 episodes from its original 13-seg commitment. Net also ordered eight backup scripts on top of the 19 segs greenlit to production.
Fox will decide in the next few weeks whether to keep production going on “Dad,” but even if the show doesn’t continue, 20th prexy Gary Newman said the studio wanted to keep Barker and Weitzman in the fold.
“We definitely wanted to send a message that we believe in them, potentially even beyond ‘American Dad,’ ” Newman told Daily Variety. “They’re definitely very talented writers, and down the road we think they’re going to be prolific creators of series. We want to be in business with them for a long time.”
Pact reps the first time Barker and Weitzman, who started working together in 1993 on the short-lived Fox laffer “Daddy Dearest,” have inked an overall pact.
“This is our first deal anywhere, and everyone’s been so incredibly gentle,” Barker quipped. “We’re happy to have a home.”
Weitzman added that he and his writing partner “hope we’re still here at 20th when they finally change the name to 21st Century Fox.”
The pair are best known for their work on “Dad” and “Family Guy” and also worked on NBC’s “Father of the Pride.” However, scribes said they’re not planning to limit any potential development to the animated world.
In the short term, “We just want to keep on making ‘American Dad,’ ” Weitzman said.
Given a freer hand
Scribes credit MacFarlane with boosting their careers, first by fostering what Barker calls “a very open environment” on “Family Guy” and then by allowing them the chance to run “American Dad.”
“Working with Seth,” Barker said, “you’re much less likely to censor your material.”
Weitzman said MacFarlane has been “incredibly supportive of us spearheading ‘American Dad.’ ”
Duo joined “Family Guy” during its first season in 1999, staying with the show throughout its initial three-year run.
They previously had worked on more than a half-dozen laffers, including “Hardball” and “Homeboys in Outer Space.”