UPDATE 2:15 PM: TOLDJA! Fox just announced the deal at its upfront this afternoon. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly said production on the animated series will begin production in Fall 2011 for a 2013 premiere on the Fox schedule. In a cross-studio collaboration, The Flintstones will be produced jointly by 20th Century Fox Television and Warner Bros Television. Dan Palladino (Gilmore Girls) and Kara Vallow (Family Guy) will serve as executive producers with Seth MacFarlane who says the very first cartoon character he drew at age 2 was Fred Flintstone. “So it’s appropriate that events have come full circle, allowing me to produce the newest incarnation of this great franchise. Plus, I think America is finally ready for an animated sitcom about a fat stupid guy with a wife who’s too good for him.” Added Reilly: “The Flintstones are among the funniest and most beloved characters in television history, and we can’t wait to introduce them to a whole new generation on Fox,” said Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “FOX has long been home to iconic families like the Simpsons and the Griffins, so I have no doubt that the Flintstones and the Rubbles are going to fit right in on our air.” He hinted that the deal for the show closed just hours before the presentation today — just like I told you. In a video shown at the upfronts, MacFarlane shed some light on his plans for the remake: The characters will look the same but he’ll introduce new technology, like “What is the animal version of an iPad?”
EXCLUSIVE: Seth MacFarlane is one of the busiest creatives in show business — and he just got a lot busier. I’ve just learned that he’s finally realized one of his life’s ambitions: to reboot The Flintstones as a TV and film property. My scoop today follows years of very complicated negotiations between 20th Century Fox TV, where McFarlane is based, and Warner Bros Television, which owns the rights to the series after absorbing The Flintstones‘ famed producer Hanna-Barbera. Not only did the suits have a ton of deal points to work through, but I hear the “Yabba Dabba Doo” prehistoric family sitcom’s rightholders were somewhat concerned how the classic series would be interpreted given MacFarlane’s brand of raunchy comedies like Family Guy. (But, if you ask me, Universal’s dreadful Flintstones films were the real abomination …) So here are all the Hollywood players who had to unentangle this mess: MacFarlane’s attorney Jim Jackoway, WME’s Ari Emanuel and Greg Hodes; 20th Century Fox TV’s Gary Newman, Ira Kurghan, and Howard Kurtzman; and Warner Bros Television’s Peter Roth, Brett Paul and even Bruce Rosenblum. There’s no broadcast date as of yet, but the reboot will air on Fox.