EXCLUSIVE: Seth MacFarlane is set to topline his first live-action TV series. Fox has given a 13-episode straight-to-series order to an hourlong comedic drama series created and executive produced by the Family Guy creator, who is also set to star. The series is slated for the 2017-2018 television season, with a pilot episode likely filmed in late 2016, and the rest of the episodes in spring 2017. 20th Century Fox TV, where MacFarlane has been under an overall deal for a long time, is the studio.
The untitled series originated as a hot spec, written by MacFarlane. It was quickly snatched up by Fox, which, along with 20th TV, is overseen by Dana Walden and Gary Newman, longtime supporters of MacFarlane in their previous role running the studio. Set 300 years in the future, the show follows the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship in Earth’s interstellar fleet. Facing cosmic challenges from without and within, this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before.
“I’ve wanted to do something like this show ever since I was a kid, and the timing finally feels right,” said MacFarlane. “20th and Fox have been good to me for many years, and of course, Dana and Gary have been fantastic bosses and true pals, so it was a no-brainer to come to them with the project. I think this is gonna be something special.”
Space has been a passion for MacFarlane who executive produced Fox’s Emmy-winning documentary series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.
MacFarlane has done voice-over work on his animated series, most notably Family Guy, for which he has won an Emmy, but this is his his first live-action series-regular gig and the first live-action series he has created.
“For almost two decades, we’ve enjoyed an incredible collaboration with our partner and friend Seth MacFarlane,” said Walden and Newman, chairmen and CEOs of Fox Television Group. “He’s one of the smartest, funniest and most talented people we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with – a great guy who’s also had such an impact on both television and popular culture. Seth has one of the most original voices – in every sense of the word – and we’ve been waiting for him to bring us a project as special as this one. It’s classic Seth – fresh and funny, incredibly smart, wickedly subversive and undeniably Fox.”
At Fox, the new series will join MacFarlane’s animated hit Family Guy, currently in its 13th season and renewed through the 2016-2017 season. Additionally, MacFarlane is co-creator, executive producer and voice actor on American Dad!, renewed for two more seasons by TBS, and he serves as an executive producer on Fox’s animated series Bordertown. All three series hail from 20th TV. MacFarlane also an executive producer on the Starz comedy Blunt Talk, starring Patrick Stewart and written by Jonathan Ames.
Over the past few years, MacFarlane expanded his irreverent comedy brand into features with his 2012 directorial debut, Ted, becoming the highest-grossing original R-rated movie. MacFarlane helmed and voiced the 2012 movie and its sequel. Additionally, MacFarlane hosted the 85th Academy Awards in 2013 and was also nominated for the film that same year, in the category of Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song, for “Everybody Needs A Best Friend.” MacFarlane also wrote, produced, directed and starred in the 2014 feature Western comedy, A Million Ways To Die In The West.
He also has released three successful albums and his most recent one, “No One Ever Tells You,” debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes jazz charts this past October. In December 2016, MacFarlane will voice Mike, a small mouse with a big, Sinatra-esque voice and an arrogant attitude in Illumination Entertainment’s animated musical family film Sing.
He is repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman.