EXCLUSIVE: Fox has locked in two of the tentpoles of its Sunday animation block for two more years. The network has renewed flagship Family Guy for Seasons 19 and 20 and the Emmy-winning Bob’s Burgers for a 12th and 13th season. The two long-running series, along with animated stalwart The Simpsons, come from 20th Television.
The Simpsons was picked up for an unprecedented 31st and 32nd seasons in early 2019 as former Fox sibling 20th TV was about to move to Disney as part of a $71.3 billion asset acquisition. I hear talks are underway on a major Simpsons renewal too.
“Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers are key pillars of our network’s success. By taking the genre to new heights and driving pop culture in meaningful ways, they’ve laid the foundation for making Animation Domination one of the most powerful program blocks in all of television,” said Michael Thorn, President, Entertainment, Fox Entertainment. “Both of these two-season renewals affirm once again our commitment to animation and empower us to continue in our build as the leader in the space with distinct and fresh new comedies. We’d like to thank Seth, Loren and their entire teams, not to mention our partners at 20th Television, and we’re excited to continue these great shows with them.”
Fox is in the midst of a major expansion of its animation portfolio, which has been spearheaded by Thorn. The network has been using Family Guy, Bob’s Burgers and The Simpsons as launching pads as well as a calling card to attract animation talent. Fox has five returning animated series this season: veterans The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers and sophomores Bless the Harts and Duncanville, which will be joined by The Great North and Housebroken. The network also has a new Dan Harmon series in the works and has ordered a couple of animated presentations.
As animation production has been able to continue without a significantly impact by the pandemic, Fox’s Animation Domination block will launch this Sunday, September 27, with new seasons of Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, The Simpsons and Bless the Harts.
The massive ramp-up over the last couple of years, which also included Fox Entertainment acquiring animation house Bento Box, raised questions whether the network might be preparing for the loss of its iconic (and very expensive) animated titles now that their producer is part of Disney. Thorn addressed that in an interview with Deadline in January.
“It’s twofold –- it’s part of our business and programming strategy but also preparing for that day (in which Fox says good-bye to The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers) whenever it comes,” he said, indicating that the net may be opening a new hourlong comedy block on its schedule.
But Thorn also made it clear that the network is not preparing to bid farewell to its animated mainstays anytime soon.
Bob’s Burgers, which returns for an 11th season on Sunday, follows Bob (H. Jon Benjamin) and his ever-quirky family who together run the restaurant Bob’s Burgers. Including its 2020 Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Animated Program, the series has been nominated for the past seven consecutive years and won twice, in 2014 and 2017. The series also was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award and an Annie Award this year. Bento Box Entertainment serves as the animation studio on Bob’s Burgers.
Entering its 18th season, Family Guy premieres Sunday with its milestone 350th episode. Since its debut in 1999, the series has reached cult status among fans, and its breakout star, Stewie the talking baby, has become one of the best TV characters of all time. Family Guy has received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series, only the second animated series in television history to break into the category. Most recently, series creator and lead voice actor Seth MacFarlane won the 2019 Emmy for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance. Cast member Alex Borstein won the 2018 Emmy in the category.
MacFarlane also was nominated that year. He won the 2017 and 2016 Emmy Award in the category, and was nominated from 2013 to 2015.
Bob’s Burgers is a 20th Television production. The series was created and is executive produced by Loren Bouchard and Jim Dauterive. Nora Smith, Dan Fybel, Rich Rinaldi, Greg Thompson and Jon Schroeder also serve as executive producers. Bouchard and Smith are showrunners for the upcoming season. Bento Box produces the animation.
Family Guy is a 20th Television production. MacFarlane is creator and executive producer. Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin serve as executive producers and showrunners, while Steve Callaghan, Tom Devanney, Danny Smith, Kara Vallow, Mark Hentemann and Patrick Meighan are executive producers.
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