EXCLUSIVE: Seth MacFarlane and the showrunners for American Dad and Family Guy are putting down their tools and talents until the Writers Guild of America has a new deal with the studios.
Multiple Emmy winner MacFarlane, American Dad’s Brian Boyle and Matt Weitzman and Family Guy’s Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin made it clear to 20th Television this week that none of them will be working on the respective series as long as the WGA remains on strike.
Putting his feet where his money is, the creator and voiceover star of Family Guy and co-creator and voiceover star of American Dad, MacFarlane has been seen on the picket lines since talks broke down with the AMPTP and the guild went on strike on May 2. His appearance with fellow WGA members and his walking off the two shows should be no big surprise, as MacFarlane was a big advocate for the WGA holding strong during the last strike of 2007-2008.
Reps for both WME-repped MacFarlane and 20th TV had no comment today when contacted by Deadline on the exit of the ex-Oscar host, and the showrunners.
However, it looks like the impact of those departures will have little immediate effect on either the Fox broadcast Family Guy or American Dad.
MacFarlane had long since completed all his duties on the former, which ended its 20-episode 21st season on May 7. As for American Dad, which kicked off its 20th season in late March, there is quite a bit of runway to go before the wheels come off. The animated satire has about 3 months of scripts, v/o, etc already completed, I hear. Then the studio will have to figure out what steps to take next.
In January, Fox renewed Family Guy for a 22nd and 23rd season. Back in December 2021, American Dad was renewed for a 20th and 21st season.
Like many showrunners, Boyle, Weitzman, Appel and Sulkin were sent letters last week informing them individually that they had to show up for work for their “non-WGA duties.” What actually constitutes such non-guild duties have proven an increasingly tense point of contention between the WGA and the studios. The guild’s POV is simply that there is no non-writing element of being a showrunner.
Having shifted in 2020 from a long-time overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television to a five-year and $200 million agreement with NBCUniversal, MacFarlane and his Fuzzy Door Productions have not received a suspension letter from the Comcast-owned company, as many high-profile showrunners and talent have in recent days, sources tell me.
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