For two and a half decades, Hank Azaria has been voicing Moe, Apu, Chief Wiggum and a slew of other characters on The Simpsons. Now he’s add to his Fox voice portfolio Bud Buckwald. Ahead of its TCA presentation today, Fox announced that the Emmy winner will play the lead character on Bordertown, the new animated comedy from Family Guy’s Mark Hentemann and Seth MacFarlane. It has not been scheduled yet, but given how hot-button the immigration issue is at the south border, Fox may want to bring the show on sooner rather than later.
Exploring family, politics and everything in between, the series centers on two very different families living in a fictional Southwest desert town on the U.S. – Mexico border. Azaria’s Bud Buckwald is a married father of three and a Border Patrol agent who is just a tad behind the times and feels slightly threatened by the cultural changes transforming his neighborhood. He lives next door to Ernesto Gonzalez (Nicholas Gonzalez), an ambitious immigrant and family man, who has been in the country less than 10 years, but is already doing better than Bud – which, it turns out, is a bit of an issue for the less-industrious native. Azaria joins previously cast members including Alex Borstein, Missi Pyle, Judah Friedlander, Gonzalez and guest voice Efren Ramirez.
Fox also announced upcoming guest stars … Read More »
The creators of web series about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes has filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, Universal Pictures and the producers of Ted, the 2012 film about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes. Bengal Mangle Productions claims that Ted “is an unlawful copy” of its own animated teddy, who was featured in two different web series, Charlie The Abusive Teddy and Acting School Academy. The suit (read it here), filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, states that those web series aired in 2009 and 2010 on You Tube, FunnyOrDie.com and other streaming websites.
“Both Charlie and Ted reside in a substantially similar environment, including that both Charlie and Ted spend a significant amount of time sitting on a living room couch with a beer and/or cigarette in hand,” the suit claims. “Charlie and Ted each have a substantially similar persona, verbal tone, verbal delivery, dialogue, and attitude.” Read More »
When LeVar Burton launched a Kickstarter campaign to revive his long-running educational series Reading Rainbow on the web, his target was $1M. Two days later, he had $2M — and the figure has doubled since. Now the man behind Family Guy, Ted and A Million Ways To Die In The West is upping the ante even further. Seth MacFarlane has committed $1M to the project, but it comes in the form of a challenge to the public: He will match every pledge from the $4M mark up to $5M through July 2. Burton plans to produce Reading Rainbow — which he hosted and exec produced during its entire PBS run from 1983-2006 — as a web series and make it available to students nationwide. He said the original $1M goal would have covered free subscriptions for 1,500-plus classrooms, but $6M would make it available for free to 12,500-plus.
Peter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades at Daily Variety. In this weekly Sunday column, two old friends get together and grind their axes on the movie business.
Bart: Here’s a suggestion for Adam Sandler, Seth MacFarlane and James Franco that none will appreciate: Guys, you should think about taking a sabbatical. All of you have been working too hard, trying too hard, and you’ve become predictable. Why not take a place on the sidelines for a while and think about life? I know the whole concept of “the sidelines” worries you. They’re already occupied by the likes of Eddie Murphy, Jim Carrey and Mike Myers; it’s much more fun being in the middle of the action. Even too much action.
Fleming: Wow, that’s a buckshot blast. Those three fall into different categories. Let’s take them one at a time, starting with Sandler. I loved his Saturday Night Live character creations, from Opera Man to Canteen Boy and miss the edge he carried into his early films. I wish Adam would stop pandering to the four quadrants and challenge himself to write something less predictable. Audiences are losing interest.
Bart: My problem with Sandler, MacFarlane and others is that “raunchier” doesn’t necessarily mean “funnier”. Scatalogical humor already has been pushed over the edge this summer and we are yet to see Melissa McCarthy’s new road movie, Tammy, or the next Cameron Diaz epic, Sex Tape. By the standards of the moment, the Diaz-Ben Stiller hair gel moment in There’s Something About Mary seems like a Disney picture. The R ratings for movies like Neighbors were saved only by some eleventh-hour manipulation in the cutting room — “frame-f*cking,” it’s called, and it’s a flourishing career. Read More »
Blunt Talk, a live-action comedy series from Seth MacFarlane and Bored To Death creator Jonathan Ames starring Patrick Stewart (Star Trek, X-Men), has landed at Starz with a 20-episode, straight-to-series, two-season order for a 2015 premiere. The project hails from Media Rights Capital, which yielded a similar straight-to-series, two-season pickup from Netflix for its drama House Of Cards. The comedy project was recently taken out, garnering interest from multiple networks. There was some behind the scenes back-and-forth on who would produce the series as MacFarlane is under a very rich overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV. (He is currently in negotiations for a new pact.) The TV studio, which is behind all other MacFarlane comedy series, is currently not involved in this one but I hear the issue has not been completely resolved yet. MacFarlane has very strong ties to MRC, which was behind his YouTube original series Cavalcade Of Cartoon Comedy as well as features Ted and A Million Ways To Die In The West.
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“America has always been a nation of fearless explorers who dream big and reach farther than others imagine,” President Obama said as he introduced the series premiere episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey tonight on 10 Fox Networks Group Channels, including Fox broadcast network and National Geographic Channel. “Today we’re doing everything we can to bring that same sense of possibility to a new generation, because there are new frontiers to explore and we need Americans eager to explore them,” he said in the video message leading into the premiere episode. Yesterday the networks announced their reboot of Carl Sagan’s classic Cosmos series was getting a White House lift-off. A preview of the series screened at the White House as part of their inaugural White House Film Festival on Friday, February 28.
More than three decades after the debut of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, Sagan’s iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science, Seth MacFarlane has teamed with Sagan’s original creative collaborators to conceive the 13-part series to serve as a successor to the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original series. Sagan’s original series Cosmos was first broadcast in 1980 and remains the most globally successful American public television series of all time. Seen by more than 750 million viewers, Cosmos has remained popular throughout the world.
Watch Obama’s intro here:
EXCLUSIVE: Amanda Seyfried is going to play the female lead in Ted 2, the Seth MacFarlane-directed sequel with Mark Wahlberg back as the centerpiece in the ongoing saga of a man and his foul-mouthed teddy bear. MacFarlane is still putting together the pieces for the Ted 2 sequel, but it looks like Mila Kunis will only appear in a tiny role, if at all, in the sequel. I’m told this has nothing to do with anything other than a creative decision that MacFarlane decided to take with the plotting of the sequel. He and Kunis remain close, I’m told, and she continues to provide the voice of Meg in MacFarlane’s Family Guy. MacFarlane is nearly done with post-production on his next film, A Million Ways To Die In The West, in which MacFarlane stars with Liam Neeson, Charlize Theron, Seyfried and Ted star Giovanni Ribisi. Scott Stuber produces both films.
Like A Million Days To Die In The West, the film is back by Media Rights Capital, and a deal is expected to be made with Universal to co-finance and distribute the film, as the studio did with the original.
Fox Networks Group today announced its first ever cross-network global premiere event — for Seth MacFarlane‘s passion project, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, on Sunday, March 9, 9-10 PM ET/PT. In addition to premiering on the 10 U.S. networks simulcasting the premiere episode — Fox Broadcasting Company, National Geographic Channel, FX, FXX, FXM, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo and FOX Life — and on the Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channels International, as previously announced, Cosmos will premiere on all 90 National Geographic Channels in 180 countries, as well as 120 Fox-branded channels in 125 countries, making this the largest global launch ever for a television series. Rolling out immediately after the U.S. premiere, international markets will begin airing the premiere episode day and date on both Fox-branded and National Geographic Channels, concluding within one week of the domestic premiere event. The additional 12 episodes will air exclusively on National Geographic Channels outside the U.S.
Related: TV Trailer: Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Cosmos’
This first multi-network launch event for Fox Networks Group, along with the series debut on Fox International Channels and National Geographic Channels International, will make Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey available on 220 channels in 181 countries, with an overall footprint of more than half a billion homes. Read More »
Seth MacFarlane directs, produces, co-wrote and stars in the Western comedy as cowardly sheep farmer Albert, whose fickle girlfriend leaves him for another man after he backs out of a gunfight. When a mysterious and beautiful woman rides into town, she helps Albert find his courage and they begin to fall in love. But when her outlaw husband arrives seeking revenge, Albert must put his newfound courage to the test. Charlize Theron, Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Sarah Silverman, Giovanni Ribisi, and Neil Patrick Harris also star. A Million Ways To Die In The West reunites MacFarlane with many of the filmmakers behind Ted, including Scott Stuber (Bluegrass Films) and Jason Clark who produce, and Wellesley Wild and Alec Sulkin who co-wrote the script. Universal releases A Million Ways To Die In The West on May 30. Check out the trailer:
In describing Seth MacFarlane, the king of such lowbrow fare as the hit series Family Guy and blockbuster feature Ted, “educator” is hardly a word that comes to mind. But he is taking on such a role with Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a reboot of the popular PBS series by the late Carl Sagan. In addition to his love for the original, which he had been a fan of since childhood, MacFarlane is bringing a lot of expertise to the Fox project. That includes animation, which will be an important component of the new 13-episode series he described the show as a “visual feast.” Scientists will get the animated treatment, and it will be used to “bring history sequences into the new millennium,” he said. MacFarlane also is lending lead-in supports to Cosmos, which premieres March 9, with his Family Guy serving as launching pad for it on Sunday nights. He sees a lot of cross-over audience from animated comedies to Cosmos and dismissed a suggestion that it would be for sci-fi fans only — or, as one critic described them, “nerds tuning in on Friday night.” MacFarlane jumped in, “And f**k you.” He said that was the reason the show was pitched to Fox. “National Geographic and Discovery are great networks, but instead of pleading to the converted, wouldn’t it be nice to broaden [the reach]?”
Related: TV TRAILER: Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Cosmos’
During his Q&A session at TCA today, MacFarlane had another quick comeback when someone suggested that he may have had to withhold some of his shows from Fox to force them to pick up Cosmos. “What do you think happened to The Flintstones?” he deadpanned, referring to his aborted reboot. Every episode of Cosmos will profile a hero from the world of space exploration, which will bring a welcome change from the current entertainment environment. “We are in the age of the anti-hero where everything has to be dark and dystrophy and depressing,” he said.
Related: Fox Orders New Seth MacFarlane Animated Comedy Series For Next Season Read More »
Well, we never bought that “Brian is dead” hysteria because it made no creative and business sense (read A Dog Mystery: Is ‘Family Guy’s Brian Gone?) But many did. And just like that, after three weeks in heaven, The Griffins’ beloved pooch was back last night with the help of a Christmas wish and a travel back in time. Tweeted Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, who voices Brian, “And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash. I mean, you didn’t really think we’d kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we’d have to be fucking high. Oh and hey… thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude.”
UPDATE, 8:30 AM: “The producers have confirmed that the ‘special announcement from Brian’ website is a hoax and was not created by anyone connected to the show, studio or network,” Family Guy studio 20th Century Fox TV said this morning, in response to questions about the site.
PREVIOUSLY: 6:47 AM: Did grieving Family Guy viewers get punked by Seth MacFarlane and gang? Did 20th TV fake Brian’s death to sell merchandise during the holiday buying season and goose the show’s ratings? Two days after the “shocking” death of the Fox animated show’s talking dog Brian, a countdown clock has appeared that promises a “special announcement from Brian” on the way — in 10 days and counting at time of posting — with the suggestion same grieving viewers should “spread the word.”
Related: A Dog Mystery: Is ‘Family Guy’s Brian Gone? Read More »
The FCC will get a mess of complaints about the November 10 episode of Fox’s animated Seth MacFarlane comedy Family Guy after Parents Television Council encouraged members today to file broadcast indecency complaints with the commission. PTC says it sprang into action because the episode contained explicit jokes about rape, molestation, sexual exploitation of children — and the “sexualized use of food and perverse ‘internal defrosting’ of frozen hot dogs.” PTC sent out word of the campaign this morning to the media, with a helpful partial transcript of the episode:
- Upset at being threatened by a bully and challenged to a fight, teenage Meg runs into the girl’s restroom. She finds pedophile Quagmire inside.
Meg: “What are you doing in here?”
Quagmire: “This is my base of operations.”
Quagmire’s phone beeps. Voice on phone: “Mr. Quagmire, the girl’s gym class will be in the showers in twenty minutes.”
- Quagmire recounts being bullied by a girl when he was in high school: “That was the beginning of a long, abusive relationship. It’s one thing if you put your penis inside-out in the safety of your own bedroom. But to have it done in the cafeteria? To this day, I can’t have sex with a woman against her will without thinking about rape.” Read More »
Seth MacFarlane is taking on immigration and the undergoing cultural shift in America. Seriously. With American Dad! moving to TBS and The Cleveland Show quietly getting cancelled, MacFarlane‘s animated presence on Fox had gone down to one show, flagship Family Guy. It will now be joined by a new animated comedy series next season, as Fox has given a 13-episode order to Bordertown, from MacFarlane and Family Guy‘s Mark Hentemann. Set in a fictitious desert town near the U.S.-Mexico border, Bordertown centers on the intertwining daily lives of neighbors Bud Buckwald and Ernesto Gonzales. Bud, a married father of three, is a Border Patrol agent who feels threatened by the cultural changes that have transformed his neighborhood. Living next door is Ernesto, an industrious Mexican immigrant and father of four, who is proud to be making it in America. As Bud and Ernesto’s paths begin to cross, their families become bound by friendship, romance and conflict. Judging by MacFarlane’s track record, the series is sure to skewer Southern and Mexican immigrant stereotypes with a ton of offensive jokes.
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Universal Pictures will release the follow-up to Seth MacFarlane‘s highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time on June 26, 2015. MacFarlane returns as writer, director and co-star of Ted 2 along with star Mark Wahlberg from Universal and Media Rights Capital. Alec Sulkin & Wellesley Wild return to write. MacFarlane produces alongside Bluegrass Films’ Scott Stuber, as well as John Jacobs and Jason Clark. The first pic made about $550 million worldwide after its June 2012 release.
UPDATE, 6:50 AM: Fox has declined the Media Action Network for Asian Americans’ suggestion it re-shoot its Dads pilot in order to remove the scene it finds most offensive. In the scene, business partners Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi have Brenda Song’s employee character dress up in sexy Asian Schoolgirl costume and giggle demurely to please Chinese businessmen.
Down the road, Fox execs promised the organization, “You will see that Brenda Song’s character is a strong, intelligent, empowered young woman who basically runs the company, and who almost always gets the upper hand.” They also said the show, from Seth MacFarlane and team, “is a show that will be evocative and will poke fun at stereotypes and bigotries — sometimes through over-the-top, ridiculous situations,” adding, “The series is based heavily on the executive producers’ own lives, and the relationships between the fathers and sons on Dads will continue to be the main driver of show’s comedic sensibility. Everyone involved with Dads is striving to create a series with humor that works on multiple levels and ‘earns’ its audaciousness.”
PREVIOUS, AUGUST 15: The Media Action Network for Asian Americans says it’s waiting to hear back from Fox execs in response to a letter it sent Monday asking the network to reshoot some “racist” scenes in the pilot of Fox’s new Seth MacFarlane live-action comedy series, Dads. Fox says it has been in the process of responding. Word of the kerfuffle got out this afternoon when MANAA took the issue to the press. In case you didn’t get the screener MANAA saw back in July, Dads is about two video game developers (Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi) with cranky old dads (Martin Mull and Peter Reigert) who move in to their place. Sometimes the dads say stupid racist things. Mull’s character, for instance, calls Asians “Orientals,” and says, of Chinese people, “There’s a reason ‘Shanghai’ is a verb.” TV critics don’t like the show much either, and said so at the recent Summer TCA Press Tour. Fox Entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly placated them somewhat by telling them the show will need to recalibrate and find the right comedic balance. MANAA wants the pilot recalibrated before it premieres. Read More »
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s Comic-Con coverage.
EXCLUSIVE: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey will premiere in the spring on Fox and National Geographic Channel and just introduced a trailer during its Comic-Con panel Saturday evening at the Indigo Ballroom. Seth MacFarlane is executive producer on the reboot of the groundbreaking 1980 Carl Sagan series and sent along a video message from the set of his movie A Million Ways To Die In The West. (Text continues below):
Joining host and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson on the panel are writer/executive producer Ann Druyan and executive producer/director Brannon Braga. On the 44th anniversary of the first moon landing, the closest thing that Comic-Con has to royalty, the late astronomer Carl Sagan’s widow Ann Druyin, held court during a session hyping the forthcoming Fox reboot of the landmark 1980s PBS miniseries Cosmos. The new series, Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, is slated to premiere next spring. Why do a reboot? Druyin, who lost her husband when he died of pneumonia in 1996, responded, “Well, it’s a very big universe, and in the first series we covered a lot of territory. But there’s so much left. We have new stories that have yet to be told.”
Panelist Druyin said this Cosmos “is as accessible as the first one and contains information that’s at times arcane, that at other times is as less complicated. But it’s for everyone.” She also sees the pendulum swinging back to interest … Read More »
BREAKING … TBS continues to boost its slate to provide better primetime lead-ins to its flagship talk show Conan. The network announced today that has picked up Fox’s animated comedy American Dad! and will air it beginning in 2014 — the Turner net has ordered 15 episodes of the 20th Century Fox TV-produced series’ 11th season. The Seth MacFarlane comedy premiered on Fox in 2005 and has been a long-standing member of that network’s Sunday animation block. American Dad! will kick off its 10th (and now last) season on Fox on September 29. Under the new deal, fellow Turner network Adult Swim will present encores of each episode after initial airings on TBS. TBS and Adult Swim already air reruns of American Dad! and MacFarlane’s Family Guy throughout the networks’ lineups.
“American Dad! is a great fit for TBS, a favorite of comedy fans who like smart, irreverent humor with ample doses of biting wit and skewering satire,” said Michael Wright, president, head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movie, in announcing the deal. “We look forward to welcoming Seth MacFarlane and the rest of his team as they bring this iconic show to TBS.” Read More »