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March 30 2004

Cancelled Series FAMILY GUY renewed after healthy DVD Sales. For those looking for ammunition that DVD sales could renew a series (like Firefly or Angel), this is very interesting news.

Particularly given that it's being brought back from the dead by... Fox. (And that Fox has first rights to broadcast the 22 new episodes.)

can wait to see the new episodes. i always loved the show when it was on fox.........i still catch some reruns here and there on the cartoon network
And in some what related news, sources have told SyFy Portal that UPN have given Enterprise "an initial 12-episode commitment for a fourth season, which could be renewed to a full 24 episodes".

Same sort of thing the WB did for Angel season 5 back in May, but they decided not to tell Mutant Enemy this until two months into the Fall season.
First off this isn't new news - they have been back in production since Dec., when it was set as a direct to DVD release. Since then things have changed, there will be a DVD release along with the 22 episodes, that will be new episodes as well. FOX has not committed to airing the series but is in talks about it. Cartoon Network wasted no time in grabbing it and it now comes down to who will air it first if FOX doespick it up.

Secondly, funny how they mentioned it being on Thur night like Tru, just found that funny.
The journey back to TV has been quite a long and misunderstood one, this is the tale as I understand it. The releases of the 3 seasons did very well, and ratings started going up on Cartoon Networks Adult Swim, it was about here that it was said that they were going to go back into production, but to make a DVD movie (in which Stewie would have come out of the closet), but sales of the DVDs kept going, and so around December it was said they were going to make a 4th season, with anywhere up to 35 episodes, (Ive heard 40 aswell, I think the plan is to just make as many as humanly possible) several of which have already been written in case the show had been picked up for a fourth season 2 years ago, and a few that will take ideas from the since scrapped DVD movie. These will definitely air on Cartoon Network, but if they want it, Fox have the right to show the new episodes first, after this, a fourth season box set will be released, i don't think it'll come out while the new episodes are airing, it would ruin the ratings.

I think the reason this story has been written is that it is just in the last few weeks that the show has officialy reentered production.

I've also read that this is happening because the DVDs did exceptionally well, and that we shouldn't expect this to happen with any other show.
Also remember that cartoons have an extended shelf life because of they are ageless. But i love family guy and i can't wait for the new episodes.
From a roundtable from the Hollywood Reporter back in Dec.....

THR: And now with TV DVD coming on so strong, there are even more titles to get in front of people.

Beeks: I think what's really amazing is something like what happened at Mike's company with (Fox's) "Family Guy," which only aired for one season but went on to become this phenomenal DVD success

*Dunn: And we're going to go back into production on "Family Guy" specifically for the DVD market, as a result of the DVD success. I think this 34-year-old male, who is a very avid purchaser, fits right into the demo of our TV DVD business. The things that really work, like (Fox's) "The Simpsons" which will do 1.6 million units on Season One alone, over the period of a year and a half are in that sweet spot, and it's created a revenue source that didn't exist during the VHS days. It's that male consumer that has a high-end home entertainment system and is a collector.

And then in another article from Broadcasting and Cable.....

So far this year, TCFHE has released 11 of the 20 top-selling TV-on-DVD releases. Ironically, TCFHE's best seller is "The Family Guy: Vol. 1," an animated series from Seth MacFarlane that was canceled after only three seasons.
"The success of 'Family Guy' proves a couple of things not just (that) films find their ultimate audience on DVD, but also if you effectively tap into a loyal but dormant fan base, you can reinvigorate a property and bring it back into the popular culture," Feldstein says.

This year, TCFHE also scored big with complete season sets of the syndicated "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and the network's "24."

Both Dunn and Feldstein are top executives at TCFHE division.

Also Family Guy like the Simpsons is not a cartoon for kids -it is more adult based - therefore it's shelf life is not like that of a Disney film or a Powder Puff girls DVD.

One last article from b&c .....

The DVD Factor
A new force is descending on the TV business: the DVD. According to John Higgins's page-one story, DVD sales of popular TV shows are now more than $1 billion and rising. This means more than just G5 leases for those already overindulged Hollywood types. This means that potential DVD revenue is a growing factor in what TV shows are developed, what shows are scheduled, and what shows are canceled. How big a factor is commensurate with total DVD revenue, which is to say modest now but possibly huge if sales stay on their current track.

What makes it all so interesting is that what is popular on TV is not necessarily what's popular on the DVD rack at Best Buy. This fact, as our story points out, could lead to Fox's sticking with Family Guy, even though its ratings are sagging. Inexplicably (at least in our minds), Family Guy is the top DVD seller. The revenue here is new, but the concept isn't. Hollywood producers and network schedulers have been factoring potential syndication revenue into their programming choices for years. We see the impact on TV grids every day. So be careful what DVDs you buy. You just might be programming the 2004-05 season.

[ edited by RavenU on 2004-03-30 20:58 ]
Is this really Whedonesque material at all? Seems like a bit of a stretch to me, though I do love Family Guy and am thrilled that it's going to be returning. I highly doubt the same thing will happen to Angel or Firefly though.
There are 2 things that make this whedonesque material; 1, it shows that cancelled shows sometimes do come back (we havent covered Farscape though, so it's probably reason) 2, Seth Green voices some characters, Seth Green was in Buffy.

Similar to why Wonderfalls is covered, it's exec produced by an old Angel writer, I'd imagine (as we already are) that Alyson Hannigans sitcom will be covered too.
Mind - Firefly is returning in Movie form and may well be returning to TV after that (or at least that is the latest speculation given last minutes changes Joss has made to the script, which would make it a smoother transition to TV) in part due to the DVD sales.
It has many similarities to Firefly, in both cases DVD sales gave a reason to greenlight a new lease of life to a cancelled show. And even though the only direct link is Seth Green (and I've seen a photo of the Buffy offices with a large Chris Griffin figure on the wall) I thinks it's relevent to any discussion about JW and the business. You can't talk about his trials and problems without considering what's happening to others in Hollywood.
This is fascinating stuff. Here's an interesting question, would anyone be willing to pay more money for a direct to DVD Joss Whedon series? I pay on average $20 for a 2 hour movie on DVD and the full season box sets are about 18 hours long so if a direct to dvd series was done in 2 hour installments that would be $360 for the equivalent of 1 season. If only 100,000 copies of each installment was sold that would still generate $36,000,000 in sales. Another plus would be no network censorship!

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