The show has booked two evenings at Carnegie Hall. The cast and crew from the show will perform two uncensored episodes of the show, along with various musical numbers. It's called Family Guy Sings! and will run on November 24 and 25.
The show has done these shows before, at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and cities around the U.S., but hey, this Carnegie Hall! I think it would be funny if the place insisted that everyone dress in black tie and formal dress.
This seems to be a trend. During the writers strike, the cast of 30 Rock did a staged reading of one of their episodes. Maybe this is something that TV shows can do during the off-season, when the shows are in repeats. I wonder what 24 would be like on Broadway?
For years Seth MacFarlane has worked in the small animated universe that contains Family Guy, American Dad and soon The Cleveland Show (with some wading in the Robot Chicken pool). During that time he has provided voice and picture to the trials and tribulations of two typical American families. Yet, deep down inside, you knew that he wanted to do more than work with the Griffins and the Smiths. You could see it with in the amount of fantasy sequences placed during a typical episode of Family Guy.
Now, thanks to a combination of Internet and fast food, Seth is getting his chance to explore the world outside of his FOX Sunday night offerings. YouTube -- the dusty video cabinet of the World Wide Web -- will be hosting all new MacFarlane cartoon shorts under the short title Set MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy. Sponsored by fast food giant Burger King (and featuring the giant-headed king in the opening sequence), the YouTube channel will show one to two-minute cartoons featuring all new characters and scripts. According to a press release sent to TV Squad, there will be 50 shorts that are custom-made for the web (and eventual DVD release, I'm sure.)
It's coming. The table is set, the players are on the field, the sails are raised, and the pretty maids are all in a row. Of course, I speak of the 2008-09 television schedule. In just a few short weeks viewers will be able to dine on a number of favorite and new dishes that are being served by the networks as well as the increasing number of cable channels who are delving into original programming.
While other fall seasons have come and gone with nary a whimper, this season may be different. Due to the prolonged Writers Strike many shows ended their seasons quite early. Programs like Life, Private Practice, Pushing Daisies, and Heroes haven't aired original episodes since the end of 2007. Heck, there hasn't been a new episode of The Shield since June of last year! So, the beginning of the 2008-09 season will be a second chance for some of these shows, particularly the ones that premiered last season, to show their worth to fans and the networks.
I have come to an epiphany when it comes to American Dad and Family Guy: a studio audience is needed. I came to this realization after attending both the Comic-Con panels for these respective shows, which showed clips from their respective series. Scenes that I would have generally smirked at or given a chuckle made me laugh out loud along with the rest of the audience. Which brings me to one of two conclusions: either laughter is contagious, or I am just a lemming.
Either way, an enjoyable two hours was spent with casts from both shows as they did some table readings, provided some clues to upcoming episodes,and provided clips from some previously run and new episodes of both shows.
As usual, FOX leaves the best press conference (at least as far as I was concerned) for last. I sat through Karl Rove and Chris Wallace getting contentious with the critics near the end of the FOX News panel (more on that later), Jerry O'Connell and the cast of Do Not Disturb strain to answer questions about a show whose clip reel wasn't all that funny, and the millionaires from Secret Millionaire talk about being poor for a week. All of it was made worth it (and, really, seeing Rove start to get annoyed near the end was fun to watch) so we could see the final panel: all the producers of all FOX's Sunday animated shows.
The first person who spoke up, not surprisingly, was Seth MacFarlane. "Is this where Karl Rove sat? Because I don't want to get AIDS." Wow. Unfortunately, no line that was said after that was as shocking or funny. But it was all still pretty good.
Okay, show of hands. How many of you are going to the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con to see all of the panels being held by the many television studios and shows? Uh-huh, a good amount. Now, how many of you are going to be perusing the booths and dealers down at the exhibit hall? Ahhh, not so fast!
If you're a fan of all things television and you think you'll have some time to see what else is going on during this, the world's largest science fiction and comic book convention, you may want to re-think your plans. This isn't your grandfather's, father's, or even older brother's comic book convention.
Starting last year this convention has become the biggest television event between the TCA's the week before (which we are covering, by the way) and the Emmy's at the end of the summer. This year is no exception as the days are packed with shows varying from Stargate Atlantis and Battlestar Galactica to Big Bang Theory and Bones.
Kevin Richardson from The Cleaner is voicing the character of Lester, a redneck neighbor of Cleveland. Interestingly, Mike Henry is a white man voicing an African-American while Richardson is African-American voicing a white man.
Also joining the cast is Sanaa Lathan who will play Cleveland's love interest Donna and Nia Long (pictured) who will play one of Donna's children, a rebellious teen named Roberta.
I suppose the success of this show will depend on the execution of it. It has to be similar enough to Family Guy to not alienate those fans but different enough to spark an interest. Cleveland Brown never struck me as a character who could carry his own show but maybe I'll be proven wrong.
McFarlane will be developing fifty two-minute animated vignettes for Seth McFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy which will be distributed via Google's AdSense network (a competitor for Fox's Myspace).
The article goes into the corporate issues behind this strange move and asks a few good questions: why didn't Fox get a first-look offer at this idea? If they did, why did they pass on it? It seems inexpensive enough to produce and given the popularity of the creator, it seems a no-brainer.
Comedian Jeffrey Ross hosted the event. Hopefully this is just the beginning of a successful awards season for Lost. A complete list of winners in the television categories follows after the jump.
Sales are more than 50% complete, with one syndicator, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, more than 70% sold out of its 2008-09 ad inventory, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
What's it all mean? It means that syndication upfront totals are expected to be around $2.4 billion, up 4.5% from last year.
Maybe one reason is that syndicators are incorporating more product integration into their packages, especially with talk and entertainment shows. Strong categories include packaged goods, pharmaceuticals, movies, and fast food.
Hmmm ... I wonder what they're saying. That TV viewers sit around eating Big Macs, doing drugs, and woofing down Cheetos? Yeah, that can't be right.
Finally, a new teaser for the much anticipated Family Guy spin-off, The Cleveland Show. Actually, "anticipated" is probably a strong word since American Dad has already destroyed my faith in Seth MacFarlane's ability to produce another hit. Frankly, I don't see how The Cleveland Show could possibly be worse than American Dad.
"New" probably isn't the right word either since the following video looks like something that most likely aired during last month's upfronts. But hey - I hadn't seen it yet, so it's new to me. Complaining aside, I'm pumped for this show and the preview doesn't disappoint. The idea of Cleveland packing his bags and heading south to marry a woman he hasn't seen since high school is hilarious to me. Bears and British folks as neighbors? This could work. Video and full description from FOX after the jump.
In the end, this turned out to be one of the closest races of all the TV Squad Awards, both utilizing our internal selection system of manatees in tanks with nominee balls and you all using your clicky devices on your computers to vote via that fancy poll at the end of my post regarding the nominees for the Adam Finley Award for excellence in animation. I'd also like to nominate the previous sentence for The Pointlessly Longest Sentence in TVS History Award. And if that seemed completely random, than it's a perfect way to introduce the most randomly hilarious show on television, and our winner, Robot Chicken. They won specifically for their half hour long Star Wars special, wherein they skewered all five of Lucas' good Star Wars movies and Episode I.
The relationship between the viewer and the network is one that requires a delicate balance. As the numbers for DVR penetration continue to climb, it's pretty clear that a great many of us are successfully dodging more and more commercial breaks. And the networks continue to push back, trying different things to get eyeballs on ads. Some are merely annoying. For instance, as much as I like both Kyra Sedgwick and The Closer, I'm annoyed every time Brenda walks out of the corner of my screen while I'm watching another show on TNT.
While that one is annoying, this latest adventure from TBS crosses a line. During an episode of Family Guy (video after the jump), Bill Engvall walks out on the screen, much like the Brenda spots for The Closer. The difference is that Bill holds up a remote and actually pauses the episode before heading into his pitch for his show. When he finishes, he unpauses the show, which runs for two more seconds before going to the regular commercial break. Please, if it's not too much trouble, strap on your sturdiest combat boots and join me in sending a theoretical kick to the crotch of anyone at TBS that didn't think this was the dumbest idea since starting everything at five minutes past the hour.
I'd say it's a tremendous long shot that an animated show can be nominated over the live-action comedy series it will be facing. But there's always a first time for everything; when Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast picked up an Oscar nod for "Best Picture" it was groundbreaking in the same way. It's a tough debate. These shows compete with prime-time comedies every week and yet get put up against the likes of Spongebob Squarepants come awards time. How do you compare The Venture Brothers and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends?
With your help from my Adam Finley Award call for nominations post last week where you tried to trick me into nominating The Venture Brothers, even though I can't, we've managed to narrow down the field of contenders to what we feel were the five strongest entries into the wide world of television animation in the past season. Don't forget to check out the Reader's Choice at the bottom where you can vote for which of the five you think are deserving to win. Next week, we'll be revealing both your winner and ours.
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