Hulu Content Boss On Possible Play For ‘Family Guy’ Originals, Canceled ABC Shows & Cross-Platform Spinoffs

Family Guy was one of the biggest stars of the 2024 upfronts, prominently featured at two different presentations – Fox and Disney. Seth MacFarlane’s animated hit helped open Fox’s event and then was part of a Disney skit featuring an animated version of the company’s ad chief Rita Ferro making a sales pitch while hanging out with Peter Griffin and his dog, Brian.

Ironically, upfront presentations focus on fall schedules, and, despite all the attention, Family Guy actually is not on the fall schedule for the first time since the show was resurrected by Fox 19 years ago..

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Both Fox and Disney have the right to claim Family Guy — Fox airs it and Disney produces it through 20th Television Animation.

Family Guy‘s dual allegiance also is raising questions about its long-term prospects — as well as those of the other two Fox legacy animated series, The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers, all of which are produced by 20th — a concern further raised by Fox’s decision to bench Family Guy until midseason.

With Family Guy attracting 43 million views across platforms and regularly ranking as No.1 on Hulu, the Disney streamer would be interested should the series become available beyond the current next-day/library play.

“The past seasons of Family Guy are extraordinarily popular on Hulu, they generate a massive amount of engagement,” Disney TV Group President Craig Erwich, who oversees Hulu Originals, told Deadline Tuesday. “So any opportunity that arises with Family Guy is something that we’ll take a look at, in any form, that opportunity can take on many shapes and sizes.”

Along with renewing its animated veterans from 20th TV, Fox has spent the last few years building a next-gen slate of fully owned or co-owned animated comedies, including Krapopolis, The Great North, Grimsburg and the upcoming Universal Basic Guys.

Earlier this week, Fox CEO Rob Wade said that the network was “very, very happy” with Family Guy, The Simpsons and Bob’s Burgers but was also “very, very happy” with its new shows.

“I think we have enough schedule, enough time to fit them all in,” he said, noting the company’s “great relationship with Hulu and Disney” and the key role a window on Fox plays for the veteran animated series’ exposure, longevity and financial health.

“We’re seeing more and more how important the broadcast network is and how important that windowing is; you need a broadcast window for shows to cut through,” he said. “I think these shows really benefit from being on Fox, and I think Disney recognizes that.”

Additionally, Deadline asked Erwich, who also oversees ABC, why Hulu has never come to the rescue of an ABC scripted series the way CBS’ Evil and SEAL Team migrated to sibling Paramount+ and NBC’s Law & Order: Organized Crime is relocating to sibling Peacock.

“All of our broadcast shows are on Hulu next day, that’s been a foundation of Hulu since it started. We were the innovators there, it’s one of the unique attributes of the ABC shows that lead to their incredible success,” he said, noting also the success of a recent move in the opposite direction, giving Hulu original Only Murders In The Building a run on ABC, “which opened that show up to new audiences.”

Would he consider moving a show like Station 19 to Hulu when it’s done on ABC or build a multi-platform ABC-Hulu franchise like NCIS, which has original series on both CBS and Paramount+?

“We’re always looking at how to serve our audience and how to grow our audience,” Erwich said. “We have multiple platforms to serve a whole audience as we know people watch things in a variety of ways, and we’re always ready to jump on any opportunity.”

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