TCA: MacFarlane, Groening discuss their shows

Fox’s presentation at the Television Critics Association tour continued with Fox’s Animation Domination Sunday block with Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Family Guy’s and American Dad’s Seth MacFaralane, and King of the Hill’s Mike Judge. Highlights from the panel:

– Best line of the day: “Is this where Karl Rove sat? Because I don’t want to get AIDS.” – Seth MacFarlane.

– MacFarlane talks about why live-action comedies don’t work as well as a lead-out of animated shows: “If you put an episode of Seinfeld on after The Simpsons it would come off slow and sluggish… The history of the animation shows it doesn’t work.”. He’s obviously referring to the 40 or so failed live-action sitcoms airing in the post-Simpsons slot over the years.

Thank goodness Fox didn’t take my suggestion on airing Back to You after The Simpsons – the Kesley Grammer-Patricia Heaton vehicle failed on its own, and still would have even if it had a Simpsons lead-in. Yours truly can throw a wild pitch once in a while, can he?

Simpsons creator Matt Groening doesn’t like computer-generated animated movies. So much for him endorsing Clone Wars

– MacFarlane remarks about on overlap between Fox’s often-raunchy animation shows by explaining how the stories have been told before on The Cosby Show and Family Ties – the same formula the creators of another bawdy Fox show (Married… With Children) had been doing.

– Geek fest: Macfarlane says the Family Guy follow-up to Blue Harvest, based on The Empire Strikes Back, is nearly completed. The Simpsons is planning an episode where Homer Simpson becomes plays a superhero in a movie thanks to Comic Book Guy (can’t wait for that one!) Seth Rogen, who is writing the episode, also voices Homer’s personal trainer.

– On to new Family Guy spin-off The Cleveland Show – the series is slated for a mid-season debut and the show has signed veterans Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, and Kevin Michael Richardson to voice characters on the show. Richardson (who is African-American) is voicing a white redneck character on the show. Cleveland is voiced by Mike Henry, who is white. Henry also said you can forget a crossover between both shows – not going to happen.

King of the Hill airs its 250th episode next spring. Hill creator Mike Judge said a series finale was written, but when Fox renewed the program at the last minute, he altered it. Judge is also working on an animated project for ABC titled The Goode Family, which debuts mid-season.

– Is there going to be a Simpsons movie sequel? Not anytime soon, says Groening.

– Groening on The Simpsons‘ voice actors’ raise and the concerns the show’s escalating price tag could put it out of business: “I want everybody in this room to get rich off the Simpsons. I’m happy for The Simpsons cast. I want them to be as rich and unhappy as anybody in Hollywood.”

Sources: TV Week, The Hollywood Reporter