Upfronts 2011-12: MacFarlane hits Bedrock

There is a lot of “Yabba dabba don’t” in the Twittersphere greeting news that Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has been given the green light to reboot The Flintstones. Word broke first on Deadline and Fox president Kevin Reilly made it official Monday in New York at the network upfront.
The new animated series will go into production soon and be ready for 2013, Reilly told advertisers. MacFarlane has been a Flintstones fan for years, saying they were one of his earliest inspirations.
The Flintstones premiered over 50 years ago in the fall of 1960 as TV’s first prime time animated comedy. MacFarlane says he plans to update the series with cell phone and iPad gags. I’m guessing he’ll voice Fred; he’s half way there already as Peter Griffin.
Years ago I interviewed Joe Barbera in his office at Hanna-Barbera Studios at the foot of Universal Studios in Los Angeles. At one time, H-B owned Saturday mornings, airing hit shows on all networks.
Now Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera and even that studio are gone. (Although The Smurfs, one of their creations, are back in theatres this summer.)MacFarlane had to pry the modern stone age family away from current rights holders, Warner Bros., who are partnering with Fox on this venture.
MacFarlane’s Sunday animated comedies Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show were recently renewed for 10th, 7th and 4th seasons. Think about that–American Dad has been on one season longer than the original Flintstones run, or, uh, six years longer than Outsourced. Why, God, why?

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