Family Guy fans were relieved to hear that of the shows affected by the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike, animated shows were pretty much OK. The thinking was that production of animated programs was done well in advance, since storyboarding and physically drawing the scenes is a long process.
Not so fast, according to Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. While walking a picket line in Los Angeles, the outspoken writer, producer, and voice actor of Family Guy and American Dad told Variety that currently there is only one fully produced episode of the hit show ready to go, and it will air next Sunday.
Several other episodes are close to being complete, but they still require MacFarlane to finish them up--and he isn't breaking any picket lines. When asked whether Fox could simply use nonunion workers to finish up the shows, MacFarlane warned the network against such action.
"They could [employ nonunion producers to complete the episodes], but it would be unwise," MacFarlane told Variety. "Because I would be angry."
However, hot off the (e-mail) presses comes Fox's revised 2008 lineup, which seems to contradict MacFarlane's statement. The release says that all of the network's Sunday-night animated shows--The Simpsons, King of the Hill, American Dad, and Family Guy--"will continue with original episodes."
In contrast, the press release states that other shows, like House and Bones, will see a "mix of original and encore episodes." As a disclaimer, Fox adds that the entire schedule is subject to change.
When asked for comment, a Fox representative validated the Variety story and told TV.com, "Our hope is that [Seth MacFarlane] returns to work and completes his non-writing obligations on those [unfinished] episodes."
Family Guy airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m., and will not see its time slot changed as a result of the strike. For more information on the show, head over to TV.com's previous coverage.