"Family Guy" smashes Emmy barrier for cartoons

Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:29am EDT
 
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By James Hibberd

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Family Guy" on Thursday became the first animated show in nearly 50 years to score an Emmy nomination for best comedy series.

The show's creator, Seth MacFarlane, says his nomination marks the end of Emmy discrimination against animated TV -- but doesn't think he'll actually win.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: SO WHERE WERE YOU, AND WHAT WERE YOU DOING WHEN THIS NEWS CAME DOWN?

MacFarlane: It was about 5 in the morning and I got a phone call, so I was not able to react for the excitement that they wanted.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: NOW THAT YOU'VE HAD A LITTLE TIME TO WARM UP, WHAT'S YOUR REACTION?

MacFarlane: I think it is extremely encouraging for everyone who is busting their ass on these animated shows to have this happen. I have friends on "King of the Hill," I have friends on "The Simpsons." I feel like it is validation for all of these shows that they are now viewed as on the same playing field as the other comedies, because we are all really doing the same job. It took a long time to recognize single-camera comedies, and I think that it's frustrating for a lot of the animated shows that we haven't gotten the same treatment (as other comedies). It is nice that they stopped ignoring the fact that the animated shows are major players in the comedy landscape of television. This is a huge step forward for open-mindedness in the voting process.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: WAS FOX IN FAVOR OF THE IDEA OF SUBMITTING TO THIS CATEGORY?

MacFarlane: They left it up to us; they didn't really have a strong opinion one way or the other like we did. While shows like "SpongeBob" and "Fairly OddParents" are good shows, they are not doing the same type of program as a show like "The Simpsons" or "Family Guy." It's apples and oranges. It's doing two different things, producing for two different audiences. The process is much more analogous to what shows like "Two and a Half Men" or "The Office" do. The sitcom process is a different medium. The only thing that should be relevant is if you are doing a quality show or not. I think "The Simpsons" should have been nominated in the '90s, when they were up against "Friends" and "Seinfeld." "The Simpsons" were making a show that was on par with a lot of the shows nominated and better than a lot of them.   Continued...

 
<p>The cast of "Family Guy" in an undated image courtesy of Fox. REUTERS/Fox/Seth McFarlane/Handout</p>