SCOOP! FOX Quietly Renews Family Guy and American Dad!, The Cleveland Show and Napoleon Dynamite Still Up In The Air…

Thanks goes to Deadline for this scoop.  Looks like the Seth MacFarlane mainstays Family Guy and American Dad! have been renewed for eleventh and ninth seasons, respectively (Deadline is wrong about the season numbers for both but there’s a lot of confusion about the number of seasons for American Dad!, even on FOX’s part which we will explain momentarily).  We’re not really surprised about Family Guy because that property has just been gold after coming back for good after two cancellations in 2005, but how times have changed for American Dad!.  Last year, the concern was whether or not the under-appreciated animated comedy would make it past the May upfront cuts and then FOX surprised everyone by committing to it through 2012 – 2013 three months in advance of the upfronts.

At the time, back in February, 2011 this was a little confusing because in the press release headline it stated that the show was getting a “seventh term” (seventh season) through 2012 – 2013.  We noted then that those numbers didn’t jive because at the time of the announcement, American Dad was in its sixth season, already.  Don’t bother checking with IMDb to prove us wrong on this one because they’re mistaken, as well. FOX considers the first seven episodes of American Dad! which include the pilot on Super Bowl Sunday and the six episodes in May and June of 2005 along with the 16 that aired from September 2005 through May 2006 to be the official first season of the show.  The first seven episodes are not considered a standalone season (they make the same mistake with Family Guy’s first season, as well).  Believe it or not, Netflix spells it out perfectly in the episode selection section of their streaming service.

Really, when you think about it, it makes more sense because a standard episode order for a season is 22 episodes, as a freshman mid-season replacement American Dad! got seven and then 16 on the back-end to make 23 (close enough).  It’s not particularly uncommon for any new show to get a small order initially with an option for more episodes but it’s all considered part of the first season.

That being said, the show being in its sixth season last year then would mean that the seventh season would go through the 2011 – 2012 season and not the 2012 – 2013 season as that press release indicated and today’s news from Deadline actually clears up a lot of confusion about the contradictory information in the press release, whether Deadline intended this or not.

As Deadline notes, 20th Century Fox Television has a full season of episodes in the can ready to go in September 2012.  Despite the fact that they are incorrect about the season number claiming that the show is currently in its sixth season and that the shows in the can are for an upcoming seventh season (we don’t know where they came up with that, because unlike IMDb, they’re going the wrong way with their mistake, for both Family Guy and American Dad!.  IMDb’s error at least makes sense.), the information regarding the fact that they have already produced next season’s episodes confirms that the the announcement of renewal last year,  as the press release implied when stating that the renewal would be “… bringing the series through the 2012-2013 season” was, indeed,  renewal for two seasons, the series’ seventh and eighth.

So, to clarify, American Dad! was renewed for seasons seven and eight in February, 2011. We are currently nearing the end of season seven.  Season eight’s episodes have already been produced and are ready to begin airing in September, 2012 to kick off the 2012 -2013 season.  Deadline has reported that American Dad! has been renewed, yet again, for a ninth season to air during the 2013 -2014 season.

We couldn’t be more thrilled about this news because as we’ve noted before, as much as we’ve always loved Family GuyAmerican Dad! has consistently been far funnier since Family Guy‘s relaunch.

In other news that makes us at least optimistic, the very unfunny Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show has not been renewed as of yet with FOX holding off on the decision to see how well it does this fall.

In news that occurred when we were apparently asleep at the switch, back in January, FOX renewed the vomit-inducingly bad Bob’s Burgers for a third season but no word has come as of yet for the fate of the surprisingly likable Napoleon Dynamite which we expected would be a disaster but has turned out to be quite enjoyable.

REVIEW: Allen Gregory (FOX – Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)

ALLEN GREGORY is a new animated series that tells the story of one of the most pretentious 7-year-olds of our time.

When he looks in the mirror, ALLEN GREGORY DE LONGPRE (Jonah Hill, “Superbad,” “Get Him to the Greek”) doesn’t see a child. He sees a young man who is intelligent, sophisticated, worldly, artistic and romantic – characteristics he inherited from his doting father, RICHARD (French Stewart, “Private Practice,” “3rd Rock from the Sun”). The pair share an extraordinary father-son bond – a bond that is sometimes annoyingly interrupted by Richard’s life partner, JEREMY (Nat Faxon, THE CLEVELAND SHOW, “Reno 911!”), for whom Allen Gregory has minimal respect, if any at all. They live together in a stunning architectural loft, along with JULIE (Joy Osmanski, “Grey’s Anatomy”), Allen Gregory’s adopted Cambodian sister.

Although Allen Gregory has allegedly composed operas, written novels and dated Chloë Sevigny, he’s about to embark on his greatest challenge yet: leaving the safety of his father’s homeschooling and attending elementary school with children his own age. His journey will be a struggle, not only with the other kids at school, but with the faculty as well. Whether it’s the all-out rivalry with GINA WINTHROP (guest voice Leslie Mann, “Funny People”), his by-the-book second grade teacher; his unique relationship with JUDITH GOTTLIEB (guest voice Renée Taylor, “How I Met Your Mother”), his 68-year-old principal; or his desperate desire to be best friends with JOEL ZADAK (guest voice Jake Johnson, “Get Him to the Greek”), the school’s popular stud, Allen Gregory has his work cut out for him. With the help of his trusty friend and assistant, PATRICK VANDERWEEL (Cristina Pucelli, “Finley the Fire Engine”); and the support of SUPERINTENDENT STEWART ROSSMYRE (Will Forte, “Saturday Night Live”), who believes the De Longpres are a tremendous asset to the school, Allen Gregory won’t have to get his hands too dirty.

ALLEN GREGORY is about an outsider. And while he may put on a tough exterior, deep down, all Allen Gregory wants is to fit in. Well, that, and for Julie to run away and never be seen or heard from again. And Jeremy too.  – FOX

25 out of 100

Back in the Spring when we were discussing the state of FOX as a network and their programming, we mentioned two new animated series that were set to debut this season that we predicted for a variety of reasons would be absolute failures just based on their show descriptions and how limited the episode orders from FOX were.  The first was Napoleon Dynamite for obvious reasons (hasn’t been relevant for seven years, wasn’t that funny to begin with, etc.) and the second was Allen Gregory which just sounded like it was going to suck.  We surmised that the reason that FOX committed to  another two seasons of American Dad, renewed Bob’s Burgers as quickly as they did and are still on the hunt for more prime-time animated fare was that they had about as  much faith in their two new Animation Domination offerings as we did.

Then we were inundated all Fall, particularly during the MLB postseason, with trailers for Allen Gregory and even we had to concede that it looked pretty funny.  Well, we should have gone with our gut on this one.  Allen Gregory is pretty awful and there really is no fixing it because it was created as an awful piece of crap from the start.

Allen Gregory is a show that’s trying too hard to be funny and it is failing miserably. The show is an unvarnished rip-off of other shows, particularly Seth MacFarlane shows. Could they be a little more obvious with making the lead character a bad copy of Stewie Griffin in a suit?  It’s so blatant as to be offensive to anyone with an IQ above 70.  It’s literally like Jonah Hill himself said, “Gee, Stewie Griffin would be a whole sh*tload funnier if I wrote his dialogue and did the voice.”  We’ve got news for Jonah: he wouldn’t be and it’s beyond arrogant to think that having a string of mild successes as an actor playing buffoonish characters qualifies you to create and produce a prime-time animated series on the network that created the format.

In all honesty, to put it bluntly, Jonah Hill sucks all the way around and we’re sick of him even more so than The Movie Bros. is sick of his cohort in all of his dopey movies, Michael Cera, but for all the same reasons.  He’s a one-trick pony and he plays the same damned character in every role he has.  Unlike Cera, who just inevitably plays the awkward, clumsy, mumbling, albeit, likable teenager, Hill regularly plays the role of the annoying, foul-mouthed, arrogant and condescending prick and the role of Allen Gregory is no exception which is the biggest problem with his character and all of these characters: you just don’t like them.

The Blonde Guy From 'Fargo' Knows How To Deal With Allen Gregory

We often discuss the need for a show to have relatable characters in order to find success with audiences and with Allen Gregory, the characters aren’t only completely unrelatable but they are absolutely unlikable, which is an issue that The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy and American Dad have never had. As whacky as the characters on those shows are, they are at least relatable and you root for them. Not so with Allen Gregory, in fact, you really want to see this kid and every other character on the show get tossed into a wood chipper.

They All Do It, Some Shows Just Do It Better Than Others.

The truth is that most animated series rip-off characters from another series, but a show can get away with that if they can manage to produce a unique show with well-developed characters and clever writing despite any similarities to other characters from another series. Fans of The Simpsons have complained for years that Family Guy ripped off The Simpsons as far as characters are concerned (and plotlines of some episodes… but we’re here to tell you that they are both guilty of that) and we don’t think that there’s any question that there’s some merit to that charge but the characters on both shows are so different and the format, style and writing of Family Guy is so unique that it makes any similarities between characters irrelevant.  The same goes for the comparisons to Family Guy and American Dad. Same producers, same types of characters, similar jokes… completely different show in style and format.

Allen Gregory just can’t effectively separate itself from the obvious criticism of recycled characters because the show is a mess everywhere else especially with the awful storylines that don’t go anywhere and don’t make you laugh.  We actually found ourselves actively rooting against Allen Gregory in both episodes we saw. That’s a bad sign when you are rooting against the protagonist.  Finally, the fact is that the whole show reeks of Jonah Hill. Simply put, the show, like all of the characters that Jonah Hill plays, is a condescending, arrogant prick towards its audience and we hope audiences turn away from this like they should have with Bob’s Burgers.

Watch full episodes of Allen Gregory here, on FOX‘s pageor alternatively here, on VuReel.