It’s Official: the BBC has lost the rights to Family Guy.
Rival broadcaster ITV has poached the exclusive first run rights to the animated comedy for their digi-channel ITV2 as part of a wide-ranging deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution which gives the commercial broadcaster the rights to all of Seth MacFarlane’s animated series.
Specifically, said deal also gives ITV2 the exclusive first run UK broadcast rights to new animated series Bordertown, as well as the FTA rights to American Dad (first window rights remain with FOX UK) and the first four seasons of The Cleveland Show. The massive deal is a big blow for BBC Three, whose online future its uncertain, at best. The BBC will retain repeat rights to the show’s first thirteen seasons until 2017.
The multi-year deal between ITV and Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution comes into effect this Autumn, when the fourteenth season of Family Guy will receive its UK premiere on ITV2. Bordertown, which is set in a fictitious desert town near the Mexico border and centers on the intertwining daily lives of two neighbors: Bud Buckwald and Ernesto Gonzales, is expected to premiere around the same time.
“Seth MacFarlane’s shows have firmly established him as the comedy voice of choice for an entire generation”, said ITV’s Director of Television Peter Fincham. “Seth is sharp, hugely irreverent and brilliantly funny which is reflected in his fantastic shows. We are delighted to be welcoming him and his comic creations to ITV.”
“Family Guy is satire with nothing off limits – it’s like spending half an hour with the funniest guy in the room and watching him freestyle – it is a joy to announce to all Seth MacFarlane fans that the new series premiere will be on ITV2 from this Autumn”, added ITV’s acquisitions boss Angela Jain. “The acquisition of these brilliant and distinctive shows is totally in line with the strategy of strengthening ITV2 as a comprehensive entertainment channel destination for young viewers.”
While Marion Edwards, Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution’s President of International Television, added: “Family Guy is one of our most important, iconic series and we are very excited about this new collaboration. We are confident that this extraordinary series will not only bring its loyal fan base to ITV, but will also be embraced by an entirely new set of fans.”