Fox's Sunday animation block is remaining intact for the upcoming 2019-2020 season, when the broadcast network will have officially split with its studio counterpart.
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the animated hits Family Guy and Bob's Burgers were quietly renewed months ago for their 18th and 10th seasons, respectively. (Representatives for Fox and producers 20th Century Fox TV declined comment.)
Episodes of both shows — like The Simpsons — require extensive time to write and animate (work on their current 17th and ninth respective seasons is still underway). The renewal decisions were made months ago to allow both series to continue production — and ahead of the expected close of Fox's $72 billion asset sale to Disney. Fox's studio, 20th Century Fox Television, controls Family Guy, Bob's Burgers and The Simpsons, the latter of which was recently renewed for two additional seasons.
Like The Simpsons, Family Guy (from Seth MacFarlane) and Bob's Burgers (from Loren Bouchard) have lucrative streaming (they're on Hulu) and merchandising deals that generate billions of dollars for 20th TV despite being pricey yet low-rated loss leaders for the studio. Disney could stand to ink new deals for both series should the company opt to move them outside of the new studio-free Fox Entertainment.
All three series are part of Fox's upcoming animation push as new network topper Charlie Collier looks to bolster the network's presence in the space. Under that mandate, Fox already has handed out two straight-to-series orders for a pair of animated comedies for the 2019-2020 broadcast season (Bless the Harts and Duncanville).
"If you're an animator, there is no better place to showcase your work than Sunday nights on Fox. This is the network that set the standard for primetime animation. The Simpsons and Family Guy and Bob's Burgers are the heavyweights of the genre, and we’re intent on finding the next generation of culture defining animated comedies to join them," Collier told reporters last Wednesday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour.
For MacFarlane, the news comes as his massive overall deal with 20th TV expires in June, and the writer-actor-producer has already been getting offers from across the streaming and traditional studio landscape, sources say. His live-action Fox dramedy The Orville is currently in the middle of its sophomore season.
Bouchard, meanwhile, also quietly extended his overall deal with 20th TV as he becomes one of the most valued names in animation. In addition to the Emmy-winning Bob's Burgers, Bouchard is behind Apple's two-season animated comedy Central Park and Fox's planned animated Bob's Burgers feature film.
Following Netflix's success in the space, animation has become an increasingly hot genre as both the streaming giant and CBS TV Studios have opened studios to produce costly animation in-house (rather than outsourcing it to third-party companies).
The Simpsons, Family Guy (which recently marked its 20th anniversary) and Bob's Burgers are the only series renewed for next season at Fox (so far).