Family Guy can be described as a key part of the foundation of FOX for more than 20 years, so it’s shocking that it was briefly canceled. What transpired, and why did Family Guy return after it was momentarily canceled in 2002? For more than twenty years, Family Guy has been a staple of FOX’s programming and adult animation.
The raunchiness, satire, observational humor, and fondness for pop culture references of the show quickly made it popular with both viewers and reviewers. Although there are differing views on the quality of the most recent seasons, it has stood the test of time, even decades after the show’s debut.
The fact that Family Guy was temporarily canceled and brought off the air is shocking, given how well-liked the show has always been. FOX canceled Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy after season 3, which ended in 2002, but it was subsequently brought back for a fourth season in 2005, and it has since been broadcast every week. Despite what may initially seem unanticipated, there are several compelling reasons for both its cancellation and rebirth. What’s particularly noteworthy is how it impacted another one of Seth McFarland’s ventures.
Low ratings forced Fox to cancel Family Guy.
Family Guy’s cancellation is understandable, and that is because the program’s ratings were simply too low. It was forced to compete with Frasier when it was moved to Thursday nights in Season 2, and it was later transferred to Tuesday nights, where it was forced to battle against ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Season 1 had success in its Sunday night timeslot.
Whereas, Season 2 saw it moved to Thursday nights when it was once again forced to compete with Frasier. Both times, Family Guy had a steady decline in its viewership, which prompted FOX to briefly cancel the show after season 2 before bringing it back for a third one.
Also Read: 37 Must-Watch Shows Like Family Guy
What is unfortunate is the fact that season 3 of Family Guy didn’t help the show’s rating issues at all. Family Guy returned to a Thursday night schedule for Season 3, although this time, it faced stiff competition from both Survivor and Friends, which resulted in a rapid decline in its ratings.
FOX kept switching the timeslots for season 3 in the hopes of finding something that might work, but there was never any improvement, and strangely, the move just served to further worsen the situation. The final episode of season 3 of Family Guy remained unaired for more than a year after the show was then supposedly permanently canceled in 2002.
Reasons why Family Guy was brought back on the air for Season 4 and Beyond
Poor ratings were the primary cause of Family Guy’s cancellation on FOX, but oddly, they also led to the show receiving a new beginning. Following the cancellation of Family Guy, Cartoon Network purchased the rerun rights. The episode was broadcast on Adult Swim, where it quickly became its highest-rated show and had a 239 percent increase in viewers, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The season 1 and season 2 sets of the show sold 2.2 million copies, making them the best-selling DVDs of 2003 and the second-best-selling DVDs of all time. The show also had phenomenal DVD sales, which was not too shocking considering its recent success. Family Guy’s enormous cult success on Adult Swim forced FOX to bring the series back for season 4 in 2004.
This leads us to the fourth season of Family Guy, which debuted on May 1, 2005, to an astonishing 11.85 million viewers, according to The New York Times, and it has continued to be an immensely successful show ever since.
Family Guy, created by Seth MacFarlane and David Zuckerman, has been broadcast on numerous channels and streaming services, is perpetually renewed for new seasons, and has either been nominated for and won numerous awards since its debut, including multiple Annie Awards and Primetime Emmy Awards. Its success can be credited to the fact that it was briefly canceled, and this is a major reason that contributed to it becoming the huge hit that we know today.
How the cancellation of Family Guy supported American Dad
The cancellation of Family Guy had a significant impact on its eventual popularity, but it also had a huge impact on Seth MacFarlane’s second follow-up venture, “American Dad!” In order to profit from Family Guy’s popularity, FOX encouraged and asked MacFarlane to create another show with similar themes and concepts after Family Guy became a cult smash.
This led to the creation of American Dad! Although its impact was ultimately affected due to Family Guy’s renewal and massive popularity, with season 4 airing just three months after FOX’s American Dad!, the fact that Family Guy’s original cancellation was the spark for the production of American Dad! is quite undeniable.