Seth MacFarlane Jokes About Cheating On Fox With NBC, But Could Family Guy Ever Move?

meg waking up frightened on Family Guy season 18
(Image credit: fox press)

As he builds something of an entertainment empire across a variety of different TV networks and streaming services, Seth MacFarlane long ago became known for more than "only" being the creator of Fox's long-running hit Family Guy. And while its success was definitely his springboard to bigger fame, Fox and Family Guy definitely need MacFarlane more than he needs animated series and its home. Which means there may be some potential foreshadowing involved with MacFarlane's recent social media post that joked about his burgeoning relationship with NBC while taking shots at Fox News and Tucker Carlson.

There isn't much mystery behind how Seth MacFarlane feels about Fox News' reporting, nor its biggest star Tucker Carlson, as he's taken to social media with such complaints in the past. But in one of his latest tweets, he explicitly states his wish for Family Guy to have another home beyond Fox, and then jokes(?) about cheating on the network with NBC. Could the following post actually lead to any big changes, though?

While the Twitter message obviously doesn't indicate that Seth MacFarlane is officially attempting to take Family Guy from Fox to another network or streaming service, it certainly indicates his displeasure being on the same channel that shares its name with the home of Tucker Carlson Tonight. The current affairs and opinion-driven series' host has been under fire recently for his anti-vaccination claims and segments, and MacFarlane is apparently ready to break up with his longtime TV spouse over it all. But could it actually happen?

seth macfarlane's captain ed in the orville season 2

Why Family Guy Could Theoretically Leave Fox

When 2020 began, Seth MacFarlane signed a five-year, nine-figure overall production deal with NBCUniversal, shifting him away from the 20th Century Fox TV deal he'd maintained for years and years. Since then, he's set up several different projects with the studio, including the Bill Nye-hosted disaster pitch The End Is Nye, the sci-fi drama Skywatch, reboots of Smokey and the Bandit and Revenge of the Nerds and a TV adaptation of his hit film Ted, among others. So theoretically, if the right execs put their signatures to the right pieces of paper, it's possible that MacFarlane could shift his ribald animated series over to Peacock whenever it's contractually possible.

Plus, Family Guy isn't exactly a massive ratings earner for Fox on Sunday nights, despite being a huge boon for Hulu and reruns in syndication. (Not that it does terribly, mind you.) Of course, it's definitely assumed that Fox would aim to get as much financial compensation as possible for any kind of Family Guy trade-off, accounting for both streaming deals and merchandising. One doesn't simply let a cash cow wander off just because the farmer is angry with his field, after all.

Why Family Guy Likely Won't Leave Fox

All that said, the possibility of Seth MacFarlane making all the right moves to flip Family Guy from Fox to NBC is a tiny one at best, for all the most obvious reasons. Considering the animated comedy seems to have as much longevity as its Sunday night cohort The Simpsons, Fox likely wouldn't ever want to give up the rights, even if the show's creator asked super-kindly. I'd think that MacFarlane would just opt out of renewing his contract if push came to shove, with Fox not being super-eager to let the series stray. But with The Orville Season 3 still on the way at Hulu, it's unclear if any Fox/Disney feuding might hamper its Season 4 chances.

It's also worth noting here that Family Guy's pact with 20th Century TV technically doesn't have anything to do with Tucker Carlson and the rest of the Fox News squad. Disney's 20th Century Fox buyout a couple of years ago split the news network off with Fox Business, Fox Sports, and the Fox Broadcasting Company, while Family Guy's actual production company is run by Disney. So while this wouldn't necessarily be a major obstacle for the animated series in switching homes, it does make Seth MacFarlane's initial complaint feel slightly off-base.

In the end, Family Guy definitely isn't going anywhere anytime soon, as it already has its Season 19 premiere date set on Fox for Sunday, September 26, at 9:00 p.m. ET. Check out all the other awesome shows hitting the 2021 Fall TV schedule soon!

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.