Just two months ago, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane thought his animated Fox comedy was a TV orphan (the net hadn’t picked it up for the fall). Now, the two-year-old Guy not only has a spot on Fox’s schedule next year, it also has earned its first Emmy nod for best animated show — nudging out last year’s winner, King of the Hill. Other noms went to The Powerpuff Girls, The Simpsons, South Park, and MTV Downtown. ”We’ve really been through hell and back, and now this is proof that we’re doing something right,” says MacFarlane, whose show has aired in a whopping six time slots. ”As exhausted as I am, it’s a great boost.” MacFarlane starts production this week on season 3 (which will focus more on malevolent baby Stewie), but he’s already gearing up for September’s Emmys. ”I’m thinking I might invite [Richardson Schell],” says MacFarlane of his old prep school headmaster who publicly derided Guy in its first season. ”I’ll get him in a nice little dress. Nothing too slutty.”
In a boost for TV diversity, PBS has decided to make a play for the rejected CBS pilot American Family — a Hispanic drama from Gregory Nava (My Family). The deal’s pending while the nonprofit net figures out if it can afford the series, which would star Edward James Olmos. In other ”missing pilots” news: That sitcom from NBA star Kevin Garnett is still in the gestating stage at Fox as is the Ed Burns half-hour at NBC. Meanwhile, UPN swears it hasn’t given up on Howard Stern’s animated series Doomsday, or on I Spike, the drama about female FBI agents who go undercover as pro volleyball players. Even though CEO Dean Valentine describes Spike (which starred Daisy Fuentes) as ”just bad, we couldn’t put it on,” he’s giving producers a chance to retool it for fall 2001. But don’t hold your breath for Fox’s small-screen version of L.A. Confidential (that deal fell through) or for Mastermind, ABC’s brain-busting follow-up from Who Wants to Be A Millionaire exec producer Michael Davies. Davies has his hands full developing the sports trivia show Two-Minute Drill for ESPN. Hey, maybe Kevin Garnett could be the host.
The Sci Fi Channel is flushed with anger that ABC is getting credit for the concept of marketing shows in public rest rooms. The fact is, the basic cabler was the first U.S. net to use the offbeat ploy. Early this summer, Sci Fi installed motion-activated ads over urinals to tout its new Invisible Man series (sample message: ”Hey, buddy, your fly’s unzipped”). Soon after, ABC announced its ”Must Pee TV” campaign, featuring talking above-the-urinal posters for The Norm Show (sample crack: ”You’re a mover and a shaker, and so am I”). Zoom Media, the company behind the concept, says it approached the nets simultaneously, yet Sci Fi bit first. Either way, it’s trying to keep the pissing match at a minimum. Says Zoom’s Paul Schwanauer: ”We won’t put the two networks’ [ads] in the same bathroom.”