The trades and national press have had news stories about the ongoing negotiations between Fox/News Corporation representatives and "Family Guy"/"American Dad" creator Seth McFarlane over McFarlane's new employment contract. The part of the news story that uh, sort of concerned us was this:
"...Production on the show's sixth season was scheduled to begin on Monday, but the staff was told not to report to work. By holding up work on the show, insiders said 20th hoped to push along negotiations...." --Daily Variety
Hard to believe that a company would play hardball with a creator who's making it big bucks by putting a lot of artists' livelihoods at risk, innit? But I guess Fox pulls the levers that it has nearest at hand. Anyway, I was unnerved by the trade paper story, so I drove down to Fox's Wilshire Boulevard studio this morning to find out if it was true.
I found out the story was, happily, somewhat off the mark. My informants and stoolies told me that Mr. McFarlane (for some reason) wants a bigger payday with his new deal, and Fox (for some reason) is balking at Seth's proposals. And what will happen next week if negotiations aren't concluded is not artists getting the axe, but that staff writers won't come in to commence working on scripts for the new season. The artists, directors and designers will continue to be employed for the forseeable future.
The expectation is (we're told) that Mr. McFarlane and his lawyer will conclude a new deal with Fox in the near future. If they don't (we're also told), then a month or two from now, the artists, designers and directors might have something to worry about. But for now, everyone is working away on new episodes, happy and content.