Fox to add animated series against SNL


Fox, home to The Simpsons and Family Guy, is creating a Saturday night animation lineup that will go against NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Fox ran MADtv against SNL from 1995-2009. The one-hour show is in syndication on Comedy Central.

The new animated block will air at 11 p.m. Saturdays starting in January 2013, Kevin Reilly, president of Fox Entertainment, said yesterday at a TV critics conference in Pasadena, CA. The Fox shows may take some male viewers from “Saturday Night Live,” Reilly said.

Fox is turning to cartoons on Saturdays, a stalwart of its Sunday night programming anchored by “The Simpsons,” which first aired in 1989. The Sunday block, which also includes “Family Guy,” has been a constant ratings winner for the network, Reilly said.

“This is a way to seed more animation,” Reilly told reporters at the conference. “We’re looking for the next generation.”

Viewership of “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” remain strong even though reruns frequently air in syndication, Reilly said. He wouldn’t say whether “The Simpsons” will continue beyond the 25th season.

Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block of Family Guy, King of the Hill and American Dad has also been doing well. Nick Weidenfeld, formerly head of program development at Adult Swim, will oversee the Fox division responsible for developing and producing the animated shows, the network said in a statement. Hend Baghdady will be in charge of production.

The Saturday-night block of programming will consist of 22- minute and 11-minute episodes. The online animation programming will carry mostly 11-minute segments, he said.