Upfronts Reveal Slim Toon Pickings

We’ve been keeping an eye on the TV upfronts (where networks convince advertisers to cough up money for their new season) in New York City to see if any new animated shows will make the primetime schedule in the fall. So far, DreamWorks’ much-hyped series Father of the Pride on NBC and Seth McFarlane’s American Dad on Fox are the only big newsmakers. Not surprisingly, reality programming has taken a big bite out of the primetime hours this fall.

As we’ve reported here, DreamWorks’ new CG animated show Father of the Pride will be taking the 9 p.m. slot on NBC this fall (sandwiched between Average Joe and Scrubs). Pride is the only new comedy besides Joey (spinoff of Friends) on the network’s lineup. Thirteen episodes of the toon, which centers on a family of white lions performing in Siegfried & Roy’s Vegas act, have been ordered. The impressive voice cast includes John Goodman, Cheryl Hines, Garry Marshall, Carl Reiner and Orlando Jones. And here’s a trivial pursuit item: One of the white lions is named Sarmoti–the acronym for Siegfried and Roy: Masters of the Impossible!

Meanwhile on the Fox schedule, viewers will still be able to catch the always reliable toon workhorses, The Simpsons and King of the Hill. but they’ll have to wait until June 2005 for the new animated show from Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane, according to Variety. It’s also rumored that Fox will bring back new episodes of Family Guy around the same time. New episodes will first air on Fox, then repeat on Cartoon Network a few days later. In the fall, King of the Hill will move back to its old 7 p.m. slot, followed by Malcolm in the Middle, The Simpsons and Arrested Development. Of course, all of the news from the upfronts is subject to change by the time the new season actually arrives. We all know how fickle those programming executive types can be!