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Primetime Animation Blossoms May Day on FOX

Fox Broadcasting Co. has arranged a great many varieties of animated sitcoms into a great bouquet to be presented to viewers on May Day, May 1, 2005, with the return of FAMILY GUY at 9:00 pm, debut of the AMERICAN DAD series, airing at 9:30 pm, KING OF THE HILL at 7:00 pm and, reportedly, 350th episode of THE SIMPSONS at 8:00 pm.

Seth McFarlanes FAMILY GUY is back (it debuted on FOX in 1999 and was canceled in 2002) by popular demand with all-new twisted and irreverently outrageous trials and tribulations of Peter Griffin (MacFarlane) and his not-quite-so-average family of middle-class New Englanders. His loving wife Lois (Alex Borstein) struggles to maintain a modicum of normalcy in their home life. Angst-ridden, 16-year-old Meg (Mila Kunis); 13-year-old Chris (Seth Green), a sweet-natured slacker; Stewie (MacFarlane), a diabolically clever baby bent on world domination and Brian (MacFarlane), the brainy family pooch who likes his martinis dry with the wit to match.

FAMILY GUY is a 20th Century Fox Television production. MacFarlane is creator/exec producer with David A. Goodman as exec producer/showrunner, and Chris Sheridan as exec producer.

McFarlanes newest series, AMERICAN DAD, had a sneak preview airing after the Super Bowl XXXIX on Feb. 6. The weekly half-hour adventures of Stan Smith (MacFarlane), a CIA agent based in Langley Falls, Virginia, trying to protect his country against terrorist and is a proud family man. Stans wife is the sweet, Edith Bunker-esque FRANCINE (Wendy Schaal), who hides her party-girl personality for the sake of the conservative man she married. Stan butts heads with his ultra-liberal, 18-year-old daughter, Hayley (Rachael MacFarlane), who is forced to go through an airport-style security check every time she comes home from a day of Womens Studies classes at the local community college.

Hayleys 13-year-old brother Steve (Scott Grimes) is a geeky a kid who seems to be on the verge of puberty, but caught in its squeaky awkwardness. Unconventional members of the household are Roger (Seth MacFarlane), the sarcastic space alien Stan rescued from Area 51 who lives in the Smiths attic; and Klaus (Dee Bradley Baker), a lascivious, German-speaking goldfish the result of a CIA experiment gone seriously wrong.

In THE SIMPSONS milestone 350th episode, Dont Fear the Roofer, guest stars Ray Romano as a roofing contractor who is terribly hard to nail down. Now in its 16th season, THE SIMPSONS is the longest-running animated primetime series in the U.S. (some series have run longer in Japan in primetime) and the longest-running comedy currently on television.

While counting and debating episodes is normally the realm of extreme fans nerd devotees of a genre, NEWSDAY has called into question the FOX claim of the SIMPSONS 350th milestone episode. The news magazines investigate journalist states that, if you go to the official episode guide at www.thesimpsons.com and count forward from the similarly ballyhooed 300th episode, televised Feb. 16, 2003, then Sundays installment is No. 349.

But then counting form the beginning of the series, the reporter finds that the 300th should have been counted as the 302nd, making Sundays episode No. 351. He goes on to suggest that maybe Stephen Hawking, who also stars in the 350th episode, might explain black holes to the Simpsons.

Give or take a half-hour, the long run of THE SIMPSONS is a remarkable achievement in television history and helped gain acceptance for more primetime animation to follow in its wake, as is the case May 1 on FOX.

That episode was followed by another new episode at 8:30 pm, The Heartbroke Kid, in which Bart becomes addicted to junk food when a new vending machine is installed at Springfield Elementary, leading to a massive weight gain and health issues. Unable to stick to his prescribed low-fat diet, the Simpsons stage an intervention and ship Bart off to Serenity Ranch A Forced Starvation Facility, headed up by former food addict Tab Spangler (guest star Albert Brooks).

THE SIMPSONS is a Gracie Films Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television. James L. Brooks, Matt Groening and Al Jean are the exec producers. DPS Film Roman is the animation house.

Well into a ninth season is the half-hour comed,y KING OF THE HILL. While the stories and characters reside deep in the heart of Texas, this thoroughly American series travels well abroad where it is translated into numerous languages, including Spanish, French and Portuguese, and is licensed in almost 50 countries around the world, including Germany, France, Chile, South Africa, Kuwait, Slovenia, Norway, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, Israel, Japan and the United Kingdom.

Mike Judge and Greg Daniels are co-creators/exec producers and Michael Rotenberg, Howard Klein, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky are exec producers for KING OF THE HILL, which is a 20th Century Fox Television Prod. in association with Deedle-Dee Productions, DPS Film Roman, Judgemental Films and 3 Arts Entertainment.

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