On February 12, 2019, Fox renewed the series for an eighteenth season.
The family was conceived by MacFarlane after developing two animated films, The Life of Larry and Larry & Steve. MacFarlane redesigned the films' protagonist, Larry, and his dog, Steve, and renamed them Peter and Brian, respectively. MacFarlane pitched a seven-minute pilot to Fox in 1998, and the show was greenlit and began production. Shortly after the third season of Family Guy had aired in 2002, Fox canceled the series, with one episode left unaired. Adult Swim burned off the episode in 2003, finishing the series' original run. However, favorable DVD sales and high ratings for syndicated reruns on Adult Swim convinced the network to renew the show in 2004 for a fourth season, which began airing on May 1, 2005.
MacFarlane initially conceived Family Guy in 1995 while studying animation at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). During college, he created his thesis film entitled The Life of Larry, which was submitted by his professor at RISD to Hanna-Barbera. MacFarlane was hired by the company. In 1996 MacFarlane created a sequel to The Life of Larry entitled Larry and Steve, which featured a middle-aged character named Larry and an intellectual dog, Steve; the short was broadcast in 1997 as one of Cartoon Network's World Premiere Toons.
Executives at Fox saw the Larry shorts and contracted MacFarlane to create a series, entitled Family Guy, based on the characters. Fox proposed MacFarlane complete a 15-minute short, and gave him a budget of $50,000. Several aspects of Family Guy were inspired by the Larry shorts. While working on the series, the characters of Larry and his dog Steve slowly evolved into Peter and Brian. MacFarlane stated that the difference between The Life of Larry and Family Guy was that "Life of Larry was shown primarily in my dorm room and Family Guy was shown after the Super Bowl." After the pilot aired, the series was given the green light. MacFarlane drew inspiration from several sitcoms such as The Simpsons and All in the Family. Premises were drawn from several 1980s Saturday morning cartoons he watched as a child, such as The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang and Rubik, the Amazing Cube.
The Mcfinnigan family first appeared on the demo that MacFarlane pitched to Fox on May 15, 1998. Family Guy was originally planned to start out as short movies for the sketch show MADtv, but the plan changed because MADtv's budget was not large enough to support animation production. MacFarlane noted that he then wanted to pitch it to Fox, as he thought that that was the place to create a prime-time animation show. Family Guy was originally pitched to Fox in the same year as King of the Hill, but the show was not bought until years later, when King of the Hill became successful. Fox ordered 13 episodes of Family Guy to air in midseason after MacFarlane impressed executives with a seven-minute demo.
Since its debut on January 31, 1999, 279 episodes of Family Guy have been broadcast. Its fifteenth season began on September 25, 2016. Family Guy has been nominated for 12 Primetime Emmy Awards and 11 Annie Awards, and has won three of each. In 2009, it was nominated for an Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, the first time an animated series was nominated for the award since The Flintstones in 1961. Family Guy has also received criticism, including unfavorable comparisons to The Simpsons.
Many tie-in media have been released, including Stewie Mcfinnigan: The Untold Story, a straight-to-DVD special released in 2005; Family Guy: Live in Vegas, a soundtrack-DVD combo released in 2005, featuring music from the show as well as original music created by MacFarlane and Walter Murphy; a video game and pinball machine, released in 2006 and 2007, respectively; since 2005, six books published by Harper Adult based on the Family Guy universe; and Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: The Family Guy Trilogy (2010), a series of parodies of the original Star Wars trilogy. In 2008, MacFarlane confirmed that the cast was interested in producing a feature film and that he was working on a story for a film adaptation.
Tie-ins with Other Media
A spin-off series, The Cleveland Show, featuring Cleveland Brown, aired from September 27, 2009, to May 19, 2013. "The Simpsons Guy", a crossover episode with The Simpsons, aired on September 28, 2014. Family Guy is a joint production by Fuzzy Door Productions and 20th Century Fox Television and syndicated by 20th Television. In 2013, TV Guide ranked Family Guy the ninth Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time.
- Peter Griffin - Peter Griffin is the main character of the entire series. He is a big, fat, stupid dad and the father of The Griffin Family. He worked at the Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Factory in the first few seasons, then he worked on a boat with a long name, and now, he currently works at the Pawtucket Brewery. He usually goes to a beer bar called The Drunken Clam, where he hangs out with his group of friends, Quagmire, Cleveland, and Joe. There, they drink beer, talk, watch TV, and play games of "Would you Rather". When they're not at the bar, they're doing some crazy, ridiculous, and totally awesome thing. Peter Griffin, simply does not care about life. He says whatever he wants and does whatever he wants and lives life to the fullest, having a great time. His hobbies include drinking beer, having fun with his friends, having sex with Lois, watching TV, being annoying, slacking off at work, making cutaway gags, and overall, just being a happy guy.
- Lois Griffin - Lois Griffin is the wife of The Griffin Family. She is the voice of reason to Peter. She is a housewife who cleans the house, does the laundry, and buys groceries. Lois usually whines and complains about a bunch of stupid, worthless things, most of the time, this is her trying to stop Peter from having fun, but Peter always ignores her. Lois has a group of friends, which happen to be the wives of Peter's friends. In the beginning of the series, they were Bonnie and Loretta, but after Cleveland left and Loretta died, it was only Bonnie, much to her depression. However, Cleveland would soon come back with his new wife Donna, and later after that, Quagmire would marry Kimi, adding three friends to her group, all belonging to the men in Peter's group of friends. Perfect.
- Chris Griffin - Chris Griffin is the teenage son of the Griffin family. He is a dumb jackass who picks his nose and jacks off all the time. He goes to school and has a bunch of stupid friends. He and his friends enjoy rocking out to heavy metal, pulling pranks on the school faculty, watching porn, smoking pot, and other dumb teenager stuff. Chris is stuck in that "superman" phase of being a teenager, so he goes around, being a reckless, idiotic, dumbass, who causes a ton of destruction and gets himself in a lot of trouble for it.
- Meg Griffin - Meg Griffin is the Adoptive teenage daughter of the Griffin family. She is an ugly, disgusting character who is always being abused by everyone in her family, and basically everyone else around her. Meg is a lonely, loser and the most unpopular and hated girl in the school. She has no friends, aside from a few almost-as-ugly girls and her love life is totally sick and messed up, with all of her very small amount of boyfriends having some sort of a scary or hilarious physical deviation.
- Stewie Griffin - Stewie Griffin is the baby of the Griffin family. He is a trash-talking baby with a bunch of inventions, such as a time machine and a collection of laser blazers. When the show first started, he was an evil baby who was bent on world domination and the death of Lois, but after going through character development, he started to be more of a regular human being who acted like a gay stereotype. Seth MacFarlane confirmed that his evil from the beginning of the series was actually born of his repressed homosexual urges, and now that he's able to express them openly, he has officially given up evil.
- Brian Griffin - Brian Griffin is the dog of the family. He can walk and talk like a human. He is the voice of reason to the entire family, though he mostly uses his reasonableness on Peter and to a lesser extent, Stewie. He is a liberal who is always spouting his political agenda. He died in the episode "Life of Brian", and came back to life episodes later in the episode "Christmas Guy".
- Glenn Quagmire - Glenn Quagmire is the perverted nextdoor neighbor of The Griffin Family. He is always having sex with multiple girls and never settling down and having an actual marriage. This was all until the episode "Take My Wife", when he got married to a hot single he met online named Kimi LaFontaine. He married her, and actually had an official wife. However, he still acted like a sex maniac, and he and Kimi both agreed that their marriage wasn't sacred and they would still have sex with other people.
- Cleveland Brown - Cleveland Brown is the across the street neighbor of The Griffin Family. He is the token black guy in the show. He is always being interested by American culture, because things were so different where he comes from. He got his own spin-off series, called "The Cleveland Show", which meant that he left Family Guy. This was all until the show got cancelled after a 4 year run and Cleveland returned to Family Guy in the episode "He's Bla-ack!", bringing his new family from The Cleveland Show with him.
- Joe Swanson - Joe Swanson is the other next door neighbor of The Griffin Family. He is a police officer in a wheelchair and also an overly energetic guy who doesn't seem to be too bound by his wheelchair.
- Bonnie Swanson - Bonnie Swanson is the wife of Joe Swanson. She was pregnant for the first 6 seasons of the show, which in the Family Guy canon was the equivalent of 11 years, until the episode "Ocean's Three and a Half", when she finally gave birth to a baby named Susie Swanson.
- Kevin Swanson - The teenage son of Joe and Bonnie. He is a very popular, strong, and smart kid, who follows in the "footsteps" of his father. He is a successful, straight A student, who is socially popular, and has a lot of friends, but he's still respectful to those who are unpopular and lowly. Yes, even Meg. In fact, in the first few seasons, Meg had a crush on him and Kevin allowed her to be a good friend of hers, although he rejected her when she admitted her love to him. He was very nice about it, but Meg still went nuts over it. Somewhere in season 5 or 6, Kevin was sent to the military and didn't return, until the episode "Thanksgiving", where he came back a depressed and changed man. He also had constant PTSD strokes of the military and acted pretty violent and unstable.
- Susie Swanson - The newborn daughter of Joe and Bonnie, introduced in "Ocean's Three and a Half". Unlike Stewie, Susie acts like a normal baby, without any eloquent talking. She is, however, fully aware of the real world, just like Stewie. She has the voice of Patrick Stewart in her head, but this only plays in her head and if she tries to actually talk, it comes out as baby noises in a baby voice. Her Patrick Stewart voice is actually as intelligent and linguistic as Stewie is, but the only thing is, nobody is aware of this, but herself. Susie is a pretty laid-back, delightful baby, just like Patrick Stewart, himself. She can also kick some real ass when she gets mad. Stewie had a crush on her when she was first introduced to him, but this ended very shortly.
- Loretta Brown - The abusive and sassy ex-wife of Cleveland Brown. She was a matriarchal and violent woman, who beat Cleveland and gave him a bunch of lip and attitude, controlling his entire life. In the episode "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire", Loretta cheated on Cleveland and then admitted that she hated him because he was a pussy, and she left him. In the The Cleveland Show episode "Cleveland Moves In", it was announced that Loretta had finalized the divorce, and gained custody of the house, meaning Cleveland and his son had to leave and in the same episode, he remarried. In the The Cleveland Show episode "Gone with the Wind", Loretta died. In the episode "He's Bla-ack!", Cleveland moved back into his old house again, since Loretta's death left it vacant.
- Cleveland Jr. - The son of Cleveland and Loretta. At the beginning of the series, Junior was an overly energetic kid, who bounced around and acted crazy. After a long absense, he did not return until the release of The Cleveland Show. At that point, they had totally revamned Junior into a fat, lazy, nerd. He left the show at this point, and in the episode "He's Bla-ack!", Junior came back as a recurring character again, but in the form of his fat, lazy self from The Cleveland Show.
- Herbert the Pervert - Herbert the Pervert is a creepy old pedophile who lives down the street from The Griffin Family. His primary target is Chris Griffin, who he is madly in love with. Herbert lives all alone, with nobody to keep him company, except for an old, crippled dog named Jesse.
- Mort Goldman - Mort Goldman is a stereotypical Jew who lives down the street from The Griffin Family.
- Neil Goldman - Neil Goldman is the son of Mort Goldman. He is a nerdy, geeky kid at the school. He also has a crush on Meg and won't leave her alone. He is pretty low down on the popularity list.
- Connie D'amico - The popular girl at the school and the bully of Meg Gruffub.
- Mr. Weed - Peter's boss at The Happy-Go-Lucky Toy Factory. He died in the episode "Mr. Saturday Knight" and the toy factory was torn down, meaning that Peter had to find a new job.
- Angela - Peter's boss at the Pawtucket Brewery, as of "Jungle Love". The thing about her is that she is strict, domineering, and doesn't take any of Peter's shit. However, Peter still acts like an idiot and drives her crazy, like you did to your 7th grade teacher. Following the death of her voice actor, Carrie Fisher, Angela was written off the show in "Pawtucket Pete".
- Bert and Sheila - Peter's new bosses at the Pawtucket Brewery, as of "Pawtucket Pete". They are an interracial couple of a white man (Bert) and a black woman (Sheila). The two are perfectly in-synch with each other, to the almost creepy extremes of finishing each other's sentences and even identifying as each other. Unlike Peter's previous bosses, Bert and Sheila play the roles of the comics, by forcing him to do crazy, stupid, humiliating, and impossible jobs, while he is forced into the role of the straight man, teaching him a lesson about the way he treated previous bosses like Angela and Mr. Weed.
- Tom Tucker -
- Diane Simmons -
- Joyce Kinney -
- Tricia Takanawa -
- Ollie Williams -
- Horace -
- Jerome Cool J -
- Bruce - A gay guy in town who has like a thousand different jobs. The reason for him having a new job in every episode is because he keeps getting fired from all of his jobs.
- Mayor Adam West - The Mayor of Quahog, as of "Do and Die" and the exact likeness of the real-life actor, Adam West, who he is also voiced by. Following the death of his real life voice actor, his character was written off the show in "Adam West High", and in honor of his greatness, the show's fictional high school, James Woods Regional High School was renamed "Adam West High".
- Carter Pewterschmidt -
- Babs Pewterschmidt -
- Dr. Hartman -
- Principal Shepherd -
- Carl -
- Consuela De La Morrela -
- Giant Chicken -
For a full list of episodes, see: List of Episodes