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‘Family Guy,’ ‘Cleveland Show’ Creatives Keep Eye on the DVD Prize

27 Jul, 2010 By: John Latchem

SAN DIEGO — Seth MacFarlane’s animation empire keeps growing, not only on TV but on DVD as well. This year marks the release of two special episodes of “Family Guy” only on DVD.

Sept. 28 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release Family Guy: Partial Terms of Endearment as a two-DVD set at $27.98, containing a controversial abortion episode the network refused to air. The DVD includes commentary, a live table read and “The Seth & Alex Almost Live Comedy Show” variety show spoof hosted by MacFarlane and his “Family Guy” co-star Alex Borstein that aired last year.

And during the “Family Guy” Comic-Con panel, fans were treated to a 10-minute preview of the show’s upcoming Return of the Jedi spoof, which Fox will release on DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 21.

Family Guy: It’s a Trap! will complete a trilogy of spoofs that began in 2007 with a spoof of the original Star Wars called Blue Harvest and continued last year with the Empire Strikes Back spoof Something, Something, Something Dark Side. These special episodes cast the “Family Guy” characters into familiar “Star Wars” roles.

Also due Sept. 28 is the first season of “Family Guy” spinoff “The Cleveland Show” on DVD and Blu-ray, according to series co-creator and voice actor Mike Henry.

Unlike the release pattern for “Family Guy” and MacFarlane’s “American Dad,” which are released in volumes of 13 episodes at a time, the “Cleveland Show” set will contain the complete first season.

“There were 21 episodes that aired last year,” Henry said. “They’re all on it. We wanted to make the first volume something to ground the whole collection on so we put them all in there.”

Extras include behind-the-scenes footage and a music video of a song Cleveland sang with Earth, Wind and Fire.

Noting the role of DVD in helping to bring back “Family Guy” from cancellation, MacFarlane said the frequent direct-to-video “Family Guy” tie-ins are typical of an industry in transition.

“I think I’ve heard it said the airings of the show are now sort of commercials for the DVD releases as far as how you would describe the revenue streams within the company,” MacFarlane said. “I think the power of the network is still pretty substantial, so much so that it would be financially impossible to just release the show for DVD. I think at some point there will be a setup where television programs are viewed by downloading them at your convenience.”

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