"Family Guy" shuffles its creative ranks

Wed Sep 2, 2009 1:13am EDT

Animated characters Stewie (L) and Brian from the series 'Family Guy' are shown on the screen at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 16, 2007. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Animated characters Stewie (L) and Brian from the series 'Family Guy' are shown on the screen at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 16, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - There's been a change at the helm of Fox's top animated comedy, "Family Guy."

Series veterans Steve Callaghan and Mark Hentemann have signed separate three-year deals with the show's producer, 20th Century Fox TV. Under the lucrative seven-figure pacts, the two have been promoted to executive producers and named showrunners.

Former showrunners David Goodman and Chris Sheridan will remain on the show as executive producers alongside Callaghan, Hentemann, creator Seth MacFarlane and Danny Smith.

In divvying up responsibilities, Callaghan will focus more on running the writers' room while Hentemann shepherds production.

In addition to running "Family Guy" under MacFarlane, Callaghan and Hentemann, who are not a writing team, each will develop new projects for the studio.

Both Callaghan and Hentemann have been on the Fox show through both of its incarnations -- during its original run, cut short by a cancellation, and its current revival.

Callaghan was hired on Day 1 as the first writers' assistant before being promoted to writer when the show first was renewed. Hentemann joined "Guy" in the second season as executive story editor.

Gary Newman, chairman of 20th TV, said the idea for elevating and pairing Callaghan and Hentemann came from MacFarlane.

"After a great run with David and Chris, he felt the show would benefit from fresh blood in a more supervising capacity," Newman said.

Because of the lengthy production cycle for animated series, Callaghan and Hentemann are now overseeing the show's next season. It will open with an hourlong whodunit episode in which, in Agatha Christie fashion, a variety of regular and ancillary "Family Guy" characters will be locked up together trying to solve murders.

(Editing by SheriLinden at Reuters)

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