Seth Macfarlane is known to most as the creator of the hit Fox television show Family Guy. He is also the creator of American Dad and The Cleveland Show. All three animated sitcoms feature Macfarlane voicing multiple roles and continue to bring in good ratings with the exception of the now cancelled Cleveland Show. Seth Macfarlane also wrote and directed the high grossing comedy Ted, executive produced the new Cosmos series starring scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and most recently directed and starred in A Million Ways to Die in the West. Education and intellect are very important to Macfarlane and with Cosmos; he put his money where his mouth is.
Much of the funding for the revival of the science education series came from Macfarlane himself in an attempt to bring science education back into the mainstream. Macfarlane also provides voices for characters in the shows animated segments, utilizing his history in animation to help make science more appealing to modern Americans. After Macfarlane graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, he began work at Hanna Barbera, where he wrote for classic cartoons like Dexter’s Laboratory and Johnny Bravo. By 1999, Macfarlane released his own animated show, Family Guy. The show’s first season performed well, but with Fox airing the show’s second and third season inconsistently its ratings suffered against other popular shows like Friends and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. However, reruns of the Family Guy on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim late night lineup performed well enough to revive the show on network television. Since its return to Fox, Family Guy has grown into a cultural fixture on par with The Simpsons, allowing Macfarlane to pursue his many other creative projects.
After his first foray into more serious and educational fare with Cosmos, Seth Macfarlane has put his money where his mouth is once again with his pledge to Reading Rainbow. LeVar Burton recently created a Kickstarter campaign to bring back his beloved children’s program and initially set a goal of $1 million by July 2. Within days of the initial setup, the campaign had received more than four times that amount from people all around the world. After it was stated that the show needed $5 million or more to get off the ground, Macfarlane pledged to match the next million dollars raised for Reading Rainbow. Macfarlane’s donation along with the donations that his challenge brings in will help expand the reach of the new Reading Rainbow‘s classroom specific form.
Macfarlane’s public support of Burton’s campaign is a great recovery from the box office failure of his latest movie A Million Ways to Die in the West. Cosmos was a relative success, but any continuation of the miniseries is up in the air. Family Guy and American Dad will both be returning in the fall, albeit with American Dad now on TBS. A sequel to Macfarlane’s hit film Ted is in the works as well, to be released in June of 2015 still starring Mark Wahlberg with Macfarlane, once again, providing the voice of the teddy bear. With Seth Macfarlane’s offensive brand of humor still alive and well in the entertainment industry, the producer, director and voice actor is looking to put his money where his mouth is with Reading Rainbow and so far it looks like he is succeeding.
By Matt Isaacs