20th TV ups 'Family Guy' duo

Callaghan, Hentemann serving as showrunners

There's been a change at the helm of Fox's top animated comedy "Family Guy."

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

Former showrunners David Goodman and Chris Sheridan will remain on the show as exec 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 are homegrown "Family Guy" talent who 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.

"They are really valued, loyal 'Family Guy' MVPs," 20th TV chairman Gary Newman said.

He 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, adding that the showrunner transition has been seamless.

While "Guy" is an well-established brand, Callaghan and Hentemann are looking to put on their own stamp on things.

"We want to be true to what the show is about, but, as it is with any series heading into its seventh season, we want to keep it fresh and exciting for fans," Callaghan said.

Added Hentemann, "That will cause us to experiment with the form and try new things."

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-style, a variety of regular and ancillary "Family Guy" characters will be locked up together trying to solve murders.

Under the development components of the deals, Callaghan will take a first crack at creating his own series. Hentemann created the MTV animated comedy "3-South," whose pilot script got him the writing job on "Family Guy."

Hentemann has another animated project, the 20th TV-produced "Border Town," in consideration at Fox. He has written two scripts and has done a presentation for the show, about a family living on the U.S.-Mexico border, with a decision by the network expected soon.

Callaghan and Hentemann are repped by WME.
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