'Dad's' day for Appel with extended deal

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Emmy-winning writer-producer Rich Appel has joined Fox's animated comedy "American Dad!" as executive producer/co-showrunner.

He also has extended his existing seven-figure overall deal with series producer 20th Century Fox TV by another year that will keep him in the studio until at least June 2009.

Appel will run "Dad" with co-creators/executive producers Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman, who have been the showrunners since the show's 2005 launch.

"Matt and Mike and all of us at the studio and the network saw a great opportunity in bringing Rich on board to help us grow the series as we head into the important fourth season," 20th Century Fox TV chairman Gary Newman said. "Rich is an animation veteran and showrunner, and I think the team of Matt, Mike and Rich will be extremely formidable in growing the show into another long-term Fox asset."

Because of the longer production cycles for animated series, "Dad" recently was picked up for a fourth season ahead of its Season 3 premiere in September.

Appel has worked on Fox's three other animated series, "The Simpsons," "King of the Hill" -- he shared best animated series Emmys on both -- and most recently "Family Guy."

He spent this past season as a co-executive producer on "Family Guy," which was created by "Dad" co-creator Seth MacFarlane.

That makes for a seamless transition from "Family Guy" to "Dad," whose staffs share the same floor and snack rooms.

"I'm really excited to work with Mike and Matt and their team, and not just the writers but also a lot of the animators I was lucky to work with on three other great animated shows," Appel said. "And I'm relieved that I only have to move my office 20 yards."

While his attention will be focused entirely on "Dad" this season, Appel hopes to develop next year under his extended overall deal with 20th TV.

Appel, whose series credits include "Kitchen Confidential" and "A.U.S.A.," is repped by Endeavor and attorney Sam Fischer.
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