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What Killed Seth MacFarlane's 'Flintstones' TV Remake

The Flintstones and Seth MacFarlane

After Fox scrapped the "Family Guy" creator's 2013 series, the planned update of the 1960s cartoon is "on life support."

This story originally appeared in the May 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

It took more than two years for 20th Century Fox TV to negotiate a deal with rival rights holder Warner Bros. for Seth MacFarlane to reboot The Flintstones.

But now that Fox has scrapped The Family Guy creator's effort for the planned 2013 series, an update of the classic 1960s cartoon is "on life support," according to one insider. Well-placed sources say the studio and network brass who read the script in early April were not thrilled, with Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly telling the creator of the Fox animated hits American Dad! and The Cleveland Show that he "likes it but doesn't love it."

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Given the limited number of holes the network has to fill on its schedule and the high-profile nature of the property, Reilly needed to love the project to give the green light. So Reilly, with the backing of 20th Television and Warner Bros., told MacFarlane he could take another crack at the script or put it on the back burner, given that he already has three Fox animated series -- not to mention an upcoming science show, Cosmos; his feature directorial debut, Ted; and a budding music career -- on his plate. MacFarlane, 38, chose the latter option.

The ultimate decision, which a source indicates did not sit well with everyone who had been hired to work on Flintstones, led to at least six people being let go and co-writer Dan Palladino being paid out of his contract. (20th declined comment on the specific figure.)

One source suggests MacFarlane's camp will look to find replacement jobs for some of them on American Dad! when and if the series gets renewed in May.

Meanwhile, the Flintstones office space in Los Angeles' mid-Wilshire area has been cleared and will be subleased, with another Fox heavyweight, Ryan Seacrest, recently spotted taking a tour.