'Dad' patriarchs ink 2-year deals with Fox

Comedy earns fifth season as momentum builds

"American Dad" co-creators Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman have inked new seven-figure overall deals with series producer 20th Century Fox TV.

The two-year pacts, with options for a third, will keep Barker and Weitzman on "Dad," which has been picked up by Fox for a fifth season.

Barker and Weitzman, who created "Dad" with Seth MacFarlane, have exec produced and run the animated comedy since its launch.

Four years into the job, neither considered leaving.

"The world is screwed up, so we think we still have some semi-poignant things to say about it through the show," Weitzman said.

Having two showrunners on "Dad" has made a world of difference, 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said.

"Matt and Mike are covering far more territory in the executive producer slot than one person can ever cover," she said. "That enables Seth to focus on his other projects."

In addition to "Dad," MacFarlane is shepherding "Family Guy" and its upcoming spinoff "The Cleveland Show."

Under their overall deals, Barker and Weitzman have an option to develop new projects. But for the time being, their attention will be focused squarely on "Dad," trying to keep the momentum in what Walden called "a critical year for the show."

With most scripted series down this fall, "Dad" is growing — up 6% over last year in adults 18-49, 8% in total viewers and 19% in teens.

Barker, Weitzman and the rest of the "Dad" writing team are already working on Season 5 while closely following the presidential race.

"If (Barack) Obama wins, that would provide an interesting wrinkle to the show as Stan is such a die-hard Republican," Weitzman said. Added Barker, "If (John) McCain wins, it would be great for the show and horrible for our grandchildren."

After 17 years as a writing team, Barker and Weitzman recently decided to fly solo "to bring heat back into the relationship," they quipped.

Barker has signed with UTA. Weitzman is repped by WMA. (partialdiff)