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The thunder buddies are coming back.
Ted, the feature film franchise written and directed by Seth MacFarlane, is coming back as a live-action TV series for Peacock. The NBCUniversal-backed streamer has handed out a 10-episode, straight-to-series order for what sources say will be a prequel about the foul-mouthed teddy bear that was voiced by MacFarlane, who is near a deal to return in the same capacity.
Sources say that NBCUniversal Entertainment Content chairman Susan Rovner pitched the idea of bringing Ted back to life during an introductory call the former Warner Bros. TV exec had with MacFarlane, who suggested the prequel concept.
“Seth has a superpower of creating fandoms and Ted is a shining example of his ability to create beloved characters that we can’t get enough of,” Rovner said in a statement to THR. “We are so lucky to bring this project to Peacock viewers who will have an opportunity to see their favorite foul-mouthed teddy bear once again.”
MacFarlane is attached to pen the script and exec produce the series. It’s unclear what format the series will take. A multicamera comedy was rumored to be the take Rovner and MacFarlane discussed, but that has not yet been locked in. MacFarlane is currently focused on the long-delayed third season of Fox-turned-Hulu dramedy The Orville, which he created, stars in and showruns.
MacFarlane’s NBCU-based Fuzzy Door topper Erica Huggins will also exec produce the series, which is a co-production between Universal Pictures and MRC Television. Released in 2012 by Universal Pictures and MRC Films, Ted became the highest-grossing original comedy of all time that wasn’t a sequel or based on other IP. The success of the first film, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, triggered a sequel in 2015. The pair of features grossed more than $750 million worldwide.
Ted is the second series MacFarlane has set at Peacock since the Family Guy creator moved his overall deal from 20th Television to NBCUniversal in early 2020. Fuzzy Door also has unscripted series The End Is Nye, hosted by Bill Nye, set at the streamer. Under the sprawling nine-figure pact, Fuzzy Door is also developing limited series The Winds of War, a Little Rock Nine series, a revival of Smokey and the Bandit, dramas Skywatch, All Our Wrong Todays and unscripted entry Micronations.
Outside of the NBCU deal, Fuzzy Door has Fox’s long-running cash cow Family Guy, The Orville, TBS’ American Dad, docuseries Cosmos and a new animated series based on Norman Lear’s beloved Good Times for Netflix. On the film side, MacFarlane is developing Universal feature Fairy Tale Ending and a modern version of Revenge of the Nerds, among others for 20th Century Studios.
Reboots and revivals remain in high demand in both film and TV as studios, streamers and networks alike look to monetize their library while also breaking through a crowded landscape and tapping into a pre-existing fan base. Reboots and revivals also are less expensive to market given the IP comes with a built-in demographic.
Ted is also one of the first high-profile series orders at Universal Content Productions since Hulu’s Beatrice Springborn replaced Dawn Olmstead atop the studio last year. UCP has a slate that also includes Peacock’s Battlestar Galactica update and Dr. Death, Hulu’s The Act and Starz’s Gaslit, among others.
“Over the years, Seth has captured audiences with his comedic genius and this reimagination of Ted continues that legacy,” said Springborn. “The Peacock series will have the same wish fulfillment and fun of the classic movies, while delving more into the adventures and backstory of the beloved foul-mouthed teddy bear and his family.”
MRC Television counts Ozark, The Great, The Shrink Next Door, Shining Girls, Poker Face and The Terminal List among its credits. “MRC is excited to partner with UCP and Peacock as we expand the world of Ted, which originated in our film group, into the television space. We have a long relationship with Seth and cannot wait to bring his vision to the many fans around the globe as well as new audiences,” said MRC Television president Elise Henderson.
MacFarlane and Fuzzy Door are repped by CAA, Jackoway Austen and Joy Fehily.
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