The Smiths have a new home.
After Fox stalled on the picking up its long-running animated series, American Dad!, TBS almost immediately swooped in to bring Stan Smith and Co. to cable for its 11th season*.
*Some fans of the series will note that this is actually the 10th season of the series, but if you want to get into that debate, there’s an entire Wiki page devoted to the discrepancy.
Regardless of what season is it, earlier this fall, Fox ran its final three episodes of American Dad! Tonight, the series shifts over to TBS for the remaining 15 episodes of the season. If you’re hoping to see the same Smiths you watched for the last decade, the talent behind American Dad! assures you it’s the same, albeit raunchier, show.
Along with other journalists at the New York Comic-Con press tables, Den of Geek had the chance to speak with Matt Weitzman, the new showrunner, and executive producer Brian Boyle, along with cast members Scott Grimes (Steve Smith), Dee Bradley Baker (Klaus), Rachael McFarlane (Hayley) and Wendy Schaal (Francine). In our interview, we discussed the direction of the series, the tone of the new episodes, the departure of series co-creator and showrunner Mike Barker and the gift of cursing on cable TV…
What can we expect from American Dad on its new home, TBS?
Mike Weitzman (co-creator, current showrunner): In terms of content, there’s very little [change]. [TBS] were big fans of the show and they said continue to do what you guys do. We were blown away, it’s like it’s a brand-new show, because we never have gotten the love that we have gotten from TBS. It is so motivating and inspiring to know that these guys are so behind us. I’m tickled. The only difference is we’re going to have cold opens now and the main title sequence is a quick scene. We have three commercials inside the show because they go one show into the next show. That kind of changes some of our format.
Rachael McFarlane (Voice of Hayley Smith): What we’re really excited about is we get two shits and a douchebag. Literally we get the freedom to say shit twice and douchebag in every episode, which of course we can’t do on Fox.
Mike Weitzman: There’s a variety of things we couldn’t say on Fox that we can say on TBS. Two shits and a douchebag covers ‘god damn it,’ ‘Jesus,’ and ‘asshole.’ It lets the creative juices really flow.
Coming from network television that must be freeing.
Dee Bradley Baker (Voice of Klaus): The oversight of censors and all is not as constraining. Lord knows they got away with all kinds of wonderful inappropriate things on Fox network, but they’re actually freer to take the show a little further on TBS.
How has the creative process changed, if at all, with showrunner Mike Barker leaving the show?
Rachael McFarlane: For [the actors] it feels a bit different, but I think for the most part it has felt fairly consistent.
Dee Bradley Baker: I miss Mike a lot. He brought a lot to the show, but the folks they have doing it, many of whom have been doing it for a long time, it didn’t feel like there was a major change in the tone or the content in the show. It still feels like American Dad.
Rachael McFarlane: The season and a half that we’ve done for TBS, honestly I think it’s some of our funniest material.
Wendy Schaal (Voice of Francine): For me personally, yeah I miss his presence. I thought that he really had a point of view and an edge that was fun for the show.
Scott Grimes (Voice of Steve): He was responsible for all the left turn episodes, especially for my character. His sense of humor was Andy Kaufman-esque, something you wouldn’t expect. The show is not as weird but these writers are unbelievable.
A lot was made of The Simpsons and Family Guy crossover episode, is there another series you’d like to do a crossover with?
Brian Boyle (Executive Producer): American Horror Story, that’d be funny. Roger in Freak Show.
Dee Bradley Baker: Walking Dead.
Rachael McFarlane: I would go Game of Thrones.
Dee Bradley Baker: Those are good family shows.
Matt Weitzman also rattled off some light plot teasers for the new TBS episodes:
The show gets bought by a Chinese billionaire and he says he’s not going to change it but he ends up changing it. Stan and CIA guys get trapped behind enemy lines as [prisoners of war]. We’re doing a Christmas episode, we’re doing another Wheels and the Legman where Francine is a writer for murder mysteries and they end up going to New York for a convention and there she gets kidnapped. Wheels and the Legman, Roger and Steve, solve the case of where she went.
Hayley and Steve join a roller derby team. Not a whole lot of musicals this year. Steve and Snot join a karate studio and Snot takes it too far so Steve leaves the karate studio and is trained by Roger in the art of Kung Fu. Stan and Francine go to Hollywood and they meet this old woman who enlightens Stan that he’s the reincarnated version of her old husband who was a Hollywood actor and Stan wants to finish this movie that was never finished.
Thanks to the cast and creative talent behind American Dad! for the interview. You can catch new episodes on TBS starting Monday, October 20 at 9 p.m.