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‘Family Guy’ creator Seth MacFarlane clashes with Fox News host over coronavirus story

Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the animated series "Family Guy"
Seth MacFarlane, creator of the animated series “Family Guy,” reopened a divide with conservative viewers
(Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

The political divide between Hollywood and Fox News flared up again Monday when Seth MacFarlane, the creator of the hit Fox Network animated series “Family Guy,” clashed with Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham over the popular cable outlet’s controversial corovonavirus coverage.

The comic writer blasted Ingraham for criticizing the Washington Post for a story on the reopening of the U.S. economy. Ingraham said on Twitter that “The Washington Post is rooting for the shut down to continue indefinitely.”

“Laura, that is an insane remark,” he tweeted to his 13 million followers. “Everyone wants this to end. The sane among us are only trying to follow the lead of responsible science with regard to the timing. Please use your platform more responsibly.” He added that he “really cannot fathom” that we both “produce content for the same corporation.”

MacFarlane left his long-time creative home of 20th Century Fox Television earlier this year, signing a $200 million deal to move to Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, but his show “Family Guy” still airs on Fox. The company’s cable news operation has long been a cash cow and dominated industry ratings.

Ingraham, who was tweeting to her more than 3 million twitter followers, hosts a 10 p.m. ET show on Fox news called “The Ingraham Angle.”

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Neither she nor the network responded to a request for comment.

Seth MacFarlane, creator of the irreverent animated show “Family Guy,” once likened the barrage of blistering attacks on the program — and him — from the Parents Television Council to “getting hate mail from Hitler.”

The online fracas highlights longstanding tensions between the liberal-leaning Hollywood creative community and Rupert Murdoch-controlled Fox, with producers of its entertainment division openly disagreeing with the content of Fox News.

Clashes between creators at its studio and the cable news channel came to the fore in 2018 when “Modern Family” co-creator Steve Levitan shook the entertainment industry by saying he would leave Fox’s TV studio because of his personal disgust with Fox News. He went on to sign a new deal with the studio under Disney ownership.

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Since it was spun off last year from 21st Century Fox as part of the $71.3 billion sale to Walt Disney, Fox Corp. no longer has its own production studio, even though it still occupies offices on the Los Angeles Fox lot. However, Fox Corp. has been launching production initiatives for its own entertainment network, teaming up with creators and investing in production companies.

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MacFarlane, who also created the hit “American Dad” and the “Ted” movie franchise, has a long history with Fox, where as a young animator he got his first big break.

Even though MacFarlane is less involved in the production of his mega-hit, “Family Guy,” he still voices several of the characters and the show will continue to air on the Fox Network.

His most recent project, the science fiction series “The Orville,” moved last year from Fox to Hulu. The successful producer is one of Hollywood’s major political donors and a big contributor to the Democratic Party.

In recent years, MacFarlane forged bridges with the conservative nonprofit group the Parents Television Council, which railed against the Connecticut native and his Fox network cartoon for more than a decade. It petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to proclaim episodes indecent and pressured advertisers to avoid the show.

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