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A Brief History of the ''Family Guy'' -- Important dates in the life of the animated series from Fox

May 15, 1998 Fox orders 13 episodes of Family Guy for midseason after creator Seth MacFarlane wows executives with a seven-minute demo made on his computer.

Jan. 31, 1999 Fox gives Family Guy a plush post-Super Bowl XXXIII premiere — but weak game ratings result in a disappointing debut of only 12.6 million viewers.

April 11, 1999 Family Guy's fortunes look up when it debuts to decent ratings in Fox's 8:30 p.m. slot on Sunday, nestled in the bosom of The Simpsons and The X-Files.

Sept. 23, 1999 The show launches its second season in a new time slot, Thursday at 9 p.m., against NBC's Frasier — and is officially walloped by the good doctor.

March 7, 2000 The show returns from a three-month hiatus in a new time slot, Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., against ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — and is officially walloped by Regis Philbin and his tie collection.

July 24, 2000 The Family escapes execution: Fox renews the showfor 13 episodes in 2001.

Nov. 8, 2001 Family Guy faces its third impossible time slot in two years, premiering at 8 p.m. on Thursday against some obscure NBC series about buddies in a coffee shop. Audience hemorrhaging ensues.

May 15, 2002 The little cartoon that could finally can't: Fox unveils its fall lineup, and Family Guy is nowhere to be found.

April 15, 2003 Fox releases the first 28 episodes of Family Guy on DVD. It becomes a cult phenomenon, selling nearly 400,000 copies within a month.

April 20, 2003 The Griffin clan finds a home on the Cartoon Network: Reruns premiere during the Adult Swim block, boosting viewership by 239 percent.

May 20, 2004 Knowing a cult hit when it sees one — finally — Fox says it will bring back Family Guy for a fourth season.

Dec. 10, 2004 Fox airs the infamous ''When You Wish Upon a Weinstein'' episode, originally deemed too edgy for network TV.

March 10, 2005 Family Guy Live!, a limited-run stage show featuring the series' actors, is announced.

May 1, 2005 New episodes of Family Guy will premiere after The Simpsons in a block Fox is calling ''Animation Domination.'' Not quite as catchy as former Sunday-night slogan ''FoFuSu,'' but it'll do.

Originally posted Apr 18, 2005 Published in issue #816 Apr 22, 2005 Order article reprints
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