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Family Guy Executive Producers Discuss How Working With Seth MacFarlane Has Changed Over The Years - Exclusive

When most people think of "Family Guy," they attribute its success to the singular mind of Seth MacFarlane. It is true MacFarlane created the animated sitcom and has gone on to add a slew of other credits to his name, including "American Dad!" and "The Cleveland Show," in addition to films like "Ted" and "A Million Ways to Die in the West." However, the truth of the matter is that it requires a massive team of people to keep a show like "Family Guy" chugging along for the past couple of decades. 

Executive producers and co-showrunners Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin have been just as instrumental in the show's longevity as MacFarlane, and they don't get nearly the amount of credit they deserve. They've both been with the series for years now and are likely responsible for some of its most defining moments over the years. Looper had the opportunity to speak with both Appel and Sulkin to talk about the legacy of "Family Guy." During this conversation, they also talked about how MacFarlane's role in the show has changed over the years and how he isn't as hands on as he used to be at the beginning of the show's run. 

Seth MacFarlane is largely there for quality control

Seth MacFarlane certainly still has a hand in ensuring "Family Guy" maintains the level of quality its known for, but, he can only be at so many places at once, and seeing how he's spearheading other projects, including "The Orville," he just can't be involved with "Family Guy" as much as he may like. Alec Sulkin stated as much. When he first came on the show, MacFarlane was incredibly hands-on. 

As the years went on, his time became all the more precious, and as Sulkin puts it, "We have a great relationship with him, but he comes in and does the voices, and then he will also let us know the things that he likes and doesn't like about the show. Then he will occasionally pitch us a story idea, which instantly goes in the pipeline. Our relationship has evolved with him."

Rich Appel went on to mention how MacFarlane's more or less required to know what's going on with the show, seeing how he does so many voices. He's practically in every scene, so he's forced to read the scripts and give his notes on them accordingly. Appel further explains, "When [MacFarlane] is recording, he can say, 'Make sure we're not playing Brian too much like this.' It's a quality control, which is hugely helpful — unless he doesn't like something, [in] which case it's a burden."

There may only be 24 hours in a day, but MacFarlane somehow finds the time to do it all. It likely goes without saying he's probably one of the hardest working guys in Hollywood. 

New episodes of "Family Guy" Season 21 air on Fox at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT.