With a net worth of $300 million, Seth MacFarlane is a successful American producer, writer, voice actor, musician, and comedian who has amassed a large following. Anyone who was fortunate enough to develop even one successful television commercial for a big network television channel, complete with DVDs and paraphernalia, would die a very happy and extremely wealthy person.
This record has been accomplished by Seth MacFarlane not once, but three times, thanks to his smash hit television series Family Guy, American Dad, and The Cleveland Show.
He has also written, directed, and produced a number of films, including Ted (2012), which grossed over $500 million worldwide, Ted 2 (2015), which grossed just under $200 million worldwide, and A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014), which was released in 2014.
Infancy and Adolescence
Seth MacFarlane was born on October 26, 1973, in Kent, Connecticut, and is an American comedian. He is a distant descendant of William Brewster, a passenger on the Mayflower, who died in 1620. Seth’s passion for illustration began as a child, thanks to the influence of cartoon characters such as Woody Woodpecker and Fred Flintstone.
To his surprise, Seth made the decision to pursue a profession in animation when he was just five years old! Walter Crouton, his first comic book, was published at the age of nine in The Kent Good Times-Dispatch, where it was published weekly. Seth earned $5 per week as a comic, which was his first paid job after college.
Seth began making short films in high school, using an 8mm camera that belonged to his parents. Afterward, he attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he majored in cinema and video production as well as animation. Patrick Henry was a classmate of Seth’s at the Rhode Island School of Design.
At some point, Patrick introduced Seth to his brother Mike Henry, an ambitious stand-up comedian/actor who would go on to work with Seth on other MacFarlane projects in the years to come. Mike Henry would go on to voice the roles of Cleveland Brown, Herbert, Consuela, and Bruce in the series. Mike was a co-creator of The Cleveland Show, which aired from 2009 until 2013.
But let’s get back to RISD. This past year, Seth worked on a film project called The Life of Larry, which he directed. Seth’s professor sent the video to Hanna-Barbera executives, who responded by offering him a position on the spot. Seth worked on a variety of Hanna-Barbera projects over his career.
Larry & Steve, a modernized version of The Life of Larry, was released in 1996. It featured a lovable/dumb middle-aged guy named Larry, as well as his faithful intelligent dog, Steve, who was also named Larry. Does this sound familiar?
Having seen Larry & Steve, Fox execs encouraged Seth to come up with an idea for a new show. Fox initially passed but after the surprise success of their 1997 show King of the Hill, Seth was brought back to pitch again. When Fox agreed to make a pilot again, they gave Seth a meager $50,000 to work with. Most prime-time animated series at the time had a budget of $1 million per episode.
Seth spent six months making a badly animated picture, which he subsequently admitted to being. Fox executives were so delighted with the pilot that they ordered a full season right away. When Seth was 24, he was the youngest executive producer in television history.
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Family Guy aired on January 31, 1999, right after Fox’s coverage of Super Bowl XXXIII. 22 million viewers tuned in for the show’s premiere. It was determined that the first season had performed well enough to warrant a second. Ratings fell precipitously in the second season due to the show’s placement in the Thursday, 9 PM time slot.
However, a third season was granted and aired in November 2001 after a last-minute reprieve in May 2000, when Fox officially terminated the show after its second season. However, the show’s popularity grew steadily, and it was finally shut down in the summer of 2002.
Family Guy developed a following when reruns began running on Cartoon Network. In fact, it was the network’s most-watched show of all time, increasing viewership by more than two-thirds. The first and second seasons of the show were released on DVD in 2003. 400,000 copies were sold in the first week, which was astronomical at the time.
Seasons 1 and 2 were the most popular DVD releases of 2003 and 2004. Behind Chappelle’s Show, this two-disc set contains the most popular episodes from seasons 1 and 2. Season four of “The Simpsons” was swiftly brought back by Fox in May of that year.
Profits from Syndication
More than 300 extra episodes of Family Guy would be aired over the course of an additional 14 seasons over the next 15 years. Numerous countries and languages have used it as a source of information. Its syndication partnerships, DVD sales, and merchandise sales produced more than $1 billion in revenue between 2005 and 2008 alone. Until now, the show has brought in billions of dollars from all kinds of income.
A single episode of a syndicated show is currently worth $2 million at the time of this writing. New airings charge $200,000 for a single 30-second commercial. Ad income from the show exceeds $500 million every year. Licensed to large shops like Wal-Mart and Target, more than 500 Family Guy-related products bring in more than $100 million a year.
How Much Does Seth MacFarlane Make?
As a showrunner, MacFarlane was paid $2 million per year by Fox between 2005 and 2008. As of 2009, he’d signed a five-year, $100 million contract to oversee his animation company.
As far as contracts go, it was the largest and most expensive one in television history at the time. And the DVD and merchandise rights that are expected to bring Seth an additional $20 million a year are not included in either of those pay amounts!
There is a lot of money to be made in the animation industry, as demonstrated by the likes of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Matt Groening.
Some Other Job
When American Dad launched in 2005, Seth was the show’s creator and executive producer. He was a co-creator of The Cleveland Show, which aired from 2009 through 2013.
Other films he has worked on as a writer, director, or producer include 2012’s massively successful picture Ted and its sequel, 2015’s underwhelming Ted 2, as well as the critically acclaimed A Million Ways to Die in the West from 2014. The Orville, a live-action Fox series that premiered in 2016, was his brainchild.
A large band artist, he has published five albums and regularly plays.
Purchasing and Selling a Home
Since 2008, Seth has lived in a $13.5 million Beverly Hills mansion as his primary residence. In Malibu, California, he spent $15.7 million in 2019.
Seth, who has been single his entire life, has been linked romantically to a number of stunning women. He had a brief relationship with Eliza Dushku. To date, he has been linked to Emilia Clarke (2012-2013).