MacFarlane began his career studying animation and design at the Rhode Island School of Design. His talents were soon noticed by executives at FOX, where they made him an offer to create a pilot presentation. Over the next six months, MacFarlane created, animated, wrote, produced, directed and provided all the main male characters’ voices for a seven-minute short that eventually became Family Guy. He was 25 when the series aired on FOX, making him the youngest showrunner in television history.
Unfortunately, Family Guy ended up being canceled twice and existing only on DVD and in repeats on the Cartoon Network. Executives revived the show for a third time when they noticed DVD sales, international revenue and cable ratings on the rise. Now in its 13th season, Family Guy is a multi-billion-dollar asset for FOX and in 2009, it became the only animated show since The Flinstones in 1961 to be nominated for a primetime Emmy in the Outstanding Comedy category.
In addition to Family Guy, MacFarlane serves as co-creator, executive producer and voice actor on American Dad! andThe Cleveland Show, which ended its 88-episode run in May 2013. He executive produced the 21st century version of Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, described as a 13-part updated docu-series of Carl Sagan’s iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science. Cosmos premiered in March 2014 on ten US networks, simultaneously across FOX and National Geographic platforms, making it the largest television premiere event of all time.
MacFarlane made his feature film directorial debut in 2012 with the highest-grossing original R-rated film of all time, Ted. This buddy comedy starred Mark Wahlberg and MacFarlane as the voice of the lovable foul-mouthed teddy bear. The film made over $545 million worldwide and was also co-written and produced by MacFarlane. In May 2014, Universal released MacFarlane's western-comedy A Million Ways to Die in the West.
MacFarlane created The Seth MacFarlane Foundation in 2009 to focus his charitable efforts. Through this foundation, he funded the Seth MacFarlane collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan archive at the Library of Congress. He also continues to be an avid supporter of science communication, cancer research and the non-profit organizations, Chrysalis and Perry’s Place.