Seth MacFarlane, "Family Guy" honcho and newly designated Oscars host, held court at TheWrap's annual industry conference TheGrill on Tuesday, offering his thoughts on his upcoming go at presiding over the Academy Awards, the future of his flagship series "Family Guy" (and whether fans will finally get the long-discussed "Family Guy" movie), and, oh yeah, who's going to win the upcoming presidential election.
In a discussion moderated by TheWrap's CEO and Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman, MacFarlane offered mixed thoughts on how long "Family Guy," which premiered in 1999 and was resurrected after being canceled a few years later, might continue.
Also read: Complete coverage of TheGrill
One one hand, MacFarlane noted, "Family Guy" has the potential to have a run similar to that of "The Simpsons," which recently launched its 24th season.
"I think the show has the ability to continue as long as people want to see it," MacFarlane said. "I think that 'Family Guy' certainly has it in it to maybe not go [as long as 'The Simpsons'], but certainly in the ballpark."
On the other hand, MacFarlane admitted that his restless creative nature pushes him into new territory — such as this year's live-action comedy "Ted," a movie that MacFarlane wrote, directed and co-starred in, as the titular teddy bear. It became a surprise hit, taking $54 million in its opening weekend, and $32 million in its opening overseas.
"It's an internal struggle; it's a very human thing" to want to do different things after a while, MacFarlane said. "For a number of reasons, you get a little antsy doing the same thing. I still have enormous affection for 'Family Guy.'"
As for a "Family Guy" movie, don't hold your breath.
"We have an idea for what the 'Family Guy' movie is supposed to be, but we've had the idea for a couple of years," MacFarlane offered. "I think at some point there will be a 'Family Guy' movie, but I don't know [when]."
(A sequel to "Ted," however, is in the works, though MacFarlane said it hadn't reached the writing stage.)
As for "Ted," MacFarlane admitted that the idea of doing a big-screen feature project "scared the shit out of me," but his training in the work-intensive field of animation helped him wear multiple hats while also wearing the motion-capture suit that allowed him to play his fluffy character.
"It sounds like a lot, but animation demands that you do that every day … you have to put different pieces together," MacFarlane, who told the crowd that he initially intended to be a Disney animator before the emergence of "The Simpsons" and his experience in stand-up comedy, said. "My brain was luckily trained by being in the animation medium to be able to multitask in the moment."
Another situation that's sure to put him out of his comfort zone is his upcoming stint as the host of next year's Academy Awards. MacFarlane, who cited Johnny Carson as his all-time favorite host and Billy Crystal as his favorite modern host, said he'll attempt to find a balance between cutting-edge presentation and Oscars tradition.
"I think that's the challenge — it's finding that balance between something that feels fresh and feels original, but at the same time staying true to the classy, Bob Hope-esque style that the Oscars demand," MacFarlane said.
Pressed on why he was chosen for the task, MacFarlane cracked, "I think maybe they thought I was Seth Rogen, and then it was too late to correct the mistake."
As for specifics of the show, MacFarlane said, "It's too early to tell; we literally just cemented all this."
Before that moment comes, however, there's another great challenge that America will focus on — namely, electing the next leader of the Free World. Pressed by Waxman to offer his predictions of who will take the White House in the voice of his beloved if homicidal infant Stewie Griffin, MacFarlane effortlessly busted out his flawless British accent to pick a winner.
"I think at this point Obama can walk out with his penis out on stage and he'd still be able to win," MacFarlane said.