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Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane To Reboot The Flintsones

Following what’s characterized as “years of very complicated negotiations,” Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has been given the green light to reboot classic animated sitcom The Flinstones for television and film.

Deadline attributes at least part of the reason for the prolonged talks to concerns by Warner Bros. Television, which has held The Flinstones rights since 1996, over how MacFarlane might reinterpret the modern Stone Age family. Of course, it’s worth noting that although he’s known for a certain brand of off-color humor with American Dad, The Cleveland Show and the aforementioned Family Guy, MacFarlane began his career at Hanna-Barbera working on Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, and Dexter’s Laboratory.

Airing on ABC from 1960 to 1966, The Flinstones was the first animated series to be nominated for an Emmy for outstanding comedy series; Family Guy became the second 48 years later. The series has been revived or spun off nearly a dozen times in the past five decades, first in 1971 with The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, and most recently in 1996 with Cave Kids: Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm. It’s also spawned numerous animated specials, television movies and two live-action features.

There’s no broadcast date yet for the new Flintstones, which will air on Fox.


  • Summer

    As well as Cartoon Network has done with their reboots/retools of Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes, I really hate to see what Macfarlane, of all people, will do with Flintstones.

  • Summer

     Especially considering that this is going to land on Fox.

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    If this was airing on Cartoon Network, I’d be cool with this–but on FOX? They’ll cancel it after 13 episodes no matter how good it is…

    As far as MacFarlane is concerned, I think he knows exactly what he’s getting into and will have a Flintstones series that will be faithful to what came before. I think it’ll definitely have its own flavor, but I doubt there’ll be anything that will require a TV-14 rating…  

  • Anonymous


  • Janus31


  • Jacob

    The only reason I’m more optomistic than you is because MacFarlane can be genuinely funny, he’s just drowning in his animated universe. This could be a real breath of fresh air. But probably not…

  • Jacob

    Really? They seem to have a rather solid animation line-up. Even Bob’s Burgers got renewed, and that show is awful.

  • cookepuss

    I think that it’s important to consider that Flintstones was NEVER meant to be a kid’s show. Like the Simpsons after it, Flintstones debuted as a primetime cartoon sitcom aimed at adults. It was simply demoted to Saturdays with other children’s fare. Heck, Flintstones was even shamelessly promoted by Winston Cigarettes. Not Fruity Pebbles. =)

    Many of the Flintstones jokes and situations were targeted at adult audiences. Troubles at work. Fred knocking up Wilma. Betty & Barney’s “adoption” of Bam-Bam. Granted, all of the situations were handled in simple terms, but it was a fairly well recognized knock-off of The Honeymooners. The show DID go downhill and become more kid friendly in later seasons, but that wasn’t the original premise.

    I think that McFarlane should be given a shot at it. He’s already got 3 of FOX’s 4 animated sitcoms locking up Sunday nights. Whether or not you like them is an issue of personal taste. However, there’s really no denying that Seth & Co go out here every week and give it their all. 

    In the context of the decade in which it debuted, the Flintstones was edgy, irreverent, and quite a gut buster. Honestly, if the Flintstones were to be updated for 21st century ADULT audiences, I can’t think of a better person to helm this show. Flintstones lost its bite over the years and needs to get it back. The property has long been on life support and deserves a reboot and return to its creative roots.

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    I think the idea is for this show to come out in 2013. There’s likely to be an opening in that animation line-up by then. 

  • Rev. Rob

     I really love Family Guy, but not so much American Dad, so I am on the fence about this. I found this poll about whether or not “Flintstones” will be any good. It’s a dead heat. What do you think?POLL:

  • Sugargl1der

     It may have been intended for adults but it was also a show that kids could enjoy and understand.

    As much as I enjoy most of McFarlane’s other stuff, I have no interest in this.  We all know what a McFarlane Flintstones will be like, unless it’s vastly different from his other efforts.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I have no desire to see jokes about Wilma’s “time of the month”, Fred’s sexual perversions or Barney’s drug abuse.  That stuff is fine on the other shows, but for me the Flintstones have a “family” stamp that I’d just as soon remain inviolate.

  • Jacob

     Yea, I expect an opening too. Point is, Fox seems happy with all of their animated shows. Is one going to die off prematurely? Or will they expand the new content part of the block by an hour (maybe pull Futurama from Comedy Central?)?

  • cookepuss

    I disagree. The so-called “family” stamp attached to Flintstones was more of a scarlet letter of sorts. By dumbing down the show for kids, it really did destroy the concept of adult oriented cartoons. The thematic shift and addition of elements like Gazoo is likely what led to its demise. The subsequent follow-ups did more harm to the brand than good too. Flintstones was a show that was written by honest to goodness comedy writers, namely of Honeymooners fame. That it should sink so low over the subsequent decades, and also be subjected to some lousy live action adaptations, is an utter shame.

    By dumbing down the Flintstones and making it more palpable for kids, the entire adult toon concept was practically stigmatized. “Oh, cartoons? They’re kid stuff.” Much like Batman `89 VS Adam West’s show, it took 20 some years for someone else to come along and undo all of that damage. Simpsons restored the genre to its former glory and level or respect, even if the show itself has gotten more tame with time. It’s only fair that Flintstones should come along and reclaim its former primetime toon crown.

    As far as Seth’s frat boy humor…. He’s proven that you can do comedy without resorting to a billion cutaways and senseless nude scenes. American dad, while still offbeat, is a level less fragmented than Family Guy. If he adheres to and respects the basic framework for Flintstones, but injects some more modern adult themed then I don’t see a problem. 

    Personally, I see this as a match made in heaven.

    1. Fat loser with a go nowhere job, but a hot wife.
    2. Dumb best friend who’s more a bit less of a loser also has a hot wife.
    3. Talking animals
    4. Half-arsed get rich quick or become famous scheme of the week

    Honestly, strip Flintstones down to its core and it already seems like a McFarlane toon. As long as Dino doesn’t talk, I think that he’s got a surefire winner here. 

    I’m all for the reboot. I can see how people might be against it, but I don’t have a problem. It’s not disrespectful to the cartoon of my youth. Letting the property rot away the way it has is though. If Flintstones is to survive, it needs to evolve and return to relevancy. 

    The problem with being iconic you’re not allowed to change. Exactly how well is that working out for comics? Not too well. Death has no meaning if characters return from the grave. New characters can’t adopt familiar personae. Characters don’t age, marry, or have kids. Icon status is what’s killing comics, creatively speaking. I applaud the execs for opening up Flintstones to this new creative shift. I applaud them for not allowing it to become another Mickey Mouse – timeless, but ultimately irrelevant.

    The new version may fail, but at least it’s something different. No f-ing Captain Caveman. No stupid tween Bamm-Bamm & Pebbles rock band. No damn Gazoo. Back to basics. Frankly, I’d love to see McFarlane satirize all of those missteps. I actually think that he’s the only guy who can make Gazoo work, especially if he manifests himself as a drunken delusion of Fred’s. Captain Caveman as a gnarly homeless dude with some major delusions. Could all be funny if done right.

    But that’s just me.

    I can’t wait to see how McFarlane tackles the shift gender roles. After all, Flintstones debuted 50 years ago and I doubt we’ll be seeing Wilma slaving over a stove, or any other such junk. Should be interesting.

  • cookepuss

    More like by a HALF an hour. FOX already has: American Dad, Simpsons, Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy, & Cleveland show. That’s 5 shows. Flintstones would make it 6. They could run it between Simpsons & FG and put BB at 7pm before AD. That’d give them a solid 3hr block from 7-10. OR… They could conceivably use Flintstones and one or two of the other toons as a way of fixing their Saturday lineup. America’s Most Wanted is on its way out. COPS might be next. FOX might be thinking about expanding their Animation Domination block to 2 nights. Alternatively, they may even end up putting Flintstones somewhere in the weekdays and pair it off with the likes of Raising Hope, which would seem oddly appropriate. 

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    I think there will be a rotating slot in the animated block and a couple of shows (like Bob’s Burgers, for one) will go there to make room for The Flintsones…

  • Jacob

    An animated program in weekday primetime!? MADNESS (but actually not a half bad idea).

    I thought Fox was still keeping the block to two hours, so I instinctively figured expand it by one to keep it even…

  • nik

    I agree, Cookepuss.

    I also think people see McFarlane and instantly stamp Family Guy on it.  There’s no reason to believe that the guy who worked on Johnny Bravo couldn’t make a slightly “clearer” cartoon.  The fact that McFarlane’s attached to this is the only reason I’m interested. 

  • RunnerX13

    I HATE Family Guy and the Cleveland Show, but I LOVE American Dad, so I’m torn on this.  But how fresh are “Ah, it’s a living” jokes these days? 

  • maths

     Whoa, whoa, whoa – exactly when did Seth MacFarlane prove he can “do comedy without resorting to a billion cutaways”? That’s the basis of 99% of the jokes on every show he’s involved comedy without resorting to a billion cutaways”? That’s the basis of 99% of the jokes on every show he’s involved with.

  • RunnerX13

    “I can’t wait to see how McFarlane tackles the shift gender roles. After all, Flintstones debuted 50 years ago and I doubt we’ll be seeing Wilma slaving over a stove, or any other such junk. Should be interesting. ” 

    See Lois Griffin or Francine Smith.

  • Vince

    I like Mac Farlane’s work, and all, but he goes too far on occassion. I hope we never see Fred passing gas next to Pebble’s cereal!! (ala Family Guy. Of course, Pebbles will be eating “Pebbles” cereal…)