BBC picks up new show American Dad in deal with Fox

LONDON – The BBC has bought the TV rights to three US comedies from Twentieth Century Fox, including 'American Dad', a new animated comedy about a CIA agent, filling a hole in the BBC's schedules following the loss of 'The Simpsons' to Channel 4.

'American Dad' follows CIA agent Stan Smith, who will go to any length to protect his family, including a space alien he rescued from Area 51 and Klaus, a German-speaking goldfish, and his beloved America from harm.

The series was the brainchild of Seth MacFarlane, who executive produced and created subversive animation 'Family Guy', now in its fifth season in the US.

Set to arrive alongside 'American Dad' are 'Family Guy' and 'Arrested Development'.

The corporation has bought the fourth series of 'Family Guy', which follows the trials and tribulations of life in the Griffin household.

Guest voiceovers on the show include Keifer Sutherland, Drew Barrymore and 60s Batman Adam West.

The Emmy-award winning 'Arrested Development' has also been picked up for a second series.

The first series, currently airing on BBC Two and BBC Four, follows the dysfunctional Bluth family, with dad Michael, played by 'Starsky & Hutch' and 'Dodgeball' actor Jason Bateman, trying to save his family from ruin after his father is sent to prison.

The BBC is planning to run the series in a primetime slot in 2005 and 2006.

Sue Deeks, head of series at BBC programme acquisition, said: "These three comedies have very distinctive takes on family life but they are equally very funny. We are delighted to be bringing them to BBC television."

Steven Cornish, senior vice-president and managing director at Twentieth Century Fox TV distribution, added: "We've had tremendous success with our programmes on the BBC and we are delighted to have these three creative and innovative series with them."

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