The animated series about the Griffin family, with its talking dog and genius toddler, had a great start. "Family Guy" premiered on Fox right after the Super Bowl in 1999. Ratings were high. Then things went south. The show, created by Seth McFarlane, was moved around to several different time slots, and viewers dropped away. After three seasons it was canceled in 2003. DVDs were issued, and reruns of its 50 episodes aired on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim.
In 2003, the same year the show was canceled, the first "Family Guy" DVD became a bestseller, at 1.6 million copies. Still hot, the second volume sold 1 million copies, and those late-night reruns on the Cartoon Network pulled in almost 2 million viewers, making it the highest-rated show on Adult Swim [source: Levin]. Fox gave the show a second chance in 2005, and "Family Guy" performed even better than it had originally. In its first season back, "Family Guy" attracted twice as many viewers as Comedy Central's "South Park." Still going strong, by 2013 McFarlane's series also had doubled the ratings of "The Simpsons." If things weren't sweet enough, once the series hit 85 episodes, it became valuable for syndication [source: Levin], and the family guy became the money guy.