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There are some television spin-offs that take on a completely different tone and style than their predecessors, and then there are those that seem like the exact same show with a different cast of characters.  After hearing creator Seth MacFarlane discuss the upcoming spin-off to Family Guy entitled The Cleveland Show, I’m worried that it may be nothing more than a rehash of his signature hit.  The new series, which is set to debut on FOX in 2009, will have cutaways, flashbacks, wacky kids, plenty of raunchy humor, and even some talking animals.  Even if it’s more of a rip-off than a spin-off, at least the teaser trailer MacFarlane revealed at Comic-Con had Family Guy‘s Peter Griffin acknowledge that fact.

In addition to the sneak peek at Cleveland, MacFarlane also brought star Seth Green (Chris Griffin) on stage to discuss what’s coming up in Family Guy‘s new season.

Before the stars began answering questions, they showed about ten minutes of an upcoming Family Guy episode that finds Peter annoying everyone due to his obsession with the song “Surfin’ Bird.”  Watching Peter drive his entire family insane by insisting that “the bird is the word” was truly hysterical, and I can’t wait to see the full episode when it airs this fall.  If the first act is any indication, it may be one of the funniest Family Guy installments in quite awhile.

After the clip left the audiences in stitches, MacFarlane and Green turned on their mics and revealed some interesting information about what’s coming up for the Griffin family.  One episode will find Brian being replaced with a dog that’s ridiculously loyal and peppy, while another will be a take on the TV series Sliders, with Brian and Stewie jumping to various parallel universes.  Because any adventure with Brian and Stewie is always immensely popular, the duo will also be transported back to 1939 Poland for an episode.  Let the inappropriate Nazi jokes commence!

Of course, perhaps the biggest event coming up on Family Guy is Cleveland’s exodus from Quahog.  He’ll end up losing his house to wife Loretta, then will move back to his hometown in Virginia and hook up with a new girlfriend who has a couple smart-talking kids of her own.  MacFarlane described the new series as “the black Brady Bunch,” and also promised that the character’s new neighborhood will be filled with all sorts of memorable weirdos.  Cleveland’s new neighbors will include a stupid redneck, as well as a family of bears voiced by MacFarlane.

Viewers can discover if The Cleveland Show lives up to its sister series when it premieres on FOX in 2009.  If it ends up being a failure, I’m sure Cleveland won’t have trouble finding work elsewhere.

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Staff Writer, BuddyTV