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Interview With Seth MacFarlane; Interview With Steve Jones

Aired October 6, 2011 - 21:00   ET



PIERS MORGAN, HOST, PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT: Tonight, one of the greatest talents in the history of television, "Family Guy's" Seth MacFarlane. If he had it to do over again, would he want to know more about faith? Has he ever been in love?

MACFARLANE: Yes. It's really, really fantastic angry sex.


MORGAN: And his thoughts on the Tea Party.

MACFARLANE: My god, it would be wall to wall laughs for four, possible eight years.

MORGAN: Seth MacFarlane, no holds barred.

MACFARLANE: Can I say --

MORGAN: You just did.



MORGAN: Seth MacFarlane is the evil genius who brought the world "Family Guy," "American Dad," and "The Cleveland Show." There's a lot you don't know about him, and I'm hoping that all will be revealed about the dark secret side of Seth MacFarlane this evening. Evil genius, welcome.

MACFARLANE: Oh, we're starting. I thought you were doing a promo. Let's do it.

MORGAN: No we're off and running. How do you feel about being called a genius?

MACFARLANE: I'm a fairly peaceful, docile individual. Evil is not my primary goal in television, but I'll take it.

MORGAN: You were how old when you did these draws?

MACFARLANE: It's funny, I have no recollection of doing that so probably two or three years old. MORGAN: Barney, Fred, Wilma --

MACFARLANE: "Barney" is misspelled.

MORGAN: Yes, but you were three years old. Clearly a cartoon genius.

MACFARLANE: I'm not sure why Fred is waving an American flag --

MORGAN: But it could be an ax. At what point did you become this twisted --

MACFARLANE: Wilma looks like she's ready to -- I'm not going to go there.

MORGAN: What is she doing?

MACFARLANE: She's ready to make Shaquille O'Neal's day, it looks like.


MORGAN: At what point did you go from gentle cartoonist to an evil person?

MACFARLANE: Probably about four, I guess.


MORGAN: And where the dark stuff come from? It's hilarious but it's so --

MACFARLANE: Yes. A lot of that is my family, my cousins, my mother. A lot of people in my family have a very dark, twisted sense of humor that I was exposed to at a very young age and --

MORGAN: Do you see the really -- dark is not the right word. You see the absurd and slightly sinister in everything?

MACFARLANE: The absurd, absolutely. The sinister is something that I think people get from Stewie.

MORGAN: How much of that is you?

MACFARLANE: Stewie? Very little, actually, believe it or not.

MORGAN: Because you're a liberal, and yet you went to a conservative school, you work for FOX. I'm doing the math here and it's not adding up in the right way.

MACFARLANE: Well, Fox is a company that is schizophrenic in a lot of ways. The news division is very conservative and entertainment division is very progressive. They kind of keep their hands out of our business within reason.

MORGAN: We're heading for an election. America is economically tanking. Is this great comic value for you? Are you thrilled because it gives you great material?

MACFARLANE: I guess with a Rick Perry or a Michele Bachmann it would be the best possible thing to happen to comedy.

MORGAN: Is that the dream double ticket?

MACFARLANE: Probably, yes. My god. It would be wall to wall laughs for possibly four to eight years.

For me is constantly reminds myself to see the absurd and try to look at it from a comedic standpoint and that's really what people want from me. They don't want to hear me giving my personal views on politics.

But it is hard not to get really, really frustrated. You saw when Obama was elected, it was to fix things within a few years, and I remember thinking that's going to go south pretty fast. You figure eight years of damage has to take 16 years to fix, logically, I would think. It's much easier to -- somebody, Mr. Spock, said it's far easier to destroy than to create. So you have to allow a lot more time.

There seems to be this revisionist history that somehow this all started after Obama got elected.

MORGAN: Isn't the problem --

MACFARLANE: It was horrible many years before that and you can't expect --

MORGAN: But Obama came along as the political messiah and everything is going to change the next day.


MORGAN: So if you didn't agree with what George Bush did, it didn't matter, because hope, change, audacity had arrived. And the reality is it doesn't work like that.


MORGAN: What you say about the GOP runners? You tweeted quite extensively the credentials. "A (EXPLETIVE) governor from Texas, that might be worth trying."

MACFARLANE: I don't fundamentally dislike conservatives. I have a lot of conservative friends, and I think that at one time --

MORGAN: Do you fundamentally like their policies?

MACFARLANE: In 2011, yes. If this was 1955, I would probably say, Republican right here. But we had a middle class then, and now everything is going here and here and we have the very rich and the very poor and fewer and fewer people in between, and conservative policies don't work that well in that environment. It just doesn't work. And it's not that I dislike conservatives. I occasionally find myself agreeing with them now and then. It's really, really angry fantastic angry sex.


MACFARLANE: But when you take a position as insane as denying evolution, it's not a theory. It happened. It happened. There's a great -- give me a pen and paper. I've never been able to do this on TV. But here's my -- you can zoom in on this if you want. Can you tell me who that is?

MORGAN: Stewie.

MACFARLANE: How do you know that is Stewie? There's pieces missing.

MORGAN: Because there's a resemblance.

MACFARLANE: Exactly. You don't have to be a genius -- that, to me, is evolution. Enough of the pieces are there that it's fairly obvious.

MORGAN: It's the basic math adds up, it adds up, right?

MACFARLANE: I just screwed up your card. But, you know, climate change is a position for me to take a position of denial with regard to climate change. But if were being really forgiving, it's a relatively new. We know less about climate change than we do about evolution. We understand more about evolution than we do about gravity, and nobody questions gravity, because it's not a comfortable --

MORGAN: When you see tea party candidates and they are against evolution, climate change, and resolutely so, they think gay marriage is a sin and so on and so on, when you see all of this and the attraction that they are getting, and it's quite clear, probably --

MACFARLANE: They're angry. Everybody is angry and that's what we do is focus our anger. And they can't all be crazy. It can't be a mob of crazy people. All I can think of is, well, they are getting a lot of really bad information.

It's strange that we all vote against our interests, that the conservative members of the Tea Party vote against their pocketbooks and I vote against my pocketbook. Why is that? Why do I vote against politicians who are going to tax me more and why do I vote for politicians that are going to tax me less?

MORGAN: Do you think that Obama can win the next election?

MACFARLANE: No idea. No idea. I think ultimately if the Republicans -- if the Republicans put up a Michele Bachmann, then, yes, he can win. If they put up Mitt Romney, who knows? That's a guy who by today standards is down the middle conservative. It's kind of scary, but it is. Rick Perry falls somewhere in between. He's fairly extreme in his views, but he's a little more articulate about it.

MORGAN: People tweet me and say, what's extreme to you is not extreme to millions and millions of Americans.

MACFARLANE: What's the left-wing equivalent of the tea party, would you say?

MORGAN: I struggle to find one. But that doesn't necessarily mean that they are out of kilter with the release of many millions of Americans.

MACFARLANE: But you can disagree with Obama's economic policies, you can disagree with his position on health care. You know, these are gray areas, but he's never done anything as crazy as question evolution. Why question something that is so thorough -- so thoroughly backed up by science.


MORGAN: Let's take a break and have a glass of water. When we come back, let's talk about the birth of "Family Guy." And later you're going to meet the newest member of "Family Guy" cast.


MORGAN: That's what I'm told. It may be news to you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, how about that? It says here there's another state that is going to abolish the death penalty.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instead they make you share a popsicle with Tom Waits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What state is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I've got toothpaste on the article. Looks like Okla-chussetts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's when the wind comes sweeping down the pike.


MORGAN: That's how it all started, right? "The Life of Larry."


MORGAN: When you watch that, what do you think?

MACFARLANE: Not very proper. (LAUGHTER)

MACFARLANE: I look at it and I -- ironically it doesn't look that much different than what I would do now.

MORGAN: It's your style.

MACFARLANE: "The life of Larry," which was my degree film from college and most of those gags has been pillaged for "Family Guy."

MORGAN: When you have this kind of vision, what was the always going to be? Has it always contained a consistency? Have you always had an absolutely clear idea of what you were going to do in animated form?

MACFARLANE: No. When I was in college Disney was having "Beauty and the Beast" that just came out and they were doing amazing movies and that's what I wanted to do was be a Disney animator. And then I got out here and found -- you start hearing these stories, make it seem like -- and so I said, maybe that's not for me.

And sensibility-wise I had veered to a different point. I had done stand-up in college and enjoyed the adult humor that that allowed me to do. And at the same time "The Simpsons" had gotten a lot of traction and rewritten the rulebook for primetime television animation. There was a whole new genre to produce. I thought, that's what I want to do.

MORGAN: What do you think you are like, "The Simpsons," only 10 times as vile.

MACFARLANE: Not really. It was just things that made me laugh. When I look at the show, I don't -- well, I guess it is --

MORGAN: It is 10 times --

MACFARLANE: Yes, I guess you are right.


MORGAN: It's made the highest paid producer in the world.


MORGAN: Your contract is believed to be over $100 million.


MORGAN: Are any of these allegations true?

MACFARLANE: I guess if it's believed to be so that makes it true in America.

MORGAN: Was that a denial?

MACFARLANE: Yes, that's what my lawyers tell me. MORGAN: So you are repulsively rich.


MORGAN: Are you motivated by it?

MACFARLANE: If there's a Republican president, I will just keep getting richer.


MORGAN: It will help if you were aesthetically displeasing to women, but you are not, unfortunately.

MACFARLANE: I'm not everybody's type, man.

MORGAN: You must be living the life of Riley.

MACFARLANE: Nobody believes me. I have the same problems as anyone else.

MORGAN: You have a problem getting a girl?

MACFARLANE: Look, if I was, you know, Taylor Lautner walking around, I would have --

MORGAN: How many times have you been turned down?

MACFARLANE: As much as the next guy. Absolutely.

MORGAN: Is it the lines you're using?

MACFARLANE: Maybe. I'm just as awkward as I was in high school. That might be the problem.

MORGAN: Is that true?

MACFARLANE: Yes. Maybe that's the down side of not caring about money. You're still -- you don't gain the confidence. Can I say that on CNN?

MORGAN: You just did. We expected that from you.

MACFARLANE: Maybe that's the problem.

MORGAN: Extraordinary.

MACFARLANE: Just one theory.

MORGAN: Let's take another little break as I real from that confession, and I'm going to talk to you about you as the family guy, because one of the great stories about this is you found out "Family Guy" was being picked up from your mother who read it in the trade. It's an extraordinary story. We'll talk about your mother, who I know you're extremely close to.



UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Now, don't touch the thermostat, Meg, your father gets upset.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Now, come on. This thing goes up to 90.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Every father has been, tells you when the children messes with the dial.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Is your thermostat OK? Is my kid over here?



MORGAN: That was a pilot of "family guy" on FOX. You made it for an extra ordinary $50,000.


MORGAN: How did do you that?

MACFARLANE: Well, I was animation major in college. So I had very good training from the Rhode Island school of design. So I was able to sit at home and, you know, have a stack of papers and stack of magic markers.

MORGAN: They said $50,000 or forget it.

MACFARLANE: I had -- I was completely green. I had no credits to my name, really. And they were not going to give me $1 million to make a pilot. They said, listen, if you can do this for $50,000, you can have a show.

MORGAN: And you played it for them and you didn't hear anything, and then your phone goes early one morning and it's your mother who says --

MACFARLANE: "Hey, your show got picked up." And I think a lot of people and parents start to read "Variety" and "Hollywood Reporter." And it's hilarious because they use terms that you don't really know, like my mother would call and say, now is that a go? I think the show is a go. The tyro alpha net --

MORGAN: You didn't know?


MORGAN: This is how you found out? Your mother broke it to you?


MORGAN: How did you react? MACFARLANE: My mother was always the first person to know gossip.


MACFARLANE: I was cautiously excited and, of course, I double- checked it with the network. And they said your mother is right.


MORGAN: Your mother -- you were very close to and she died, very sadly --


MORGAN: -- a year or so ago with cancer. How important was she to your career?

MACFARLANE: Really, really -- certainly from a comedy standpoint, you know, just invaluable. You know, she was -- had a wickedly vicious sense of humor. There was nothing on family guy or any of the other shows that could offend her.

MORGAN: I was going to ask you that very question. Let's cut to the quick here. "Family guy," you have ripped into paraplegics to religions to pedophiles to AIDS, you name it. There is not a mother in the world that would not be offended by something that you have done and you're sitting here telling me that your mother went along with all of this?

MACFARLANE: Yes, she was unflappable. There was nothing that fazed her. And, to my knowledge, she in fact told me some jokes and some stories from her past, none of which I can repeat on the air that shocked the hell out of me. I never was able to do the reverse, never able to shock her. And, you know, for that reason, you know, even over 60 she was really a valuable resource as any colleague or friend of mine would be.

MORGAN: Is there anything off limits for you personally? Do you have any lines?

MACFARLANE: Yes, there are some things off limits.


MACFARLANE: Well, we wouldn't make a -- we wouldn't make a 9/11 joke for at least two weeks after 9/11.


MACFARLANE: And now we feel within reason, comfortable treading on that as many other comics.

MORGAN: And how far do you tread?

MACFARLANE: That is just your gut. That is just sitting in a room with -- in the case of our writers, 15 very smart, very conscientious people who are aware of what is funny is what is going to be over the line, at least we try to be. If we're wrong about something, we have a table read where we read the script allowed for the network, for the studio, for each other, for the animators and we get a lot of groans if something is over the line at that point. And if we make it past that point, there are standards who in FOX's case actually are reasonable people who genuinely care about the comedy as much as they care about not getting the network fined.

MORGAN: Is religion a particularly sensitive issue?

MACFARLANE: Yes. Only in America.

MORGAN: In Britain it wouldn't be an issue at all.

MACFARLANE: Yes. You see "Monty Pythons Flying Circus" as a kid and --

MORGAN: Sacrilegious.


MORGAN: Start to finish.

MACFARLANE: Yes. That's something that America really ought to get over. Because religion is an institution that, for better or worse, is here to stay for a while and --

MORGAN: Most people from most religions have a huge core humor about their religion. There are books and books and books written by Jews, Catholics, Muslims, and so on.

MACFARLANE: I can think of two extremely, extremely Christian people who are very, very close friends of mine who have a great sense of humor about Christianity, absolutely. And sometimes the networks bow down to the most angry and the most vocal --

MORGAN: -- Rick Perry --

MACFARLANE: Yes. These are the two folks that I'm thinking of are two people that are very comfortable in their religiosity. They are at ease and have no reason to be offended.

MORGAN: We're going to come back and talk about Charlie Sheen, who you roasted to within one inch of his life, and also your bizarre connection to 9/11. You, actually, through of a hangover, avoided being in one of the planes crashing into one of the towers. It's quite an extraordinary story.



PETER: Ground Zero, so this is where the first guy got AIDS.

BRIAN: Peter, this is the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. PETER: Oh, so Saddam Hussein did this?


PETER: The Iraqi Army?


PETER: Some guys from Iraq?


PETER: That one lady who visited Iraq that one time?

BRIAN: No, Peter, Iraq had nothing to do with this. It was a bunch of Saudi Arabians, Lebanese and Egyptians financed by a Saudi Arabian guy, living in Afghanistan and sheltered by Pakistanis.

PETER: So you're saying we need to invade Iran?


MORGAN: That was your Fox show "Family Guy" poking fun at 9/11. And as you say, you edge towards that line each time, but in your case, very personally, because this extraordinary story. And tell me about it again, because there you were.

You were booked on the flight, I think, from Boston that hit the South Tower.


MORGAN: And you didn't get on it. Why?

MACFARLANE: A combination of two things: I was -- I was giving a lecture at my college the night before, and went out with some of the faculty afterwards and had a few pints. And --

MORGAN: You got drunk.

MACFARLANE: Yes. And a coupled with the fact that my travel agent had listed the flight on my itinerary as leaving 10 minutes later than it did. And I was -- you know, I was -- I was generally late for flights. You know, I had missed a lot of flights prior to that.

So it wasn't -- it wasn't like it was anything crazily out of the ordinary. But I got to the counter. And I said, yes, I'm booked on Flight 11. And the woman behind the counter said, you know, you're too late. They just closed the gate. And I said, all right. Well, you know, I'll take the 11:00.

Went into the lounge, fell asleep, woke up about 45 minutes later to a -- to commotion, and the first plane had hit. And sat there and watched the second plane hit. And they announced what flight it was. And I turned to the guy next to me and said, "my God, that was the flight I was supposed to be on. I was late. I missed it."

MORGAN: What an incredible thing to realize has just happened to the plane you should have been on.

MACFARLANE: Yes, yes. I mean, it's -- there was a -- you know, that wonderful unity that we've since completely abandoned, I've never felt more than when I was standing at the bar at 9:00 in the morning, and you know, saying to the bartender, hey, you know, can you pour me a shot?

And he was like, yes, here you go. It's on the house. And you know, that feeling that must have been what, you know, our grandparents felt during World War II, where, you know, this is -- in that moment, everything was -- we -- we're all the same.

But I was -- I was -- you know, I'm not a fatalist. I was not shaken to the core in the way that I changed my whole outlook on life, mainly because I had missed planes before. And you know, coincidences do happen. I mean, a day before that incident, I could have been crossing the street five minutes earlier and gotten hit by a car and never known that I just missed it.

MORGAN: You know, the ignorance of many Americans about why 9/11 may have happened, why Iraq had nothing to do with it and so on. You are making important points through this cartoon medium.

MACFARLANE: We -- yes, I mean, we try now and then. It's -- it always has to be funny. If we -- if we've ever -- if we're ever getting preachy or soap-boxy, then we're not really doing our jobs. And there have been times that we have gotten preach and soap boxy. And that's us not really working as hard as we should.

But you know, with animation, as "The Simpsons" proved and continues to prove -- one of the elements of their rewriting of the prime time animation medium is that this is a great forum for that kind of humor, for satirical humor, the same kind of thing that you see in "The New Yorker," that you see in political cartoons. This is the -- you know, this is the televised translation of that.

MORGAN: We haven't gotten around to Charlie Sheen yet. So let's have another quick break and come back and get stuck into Charlie, one of my --


MORGAN: -- one of my heroes.

MACFARLANE: Fascinating phrase.




MACFARLANE: We all know there's a good chance Charlie will be dead soon. So I wrote an obituary. "Charlie Sheen, who became a tabloid fixture due to his problems with drugs and alcohol, was found dead in his apartment" --

Actually, you know what, I kind of actually just copied Amy Winehouse's obituary. It -- I only had to change three things, though: the sex of the deceased, the location of the body and part that says, 'a talent that will be missed.


MORGAN: That was in the Comedy Central "Roast of Charlie Sheen". I mean, my God, that was dark. Even you were grimacing.


MORGAN: Does any part of you shudder at your own shocking humor?

MACFARLANE: Yes. At the roast, yes. Part of me -- at the beginning of every -- of every roast, I -- a part of me says, you know what, don't do it. Don't do it. But they're -- but they're so oddly loose and freeing that it's like a comedy vacation, in a way.

MORGAN: Which has been your favorite, because you've done a few now?

MACFARLANE: This last one was pretty -- was -- I mean, it was -- it was dark, but it was definitely fun. I mean, I was more relaxed that I've been, you know, with any of them.

MORGAN: What do you -- what do you make of Charlie?

MACFARLANE: You know, it's funny. I don't really know Charlie that well. My personal interactions with him, if you took out any awareness of anything that I've read in the press -- my personal interactions with him have been completely normal.

MORGAN: How would you feel if a member of Amy Winehouse's family watching that was really upset and actually phoned you to say, what were you doing making jokes about Amy?

MACFARLANE: Well, what I would say was that the joke was about Charlie. I mean, that -- the phrase --

MORGAN: Would you be uncomfortable?

MACFARLANE: The part that -- I -- oh, absolutely. Oh, totally uncomfortable. If I got that call? Yes, of course.

MORGAN: Have you had those calls?

MACFARLANE: Not -- no, I actually haven't. I've never personally gotten a call from somebody that said, listen, I'm -- you know, I'm Bonnie Franklin, and I got really upset at that joke you made. Why the hell did I go there?

(CROSS TALK) MORGAN: Didn't Jon Stewart call you in, rant at you for an hour?

MACFARLANE: Well, how do you know about that?

MORGAN: It's a great story. It was during the period of the strikes, right when the put a "Daily Show" out. And it was a live show, and he rings you for an hour.

MACFARLANE: You're the most -- you're the most deep-digging journalist in Hollywood. I've never told that story, because, you know --

MORGAN: Well, now we -- now we have the perfect platform, because there's a guy who loves dishing it out. You dish it out to him. Perfectly valid criticism. There is a live "Daily Show" in the middle of a strike. How did that happen?

You poked fun at him, and he rings you for an hour.

MACFARLANE: How did you find out about that?

MORGAN: Never mind how I know these things.

MACFARLANE: That's amazing. Wow. You're like Woodward and Bernstein wrapped up in one here. Yes, I've -- my publicist has forbidden me to talk about that for --

MORGAN: It must have passed now, the bank.

MACFARLANE: Yes. You know, I mean, that was -- yes, it was a -- it was a angry call. And suffice it to say, he's -- he is a phenomenally good debater. If you had been keeping score, I would have lost roundly.

MORGAN: Did you -- did you grovel pathetically?

MACFARLANE: No, no. I was -- I was --

MORGAN: Stand your ground like a man?

MACFARLANE: I tried. I tried. I was really kind of in shock, more than anything else. I mean, it was kind of an odd Hollywood moment. I mean, I was a huge fan of his show. And here I was getting this phone call, this, you know, it -- really angry, angry phone call.

MORGAN: Do you think he was right on the point of fact? I mean, presumably he was denying that he had done anything inappropriate.

MACFARLANE: I think -- I think -- my take on it, in retrospect, is this: I do maintain the standpoint that -- I mean, look, people have disagreements about unions. I think, in that situation, how much good the writers' strike did is debatable, depending on who you asked.

In that situation, I think it is incumbent upon people in a certain position to stand up for the people who haven't made it yet, if they can, if there's -- if it's low risk. And my argument was that it -- you know, you are like the most successful guy on that network, and arguably the most popular, successful television personality in the genre.

And, you know, I -- the argument was about --


MACFARLANE: -- whether or not -- I mean, he was -- he was not pleased that -- you know, he -- I think his response was, you know, well, you know, who the hell made you the moral arbiter of Hollywood, which is a, you know --

MORGAN: But he --

MACFARLANE: In any debate, there is a good response.

MORGAN: But not if you're, as he is, the self-appointed moral arbiter of Hollywood, which is exactly what -- the position he plays in. I mean, there's a certain irony in Jon Stewart ringing up, haranguing you for mocking him, isn't there?

MACFARLANE: I mean, it's -- if I say yes, he's going to crucify me on his show every night for a year.

MORGAN: Let's just take him on together. I'm not scared. Come on, let's take him down together. Jon Stewart's watching this.

MACFARLANE: He had -- we had --

MORGAN: You are in the wrong, Stewart, and you should never have rung Seth MacFarlane.

MACFARLANE: Here's how I will sum it up. Here's how I'll sum it up.

MORGAN: Gutless coward.

MACFARLANE: Here's how I'll sum it up.

MORGAN: Can't take it, don't dish it out.

MACFARLANE: I think -- I think he was --

MORGAN: Come with me, Seth.


MORGAN: Get on the mike.

MACFARLANE: -- give a measured --

MORGAN: Put your charger up. Let's go..

MACFARLANE: -- response to this. I think -- I do think he was wrong not to shut his show down. I disagree with his actions there. But the way in which we -- MORGAN: And wrong to ring you? Wrong to not see the funny side?

MACFARLANE: No. Well, look, I mean, it's a free country. He can call whoever he wants and scream at them. The gag that we did on "Family Guy" was coming from the right place, but was probably so over the line in its ruthlessness that it probably could have been more measured in its execution. How about that? But the -- but from --

MORGAN: A bit of a copout.

MACFARLANE: But at the core --

MORGAN: Stand firmly by your jokes.

MACFARLANE: I stand firmly by my point of view.

MORGAN: Imagine what he would have done, if you'd called him and ranted at him.

MACFARLANE: He probably would have broadcast it.

MORGAN: Huh? Yes.

MACFARLANE: He would have broadcast it.

MORGAN: He probably would.

MACFARLANE: But it -- but it -- you know, again, it's --

MORGAN: I love it. I think he's a total genius. But I don't think he should have --

MACFARLANE: He's an -- he's an important voice for the rational side of politics and the -- for the -- for the sphere of rational thought that exists less and less in this country. He's an important voice, which is why I was frustrated by -- you know, it's like you're the good guy.


MACFARLANE: You're the guy who's -- you know, should be standing out there with us,. And that was -- that was my beef.

MORGAN: Let me come back after the break, and talk about your exciting new project, which is an album. You have turned here into sort of a morphed version of Dean Martin meets Frank Sinatra, and you're crooning. I don't think you've even seen this.

MACFARLANE: No, this is the first time I've seen the CD. Can I --

MORGAN: After the break.


MORGAN: A multitalented Seth MacFarlane concert on the EPIX channel, a new album, "Music Is Better Than Words," is out. I don't think you've actually seen...

MACFARLANE: This is the first time I've seen an actual CD. You can dangle in front of me for now. Look at that. That is something. Turned out pretty good, huh? Nice.

MORGAN: So here's the thing -- this is fascinating about you. There you are, this evil genius, as we've discussed for the last hour. And you are mocking, poking fun. And there's another side to you. There's this sort of sensitive crooner that loves singing of love and romance.

Is a totally different Seth MacFarlane. What are you schizophrenic, or what is this?

MACFARLANE: Probably. Probably, yes, yes. I love -- I love orchestras. I love -- I went to the U.K. last November to tour with the John Wilson orchestra, which is one of the greatest orchestras in the world. And they played all these wonderful old MGM charts. And, yes, I love the sound of a large orchestra.

I love all the different colors that you can -- you can -- you can paint with a band that size.

MORGAN: Do you mind that, inevitably, given what you do for a living in your other job, people are going to want to poke fun at you? And some will.

MACFARLANE: Of course. Listen, I'll do it myself. I'll be the first guy in line. Yes, it is a -- it is a -- but, luckily -- it would be different if I was doing a rap album. Like here's -- the thing about --

MORGAN: You look like a crooner.

MACFARLANE: Then I'd really be asking for it.

MORGAN: You do look like a crooner.

MACFARLANE: But the thing about this kind of music is it never really took itself that seriously, even in the '50s. You know, when Sinatra and Dean and those guys were out there, even when they were singing the romantic ballads, there was sort of a sense of, ah, who cares. You know, yes, I'm in love, but who gives a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)? And that -- in a way, that kind of --


MORGAN: Well, I love this stuff. I love this album. It's really good listening.

MACFARLANE: But this -- you know, our goal was to -- was to really do something that was true to the -- to the way in which those albums were produced 50 years ago. Joel McNeely, brilliantly talented composer, who arranged 15 charts, just so visually and so exquisitely -- we recorded it at Capitol with old microphones. I used Sinatra's -- MORGAN: I heard this, his original one, yes?

MACFARLANE: Yes. We recorded it to reel-to-reel tape. Our engineer, Rich Breen, did a lot of research and found out exactly what is it that makes those albums sound as warm as they do. And one of the things was it was recorded to tape. It's not recorded digitally.

And that's what gives it that kind of mid-rangy richness. And --

MORGAN: Not content with conquering television and music, you've just finished directing your first movie. It's called "Ted", stars Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Tell me about that very quickly.

MACFARLANE: "Ted" is about a guy who gets a Teddy Bear for Christmas when he's eight years old, makes a wish that the bear would come to life, and speak to him and be his best friend. And magically it happens. So it opens in a very Disneyesque fairy tale kind of way.

And then the movie itself takes place about 30 years later. And he's now got a girlfriend who he lives with. And the bear is still with him, but it's now tattered. It's, you know, got rips and stains on it. And it gets high with him. It drinks beer with him. And it's just a burden on his relationship.

MORGAN: I can't imagine, knowing you now, that you would be content with being behind this. I mean, you want to be a movie star, really, don't you? Isn't that the next obvious step?

MACFARLANE: I have -- I enjoy many different pursuits.

MORGAN: But, quietly, you see yourself as a new Clooney.

MACFARLANE: I -- that's a bit of an exaggeration, I think.

MORGAN: Come on. It has to be in the back of your mind, a weepy romantic comedy?

MACFARLANE: How about the new Morey Amsterdam?

MORGAN: But, finally, I'm told that you had a very exciting new addition to your "Family Guy" cast list. Is this right?

MACFARLANE: Yes, it turns out -- yes, yes.

MORGAN: A handsome, intelligent --

MACFARLANE: -- fellow of Anglican descent.

MORGAN: Should have a look. A big drum roll.

There I am. And that is probably the one moment in my miserable little life --

MACFARLANE: Look at that. You look like a young Bruce Boxleitner.

MORGAN: I look fantastic there, so slim.


MORGAN: My three sons were excited enough about it the fact I was meeting you, a comedy God, the fact I'm now there as a "Family Guy" character, you would have --

MACFARLANE: You win every family argument now.

MORGAN: You just made me cool. So, for that reason alone, Seth MacFarlane, thank you for coming.

MACFARLANE: A pleasure.


MORGAN: My next guest has been called everything from a complete unknown to Simon Cowell's latest creation. Now he's the host one of TV's biggest shows, "The X Factor." Steve Jones joins me now. Steve Jones, the first question -- obviously, I know who you are, but America is now saying, who the hell is Steve Jones? What should people know about this guy from Wales?

STEVE JONES, "X FACTOR": I'm 6'4". I'm 200 pounds. I like romantic walks in the park. I'm just a regular guy. You know, I'm just a guy who loves what he does and enjoys life. I've never been more happy. I can tell you that much.

MORGAN: You've got this gig, it seemed out of nowhere. How did this happen? Everyone is thinking who are -- how did Steve Jones get to be the host of the hottest new show on TV in America?

JONES: Well, Simon had approached me about four years ago to work on a project which I couldn't do because I was under contract with a different channel. And he said, I'll come back with something. And he came back about two years ago and said, how would you like to host "American X-Factor." And I went, yes. I will do that.

MORGAN: Two years ago?

JONES: About two years ago, yes. It was a long time ago. And obviously then I went through a process of meeting the right people at Fox and Freemantle, the production company. It was a long, long road. It was getting a bit hairy towards the end, because I didn't actually secure the job until two days before we started filming.

MORGAN: When I asked Simon why he'd finally gone for you, he said, well, because he's taller and better-looking than Ryan Seacrest. And that will really annoy Ryan.

JONES: That's a matter of opinion, I'm sure.

MORGAN: It's a matter of fact, actually. You are a lot taller and you are better looking.

MORGAN: Ryan Seacrest, I met him quite recently. I was out having dinner and he was there with his family. He made the effort to come across and say, hi, good luck. He's a lovely, lovely man.

I think people really want me to say horrible things about him and how I'm going to be bigger than him and all the rest of it. But --

MORGAN: But you are bigger than him.

JONES: In a literal sense, yeah. I'm 6'4" and he's a little bit shorter than me. But he's a lovely, lovely guy. That's what I'm saying. I'm not going to say anything bad about Ryan Seacrest because he is -- in the hosting world, he's a God, for goodness sake.

MORGAN: But you're going to be rivals now. Simon, as you know, has been in this longstanding battle with the other Simon, Simon Fuller, who runs "Idol." And Ryan is Mr. Fuller's guy. You're Mr. Cowell's guy. There can only be one winner in this battle. Simon wants you to take Seacrest down. We all want you to take Seacrest down. he needs nipping in the bud?

JONES: I'm just going to do the best I can do on the show. If our show becomes bigger than Ryan's, so be it. But I have nothing but admiration for Ryan Seacrest. He's a Goliath in the industry, really.

MORGAN: Let's talk women, because you've never in the whole time I've known you made any secret of the fact you think you have a bit of a way with the ladies.

JONES: I think I've got a bit of a way with the ladies.

MORGAN: You're confident around women.

JONES: I like women. I love the company of women. I'm single. I'm 34. So that possibly means I'm not particularly successful with women. But I -- why is that? What was that picture that just came up?

MORGAN: Let's rewind.

JONES: What was that?

MORGAN: What was that picture?

JONES: What a little nerd.

MORGAN: Seriously? Is that you.

JONES: That was me listening to probably --

MORGAN: What's that?

JONES: That is me as a child in my bathers.

MORGAN: No wonder you haven't got a girlfriend. Do you still wear those?

JONES: That reminds me of a story my mother used to tell ex- girlfriends when I used to take them to meet my mother. She would say, when Steve was a kid, he was so, so pretty, the nurses didn't know if he was a boy or a girl. But I'd say, mom, that kind of sounds like I didn't have a penis. Don't tell people that story anymore. It's very embarrassing.

MORGAN: Talking about that particular part of your anatomy, do you still have a plaster cast of it on your mantle piece at home in Wales?

JONES: It's not on the mantle piece. But I do have one. It was for a show I did years ago. It was for a show and I just kept one for myself.

MORGAN: Of course it was, as you do. Perfectly normal. How are you finding Hollywood? I mean, the beautiful Californian girls? As you say, you are single. You're 34. You're at the top of your powers. You've landed this huge gig.

They must be crawling around Sunset Boulevard, aren't they?

JONES: Well -- I'll be. It's wonderful. I love it. I miss home. I miss my family and friends. But Hollywood is a fun place to live.

MORGAN: Is it all you hoped it would be?

JONES: Yes, and more. I've been coming back and forth for about eight years. So I knew what I was getting myself into. But it's fabulous. I am loving -- I love the weather. I know it's a trite comment. But as a Brit, you know it makes a lot of difference.

MORGAN: Especially in Wales. I mean, it just rains all the time.

JONES: A lot. It rains a lot. And to pull back those curtains every morning and just, oh, another sunny day, it's wonderful. It really helps.

MORGAN: Can I just run through a who's who of the women you've apparently dated. Pamela Anderson.

JONES: I'm going to attack you in a moment.

MORGAN: Pamela Anderson.

JONES: What about Pamela Anderson?

MORGAN: Was it true?

JONES: She's a good friend of mine, yes.

MORGAN: Hayden Panettiere?

JONES: She's a friend of mine.

MORGAN: Halle Barry? JONES: I interviewed her once. And she gave me her phone number. No, she didn't. Sorry, that's the wrong way around. I gave her my phone number.

MORGAN: That's a bit of a difference.

JONES: Sorry, yes. It was wishful thinking. I gave her my phone number and she never rang me. That's as far as it went.

MORGAN: That's the first good thing I've heard so far in this interview.

JONES: You're happy with that?

MORGAN: Yes, I think there will be a lot of people not be asking who is Steve Jones, but, whoa, Steve Jones. I won't be one of them, of course. But I wish you all the very best.

JONES: Can I ask you a huge favor?


JONES: I've always wanted to do this. And I've seen it done on this show before. Can I storm off?


JONES: But you've got to offend me first like say my hair is --

MORGAN: Steve, is it true that your plaster cast is three inches tall?

JONES: You know what? If you think I haven't got better things to do than sit around here with you abusing me on this show? To hell with this chance. Whatever.

MORGAN: Shut the door on the way out.

JONES: Yes, whatever.

MORGAN: Well, that went well. That's it for us tonight. "AC 360" starts right now.