It's a lofty task that's apparent in Weidenfeld's demeanor weeks ahead of the broadcast launch. The long days have left the 33-year-old, who began his career as a journalist before a freelance story on Adult Swim led to a gig there, with weary eyes and disorganized thoughts — he speaks with more dashes and ellipses than periods.
"We're building something new," he said. "It's not easy."
But it is cheaper and faster. That's what has Fox hooked.
Everything — even the animation, which on other shows is traditionally sent off to South Korea — is done under one roof at a trendy, 12,500-square-foot studio on Sunset Boulevard, allowing for more collaboration between writers and animators. The compact episodes also help in keeping costs down. So, too, does the controversial non-union status of the studio.
In the time it might take just to develop one animated half-hour prime-time show, ADHD is developing, producing and putting on four shows. One six-episode season of an ADHD series costs less to produce than a single half-hour episode of one of Fox's Sunday staples, Baghdady said. And unlike its other animated series, Fox has ownership of the content — allowing the network to distribute it however it pleases.
Whether the quality of the shows is compromised as a result of the process is up to genre enthusiasts to decide, but Baghdady insists they've "created a very efficient system."
Of course, it took some time.
"It was like building the bike while riding it," Weidenfeld said of the year-and-a-half-in-the-making process. "We were building the business while finding the shows."
Weidenfeld enlisted the assistance of animation veterans Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser (Comedy Central's "Drawn Together," Fox's "The Cleveland Show") to serve as showrunners and veritable script whisperers, helping budding talent polish ideas. Another known name in the animation circuit is Dino Stamatopoulos, creator of ADHD's "High School USA!," who was behind Adult Swim's "Moral Orel."
New talent is key, though, to forming ADHD's brand of programming — which, unlike Adult Swim, lacks cynicism, Weidenfeld said. The rookie roster includes identical twin brothers Kenny and Keith Lucas (known as the Lucas Brothers) and Joshua Miller, the creator of the forthcoming "Golan the Insatiable," about a warlord transplanted to Minnesota.
The voice talent behind the characters features some very recognizable TV names, including Patton Oswalt ("The United States of Tara"), Nick Offerman ("Parks and Recreation"), singer Mandy Moore, Ken Marino ("Children's Hospital," "Party Down"), Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace") and Vincent Kartheiser ("Mad Men").
Everyone involved seems to be entering with realistic expectations, in terms of ratings and advertising revenue.
"I do not expect to turn the lights on and take over the world," Reilly said. "It takes a while to form a new habit and get animation fans aware of what's on."
Fox's less high-profile animated series "Bob's Burgers" generated $22.7 million in ad revenue last season — less than a quarter of what "Family Guy" brought in, but still hefty. With ADHD, aimed at hard-to-reach 18-34 males, traditional advertising is getting chucked. Advertising blocks will run at the top, middle and end of the half-hours, leaving each series to run uninterrupted. The goal is eventually to have ADHD-created cartoon-ads.
"This is either going to be a really awesome and successful risk," Weidenfeld said, "or a disaster — but an inexpensive one."