Seth MacFarlane's plan to reboot The Flintstones in a more Seth MacFarlane-y, modern take on prehistoric pun-based humor has apparently been scrapped, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who notes that the project is "on life support" at Fox yet all but pulls the plug with the headline, "What Killed Seth MacFarlane's Flintstones TV Remake." In answering that question (which it doesn't even present as a question), the article puts a much more pessimistic spin on the recent report that the planned 2013 series had been put on hold due to MacFarlane's crowded workload, a schedule that already includes filling the bulk of Fox's Sunday with cartoons, handling the publicity campaign for his feature directing debut Ted, developing an update of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, and singing showtunes to startled drivers idling at the corner of Hollywood and La Brea.
As it turns out, MacFarlane choosing to put the project on hold is only half the story: The decision came only after Fox president Kevin Reilly got a look at the pilot script and decided he "liked it but didn't love it," despite MacFarlane's excited assertions that it had a golden-era Simpsons "edge" and a noble lack of abortion jokes. MacFarlane was then given the option of starting over or tabling it for a while—and after he chose the latter, the show's prospective creative team (who were reportedly upset with the decision) was disbanded, with co-writer Dan Palladino being bought out of his contract and most of the rest simply being let go, with the promise that MacFarlane might try to bring them into American Dad someday.
Meanwhile, in perhaps the most clear indicator that it's over, THR notes that the Flintstones office has been cleared out and put up for sublease, with "Ryan Seacrest recently spotted taking a tour"—and like the influx of chain stores into gentrified former ghettos, once Seacrest shows up to expand his dominion, that area is truly dead. So it seems those curious to see what MacFarlane would have done with The Flintstones will just have to keep watching Family Guy and imagining the characters without pants, we guess.