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July 23, 2014

Microsoft Pulls Out of 'Family Guy' Special Over Incest and Holocaust Jokes

by Michael D. Ayers, posted Oct 27th 2009 3:08PM
Family GuyAs we wrote almost two weeks ago, computer giant Microsoft, Fox and Seth MacFarlane were all set to team up for 'Family Guy Presents: Seth and Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show.' The deal was simple: Microsoft plunked down cash in exchange for Seth MacFarlane making some plugs during the show without breaking away to actual commercials.

Seemed like a win-win situation, right? But Variety is reporting that this sync deal is no longer. The reason? Microsoft is a bit weary of 'Family Guy's' off-the-cuff, risqué brand of humor.Family GuyAs we wrote almost two weeks ago, computer giant Microsoft, Fox and Seth MacFarlane were all set to team up for 'Family Guy Presents: Set and Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show.' The deal was simple: Microsoft plunked down cash in exchange for Seth MacFarlane making some plugs during the show without breaking away to actual commercials.

Seemed like a win-win situation, right? But Variety is reporting that this sync deal is no longer. The reason? Microsoft is a bit weary of 'Family Guy's' off-the-cuff, risqué brand of humor.

'Family Guy' fans can rest easy, as Fox still plans to air the special sans the regular commercial breaks and will announce a new sponsor soon. The deal reportedly fell through after Microsoft execs attended the special's taping on October 16, and jokes about "deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest" rubbed the company the wrong way. Microsoft went on to say that the material was "not a fit with the Windows brand."

As the Variety piece indicates, Microsoft's original intent was to reach 'The Family Guy' demographic -- which typically means young, 18-34, college-age (or college-educated) people. "We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of 'Family Guy,'" a Microsoft spokesperson said. But is it possible the company decision-makers didn't realize what the "creative humor of 'Family Guy'" actually was? If they'd done their research, they'd have known that characters over the years have included Ollie Williams, the Black-U Weather Forecaster, The Greased Up Deaf Guy, and Jake Tucker, the boy with the upside-down face.

This isn't the first time -- or probably the last -- that 'Family Guy' has been the subject of controversy. Just this past summer, Fox announced that an episode dealing with abortion wasn't going to air. The show has also been the target of a handful of copyright lawsuits involving spoofed songs, and is a frequent target of the Parents Television Council, which has awarded 'Family Guy' the Worst TV Show of the Week award 20 times since 2005. You can't really blame them after episodes like the one featuring the barbershop quartet-style song 'You Have AIDS,' which drew several protests from AIDS organizations.

What's tricky now is determining how the program will be reworked, as MacFarlane took time during the taping to pitch Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7, to the studio audience. Variety suggests that portions of the show might have to be re-taped with a new sponsor as well be subjected to some creative editing.

'Almost Live' will air on Sunday, Nov. 8, as part of an all-MacFarlane night, with new episodes of 'The Family Guy,' 'The Cleveland Show,' and 'American Dad' airing as a two and-a-half-hour block.

Related Links
Fox, MacFarlane and Microsoft Team Up for Variety Special

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