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Family Guy Special Receives New Sponsor

rl_familyguyThere may be hope yet for the beleaguered Fox Family Guy special.

According to the network, an upcoming movie will take Microsoft’s place as sponsor of the upcoming Family Guy special, Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show, airing on November 8th. The Warner Bros. will be the show’s sole sponsor and will air a sneak preview of Sherlock Holmes during the broadcast along with a parade of trailers.

The Guy Ritchie-directed film stars Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams and hits theaters on Christmas Day.

Microsoft backed out as sponsor for the special citing issues with the show’s content. The special includes “typical Family Guy-style jokes, including riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest,” said Variety, which first reported Microsoft’s exit. The special stars series creator Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein, who, like MacFarlane, provides voices for the animated series.

In the original announcement, the special was billed as a half-hour with no commercial breaks that blends “unique Windows 7-branded programming” seamlessly with “original animation, live-action performances of Family Guy’s most memorable musical numbers, comedy sketches and surprise celebrity guests.” In a statement released last week, the company said that, after reviewing an early version of the special, it had decided the variety show’s content “was not a fit with the Windows brand.”

Microsoft added there are no ill feelings. The software giant said it continues to have “a good partnership” with MacFarlane, Borstein and the network, and is “working with them in other areas.”

“We initially chose to participate in the Seth and Alex variety show based on the audience composition and creative humor of Family Guy, but after reviewing an early version of the variety show it became clear that the content was not a fit with the Windows brand. We continue to have a good partnership with Fox, (series creator and writer) Seth MacFarlane and (co-star and writer) Alex Borstein and are working with them in other areas. We continue to believe in the value of brand integrations and partnerships between brands, media companies and talent.”

The Family Guy special was taped on October 16th. The network had no comment on Microsoft’s departure. A 30-second ad during the show costs about $214,750. Buying an entire half-hour special during sweeps doubtless put the Microsoft deal into the millions which Warner Bros. is presumably paying.

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