Microsoft bails from Fox’s MacFarlane special


Microsoft has pulled its Windows 7 sponsorship from Fox’s upcoming Seth MacFarlane comedy/variety special over content concerns. Fox still plans to air “Family Guy Presents: Seth and Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show” on 11/8, but with another, yet-to-be-named sponsor, reports Variety.

“Almost Live Comedy Show” was announced earlier this month as part of a major marketing partnership Microsoft had sealed with a wide range of News Corp. properties to promote the launch of the computer giant’s Windows 7 operating system. As part of the deal, “Almost Live Comedy Show” was set to run commercial-free, with Microsoft marketing messages built into the special instead.

But that was before Microsoft execs attended the special’s taping 10/16. The program included MacFarlane and Alex Borstein — the voice of “Family Guy” matriarch Lois making typical “Family Guy”-style jokes, including riffs on deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest. It was apparently a bit much for Microsoft.

“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,” said a Microsoft spokeswoman. “We continue to have a good partnership with Fox, Seth MacFarlane and 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.”

Microsoft sent MacFarlane and Fox several notes expressing their concern over the show’s content but ultimately decided just to drop out, the story said.