Microsoft has snagged "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane to star in an infomercial/variety show designed to hype the computer giant’s new Windows 7.
The software company and Fox Entertainment Group’s Fox One sales unit announced plans Tuesday for "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex’s Almost Live Comedy Show," a half-hour sketch special starring MacFarlane and "Family Guy" voice cast member Alex Borstein.
There will be no commercials or network promos during the show, which will air Sunday, Nov. 8 at 8:30 p.m. Instead, according to a release announcing the project, "MacFarlane and Borstein have teamed with Windows and their agencies, Universal McCann and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, to develop, write and produce the customized branded integrations that seek to bring the old ‘Texaco Star Theater’-style sponsorships into the 21st century."
Translation: Don’t be surprised to see prominent mentions of the new Windows operating system during the special. There will also be musical numbers from the "Family Guy Live" stage tour.
The special is part of a broader pact between Microsoft and Fox One to use News Corp. units to help hype Windows 7.
”We’re working with Fox on innovative brand integrations that will show how the power and simplicity of Windows 7 can enhance the content Fox viewers love” said Gayle Troberman, general manager of consumer engagement and advertising at Microsoft. “We have simplified the PC with Windows 7, and together with Fox, we’re simplifying entertainment.”
The deal with Microsoft also includes a 12-week college tour in which "Family Guy" characters will be used as part of an attempt to convince students that Windows 7 is actually easy to use, and that they should dump their wildly popular Apple computers for machines with the new Windows OS.
"Almost Live" will air as part of an all-MacFarlane night on Fox in which "Family Guy" will replace "The Simpsons" at 8, in addition to airing in its normal 9 p.m. timeslot. "American Dad" will shift to 7:30 p.m., with "The Cleveland Show" running at 9:30.