The move leads one to wonder if the folks at Microsoft had ever seen an episode of Family Guy before committing given that the special reportedly contained jokes about deaf people, the Holocaust, feminine hygiene and incest -- your basic run-of-the-mill Family Guy episode, in other words.
Microsoft's statement read:
"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, 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, Variety says, sent MacFarlane and Fox several notes expressing their concern over the show's content but ultimately decided just to drop out.
The special would have been an unprecedented collaboration. Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show is set to air Nov. 8 during Fox's Sunday animated block. Instead of traditional commercials, the special was to feature creative promotion of Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 7 woven into the show's content.
Media reports say Fox plans to move forward with another integrated sponsor, although it is unclear how this will work since the network has already taped the special before a live audience, complete with Windows 7-related humor.
Josef Adalian at The Wrap has nominated Axe, "the makers of young dude-friendly 'body sprays' and other manly cosmetics. Their ads are already over-the-top, and their target audience is the same as that which watches Family Guy...Or perhaps...Apple?"
Finally, the Live Feed blog poses the interesting question: "Does Microsoft realize this means it's open season on Microsoft jokes on Family Guy, only these jokes might actually be funny?"