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Microsoft Cancels Windows 7 Family Guy Deal

Microsoft has apparently decided that the content of the upcoming Family Guy comedy special is a little too rich for its taste, pulling out of a planned sponsorship of the show.

Earlier this month, Microsoft revealed a sponsorship of the Family Guy special in which the show would run without commercials and instead weave in "unique Windows 7-branded programming." Microsoft claimed that the Windows 7 content would "blend seamlessly" with Family Guy content, but the early clips were widely panned as uninteresting and funless.

Nonetheless, Microsoft was praised for taking a gamble on the Family Guy sponsorship in order to reach a non-traditional type of audience. Microsoft gave the reins to Universal McCann and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky and said the sponsorship would involve "customized branded integrations" similar to the "Texaco Star Theater" radio and television shows of the 1940s and 1950s.

One thing that won't change is Microsoft's plan to build buzz around Windows 7 in U.S. colleges. Microsoft is teaming with Fox Licensing and Merchandising for a 12-week college tour to encourage students to test out Windows 7 and also feature outdoor movie nights and other "customized entertainment," the company said in a statement. In this effort, Microsoft and Fox expect to reach some 4.3 million college students.

The Nov. 8 Family Guy special will celebrate the work of Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy," "American Dad" and "The Cleveland Show," and also stars MacFarlane's "Family Guy" co-star, Alex Borstein.

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