Fox’s Family Guy is waging a battle of Winterfell proportions on time-slot rival and the biggest drama on television, HBO’s Game of Thrones, in its annual Emmy mailer.
After a string of mailers tackling Donald Trump and members of his inner circle as well as the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal, Family Guy surprisingly is going atopical but very zeitgeist-y this year with a shot at Game of Thrones.
On the mailer’s cover, Family Guy‘s designated Emmy pitchman, Peter Griffin, as Jon Snow, sitting on the Iron Throne, notifies TV Academy members, “Due to a printing error, if you wish to vote for Game of Thrones, please check the Family Guy box on the animation ballot.”
Here is how Family Guy showrunners Rich Appel and Alec Sulkin explain the decision to take on Game of Thrones in the mailer, which is timed to go out as the blockbuster fantasy series is heading to its finale, destined to become a huge pop culture event.
“Because now that we’ve used Game of Thrones for something work-related, we can all deduct our HBO subscription fees — which are perfectly reasonable given the amount of quality programming they offer week after week,” the duo quipped.
Before sending out the mailer, the Family Guy team asked HBO and the TV Academy for permission to reference another series.
“The folks at HBO immediately embraced this idea, a decision they may regret when we win Best Drama Series,” Appel and Sulkin said, adding that they won’t feel any guilt if Family Guy lands a best series Emmy nomination and Game Of Thrones doesn’t.
The Family Guy season finale will be facing the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones this Sunday at 9 PM. So which show will Appel and Sulkin be watching at 9? “Supergirl. Never miss an episode.”
Tongue-in-cheek mailers have been a decade-long Family Guy Emmy campaign tradition. While the Seth MacFarlane-created series had been a staple in the animated Emmy categories between 2000 and 2008 with a slew of nominations, including four for Outstanding Animated Program, the show in 2009 made the bold decision to take itself out of consideration in the top animated category and compete in the comedy series field instead. It paid off at first — in 2009 Family Guy became the only animated show besides The Flintstones to land an Outstandnig Comedy Series nomination. It is the last best program nom for Family Guy, which eventually switched back to animation consideration but has not been able to get any noms beyond voice-over categories for the past seven years.
With Game of Thrones’ help, the animated hit is looking to change that.
As for the HBO juggernaut, it is gunning for its third consecutive Outstanding Drama Series Emmy Award and possibly breaking its own record for most Emmy wins ever in a single year.