EXCLUSIVE: Known for its topical humor, Fox’s Family Guy surprisingly took a pop culture approach to its Emmy mailers this year, ribbing time-slot rival and the biggest drama on television, HBO’s Game of Thrones, in pursuit of votes.
But the irreverent animated comedy is staying true to its Emmy campaign roots with a rare “bonus” FYC ad that takes a shot at the college admission scandal that rocked Hollywood, with actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman among 50 indicted so far for allegedly bribing their kids’ way into college.
The new Family Guy ad, which will run on the show’s FYC site for Emmy voters featuring screeners of selected episodes, draws inspiration from the case against former Full House star Loughlin who, along with her husband, allegedly paid $500,000 in bribes to get their daughters accepted into University of Southern California as recruits on the crew team — even though they don’t row. The criminal complaint against the parents alleges that they had their daughters pose as coxswains for a local crew team and on rowing machines.
The Family Guy ad features a photo of a rowing team, with the faces of the entire Griffin clan juxtaposed over six of the real rowers’. “We’ve earned this. Family Guy Class Of 2019,” the tagline says. For extra authenticity, For Your Consideration in written in a font that resembles the USC lettering.
This is the first time Family Guy has done two Emmy FYC ads. When the college admission scandal broke in March, it was probably too late to get a take on it on the official mailer, which is being prepped well in advance. On this year’s cover, Family Guy‘s designated Emmy pitchman, Peter Griffin, as Jon Snow, is 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.”
Tongue-in-cheek ads 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 Outstanding 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 a stronger push, punctuated by two FYC ads, the animated hit is looking to change that.