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Carol Burnett Sues Over "Family Guy" Gag

3/16/2007 3:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Peter Griffen, Carol BurnettComedian Carol Burnett is suing the FOX comedy "Family Guy" for using one of Burnett's signature characters and an altered version of her theme music without permission.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court yesterday, Burnett alleges that FOX requested permission to use "Carol's Theme" -- the theme music from "The Carol Burnett Show" -- in an episode of "Family Guy." When permission was denied, the lawsuit claims that FOX then went back and had the show rewritten to "disparage Ms. Burnett using Ms. Burnett's signature ear tug."

In the episode titled "Peterotica," the main character on "Family Guy," Peter, goes into a porn shop and remarks how clean it is. One of his friends says it is clean because "Carol Burnett works part-time as a janitor." The lawsuit says the camera then cuts to one of Burnett's signature characters from her TV show -- "Charwoman" -- wearing her "trademarked blue bonnet, bucket and mop" and "a slightly altered version of 'Carol's Theme' is playing."

Later in the scene, one character makes fun of Burnett's signature ear tug by saying, "She was really saying goodnight to her mom." To which another replies, "I wonder what she tugged to say goodnight to her dad." In fact, Burnett's ear tug was actually a hello to her grandmother.

Burnett claims this was all done without her permission or consent and is seeking in excess of $6 million in damages.

A statement from FOX reads: "'Family Guy,' like the 'Carol Burnett Show,' is famous for its pop culture parodies and satirical jabs at celebrities. We are surprised that Ms. Burnett, who has made a career of spoofing others on television, would go so far as to sue 'Family Guy' for a simple bit of comedy."


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The Pump    

Right on #32... I agree with you 100%.

I wonder if Trey and Matt are rolling on the floor laughing about all of this...

2745 days ago


When I saw that episode of " Family Guy " I was reminded of what a great talent and comic Carol Burnett is she should relax and enjoy the though that people still know of her and how great she is . "Family Guy" is one of the best programs ever produced . It is a welcome break from Cops, doctors, lawyers and regurgitated remakes of every thing that has been done in the last 40 years . It is one of the first original programs in 40 years to be produced .

2745 days ago


shes sucks she should get a life and i hope the people she made fun of in her past sues her panty hoes off

2745 days ago


carol was and is the best. i dont blame her for sueing some show thats not worth being on tv.

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35. "Who is Carol Burnett?"

What a sad commentary this is on the under-30 crowd out there. These morons are so used to having everything at their fingertips that they can only understand comedy that hits you over the head with crudity or shock value - like Family Guy.

Carol is from a generation of stars that rewarded their viewers by giving them finely-written, well-acted entertainment that didn't insult their intelligence.

Show some respect. Oh that's right, you don't know how.

Posted at 3:19PM on Mar 16th 2007 by TomM

2745 days ago


hahaha, you are too hilarious.

58. I agree with the people who said she needs to lighten up and realize a joke when she sees one. What a washed-up wrinkly old hag-bitch.

And to those who think Family Guy is so crude, you're right!! Hahaha that's the best part of the show, you ignorant, close-minded facsists.

Posted at 3:44PM on Mar 16th 2007 by Family Guy Fan

2745 days ago


wtf is your point bitch? this isn't a debate about who gives what to charity. we're not talking about oprah or angelina jolie.

78. WHOA! Two things here: FOX requested permission and when denied , violated copy right law as much as you might if you stole someone else's songs, or books. She is in her rights to deny their request and to sue. Next, for each of you too young to know some of the older actors, Carol Burnett is a main sponsor of a children's burn center... What have you done to give to your community??? (Art Linkletter paid for a modern outdoor track at a local college...It goes on with many of those actors and actressess quietly doing good in many simple ways. Don't live in a glass house.)

Posted at 4:15PM on Mar 16th 2007 by Just Thinking

2745 days ago


for people in denial like these two carols, yes, that's what it means

83. Call Carol Burnett a BITCH again because the meaning is BABE IN TOTAL CONTROL of HERSELF. Carol is an icon of showbusiness. She said NO! The Family Guy needs to find their own caracters and leave others alone. A lot of talk about Carol but she didn't have to use other comics lines or actions to get where she was in intertainment. Family Guy must have a problem with the show when they have to copy or use other comics material for a show.

Posted at 4:20PM on Mar 16th 2007 by Carol Fisher

2745 days ago


geez, get the f*** over yourself. and considering the hateful insults you just told that guy, you're going straight to hell.

89. Hey JESUS - be careful spewing
that kind of trash under that nickname - you may have to answer to
the real one someday - obviously you are ignorant - probably a young
or pre teen little punk with no friends - or you'd be with them
instead of pissing on the grownups.

Posted at 4:37PM on Mar 16th 2007
by old uncle joe

2745 days ago


Cant blame Carol; Burnett for this one. Seems these people pushed their luck.

2745 days ago

Bob Malcovitch    

Carol needs to know how disappointed many of her fans are over the Family Guy suit. She is wrong, Family Guy is nothing but a parody and she is going to lose the suit. It is unfortunate that she has the potential of leaving this world (she is after all, 73 years old) with a blemish like this after such a long and wonderful life and career.

2745 days ago


Familly Guy is the greatest show, she needs to SHUTUP she just wants to get her name back in the public eye, because nobody younger than 50 knows who Carol Burnette is.

2745 days ago


Since she's been washed up for over twenty years, I guess this is one way of getting some new press.

2745 days ago
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