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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."

180 COMMENTS

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16.

juicey    

It's not about being a Cry Baby Joe, It's about following the rules of the game. They asked for permission, she said no, they did it anyway. Sorry, now it's time to pay the consequences for their actions. I am So sick and tired of people thinking they can do whatever they want! BRAVO Carol- Family Guy is OFFENSIVE anyway FREAKING hillarious but totally offensive! Whatever, it's 6mill- a slap on the wrist for these yahoo's!

2746 days ago
17.

Brian    

The funniest part about this is that Betty White actually did lend her voice to this episode. She was hired as the voice for Peterotica books on tape. It was a hilarious episode. No entertainer should ever be exempt from ribbing. The woman is a comedienne for cripes sakes -- she should shelve this idiotic idea of suing. Seth McFarlane must be laughing his ass off at this pathetic move by Burnet.

2746 days ago
18.

Hollywood    

thank your lucky stars for godsakes, someone still pays attention to you..
good god, stop crying and celebrate. wahhh wahh wahh. shut the hell up.

2746 days ago
19.

kiki    

I KIND OF SEE HER POINT, ITS COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT, IF SHE DIDNT WANT TO GIVE HER CONSENT TO IMITADE HER COYRIGHTED MOVES THEN THAT IS HER CHOICE, FAMILY GUY SHOULDVE ACCEPTED NO FOR AN ANSWER INSTEAD OF GOING BEHIND HER BACK AND SLANDERING HER. THEY DESERVE TO GET SUED FOR EVERY PENNY THE HAVE FOR DISRESPECTING HER WISHES AND INFRINGING ON HER SIGNITURE THINGS.

2746 days ago
20.

Michael    

Carol Burnett has more talent in her little finger the collective cast crew of "Family Guy". She said NO because that show is crude and mean spirited, that woman has a nuique talent to be hilarious in a harmless way....she's a living legend and those clowns need to back off. ..........and for the 1 or 2 people who have said "who is Carol Burnett?"....I know TMZ gets bored and reports on some nobodys sometimes.....but if you dont know who she is, do yourself a huge favor and find some old video of her show....she was and is hilarious

2746 days ago
21.

Karasu    

Get over it. Family Guy makes fun of anything and everything and no-one else has had a problem with it.

2746 days ago
22.

Ron    

Carol Burnett is a NOBODY!

2746 days ago
23.

Gary Mos    

Ouch. It's hard to choose sides. Carol is a Legend (with a capitol L), but c'mon Family Guy could of done a lot more damage then what they did. If you think about the content of Family Guy, they could of ripped her a whole new one. I hope she drops it and I wish the best for both parties.

GMos
Www.myspace.com/gfranklynm0s

2746 days ago
24.

Carol Dudley    

I have noticed an increasing lack of civility on all these posts. Also evident is the inability to make a comment without using profanity, particularly the f--- word. Are we so inarticulate a society that we can't think of any other word to describe how we feel? And, as I am sure someone will let me know right away that I don't have to go on this post site, let me assure that I won't do it again. I thought there were standards but obviously there are none. What are people being taught in English and Grammar classes these days? It seems that vocabulary is not being taught at all. As for not knowing who Carol Burnett is, it is your loss because she is one of the funniest comediannes ever. And the people who need to grow up are the people who can't make a sentence without smut being in it.

2746 days ago
25.

Torrie    

Carol Burnette is an American Legend and deserves to be treated with respect on these boards. Go post on another board if you can't leave it alone....


I

2746 days ago
26.

Holly    

Family Guy is by far the funniest show out there right now, Carol Burnett probably caters to older people because I have no idea who she is. Also, Family Guy makes fun of EVERYONE but no one else is suing. Well since I have no idea who she is, she probably is in desperate need of money. People like her annoy me.

2746 days ago
27.

kim52    

Carol Burnett should distance herself from this crap tv show for horses asses!

2746 days ago
28.

Just Another Hater    

C'est moi: Don't tell people where to post. If you can't stand intelligent debates (and by TMZ standards, this qualifies), maybe YOU should post elsewhere.

2746 days ago
29.

Bunky    

Go Carol--Just because they enjoy doing gutter comedy, doesn't mean you have to be associated with it. No is No! This generation hasn't a clue!
Carol Burnett will be remembered forever. Family Who? will not.

2746 days ago
30.

Torrie    

Holly,

She has more money than you'll vever see in your lifetime! Google her and see for yourself!

SHE IS A LEGEND!

GO Carol!!!!

2746 days ago
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