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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

No Avatar
106.

Seriously    

Family Guy is freaking fantastic and funny.
Carol, your ship has sailed a looooooonnnnnnnnng time ago.
Get over it. You should feel flattered a popular show even mentions
your name.

2694 days ago
107.

Darrell    

FOR ALL YOU FREAKS WHO PRETEND NOT TO KNOW WHO CAROL BURNETT IS JUST DO THIS ONE THING " KISS HER ASS "" SHE IS TELEVISION HISTORY NOW TUG THIS

2694 days ago
109.

Raiell45    

Carol Burnett is a great comedian and deserves respect.

2694 days ago
110.

diana o'neal    

I am WITH YOU RON #11 CAROL BURNET IS A NOBODY....
SHE NEEDS TO GET A LIFE AND GO SUCK A D____ MAYBE HKS'S SHE HAS ALL THE MONEY SHE WILL EVER NEED..SHE IS LUCKY THAT ANYBODY EVER WATCHED HER SHOW...

2694 days ago
111.

RUSTY    

What the hell is Carol Burnett bitching about? Family Guy makes fun of everybody. I hope Fox kicks her ass in court.

2694 days ago
112.

Torrie    

Hey all...I just got here and do not have the time to go through all
100 plus posts, but from what I can gather so far, here goes!
1. # 91-ROTFLMAO!!! loving the shiny1nut! Brilliant!
2. # 101- Why is she a faded star? She's earned her ability to do whatever it is that you
want to call it. Retire, work a little less, etc... As you said, you
were minor...She is Major, but good luck 2 you...
3. # 94- not so funny a joke, but whateve...
4. # 98 - I agree!
5. I have to go back to work now...Dammmmmm! See you later!!!

2694 days ago
113.

Chris Stark    

Wow, this lawsuit is ridiculous. Anyone who thinks that Family Guy is anything but harmless satire needs to have their head examined. Nothing family guy does could have any effect on Carol Burnett or her career/accomplishments. I hope this just gets thrown out.

2694 days ago
114.

Brendolyn    

Good for Carol. She's got my vote. She may have spoofed others on her show but it was never mean spirited. Besides, she usually did takes on movies or tv shows, like her famous take on Gone With the Wind. She didn't make fun of individual people. Her characters are classics, completely dreamed up by her and her team, and she definitely has the right to protect them. You go girl!!

2694 days ago
115.

Stephanie    

Sickening how people make snap judgments. Maybe she had good reason to deny them permission. I'm guessing they were wanting to do something tasteless. They didn't get their way, so they retaliated. Parody is one thing, but making sick, incestuous jokes at her expense because they were pissed is another. I hope she wins her case and costs them a sh*tload of cash.

2694 days ago
116.

LisaJeane    

TEAM CAROL!!!!!

2694 days ago
117.

Torrie    

OMG!!! What have I been missing?
Carol Burnett is suing The Family Guy? I think the part about her being disparaged by the use of her theme song, I understand. That is copyrighted material and if she or her reps said no and they used it or a very similar likeness to it, then maybe she has a case. If it is only a mention of her name, I don't think so. Having said that, the courts will figure it out which side is in the right. It's a tough one for me, I adore the re-runs of her show and think she is in the company of the great ones, ala Lucille Ball, etc. She's an original and most likely one that people like Debra Messing grew up watching and aspiring to be like.

2694 days ago
118.

Sean Bresnahan    

The estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs should sue her ass for that stupid Tarzan yell.

2694 days ago
119.

Jim Kollbocker    

Carol Burnett is an icon. She definitely is a comedian extraordinare as well as actress, etc. Can't say so much for "Family Guy". Matter-of-fact, can't say much at all. Just another show FOX "comes and goes with". They're becoming notorious for cancelling good/great shows and replacing them with garbage!!! They are on-par though with the other major stations!!! Don't know who decides what gets cancelled and whar gets presented BUT you certainly don't need a college education.

2694 days ago
120.

Lee    

Oh WHAAA, big old hack baby. Family Guy is a trip. I used to watch The Carol Burnett Show when i was a kid, and i'll be honest, i still watch the shows in syndication. Her show brings back a lot of mermories. BUT..............Come on, quit whinning Carol. Do you need the $$$$$, I don't think so.
Just to change the subject. Howard K Stern looks like Quagmeyer!!!

2694 days ago
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