Microsoft bank on Family Guy to sell Windows 7

A special episode of the adult cartoon comedy show Family Guy will air on 8 November with exclusive Microsoft sponsorship, the Fox network has announced, in a move executives hope will redress the publicity balance for Windows 7, which has so far struggled to attract anything but derision for Microsoft's promotional efforts.

The half-hour show, whose working title is "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show," will star series creator Seth MacFarlane and his co-star Alex Borstein.

The special will air without traditional commercials and instead will feature Microsoft-branded programing that Fox said will blend with the show's content. The show will promote Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7, which will be released October 22.

The special will include original animation, live-action performances of "Family Guy" musical numbers, comedy sketches and celebrity guests. The network's programing that evening will showcase an all-MacFarlane lineup, with new episodes of "American Dad," "The Cleveland Show" and "Family Guy."

Microsoft will be keen to gain ground in their efforts to publicise their new iteration of Windows after a previous effort involving an online video encouraging computer users to take the unusual step of throwing a party to celebrate the new operating system's release fell flat.