Their traditional stomping grounds are the bully pulpits of Fox News and AM radio but two of conservative America's heros, Karl Rove (pictured below right) and Rush Limbaugh, are about to star in Family Guy, the cartoon famed for its liberal take on suburban life.
Limbaugh, the nation's most influential right-wing talk-show host, and Rove, ex-president George W Bush's former strategist, have agreed to take cameo roles in the next season of the hit animated comedy. "Family Guy tends to be very liberal because it's written by liberals, so we figured let's give the other side some face time," the show's creator, Seth MacFarlane, told The Hollywood Reporter.
The Rove/Limbaugh episode will involver Brian, the cartoon's staunchly left-wing dog, getting bored with having nothing to complain about now that Barack Obama is in the White House, and deciding to become a conservative. "Most of the show's life has been under the Bush administration," said MacFarlane. "But now that Obama has won, Brian is frustrated. He's not happy unless he's the underdog, so he switches parties and runs into Rush Limbaugh."
The participation of the two poster-boys of the Republican movement is a counter-intuitive move. Neither man has much time for left-leaning satire, and both have previously expended plenty of energy berating the liberal media elite who put shows such as Family Guy on the air.
But MacFarlane says it is also a gamble for him with the programme's four million weekly viewers. "I'm sure a lot of the reaction is going to be, 'You monsters ... you've got Karl Rove on your show!'" he said. "But we also take a lot of heat from a lot of right-wingers for the fact that we are so liberal, and so blatantly liberal, so we though 'Let's mix it up a bit'."
He added that, "for balance", the liberal pundit Bill Maher would also be appearing. And in a future episode, the family's baby, Stewie, would be coming out as gay.
Family Guy this year became the first animated series to be nominated for the Best Comedy Emmy since The Flintstones in 1961. The show has already been in the headlines this week after the broadcaster Fox pulled an episode that revolved around abortion, and the cast decided to stage a live reading in Hollywood on Wednesday night.