The Simpsons celebrated its 20th anniversary last night, closing a new episode with a thank you note to fans. But was a one-line jab at their competition—"Now stay tuned for three Seth MacFarlane shows."—omitted from the broadcast?
The New York Times' Alessandra Stanley claimed in an early review of the landmark episode that the little barb popped up at the end of the episode; intended, presumably, to be an acknowledgment of the fact that while The Simpsons paved the way for the cruder, derivative fare that Seth Macfarlane the Manatee births, his stable of shows (Family Guy, the painfully strange American Dad!, the just plain painful The Cleveland Show) gets more primetime real estate these days. Though she's famous for making gaffes, this wasn't another Stanley error. Fox probably just got cold feet or something. Don't want to rock the precious, precious lucrative animation boat. Nosiree. After making the decision, Rupert Murdoch probably went and boxed with a chicken or fell down and hurt his knee and gasped for a few hours. Or whatever. [NYT]
Update: Obviously we didn't, like, *watch* these shows last night. Had we, we would have known that only one Macfarlane show aired after the Simpsons episode. Still, we think folks would have gotten the joke anyway.