"Family Guy" fans were outraged this weekend after producers killed off a main character that's been on the animated comedy series since its 1999 pilot.
Brian, the Griffin family's dog, died after being hit by a car during the "Life of Brian" season 12 episode Sunday night. The intellectual, talking pet was best known for critiquing Peter Griffin's crazy ideas and going on adventures with Stewie.
"We thought it could be a fun way to shake things up," executive producer Steve Callaghan told E! Online
of the decision to get rid of Brian, who was voiced by series creator Seth MacFarlane. "It seemed more in the realm of a reality that a dog would get hit by a car. As much as we love Brian, and as much as everyone loves their pets, we felt it would be more traumatic to lose one of the kids, rather than the family pet."
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After Brian's death, the Griffins quickly adopted another dog named Vinny (voiced by Tony Sirico, who played Paulie Walnuts on "The Sopranos").
"Where Brian was sort of a match for Stewie intellectually, Vinny is a good match for Stewie because he doesn't let Stewie get away with any crap," Callaghan said. "He'll call Stewie out on his B.S. freely."
Fans immediately took to Twitter to vent their frustrations using the hashtag #BringBrianBack.
Callaghan assured audiences, though, that the decision was what's best for the show in the long run.
"Our fans are smart enough and have been loyal to our show for long enough to know that they can trust us," he said. "We always make choices that always work to the greatest benefit of the series."
"Family Guy" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on Fox.
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