In a report that includes spoilers involving the episode of "Family Guy" that aired Sunday on Fox — stop reading now if you don’t want to know — the series killed off a major character, USA Today reports.
The character had been a part of the Seth MacFarlane animated series since the pilot aired back in 1999. The character is Brian, the family dog, who was hit by a car.
"The show’s executive producer Steve Callaghan spoke to E! Online about the painful decision, which forced the family to say teary goodbyes to their bruised and bloodied dog," the story reports.
Said Callaghan: "We thought it could be a fun way to shake things up. 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."
USA Today adds: "Shortly after Brian’s death, the Griffins adopted a fast-talking new dog named Vinny, who is voiced by ‘The Sopranos” Tony Sirico, and helps comfort Stewie in the wake of his devastating loss."
Adds Callaghan: "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. He’ll call Stewie out on his b.s. freely."
The report notes: "Cast members such as Mila Kunis and Seth Green were surprised to learn of the character shakeup, which has already sparked the hashtag #BringBackBrian on Twitter. Aside from his belief that Vinny will add a new dynamic to the Griffin family, Callaghan isn’t worried about any major post-Brian backlash in the long term."
Said Callaghan: "Our fans are smart enough and have been loyal to our show for long enough to know that they can trust us. We always make choices that always work to the greatest benefit of the series."