Let's get the spoiler alert out of the way, in case it wasn't immediately obvious: this article contains major spoilers for the November 24 episode of Family Guy. On Sunday night, the US audiences went through a traumatic experience – Family Guy’s Brian was killed off. For those of you, who are still oblivious to Family Guy (it’s been on for fourteen years, come on people) Brian is arguably the most clever and likable character and also the Griffins’ dog.

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Rest in peace, Brian. You were a good dog.

We wouldn’t be the first to point out that main characters in sitcoms or animation don’t typically get killed off. Charlie Sheen’s character on Two and a Half Men is an exception, but animated dogs aren’t really prone to difficult contract negotiations or PR blunders. According to Family Guy EP Steve Callaghan speaking for E!News, the decision to have Brian hit by a car and prevent any possibility of his return was a creative one (earlier in the episode Stewie not-so-conveniently dismantled his time machine).

What’s more, Brian will be getting a replacement. Callaghan explains the writing team’s surprise move in somewhat vague terms: "Well, this was an idea that got pitched in the writers room and it sort of caught fire, and we thought it could be a fun way to shake things up.”

Obviously he doesn’t mean fun for the viewers, who seem pretty distraught, judging by their comments on Twitter. The beloved Brian has even made meme status at this point. But fret not, for the Griffins didn’t remain without a family pet for too long. Again according to Callaghan, the writers are already at work fleshing out a replacement character. Vinny is a puppy voiced by The Sopranos’ Tony Sirico.

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Apparently Stewie will have a new pet to play with.

“I think it was Seth [Macfarlane’s] idea actually to get Tony to come in. He's a big fan of The Sopranos and always loved Tony Sirico in particular and he thought it would be fun to write a character based around his voice and his personality and just who he is as an actor.”

Meanwhile, the production team are denying any connection to a mysterious countdown that has popped up online. The website is promoting “a special announcement from Brian” and the countdown clock shows just over nine days to go as of the publication of this article. Whether it is the Family Guy team pulling a prank or someone unconnected to the show entirely, we doubt we’ll be getting Brian back. Sorry, folks.

Seth Macfarlane, Family Guy 200th Episode Celebration
Don't blame Macfarlane - killing off Brian was a collective decision.