killing off fan favourite character Brian Griffin in what was described as "a fun way to shake things up." And shake things up it certainly did, with Brian's death causing outrage amongst fans, leading to boycotts of the show and a petition with almost 130,000 signatures lobbying for the resurrection of the talking dog (which has of course already happened with Brian making his return in the Christmas episode).
Speaking at the Television Critics Association press tour yesterday, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane has addressed the controversy, stating that the level of anger from fans was more than anyone had anticipated: "It surprised all of us. We were all very
surprised, in a good way, that people still cared enough about that
character to be that angry. We thought it would create a little bit of a
stir, but the rage wasn't something we counted on. It did what it was
designed to do - it reminded people this is still a show where anything
that can happen despite the fact it's been on for a while."
And for anyone still concerned that Brian could be living on borrowed time, MacFarlane offered reassurances that the character is safe... for the time being, at least: "Do it again? No. We already did it! No, who knows? Season 25, we'll see..."