Family Guy: Major Character Killed Off
SPOILER ALERT: Viewers in US see long-running character die in accident...
One of the main characters from long-running animated sitcom Family Guy has been killed off in an episode just aired in the US.
The show, entitled "Life Of Brian" saw urbane family pet Brian - voiced by show creator Seth MacFarlane - die after being hit by a car.
And the family's much-loved pet has already been replaced by another hound obtained by Peter Griffin from a rescue centre.
Voiced by Tony Sirico (who played Paulie in The Sopranos), new dog Vinny is more earthy than his cocktail-loving predecessor.
Show exec Steve Callaghan told E! Online: "As soon as this idea came up, we started talking about what the next couple episodes could be and we got very excited about the way this change will affect the family dynamics and the characters.
"It seemed more in the realm of a reality that a dog would get hit by a car, than if one of the kids died. 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."
And he insisted that he did not fear a backlash from fans.
"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."
A UK transmission date has not yet been decided.
Picture © Fox