Family Guy kills off major character, replaces him with Sopranos’ Paulie Walnuts

Family Guy has stunned fans by killing off Brian Griffin, replacing the family’s pet with a new talking dog voiced by The Sopranos actor Tony Sirico.

The death of a character had been promised by show bosses in Sunday night’s episode, but few expected it to be Brian, who has played a key part in the plots and gags of countless episodes.

The Seth MacFarlane-voiced dog was run over by a car in ‘Life of Brian’, with his partner in crime Stewie being unable to go back in time and save him after disassembling his time machine.

Brian was quickly replaced by a new family dog called Vinnie, a ‘pooch with attitude’ who many viewers were quick to spot is voiced by Tony Sirico, the actor that played mafioso Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gautieri in HBO’s The Sopranos.

Family Guy’s executive producer Steve Callaghan explained the decision to send Brian on a trip to Belize, telling E! Online: ‘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.

‘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.’

Killing off characters seems to be popular in cartoons at the moment with The Simpsons planning on doing the same, although given Family Guy’s love of undermining its own plots, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a return for Brian just yet.
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