Brian Griffin was sensationally killed off in last night's episode of 'Family Guy'.
The Griffin family's dog, voiced by show creator Seth MacFarlane, was run over by a car in the episode called 'Life of Brian'.
Show bosses had revealed that a character would be killed off prior to air, but few expected it to be such a pivotal part of the long-running cartoon show.
Brian has featured in every episode of the show since its launch in 1998.
In the episode, baby Stewie was unable to save Brian's life following the road traffic incident after he took apart his time machine.
[Family Guy spoofs royal christening]
But rather than letting viewers grieve for the departed hound, Brian was quickly replaced by a new family dog.
Called Vinny, the new dog was dubbed 'a pooch with attitude', and is voiced by actor Tony Sirico, best known for his role as Paulie 'Walnuts' Gautieri in 'The Sopranos.
Of the decision, the show's executive producer Steve Callaghan told E: "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.
RIP Brian. #familyguy— Family Guy (@FamilyGuyonFOX) November 25, 2013
“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.”
MacFarlane himself chose Sirico to voice the new pet, according to reports.
“Oh they're very different. Brian was very smart and studious and intellectual, and Vinny is just a lot more of a rough around the edges,” added Callaghan.
“Vinny is a really good match for Stewie. 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 c***. He'll call Stewie out on his B.S. freely.” [Metro/Daily Mail]
Also in today's press
Alfonso Ribeiro has threatened to quit 'I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here', following a meltdown over the washing up. The 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air' star wept on the show following the incident, and speaking to designer David Emanuel, he said: “I don’t know how much more I can take. I don’t want to quit but...”. [Metro]
Kierston Wareing has said that she did not choose to quit 'EastEnders'. The actress, who plays Kirsty Branning, said: “It wasn't my decision, it was theirs. A new producer came on board and he wanted to shake things up. I always wanted them to make that choice. I wasn't really happy with where the storylines were going, because I just thought it has become a bit one dimensional.” [Digital Spy]
Jack Gleeson, who plays King Joffrey in 'Game of Thrones', says he's quitting acting after the show finishes. “It was always a recreation beforehand, but when I started doing 'Game of Thrones' perhaps the reality was made too real for me,” he said. “The lifestyle that comes with being an actor in a successful TV show isn't something I gravitate towards.” [Irish Independent]