The show's talking family pet, Brian Griffin, was run over by a car in a "Life of Brian" episode, which aired on America's Fox network on Sunday. The animated Griffin family subsequently replaced Brian with a new dog, named Vinnie, voiced by "The Sopranos" star Tony Sirico.
Viewers took to various social networking sites to express their shock after the show, but Aaron Thompson from Alabama went one step further and started a petition on Change.org in an effort to convince Macfarlane, who voiced the cartoon pooch, to revive the character, who has been entertaining fans since the show's pilot in 1999.
Launching the campaign early on Monday, Thompson wrote, "Brian Griffin was an important part of our viewing experience. He added a witty and sophisticated element to the show. Family Guy and Fox Broadcasting will lose viewers if Brian Griffin is not brought back to the show."
More than 2,600 signatures had already been collected as WENN went to press.
Meanwhile, executive producer Steve Callaghan has opened up about the headline-grabbing storyline, telling Eonline.com, "We thought it could be a fun way to shake things up. 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."
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