It's been a long time since I last watched Family Guy, but even I was shocked to hear that one of the characters was killed recently. (Spoiler warning to click away now if you don't want to know who!) It's not entirely unprecedented for an animated show to do this, since The Simpsons has killed off a number of folks including Maude Flanders, but it's definitely unusual to lose a favorite character who's not only played a key part in almost every single episode, but is often cited as the best reason to watch the show.
Still, Brian got fatally hit by a car in Sunday's Family Guy, and he was replaced with a new family dog called Vinnie, voiced by Sopranos actor Tony Sirico. Viewers have been freaking out over the development, and there's even a Change.org petition complaining that "They killed America's dog!"
Fans should hold out hope, though, because it's looking more and more like this "death" is actually one hell of a publicity stunt.