UPDATE, 8:30 AM: “The producers have confirmed that the ‘special announcement from Brian’ website is a hoax and was not created by anyone connected to the show, studio or network,” Family Guy studio 20th Century Fox TV said this morning, in response to questions about the site.
PREVIOUSLY: 6:47 AM: Did grieving Family Guy viewers get punked by Seth MacFarlane and gang? Did 20th TV fake Brian’s death to sell merchandise during the holiday buying season and goose the show’s ratings? Two days after the “shocking” death of the Fox animated show’s talking dog Brian, a countdown clock has appeared that promises a “special announcement from Brian” on the way — in 10 days and counting at time of posting — with the suggestion same grieving viewers should “spread the word.”
Family Guy fans mourned/expressed skepticism yesterday over the November sweep death-by-car of Brian, going so far as to launch a petition to resurrect the pooch. Though Brian was buried by the Griffins in the episode, some fans were suspicious. After all, Stewie could use that temporarily-out-of-order time machine with which he and Brian averted a cataclysmic 9/11-like event in the controversial 2011 episode to bring Brian back from the dead. Yes, the family ran right out and got themselves a new dog, voiced by The Sopranos alum Tony Sirico, who’s been was tapped for six episodes, possibly more. Cynics might note that Brian has been one of Family Guy‘s most popular characters, and along with Stewie, the show’s top merchandise property. Oh, and the comedy’s ratings are down double digits compared to last season, though Family Guy’s hardly the only show in that position this season. Asked about plans to bring Brian back, Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva reported 20th TV gave her a “no comment,” at the same time she noted 20th TV would reap financial reward from the inevitable spike in sales of Brian-themed toys and other collectibles with his death, which may have been the actual answer.