Seth Macfarlane has opened up about the recent publicity that his cartoon comedy show Family Guy has attracted after deciding to kill off main character, Brian Griffin. The Griffin family's pet dog was shown to die after a car crash, before being quickly replaced by straight-talking tough dog, Vinnie, voiced by The Sopranos' Tony Sirico.

Family Guy Brian Stewie
We Were Told That Stewie Had Destroyed His Time Machine So Couldn't Save Brian.

Fans reacted with sorrow and outrage to the cull of the character who is arguably Family Guy's most memorable. A petition was quickly launched demanding that Brian be brought back and fans waited with baited breath to see what the show's next move would be.

Sure enough, Brian made his return to Family Guy during Sunday night's episode where Stewie meets a time-travelling future version of himself in a toystore. He steals his own time travelling device and is transported back to the moment just before Brian was hit by the car, saving his best friend.

Watch Stewie Save Brian's Life In 'Family Guy':

Though fans have heralded Brian's return after his short departure, many feel cheated by what could be perceived to be a clever and effective publicity stunt to boost viewing figures. After 12 seasons, it would be hardly surprising that the show needed a push, with the death of a well-loved character a way to get the comedy back into the headlines and on to peoples' screens.

The Family Guy team initially claimed that the idea was born in the writers room as "a fun way to shake things up" that "caught fire." After the 'The Life of Brian' episode was shown nearly a month ago, the show's executive producer Steve Callaghan reassured E!Online. "...Our fans are smart enough and have been loyal to our show for long enough to know that they can trust us," Callaghan said. "We always make choices that always work to the greatest benefit of the series."

Family Guy
The Show Has Enjoyed A Good Few Weeks In The TV Headlines.

MacFarlane has been upbeat about his show's emotional rollercoaster: "And thus endeth our warm, fuzzy holiday lesson: Never take those you love for granted, for they can be gone in a flash," he tweeted. The animator and actor addressed the death and resurrection of Brian directly, adding "I mean, you didn't really think we'd kill off Brian, did you? Jesus, we'd have to be f*cking high."

"Oh and hey... thanks for caring so much about the canine Griffin. He is overcome with gratitude," the comedian tweeted.

Smart Seth, very smart.