Ok so Brian the dog is dead and Family Guy fans are angry, but the aficionadas are holding out hope for the pooch's safe return to action. It's still one of the most popular shows around, but Seth Macfarlane and everyone involved knew that it needed a kick up the backside.

brian Family GuyBrian [L] and Stewie [R] in 'Family Guy'

A nice big fat slice of publicity. If Brian's death turns out to be permanent, than fine, the show has been in the news all week and it's generated plenty of interest, but the clues suggest the writers might be looking to keep viewers hooked for a couple of weeks, before the big reveal.

Consider the synopsis of the episode set to air on December 15, titled 'Christmas Guy'. Fox says: "When Carter Pewterschmidt cancels the annual Quahog Christmas carnival, because he hates the holiday, Peter must transform his father-in-law from a Scrooge into a hometown hero in order to salvage the event. 

Meanwhile, Stewie devises a master plan to get the one and only thing he wants for Christmas." As his best buddy, could little Stewie want Brian back? You betcha.

Just days after the demise of Brian, a shadowy site popped up with a countdown to "a special announcement" from the Family Guy team.

For the record, a 20th Century Fox rep tells TVLine, "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," but it got people thinking. 

Family GuyNo, This Isn't Brian's Replacement

Since the death, over 80,000 fans have pledged their support for Brian's resurrection on change.org while another 309,000 have joined the 'R.I.P Brian Griffin from Family Guy' page on Facebook.

The change.org online petition states: "The writers of Family Guy didn't just kill off one of their creations, they killed off the dog who has lived in our homes for the last 15 years. They killed the dog we all have come to love. They killed America's dog!"

Brian, voiced by Seth MacFarlane himself, was a talking pet dog who enjoyed an alcoholic drink, dated women and aspired to be a novelist.