Seth Macfarlane has admitted he was surprised by Family Guy fans' outrage to the temporary death of Brian the dog. The producer discussed the three-week hiatus during Monday's Television Critics Association's winter press tour.

Family GuyBrian [L] was killed off, and then revived by Stewie [R]

"We were all very surprised  - in a good way - that people still cared about about that character to be that angry," he told reporters. "It didn't occur to us. We thought it would maybe create a little bit of a stir, but the rage was not something we counted on."

During the November 25 episode, Brian - obviously the best character on Family Guy - was struck by a car and he prepared to play in the street with Stewie. He could not be saved. Twitter went into overdrive. A fan petition called for the series to bring back Brian, or else! It all seemed like a lost cause when Brian's 'replacement' Vinnie was added to the opening credits a week later.

Three weeks later (which was already produced months ago), Stewie found a way to go back in time and prevent the crash. Family Guy has been accused of, well, not being that funny anymore, but Brian's death proved that MacFarlane's show is still popular.

Stewie Family GuyStewie Rescued His Best Buddy

"Based on the numbers, it helped because it did what it was designed to do: It reminded people that this is still a show where anything can happen despite the fact that it's been on for a while."

"It's season 12, something like that, the show has been on long enough where you can sit back and be on auto pilot or you can try to surprise people,"  added MacFarlane, "All it was, was a three-parter without three words -- "to be continued" -- at the end of the episodes.

The Simpsons producers recently announced that an iconic character will die later this season.