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Several high-profile animated series will be seeking new cast members soon, with a growing number of white actors and actresses vacating non-white roles. From Netflix's Big Mouth to The Simpsons, certain TV shows will definitely sound a little different in the future. The same goes for Family Guy, whose longtime voice actor Mike Henry announced recently that he'll no longer be voicing the character Cleveland Brown. As unfortunate as that may be for fans, The Wire's always awesome Wendell Pierce has publicly thrown his hat in the ring to take over.
Now, first thing's first: If Wendell Pierce's social media request looks like it might have been written seven or eight years ago, that's because he name-checked the long-defunct Family Guy spinoff The Cleveland Show, which ran for four seasons before the Brown family moved back to Quahog. Pierce also linked out to "@TheClevelandSho," which is a parody account that, save for three tweets in 2019, hadn't posted since 2013. He also linked to an unofficial Seth MacFarlane profile that doesn't have any posts on it. Clearly, there are some issues in the tweet.
That said, let's just bypass the Twitter-related faux pas there and focus more on Wendell Pierce's central goal: landing the role of Cleveland Brown for the remainder of Family Guy's potentially eternal run on Fox. That's a choice I could definitely get behind, even if it would take a while to get used to Cleveland not having Mike Henry's signature deliveries. Pierce could have feasibly set up the perfect audition video with a three-second clip of him saying "Party over heeeyurrrr!"
Also, when you think about it, if Wendell Pierce got the part and won over everyone on the show and at Fox, he could very well talk the higher-ups into reviving The Cleveland Show for another season, thus making the above tweet entirely on brand. As someone who feels that spinoff was more underrated and shunned than it deserved to be, I'd be interested to see how that kind of revival would handle the ongoing racial tensions, or if it would just avoid commenting on current events altogether. It obviously wouldn't be on the same level as The Wire, although it would be amazing to see Rallo turn into Stringer Bell.
Below is the initial tweet announcement from Family Guy's Mike Henry.
Family Guy's Mike Henry joins The Simpsons' Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer and Dan Castellaneta in taking a step back from voicing Black characters on the respective shows. The same goes for Kristen Bell, who backed out of voicing the Central Park character Molly for Apple TV+, and Jenny Slate, who announced she would no longer be voicing the role of Big Mouth's Missy in future seasons. In the same vein, BoJack Horseman's Alison Brie came out and voiced her regrets over having voiced the Vietnamese-American character Diane for the Netflix hit's six seasons.
Readers, let us know if you'd want Wendell Pierce to take over for Cleveland in the poll below. In the meantime, fans can catch up with Family Guy's latest season on Hulu, and can check out our Summer 2020 TV premiere schedule to see what else is hitting the small screen before then.