Family Guy Reveals New Cleveland Brown Actor Ahead of Season 19

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Family Guy has lined up Mike Henry's replacement, three months after he announced he was stepping down as the voice of Cleveland Brown on the beloved animated series. 

Arif Zahir will assume the role, but he will not be a part of the early episodes of Family Guy Season 19. 

Because of how long in advance animated shows are produced, it will be some time before Zahir's episodes will be ready to air. 

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Henry, who is not Black, has played Cleveland, who is Black, Family Guy debuted.

He also toplined its spinoff, The Cleveland Show, for four seasons, and returned to Family Guy full-time when the series was canceled. 

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"Firstly, I’m eternally grateful to have received this once in a lifetime opportunity,” Zahir said in a statement.

“When I heard that Mike Henry was stepping down from the role of Cleveland Brown — my favorite cartoon character of all time — I was shocked and saddened, assuming we’d never see him again."

"When I learned I would get to take over the role? Overabundant gratitude. To Mike, you created something truly special and I promise I will do my absolute best to honor your legacy."

His statement continues, "To Rich Appel, Alec Sulkin and Seth MacFarlane, thank you for this incredible gift. And to the millions of fans who love this show, I promise not to let you down.”

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“I welcome Arif to the Family Guy team. Arif’s vocal talent is obvious, but his understanding of Cleveland and his respect for the character give me confidence that he is in the right hands," added Henry.

"I look forward to getting to know Arif and working with him to make sure Cleveland stays every bit as awesome as he has always been.”

Zahir is well-known for doing impressions of Cleveland on YouTube, so don't expect there to be any changes for the character. 

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Family Guy was renewed earlier this week for an additional two seasons, keeping the show on the air until 2023. 

Despite softer ratings than recent years, it is still a force in delayed viewing. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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