Published Sep 25, 2020Family Guy officially has its new voice of Cleveland Brown. Today it was announced Arif Zahir will take over the role. Sorry, Wendell Pierce.
The announcement comes after Mike Henry — who has been voicing Cleveland since 1999 — stepped down from the role earlier this year, saying "I love this character, but persons of colour should play characters of colour."
Zahir will begin voicing Cleveland on Season 19. Henry, meanwhile, will stay with Family Guy and voice characters such as Bruce the Performance Artist, Herbert the Pedophile and more.
"I welcome Arif to the Family Guy team," Henry said in a statement. "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. 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 added: "Firstly, I'm eternally grateful to have received this once in a lifetime opportunity. When I heard that Mike Henry was stepping down from the role of Cleveland Brown — my favourite 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 honour your legacy. 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."
The move comes a day after The Simpsons announced Alex Désert would be taking over the role of Carl Carlson.
This week, Fox confirmed Family Guy would be back for Seasons 19 and 20.