Family Guy has a new mayor! Actor Sam Elliott will be joining the voice cast of Fox's long-running animated comedy as the new mayor of Quahog, Entertainment Weekly reported Wednesday. The mayoral seat has sat empty since the the 2017 death of actor Adam West, who played himself as the Rhode Island town's leader for 15 seasons, but will soon be filled by an "ornery" and "sexy" new character played by The Big Lebowski star.
Elliott will lend his signature baritone voice and cowboy persona to the character, a cousin of the late Mayor West named Wild Wild West, who will make his debut in a November episode. Replacing the role was difficult, executive producer Richard Appel told EW of the decision to move forward with creating this new character. "We wanted to take the time to respect Adam," he said, adding that while West was "irreplaceable," the role of the mayor was important for a lot of storytelling on Family Guy.
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"Who could be as original and unexpected and comedically fun and fresh as Adam? Sam has a voice that — obviously he’s a movie star but he also has a voice made for radio, and Sam Elliot quickly became our first choice," Appel added. That being said, the A Star Is Born actor wasn't initially on board, with executive producer Alec Sulkin chiming in that when the initial pitch of Elliott playing himself was presented, the actor swiftly turned him down.
"He was reluctant," continued Appel. "He just felt like he didn't want to play himself. Which made us go back thinking, 'Well, all right, is there someone else?' And we thought, 'Wait a minute, that note is a smart note. Because that was more what Adam West was doing. And the new mayor shouldn't be another real-world celebrity playing himself within our fictional world. So we kicked around a bunch of ideas and then said, 'What if we refashion this as Wild West for Sam Elliott and create this new character?' And he responded very well to that idea." Having Elliott on board with the show in a major capacity, Appel said it has been a "shot of adrenaline" into the writers and animators. Family Guy premieres its upcoming 19th season on Sept. 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET on Fox.