During an episode of the hit animated programme in November (13), the Griffin family's pet pooch Brian died after being hit by a car. Angry viewers took to the web to slam the decision, launching a petition for MACFarlane to resurrect the cartoon canine.
Luckily for viewers, Brian returned to the screen weeks later, and during the Television Critics Association's winter press tour on Monday (13Jan14), MACFarlane confessed he had no idea of the huge impact the plot line would have.
He admits, "We were all very surprised - in a good way - that people still cared about about that character to be that angry. 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.
"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."
And when asked if he would ever pull a similar stunt again, MACFarlane replied, "Would I do it again? No, we already did it!"