Credit: Fox

Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane said his creative team behind Fox’s animated hit was shocked by fan reaction to (temporarily) killing off Brian earlier this season.

“It surprised all of us,” the writer-producer-actor told a huddle of reporters after his Television Critics Association press tour panel Monday for his upcoming Fox astronomy documentary Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. “We were all very surprised, in a good way, that people still cared enough about that character to be that angry. We thought it would create a little bit of a stir, but the rage wasn’t something we counted on.”

MacFarlane also said he thinks the stunt helped the show’s ratings and revealed his reason behind the move: “It did what it was designed to do — it reminded people this is still a show where anything that can happen despite the fact it’s been on for awhile.”

That said, fans can rest assured that Brian isn’t going to perish again. “Would I do it again? No. We already did it.”

A critic also asked MacFarlane if his spinach programming Cosmos (which premieres March 9) is an “attempt to balance out the kinds of things you put into the world” with regard to Fox’s much-maligned Dads, on which MacFarlane is a producer.

“Um, I would submit that the question is flawed,” he said. “We have different opinions about certain things. I get involved in shows and people I’m enthusiastic about and trust. [Dads writer-producers Alec Sulkin and Wellesley Wild] are two of the funniest writers I’ve ever worked with and for me it was a great move… it’s not a matter of balance in my mind.”

Which is a very diplomatic and polite answer to that question. But when a critic suggested only “nerds” will watch Cosmos, MacFarlane drew huge laughs by bluntly shooting back: “Hey, f–k you.”

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