Family Guy taps Sam Elliott to succeed Adam West as Mayor: See the first photos
Get your first look at... Wild Wild West.
There's a new mayor in town: Sam Elliott has joined the Family Guy voice cast.
The beloved baritone-voiced veteran actor who received an Oscar nomination for his work in A Star is Born will make his debut in a November episode of Fox's long-running animated comedy, EW has learned exclusively. He’ll be playing a key role: the new Mayor of Quahog, a post that became vacant after Adam West — who played Mayor Adam West in more than 100 episodes — died in 2017. West remained a presence on the show into the following year, as several episodes recorded before his death made their debut. Family Guy paid tribute to West several times, but almost two years after the actor's death, the show finally acknowledged his passing in an episode that saw the high school renamed after him."We wanted to take the time to respect Adam," executive producer Richard Appel tells EW. "In having a conversation about 'How do you replace him?,' the universal belief was: he’s irreplaceable. And then the next question is, 'Do you find a new mayor?' In the world of Family Guy, he had an important role, and a role that was necessary for a lot of stories."
In searching for a new mayor, Appel says that the producers were faced with a difficult question: "Who could be as original and unexpected and comedically fun and fresh as Adam? Obviously he’s a movie star but Sam also has a voice made for radio, and Sam Elliott quickly became our first choice." Elliott's character is actually Mayor West's cousin, whose first and middle names are Wild. That's right — meet Wild Wild West. (Your first two peeks at the character are below.) Wild West comes East to Quahog when Peter becomes unhappy with the candidates in consideration for the job and decides that the town needs a celebrity figure who is fun, so Peter persuades him to run for office.
How did Elliott respond to the job offer? "His first reaction was 'no,'" says exec producer Alec Sulkin, who notes that the original pitch was for the actor to play... Sam Elliott. "He was reluctant," continues 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."
The profile and personality of the character are Elliott-adjacent. "Ornery" is the word that Sulkin uses to describe Wild, while Appel offers up two more: "sexy and authoritative." Look for Wild to appear in a handful of episodes this season.
The cowboy-playing actor's most recent TV gig was as a series regular on the Netflix comedy The Ranch, and one of his two Emmy nominations came from voice work in a 2012 Robot Chicken episode. His big-screen credits include The Quick and The Dead, Roadhouse, Tombstone, and The Big Lebowski. He's actually no stranger to Quahog: in a 2019 Family Guy episode, he narrated a Hummer commercial and recited the lyrics to “Lick It Up” by KISS. Now that Elliott has joined the cast in a fuller capacity, a renewed energy has permeated the show, according to the producers. "It was a home run," sums up Appel. "From his first line, we knew this was going to be a shot of adrenaline for the show. And everyone felt it — the animators, the writers, the executives who were at the table read. Since then, every [time] that we’re breaking new stories, it’s: 'How could we bring Sam Elliott into this one?' That’s always a hugely great sign that you’ve done a good thing for the show."
Family Guy kicks off season 19 on Sept. 27 at 9:30 p.m. on Fox. In the premiere — which also happens to be the show's 350th episode — precocious, ferocious Stewie will finally utter his first word. (For real.) Hints Sulkin: "It's about what you'd think."
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