Sam Elliott will be succeeding Adam West to voice the Mayor of Quahog in Family Guy.
West, who passed away in 2017, voiced a fictionalised version of himself for over 100 episodes. The show honoured the actor on several occasions in 2018, renaming the high school after him.
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“We wanted to take the time to respect Adam,” executive producer Richard Appel explained to Entertainment Weekly. “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.”
Appel explained that the producers searched extensively for a perfect replacement. “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 Elliott quickly became our first choice.”
Executive producer Alec Sulkin said that Elliott refused at first, on the basis that Elliott was asked to play himself on the show.
“He just felt like he didn’t want to play himself,” Appel explained. “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.”
Season 19 of Family Guy premieres on September 27 on Fox.