Family Guy has a vacancy in the Cleveland Brown department following the departure of voice actor Mike Henry, and the perfect candidate to fill it has just presented himself. Jack Ryan and Suits star Wendell Pierce has taken to Twitter to express interest in landing the role.
Pierce tweeted series creator Seth McFarlane to give him a heads-up about his “campaign to voice the role myself on The Cleveland Show.” Presumably, the actor means the parent series rather than the cancelled spinoff, although there’s an outside chance the wording of his post was intentional and he’s calling for The Cleveland Show to be revived.
Now that Mike Henry has consciously given up the role of Cleveland,I am publicly starting a campaign to voice the role myself on The Cleveland Show. #WendellIsCleveland @TheClevelandSho @SethMcFarlane_ pic.twitter.com/Ux3F0uk1p6
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) June 28, 2020
Amid intense debate about whether it’s appropriate for people to voice characters of a different ethnicity to their own, stars from several high-profile animated shows have stepped down from biracial roles, Henry being one of them. Echoing the same sentiments as Jenny Slate and Kristen Bell, who recently left Big Mouth and Central Park respectively, the actor explained that he walked away from Family Guy because he believes that Cleveland should be voiced by a black man.
McFarlane and Fox are yet to announce plans to replace Henry, but Pierce would be a solid choice. Not only is he a seasoned TV star with several major roles on his resume, but he’s dabbled in voice acting in the past, having made guest appearances on Archer and Pickle and Peanut. If he can deliver slow and elongated dialogue, surely he’s in with a shot.
Family Guy is due to return for its 19th season this September and it’s unclear whether it will feature Henry’s vocal talents. It seems likely that he could have laid down some dialogue, with his departure coming just months before the premiere episode, but it could also be the case that fans won’t see Cleveland again until a new voice actor is in place.