'Family Guy' Finds A New Voice For Cleveland Brown, But You Won't Hear Him This Season

Around the same time the producers of The Simpsons decided that they wouldn't cast white voice actors to play any characters of color on the animated series, Family Guy followed suit when Mike Henry announced that he would step down from voicing Cleveland Brown, a staple recurring who also got his own spin-off series for a few seasons.

Now, after The Simpsons found a new actor to voice Homer's friend Carl, Family Guy has done the same by announcing a new voice for Cleveland Brown. Voice actor Arif Zahir has landed the role of Cleveland Brown, and if you're worried that the character won't sound like he usually does, Zahir cleared up any concerns by giving fans a taste of his performance. Listen to the new Cleveland voice actor below.

Family Guy made the official announcement just before the weekend on Twitter:

However, even though Arif Zahir has been cast as Cleveland Brown, you won't hear him take on the role until after the upcoming 18th season. The new season premieres today, September 27, and the dialogue for every episodes has already been completed by Mike Henry. So Arif Zahir won't make his debut as Cleveland until the 19th season of Family Guy begins in the fall of 2021. But thankfully, you don't have to wait to hear what Zahir will do as Cleveland.

To make sure fans know that he's not giving Cleveland an entirely new voice, he revealed taste of his performance:

In a statement from the press release, Zahir said this about the new gig:

"Firstly, I'm eternally grateful to have received this once in a lifetime opportunity. When I heard that Mike Henry was stepping down from the role of Cleveland Brown- my favorite cartoon character of all time- I was shocked and saddened, assuming we'd never see him again. When I learned I would get to take over the role? Overabundant gratitude. To Mike, you created something truly special and I promise I will do my absolute best to honor your legacy. To Rich Appel, Alec Sulkin and Seth MacFarlane, thank you for this incredible gift. And to the millions of fans who love this show, I promise not to let you down."

Meanwhile, Mike Henry will still be part of the Family Guy cast since he's a series regular who voices a variety of characters on the series. Henry said in the press release:

"I welcome Arif to the 'Family Guy' team. Arif's vocal talent is obvious, but his understanding of Cleveland and his respect for the character give me confidence that he is in the right hands. I look forward to getting to know Arif and working with him to make sure Cleveland stays every bit as awesome as he has always been."

Family Guy has already been renewed for season 19 and season 20, so Zahir will at least have this job for a couple years. It's likely to go on even longer since Family Guy is still one of FOX's most successful animated shows, coming in right behind The Simpsons.